Help with older Mare
 
 

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Help with older Mare

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  • My horae cant out her head down to eat what should i do ?
  • Can you make a horse round pen with webbing

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    08-29-2012, 04:06 PM
  #1
Foal
Lightbulb Help with older Mare

Sorry if this turns out to be a long post I just want to make sure I include all the important information...
I work for a rescue and rehabilitation center. We currently have a 20+ yr old mustang mare that I have been working with. When we got her she was starved and severely emaciated. We have brought her back up to weight, actually over weight now. Now that she is healthy we decided to see how she did with the kids on her back. She loves kids and does great with them with only a bareback pad and a halter with cotton reins. I was unsure if she could hold my weight (140lbs) but a friend came out, checked her feet and joints and advised that my weight should be fine but not to exceed 150lbs. So yesterday I saddled her up with our lightest fiberglass treed 14in western saddle and climbed aboard. She stood perfectly and did everything I asked. We went both direction and she neck reins beautifully. We practiced her brakes and backing up. She is a little stubborn though and will refuse to do things at times so I have to push her and constantly be on her reminding her what she is suppose to be doing and this is just in the round pen cause out of the pen is a whole nother story. We have no idea the last time she was ridden so I expected her to be rusty and can work with her on that but the major problem I need advice on is that she is food minded. If she sees grass where she can graze or a bale of hay she will not listen at all. She will drop her head and refuse to pick it back up. She wont budge at all no matter how hard I push her. Even leading her from the ground she will plant all four feet and no matter how hard I pull will not move. To solve this problems I have been either backing her up or spinning her in a circle to get her feet moving and after a few rounds of that she will eventually follow like she should but the strategy does not work in the saddle only on the ground. I am just riding her in a halter and cotton reins and was wondering if a bit might work. I was thinking a snaffle cause she doesnt really need anything harsh just a way for me to get her attention off the food. I can't ride her anywhere but the round pen because of this obsession with food. And it is making it hard to re-tune her trail skills when everytime we get on the trail she sees food. Another question I have is how long should I ride her at a time ad how many times a week? She is definitely an older mare over 20, has not been ridden in at least 5 months, maybe longer, and she is over weight too. I don't want to work her to hard but I do wnt to get her back into shape. She has no muscle just all fat and she is nothing but sprung ribs and a barrel. What is too much exercise for her and what are good ways I can exercise her and try to get her in shape again? Thanks in advance!!
     
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    08-29-2012, 09:56 PM
  #2
Showing
You need to begin working with her grass/hay issue on the ground. Take a lunge whip with you and take her for a walk. The minute her nose starts diving for the grass give her a tap on the hip. Start out with a light tap and I'd bet money she'll ignore it. Graduate the tapping until stronger until she lifts her head. Watch she doesn't kick out at you. She may scoot forward so let her. At least it's forward movement. Start walking again. Just keep doing this until she will keep it up no matter how close you get to the hay or how delicious the grass looks. She will start moving before you even get to tap her so don't let the tap happen as she did as you wanted. Reinforce this the next couple of days. Then when you ride, carry a crop in your left hand if she resorts to diving. Just tap her on the hip as before. If she scoots ahead don't yank on the reins as it usually for only a couple of strides. I suggest you put her in a snaffle. I think this old girl has a repetoire of tricks and the bit would give you better control. When you ask her to turn, pull then release, pull and release, starting out with light tugs. Even if she just turns her nose a few inches, reward her by releasing the rein like it just burned you, that fast. How long to ride? Most of your work with her for the next few weeks should be at the walk so there is no reason she can't be ridden for 30-45 min. Almost daily. You're finding out what she knows and she already knows how much you know. Try a short trail ride. If you're riding in a round pen, keep it to about 15 min. It's too hard on old joints for her to travel the way the pen forces her to. On you trail ride take a few treats for her when she's doing ok.
     
    08-30-2012, 09:37 AM
  #3
Super Moderator
Let's see -- First she was emaciated and now she is too fat? How does that square?

If she rides great and neck reins part of the time, she just need a good enough rider that can put some pressure on her and make her mind. She is being ridden far too timidly and only doing what she has to -- almost nothing. It sound like you are waiting for her to make up her mind to not stop and eat. MAKE her stop eating and MAKE her go on. 'Stubborn' horses are made that way by people that do not make them mind.
     
    08-30-2012, 05:43 PM
  #4
Foal
Exclamation people...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
Let's see -- First she was emaciated and now she is too fat? How does that square?

If she rides great and neck reins part of the time, she just need a good enough rider that can put some pressure on her and make her mind. She is being ridden far too timidly and only doing what she has to -- almost nothing. It sound like you are waiting for her to make up her mind to not stop and eat. MAKE her stop eating and MAKE her go on. 'Stubborn' horses are made that way by people that do not make them mind.
Ok so first off she is a rescue. We have had her 5 months. When she came to us she was emaciated now that we have had her 5 months she is back up to weight and slightly overweight. I am a perfectly capable rider and have no problems putting pressure on her. It is easier said than done. So until you have personally ridden this horse do not criticize my abilities. Every horse is different and I successfully rode her yesterday. She needs to be tuned up as she hasnt been ridden in at least 5 months and no telling how long before that. I came to this forum for advice not to be put down which Im getting the feeling is all most people can do on here. I don't get why everyone is so quick to judge the person. We came for advice not to be told we arent adequate. I have ridden and trained many horses. I know what needs to be done. I was just curious what other horse people would do in this situation. Not all stubborn horses are "made" that way by a rider, some are just plain stubborn no matter what. Its the horse with no will or desire to do anything that I have a problem with. They are animals who do experience emotions and rather than break their spirit, I prefer to learn to work with the quirk and use it to my advantage. If you don't have anything nice or positive to say then do not respond to my threads. Thanks you and have a great day!
BTW The trainer I have on hand also agrees that it is not my riding skills that are the issue and I am doing everything perfectly, that it is just going to take some time. If anyone else has some ideas I am open to listening to them :)
     
