Help with mare again - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-08-2008, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Help with mare again

Okay some of you have helped me in the past. quick recap. I have a tb mare 7 yr old that I am trying to sell to help an owner in trouble financially. she was underweight and not feeling great when she arrived. She was an angel at first, doing everything asked, even trail riding though she had never been out of an arena or off the farm she was raised on. The better she felt the worse she acted.

She started rearing, acting up, etc. A friend starting riding her on the trail and tiring her out. I rode her a few days after he took her on a long hard ride and she was perfect. The next day or so she got a huge cut on her side and I was not able to ride her for 3 weeks. I tried working with her on the ground and for the most part she was very good, though afraid to go too far from the barn. Yesterday I got on her again for the first time in 3 weeks. She was a brat!

I had another horse and rider to give her some courage. We barely made it from the barn area when she started acting up. I took her into the arena and she refused to go anywhere but a very small area and kept backing up, turning in circles and refusing to move. Eventually she started walking in bigger circles but would rear and paw when she did not get her way. I finally got her to walk back out of the arena and was going to allow her to go back to the barn without any further issue but she freaked out started rearing, backing up and scraping me up against a tree. I had to get off finally. I took her into the round pen and at first she was good but then started staring off into the distance and stopping and refusing to move at all. I mean sitting her butt against the fence and sort of sitting down and refusing to move. She kept turning around and looking at me and nosing my foot.

what the heck? It seems to be a mixture of being bratty and stubborn and actually afraid of getting too far from her pasture and comfort zone.


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post #2 of 13 Old 10-08-2008, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Okay no replies yet I am patient. I guess the issue is I need to be the "alpha" she is not trusting me to lead her. How do I get her to trust me to lead her? also when a horse refused to move forward, back, etc. where do you go from there? I plan to try to lunge/ride her in her pasture this evening just to take away the "fear factor." and then try to walk her around the farm on a lead rope. thanks for any suggestions
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-08-2008, 01:18 PM
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I'd do alot of groundwork...seems to me she is just being dominant and you have to take the lead horse position.
I would not can make matters worse:
Round Penning

Instead do some simple things like moving away from pressure stopping when you ask, walking and following you.
I used the PArelli 7 Games with my horse and it worked great
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-08-2008, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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thanks yeah I think ground work is needed. I hoped to do more while she was out of commission but unfortunately the tending to her wound took me a total of two hours a day (driving to and fro, hosing, etc) and so it did not leave much time for ground work. thanks for the suggestion
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-08-2008, 04:48 PM
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I agree, a lot of groundwork.

I wholely agree with everything that SonnyWimps said.
We had a Thoroughbred that had been an Eventer, was turned out to pasture for a while, then we tried working him again to re-sell him and he had these same issues. Except FAR worse. He actually at one point fell to the ground because he didn't want to move. He was trying to scrape the rider off using the side of the arena.

TONS of groundwork. You just have to establish who is dominant. I agree with the groundwork 'games'. They will help you a lot, with establishing the "herd order" between human and horse. It may take a while, but just keep with it.

Also has she been fully vet checked? Have you ruled out the possibility that there may just be something wrong?
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-08-2008, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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thanks so much. Yes she has been checked by vet. I assure it is behavioral. I think she is on the verge of being the way you described. I think her sitting against the fence refusing to move was pretty close to just laying down. She looks me in the eye after she acts up on the ground and when I am on her back she looks at me by turning all the way around and nudging my foot and looking up at me.

okay back to ground work, herd order, etc. I have to be calm

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post #7 of 13 Old 10-08-2008, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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she is currently in a pasture with an old retired gelding. She is pretty attached. he does dominate her mildly. I was thinking of moving her into a pasture with another mare and gelding who are more active and the mare would probably keep her in line since she was there first.

think this would have any effect? I mean I know I need to be the "alpha" but thought this might help and break up her barn sourness.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-08-2008, 11:48 PM
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My husband's Anglo Gelding did similar. His was a combination of two problems: pain and his diet. He had pain in his hip from an old injury that was causing him to act up at certain times. Since he was thin and a "hard keeper", he was getting a LOT of feed. Once we addressed both issues, his attitude changed 200%.

So, I would first look at her back health and saddle fit. Even if she acts fine for tacking up, she could have some pain issues from the saddle. Have a good equine chiro out to evaluate her.

Next I would look at her diet. Many TBs are sensitive to corn, oats, molasses, and alfalfa. I would have her on a diet of only grass hay or timothy and NO GRAIN or pelleted feed. If she needs extra, I would give her some soaked shredded beet pulp (the kind without molasses), a ration balancer (like Purina Enrich 32 or Triple Crown 32% Supplement) or vitamin supplement for horses on no grain (like Select II or SmartVite Maintanence Grass), and some stabilized rice bran (for added fat). You can feed lots of the beet pulp (it's not a "hot" feed) and up to 2 lbs of the rice bran. All of this is a "cool" diet. Switch her over slowly, and give this diet 30 days before passing judgetment.

Nutrition plays a LARGE role in horse behavior and is often overlooked. Also, horses deficeint in Magnesium and B-Vitamins can be "spooky."

In the mean time, you need to work with her on the ground. Instead of riding her on the trails, take her on "walks" on the trail, like a dog. Just you and her. Work on leading her from both sides, trotting in hand, standing quietly, etc. Let her graze when she's been good, making the outing "fun." Walking in hand away from the property is a GREAT bonding experience and will get her to turn to you for comfort, rather than another horse.

In the round pen, work on lots of changes of direction, transitions, "WHOA", etc. Keep working her until she shows obvious submission (head low, chewing/licking, an ear always on you). Then let her rest. Keep her in the round pen. Once she's cooled down, offer her a drink and some feed. Feeding her in the round pen will make it a "fun" place, not just a work place. Make sure to always praise her when she's doing well, with a "good girl" or even a treat. Most of the horses I have worked with responded very well to lots of praise when they got things right.

When she acts up, try just making her stand still. Make her stand until she's calm and quiet, tell her good girl, then go on with what you were doing. Some horses do not respond to the method of moving their feet when they do something bad. The other alternative is to make them stand quietly. Give her time to think about things and quiet down. Then go again. Rinse and repeat until she does it right. If you remain calm and quiet, she will eventually get tired of this "game" and do what you want.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-09-2008, 01:12 AM
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Sounds to me like she could possibly be barn sour.
Has she ever tried to run back to the barn?
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-10-2008, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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thanks so much to you all! I do think the nutrition angle is a huge part of it. She was very underfed and fed poor feed and poor hay. She is currently on a timothy hay. She gets about a scoop of purina feed twice daily and is out on grass, but its not much grass. I truly don't think its any pain issue. Sometimes she is fine and then after a few days of not being ridden she acts up. I appreciate the suggestion but the Vet checked her over pretty well looking for pressure points, etc.

yesterday my friend who has ridden her before (he is the only male that has ever ridden her and seems to have better control over her) walked her over 2 miles off property (in hand) and then rode her. For the most part he said she was really good and she does not always run back to the barn. However I do think she is a bit barn sour and attached to her pasture mate. I will try the beet pulp, etc slowly transition and see how it goes, free lunge in round pen, long walks, etc.

thanks guys!!!!!!
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