Horse Misbehaving in Barn Recently? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-13-2014, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Horse Misbehaving in Barn Recently?

I have a 10-year-old Quarter Horse mare, whom I have owned since she was one. I have boarded her at the same stable for five years now, and with the bitter cold we have been experiencing in MN, the horses have been staying in the barns most days due to such extreme temps. I try to get out to the barn a few nights a week to at least groom and bring treats. The other day while I was visiting, I thought I would tack up and ride in the indoor, as it was quiet and we would have the indoor to ourselves. My mare was in the crossties, and as I was about to swing the saddle over onto her back, she freaked. Dumped the saddle right off and kept panicking until her halter broke right off of her and she took off and went to hide in a nearby empty stall. I went to go catch her and see if she was ok, and she was just standing in the stall, eating hay, and snorting at me. She kept swinging her rear end towards me when I tried to slip a lead around her neck to bring her back out. She has never done anything like this to me before, but I figured something must have just spooked her. I came out the next day to take her out and groom her in the crossties again, thinking she would be fine as it was a new day and she has never minded the crossties her whole life. Well, she wouldn't even let me brush her. Kept panicking, snorting, and trying to get off the crossties until I backed off and gave her her space. Trying to clip a lead rope to her halter and unhook the crossties to bring her back to her stall took me 10 mins. She just wanted nothing to do with me! I have no idea what is going on with her, and once she is back in her stall she seems fine. The barn owners have told me she seems fine when they are around and that she is "just being a horse." She isn't in heat, so that isn't the problem with her attitude latey. The only thing I can really think of is that it has been so cold lately that she has been just sitting in her stall for a while and she's getting a bad attitude because of it. Any opinions as to what could be bothering her?! I'm starting to freak myself out thinking it's me...
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-13-2014, 05:07 PM
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I would say she is stir crazy!
You must firmly correct her when she starts to mess around, if she goes to pull back do not do to her head but to the side behind her and use the rope to whack her forward. Do not ***** foot around, demand that she listens to you regardless of her thinking otherwise.

Can you give her a loose turn out in the arena so she can let off steam and then rode her after she has had a run around?

I hope that her hard feed has been cut right down if she is not getting exercised.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-13-2014, 05:29 PM
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She needs to be worked and/or turned out. Even just letting her go run off some steam in the indoor would help quite a bit, but once she calms down from that, I'd hook her up and lunge her for a while until she really settled down. I also would have SERIOUS CTJ about her screwing around in the crossties and swinging her butt at me would get a whip laid on her rear end until she turned to face me and stayed that way.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-14-2014, 01:14 AM
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My gelding was also being absolutely nuts in the cross-ties the other day after a few very cold days that left him in his stall with the door to his run closed. I put him on the cross-ties and he was pacing around and swinging his butt from left to right, pawing, etc. I corrected the pawing and firmly moved him out of the way when needed, and went about grooming him then left him tied and went about doing other stuff nearby. After about 15-20 minutes he finally calmed down a bit and I took him in the indoor and lunged him, and was able to get on afterwards and ride a bit. A few days later he was doing the same sort of things, snorting and pacing (he was turned out with his stall buddy, and I brought him in to blanket him before putting him away, so he was anxious about his buddy still being in the arena), and I made him stand tied until he calmed down, and again firmly corrected any misbehavior and made him move his feet if he was crowding me, etc. Within 10 minutes or so he was his usual well-behaved, calm self. He's been fine since then, so I chalked it up to being cooped up with the cold weather.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-14-2014, 08:36 PM
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Is anyone new at your barn? I'd be thinking someone is either riding her that doesn't know what they are doing, or someone is tormenting her.

Could also be they've changed feed too.

But I'd be finding out if someone was bothering my horse.

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post #6 of 8 Old 02-14-2014, 09:26 PM
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At the risk of sounding like a total wanker -- Thank goodness, I'm not the only one having issues like this! My perfect-for-me mare was a total idiot this afternoon. When I was untacking her, she made a nipping motion at me, and when I swatted at her, she totally overreacted. She pulled back and acted like she was going to rear, like she was terrified of me. This, AFTER a very relaxed, excellent session in the indoor arena. I was able to calm her quickly, but I was left scratching my head, wondering WTH?

I think horses get cabin fever as badly as we do. My mare gets turned out 8 hours a day, but it's cold and white and gets dark so early. I just feel like she's fed up with winter. (And so am I!) We're supposed to have some days in the 50's next week, so maybe that will help.

I'm chalking today up to the winter doldrums.

Darned groundhog! I really hope he's wrong, and spring is just around the corner...

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post #7 of 8 Old 02-14-2014, 10:00 PM
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Do you ever do anything with her but ride in an arena? Ever just take her for a walk. If my horse did this I'd be trying to figure out what bro't it on.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-15-2014, 01:40 AM
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Agree with saddle, fox, etc. although I agree with fox that the horse needs to *learn that regardless, it should 'respect' being tied, confronting & punishing a panicking horse on x-ties I definitely disagree with. Id also be considering health & nutrition carefully. It is NOT OK that your horse is cooped up n not exercised at very least daily, regardless of weather. Health/discomfort/gut issues resulting from lack of movement could be part of it n extra magnesium could also help. Also diet generally should also be considered.
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