    08-30-2012, 05:46 PM
  #5
Foal
Exclamation please read everything before you jump to conclusions or assume

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahmccamly    
I work for a rescue and rehabilitation center. We currently have a 20+ yr old mustang mare that I have been working with. When we got her she was starved and severely emaciated. We have brought her back up to weight, actually over weight now.
Makes perfect sense to me... she was emaciated and now 5 months later she is not
     
    08-30-2012, 07:36 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Well you arent going to have any leverage with a halter an cotton reins...if you're in the saddle n she sticks her head down you wont get it back up with a halter....get a snaffle or some other bit in her mouth, find one that she likes and will respond to...

But like I always say...start from the ground up...if she's not respecting you on the ground, where you have more leverage and control, she's not going to respect you in the saddle.

Fix any problems that she has groundmanners wise befoe tackling the problems in the saddle.

Every time she trys to drop her head and eat while you are on the groudn in a halter, take the lead, and give her a light pop on the shoulder or hip. Once she gets her head up walk her forward. Once she stops eating in the halter...then get on.....i think part of the problem is she knows "hey I get away with it when theyre walking me with a halter, now theyre riding me but im still in a halter so I can still get away with it." so putting a bit in may help...then just do the same thing....if she sticks her head down to eat, carry a crop or use split reins and give her a pop on the shoulder hor hip. Usually when you do that the horse will jerk up their head, then make her walk forward...if she's stubborn and wont move give her another pop. Don't let her get away with it...ever...all it takes is them getting away with naughty behavior once, then they thing theyre God and they can get away with it every time.
     
    09-02-2012, 04:05 PM
  #7
Foal
Thanks! I have been working with her and am happy to report that we are coming along nicely. Here is what I did: I started on the ground by walking her around and not letting her drop her head to eat. She did this beautifully too. No ground issues at all, very well mannered and I did not need to do anything more than lift the lead rope when she did try to drop her head and she responds immediately. I am back in the saddle and now working on that issue. She is one of those horses that no matter how much ground work you do with her, it will not affect when she is under saddle. I have a few horses I round pen due to the respect issue but with her she is perfect on the ground and a pain under saddle no matter how much time you spend on the ground. I am still riding her in a halter and cotton reins. When she drops her head I am able to pick it back up, she fights it but I always win. I wont let her drop her head at all but if she does get it down I can get it back up with just the halter and that is a big step cause before I couldnt pull her head back up. She just fought the halter and ignored me, but not anymore :) We have been walking back and forth near her favorite green grass spot and everytime she turns toward the grass I turn her the other direction. She has started to bolt on me when she sees food, thinking she can get away with it, so I simply stop her, make her stand for a second, and then turn her around and make her walk the opposite direction. She is getting so much better. I just had to keep doing what I was doing to teach her that she couldnt get away with it. She tries it with other riders on her so I am only letting experienced people on her. She is just that type of horse who will take advantage of you if you let her and she is so sweet and well mannered that its easy to forget how stubborn and determined she is. I can successfully sit in the saddle, have her stand right next to the grass, drop the reins and she will keep her head up. Next we are going to try just standing in the actual grass without her dropping her head. Wish me luck and thanks for the advice!!
     
    09-02-2012, 04:22 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
eating grass when ridden

The grass eating thing is why I am very against horse being allowed to eat/snack while they are riding - other than when we actually take a break ourselves on a long trail ride, dismount and allow them to graze
I have seen lots of childrens ponies behave like your mare and the kids get draggged over the neck or stuck there because they refuse to budge.
When we got a pony like this we made 'grass reins' out of baler twine that were attached to the bit and tied to the saddle rings, so they couldn't get their heads low enough down to eat and soon stoppped the habit, you could do the same onto a headcollar but probably not a rope halter.
Good luck with your progress
     
    09-02-2012, 04:27 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee    
I have seen lots of childrens ponies behave like your mare and the kids get draggged over the neck or stuck there because they refuse to budge.
That is exactly my biggest fear because she is a kids trail horse. Maybe you could explain the grass reins a little more? I have been considering using a bridle and bit but with the progress we have made in the halter, has me still using the halter. Thanks for the advice and the luck, I could use all I can get lol :)
     
    09-02-2012, 04:38 PM
  #10
Super Moderator
eating grass

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahmccamly    
That is exactly my biggest fear because she is a kids trail horse. Maybe you could explain the grass reins a little more? I have been considering using a bridle and bit but with the progress we have made in the halter, has me still using the halter. Thanks for the advice and the luck, I could use all I can get lol :)
If she's going to be ridden by children then I think I would get her used to a bit & bridle now - they may not be strong enough to ride in a halter or understand how to ride in one - at 140lb you have a lot more weight behind your 'pull' than a child will, especially an inexperienced one who doesn't know how to use themselves to 100% advantage
Here's a link to a website - mainly as it shows how we used to fasten the twine to the bit, I used to use a piece of canvas webbing that I stitched over at the ends to go over the poll. I think this is an Aussie website but I'm sure you can buy something in the US that's specific for the job and if she takes a while to break the habit might be useful as a long term thing for her
Home - The Perfect Grass Reins
sarahmccamly likes this.
     

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