Originally Posted by rookie
I agree with Cherie. I have a mare that is/was aggressive in the round pen. We sent her to a trainer who used a lot of round penning. We don't really know what happened but she had the horse under saddle in three days. Then a month went by and we got a call saying the mare had an epiphany. Three days later we were called and told the mare was "dangerous and was going to kill someone". We took the mare back sort of confused as to what had happened. I had halter broken this mare as a yearling and found her smart but safe. The mare went to the track and did not make it as a racehorse (she interferes) but the trainer liked her attitude. We asked the trainer what we should do with a "killer horse". The trainer suggested selling the mare. Which we thought would be unethical. If this horse is going to kill someone how do you sell it with a clear conscious to someone? We started to hear about how the trainer had an alcohol problem and started to wonder.
The mare went down to a friend in Florida who has been training horse for 20 odd years and said she would take look at her. Nothing was really adding up and we were wondering if we were that breeder blind about this mare. The Florida trainer said that she could not get the mare to mis-behave and do something dangerous. She rode the mare through an area that had a forest fire go through hours before (trees were still smoking) and the mare did not bat an eyelash. We took the mare back and started to figure a few things out.
The first time we put this mare in the round pen to warm her up she turned into a devil mare, bucking, kicking, rearing she never hit us but she fired warning shots. We took her out and lunged her no problem, likewise if you just saddle her up and go. Not much flusters her on the trail. She can get caught in wire and stands nicely while you untangle her. She has sank into a tree stump and just stepped out of it. I can swing off and tie her to a sapling and sort out the rider with me. The horse behind her can spook, rear and bolt off sans rider and this mare will take a step to the side to not get hit as the horse runs past her. I can take this mare out after a year of not being touched, saddle up and go for a trail ride and she is fine.
As near as we can figure, this mare was round penned without a pressure release. She got to the point where the pressure was never taken off and/or she managed to intimate the trainer and learned that the way to get out of the round pen was to act dangerous. This idea even generalized to rope halters. I never used one on this mare and they never use them at the track. The only place she would have been exposed to them was at this trainers. To this day (its been 5 years) if you put a rope halter on this mare her ears go back and for lack of a better word she gets pissy. Ask her to do the same task in a flat halter and she does it ears forward and willing.
I had tried to do some round penning/join up when she was a yearling and I halter broke her. The mare did fine with that always joined up and never kicked or reared at me. That's been my experience with round penning horses. You should not do it if you don't know what your doing and pressure release is really, really important.
Releasing pressure is SOOOOOO important. Horses learn by the release of pressure
and for some people this is an impossible concept. I am not sure what it is but some people feel they just can't let go. I am finding this A LOT in my group lessons. All my kids are hanging onto their horse's mouths for dear life and never do they release even when they are stopped. I have finally got the more advanced kids releasing better but am still struggling with a few others..
Even in the wild, after a horse is kicked by a more superior horse and the less superior turns away or does as the higher up horse wants, the higher up horse releases the pressure by walking away, not kicking, or ignoring the other horse. We have the same concept except through physical pressure and eventually with verbal pressure/commands.
Anyways. I hope this was easy to understand..