Ground manners - I'm fed up!!!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 09-28-2009, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Ground manners - I'm fed up!!!!

Carolina hasn't had very good ground manners since I got her, most likely from being left in a field for two years who knows. I've been working on them but she is like a bag of manure tied in the middle and just all over the place.

I can't tie her because she'll spaz and has actually flipped herself over trying to escape the tie (with no reason to spook other than the sky was blue and the sun was 45 degrees above the horizon). When I tie her she dances around, and I have to tie her with an emergency slipknot so as soon as she starts to get really agitated I can pull the end and she's free. She has torn down fences, stalls and apparently a washrack (though I wasn't there for the washrack) and that's even with an emergency slipknot before I could reach to pull her free. The longest I've been able to safely tie her is about 45 seconds.

Now - there's no spook causes here, just the fact that I have her tied. When she really does have something to spook at like a shadow, sound, wind, whatever she's uncontrollable.

When I lead her (or anyone else actually) she charges ahead, especially if she's tacked up, no amount of "whoa," or pulling on lead ropes will slow her down. I end up walking her in circles until she'll go straight at my shoulder. She's really fun to tack up. It's like trying to wash a cat. All her tack fits her, btw and she has recently had her teeth floated.

She gets pushy with her food but that's not so much an issue as anything else.

It takes about 30 minutes to be able to pick up her feet. That's if she stands still long enough (or I have someone else with me to hold her head). I went to clean her back feet today and she kicked me. Not being able to pick up her feet isn't unusual, getting kicked is highly unusual.

She needs sedated to have farrier work. She needs sedated to have any vet work more than a shot or coggins. I can't put flyspray on her because the sound sends her up a tree. Even if I squirt it onto a rag within 500ft of her and come near her to put it on I get the same reaction.

Heck, going near a trailer she'll rear up and flip herself over. But the last time I put her on a trailer she surprised the heck out of me and walked straight on with no issue.

It didn't help that the wind was blowing a gale this morning, but she was down right dangerous. And after she kicked me, in my bad knee no less that I'd already hurt earlier this week in a particularly nasty non-horse related fall, I was in so much pain I wanted to barf. Childbirth didn't hurt as bad as this.

I normally don't let this kind of thing go. I will lunge, lead, back, do a join up, lunge, free lunge and go on from there. Go around again. But I was in agony and I knew I wouldn't be able do anything effective with her. So I untacked her, lead her around as best I could and then turned her out in the field.

I have not had as much trouble with OTTBs I've got straight from the track as I've had with this girl. Heck I even had a half wild morgan cross gelding I bought from a sales barn that wasn't as complicated as Carolina.

I need help with her. Because I know I've got to be doing something wrong. I am actually wondering if I should have the trainer work with her. I'm going to have to suck it up and beg hubby for the funds but she's dangerous and I'm lost.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #2 of 38 Old 09-28-2009, 09:36 PM
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i think you need a carrott stick and a rope halter, if she pushed through you you whack her with the stick, really hard and snap her back with the rope halter. (dont worry, you will never be able to hit as hard as a horse in the feild would kick her) that is definitly unacceptable that she does anything like that. make yourself the dominent horse in the herd. you can look up pat parrelli on google and he wil have lots of techniques. u could hire a trainer for the first bit, that would be good, but make sure you learn from the trainer so you know what to do in any of those situations and so that you learn how to make yourself the dominant horse. good luck :) im sure after this is done she will be a great horse!

If there are no horses in heaven... im not going.
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post #3 of 38 Old 09-28-2009, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to add that under saddle she's lovely. And there are days she isn't as bad as usual.

I do need to learn from the trainer as well. I have a lesson tomorrow but I'm not going to be able to ride at all. My knee is swollen like a football. But the trainer has suggested she work with her tomorrow while I watch.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #4 of 38 Old 09-28-2009, 09:49 PM
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Well, unfortantely your mare really needs to learn to be tied. It's one of the most basic, but fundamental, things your horse needs to learn.

I can suggest one of two things - Finding one hell of a post to tie her too and let her fight it out.
Or, you can right something around her elbows so when she pulls back she actually squeezes herself and she'll have to go forward to relieve the pressure. If you do this, just make sure you use a large cotton rope to make sure you don't have any rope burn.

I've dealt with many horses like this (just sent one home, actually!) and believe I know how frustrating it is! You really need to have the patience of a saint and there have been a few times where I've just had to turn my back for a few minutes to relax. Don't leave, just turn your back and take deep breaths. I find this usually works to help calm and antsy horse. And myself.

