Help with new young tense hot mare - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-09-2009, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Arlington WA
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Help with new young tense hot mare

Hi everyone I'm new here and just getting back into horses after 7 years. My background might explain some things.... I have had geldings my whole life I purchased them as foals and trained them up to adult life past green broke. They were your usual easy pleasy gelding with quirks that were easily fixed. I rode western pleasure eq trail showmanship halter and dabbled in english pleasure eq showmanship. I just bought a 4 year old paint mare. I viewed many horses before I made my purchase and test rode her for 1 week before actually handing over the cash. She was great in the trial period. Very pleasury. I intend to explore gaming this time around but she is young and I want a versatile horse and if she's not good at one thing I intend to push her in the direction we both are comforatable with. In this trial week she was very easy going calm and impressed me. As the first couple weeks went on we did alot of round pen work on the ground and riding, i didnt push her hard in the round pen she pretty much gave me everything i asked for in the round pen. I moved her out to the so called arena (big dirt area at the stable no walls) she was great walking around the arena but anything faster and she was ALL GO. I gave her small tugs at first to slow things down than she started diving on me wanting to go where she wanted to go. Sometimes to ask her to lope she would kick her back legs out as to almost buck. I would take her to smaller circles when she did this. Than she went into heat and was like a slug crawled at the walk and you had to literally kick to get her to budge complete oppisite of what she was doing.....I put some bumper spurs on her and got her to move but the back leg kick was more and more and she would swish her tail before the heat and now. She came back out of heat and was back to ALL GO. One event she Kicked so much I put her in the round pen and made her work and she kept giving me the eye.....than she started getting closer and closer to the middle and she charged me... I took the end of the lunge whip to back her off she did this a few times. I made her work harder and didnt allow her to think this was ok behavior. She started this an a few occasions. We started ALOT of close contact groundwork and now she hasnt tried this again. I ended up putting a martigale on her and tightening up my reins when i rode and it seemed to help control her no more diving. Things went good for the next month. We entered the training class at a small local playday and i wanted to trot at most the events because we are both NEW to gaming but she wanted to lope but it was a controlled lope so i let her go at a pace i was comforatable with we loped alot of the events and she surprised me 100%. She did not want to stand still waiting for our turn to ride and I still have problems with that and we are working on it still. Very impatient. We moved to a new stable closer to home at a friends barn, she has a round pen and lots of acreage to ride but no arena. On the day I moved her she wouldnt come to me at the pasture gate like usual, she has never done that before. I went to the field to get her and she kept turning and running from me....Finally almost caught her and she turned and kicked me in the thigh..... I took her rope and slapped her butt with it. She ran off and I went after her again and she kept turningaway from me. I finally caught her and transported her. She is on a daily turnout still. I started her slow getting her used to the barn the round pen and lots of walking the pasture slowly asking for more. She gets worked up in the round pen sometimes and squeels and kicks a semi buck when you get after her and she doesnt want to mind your command. Now more and more Im getting better control of her while riding in the last month and gave up the martingale and she no longer dives but still sometimes does the double leg kick still in the middle of loping when im not asking for more its just random im even holding her back. (tried many different saddles on her so im really positive the saddle isnt pinching her) I let loose on the reins and she speeds up i give a few tugs speaking to her "easy" she hesitantly slows some not much i let loose when we go my speed and she speeds up again i tug etc...... she keeps trying to blow through my reins if i dont have a constant pressure on her mouth. Since we are in the open field she just wants to GO FAST just gallop, I let her go once to see if she just had a wild hair and it was almost scary where I lost control I wasnt comforatable because she doesnt run straight she goes where she wants at this pace and I had a really hard time asking her to slow down and it was a long slow down. I finally got a med paced lope out of her but it was sideways forcing my left side to seem always way more forward than a normal lope. Ive had a copper inlay snaffle bit on her mostly, but i tried a single thick twist snaffle on her last night and it was the worst shes been. head throwing not minding. I found it harder to control her stopping or slowing than my snaffle.She tried kicking me in her stall when i first got there. She always is happy to see you when you first get there than pins her ears back and doesnt want anything to do with you than you walk away and shes like hey come pet me you go back give her a few rubs than she pins her ears back and walks away. I go in the stall can hug her neck and hang out she is fine than i went to touch her belly and she tried kicking me. I gave her a slap on the butt with my hand back, I wasnt expecting that. I forgot to mention that her whole body is always tense if you poke her neck or body its rock hard and she doesn't flinch but gets upset like shoots her head up high I've been constantly putting my hands all over her with different pressures and she seems to get used to it after a while but I try again the next day and nothings changed. So If someone or anyone can give some DETAILED advice on How I can correct these problems would be great!! I can read all I want but sometimes its easier to read and understand than do and understand, Please break it down in details I would appreciate it very Much Thanx in Advance!!
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-09-2009, 07:36 PM
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Have you ever tried Parelli? I'm not fully commited to it, but maybe your mare needs more groundwork since she tries to bite and kick you. Try to get her too the point where you can touch her anywhere on her body with her standing still and excepting it. The friendly game (where do desensitize your mare to the whip, check it out on google or something, I don't really know how to explain it) I think that Parelli will help build trust and respect. Natural Horse-Man-Ship is one of his books. This is just a suggestion. I don't really know what to say about everything else she does. I hope you find something that works! :)
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-09-2009, 09:13 PM
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First: Does your saddle and stuff fit for sure? She could be associating you with pain on the ground and fighting with you under saddle because of the pain.

Second: Could you be nervous at all about working with her?
I once knew a mare who would sense when a person was nervous and totally exploit that to get her own way. She would buck and kick and run off with and bite people etc until the people always ended up leaving her alone which was what she wanted.
I finally got through to her by turning my fear into anger towards her. I wasn't abusive but I just got to the point where I knew I had to work with her but I was scared as heck so I got mad as heck. I would smack her really hard when she'd try to bite me and I generally let my frustration at the world come out as I worked with her. I never beat her or anything I just didn't let her get away with anything at all. I would carry a crop (one with a popper thingy so it made a loud noise and didn't really hurt) when riding her and smack her when she acted like she was going to kick or be a butt.

And you know what? After a month or so of being completely harshly tough with her she finally came around and stopped fighting with me. She still bossed the other horses around in the field but she knew I was the big boss and that she needed to be good for me. Once she realize that, she was the best trail horse ever. She'd do anything you asked whether it was jump a 3 foot log, she also jumped an atleast 5 1/2 foot fence before..but that's a different story (she was around 12.2 hh! and we were "making a trail" so I had no idea about the log) or give small children pony rides.

All I had to do was show her that I was not afraid, no matter how scared I really was, and she would be fine.

Good luck! I'd also advise that you stick with the normal snaffle, stronger bits aren't a good behavior problem fix. =)

Edit: Also, are you sure of her level of training? If she was started later, like say at age 3 1/2, she may have never really experienced trotting/loping or anything much more than a walk yet, which could cause her issues under saddle and could cause her to dislike you because she's confused as to what you want...

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 06-09-2009 at 09:17 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 06-10-2009, 04:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Please explore the possibility of gastric ulcers. I had a nightmare of an experience with gastric ulcers in a young mare, and it was enough to make me always ALWAYS suspect ulcers when you start having behavioral issues like this. If you don't want to pay for the gastroscope, you can do a trial of a week or so of omeprazole - 1 full tube of Ulcergard daily and see if you get improvement.
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