Now, your mare has developed some very dangerous behaviour. It only takes one time for her to step on your foot, push you over with her shoulder, and then your trampled. She obviously has no regard for your personal space and if she spooks another horse behind you he probably won't either.
This seriously needs to be addressed before either you, your horse, or someone else gets hurt.
Please don't take that to mean you haven't done anything to help her or yourself; I realise that you have. I think it's just time to put on your boxing gloves and git'r'done, so to speak. ;)

First exercise I will suggest, aside from letting herself freak out while she's tied, is softening in the halter and/or bridle. I had a horse who, being 16.1hh, throw his head up and me, being 5'2", was literally hanging, and it was NOT COOL!

Start with the halter and gently apply pressure straight downwards with the lead rope. The SECOND she drops her head, no matter how miniscule, release the pressure and let her be. Continue to do this until as soon as she feels the slightest pressure, she will automatically drop her head.
Again, this helps when you bridle because you'll use your hand where on her poll where the halter puts pressure on. When she feels this pressure she will drop your head. It won't be quite as effective as the halter until she gets the hang of it. It took my gelding about three days to figure it out, but I practiced with him several times a day.

Another thing that I think would help her is to learn to wear hobbles. Believe me you, she will have a whole new idea of respect of her freedom once it's taken away from her. An indoor arena makes a great, safe place for this.
Please remember that once you have the hobbles hooked up, you need to get your butt out of there because she is going to have a hissy fit. Most times, they lunge forward with both front feet in the air and because you're there, you need to move quick!

Another thing I can suggest is what I suggest for ChevyPrincess, and that's getting her to learn her backing up, sidepass, spins, and turn on the forehand from the ground.
Walk beside her and the minutes she passes your line, stop and push her back. Don't be nice about, don't plead with her. Use the end of the lead rope on her chest if you have too. Push her back until she doesn't want to go back anymore. This motion of her wanting to stop is great for her because she's such a foward horse. She will eventually learn that the minute you stop, even mid-stride, she is going to have to either stop, or back up quickly.

If you can get her to stand still long enough, you can use the finger pressure on her chest to back her up and make her realise that she cannot invade your personal space.

Same with getting her to move sideways. Keep the lead shank loose but snug, use your hands to ask her to move over. Again, the minute she moves over step away from her and let her think about it. If she doesn't respond or invades your space, get after her.

Your mare, right now, is the domiant one. You need to turn that around, and she isn't going to like it. You are going to have to be aggressive with her, just as she's being aggressive with you. I'm not talking about harsh beatings, I'm talking about educated, trainable discipline.

Anyhow, I hope through all my rambling something I've said will help you!
Best of luck with your mare, and if I helped, don't hesitate to aks anymore questions! :)

Whispering Secret Arabians
Registered Solid and Sabino Arabians
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post #5 of 38 Old 09-28-2009, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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That makes a whole tonne of sense. Thank you!

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #6 of 38 Old 09-28-2009, 10:04 PM
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I feel for ya, and it must be very discourageing and a little scary. I do agree that maybe working closely with a trainer will help. Is she worse when she comes into season?
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post #7 of 38 Old 09-28-2009, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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You know, I'm not one hundred percent sure, she pretty much acts this way consistently. She was apparently in season when she was trucked up to the stables from TN to IN when we moved at the start of the month. Only reason I know is because one of the barn owner's pony stallions broke a fence to get to her.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #8 of 38 Old 09-28-2009, 11:13 PM
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You need serious help; I'm sorry to have to say it bluntly, but this horse has your number, and knows how to dial it frequently.

She's probably not as scared of everything as she seems, she plain needs a stronger leader; not an abusive one, but one who isn't afraid to BE her leader, because that is what she is so desperately trying to tell you! SHE WANTS A LEADER!!!!

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #9 of 38 Old 09-28-2009, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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What little comfort I take in your post is that in my defence, she is like that with every handler, not just me, regardless of my presence or not.

You are right, though and I need to step up to the plate.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #10 of 38 Old 09-29-2009, 12:06 AM
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I just wanted to say that I feel your pain and that I'm rooting for you! =)

Lacey wasn't nearly that bad when I first got her but she has almost run me over 3 or so times and that was SO scary! I finally got her number because she was mostly scared with a smidge of dominance so once I got past her fears she was/is mostly a quick study.

I would definitely work with a trainer that you trust like the others said. Have you tried a tie blocker ring? I've never used one but I've heard that they're great for horses that pull back. I don't think it solves the problem, but it minimizes the reaction since they don't get "stuck"...

Good luck! And good for you for not giving up on her! I know how hard that can be. You two will have an absolutely amazing relationship after helping her get through this stuff!

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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