How can I treat this misbehavior?
 
 

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How can I treat this misbehavior?

This is a discussion on How can I treat this misbehavior? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Treating misbehaving horses
  • Horse misbehavior

 
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    02-24-2011, 12:10 AM
  #1
Foal
How can I treat this misbehavior?

My horse Cocoa doesn't really like other horses (particularly geldings). Normally, it was just a nip if one of them got too close out in pasture, but lately, when riding in the arena, she's been pinning her ears back every time we pass a horse.

Today it got out of hand - still ten feet a way, she give a kick at a different horse, while I was on her. Sure, she's in heat, but still! NOT ACCEPTABLE!

Not sure what to do... I can't show her with her being like this! I can't really do ANYTHING with her being like this. Riding alone isn't often an option... We board at a barn with twenty other people, and she should be civilized enough to behave.

Maybe it is just her in heat... But still, any tips? I can't nudge her or anything - she'd take it as a "Let's canter!" signal, so...

Some part of me thinks that she may have had a bad experience in the past with a horse attacking her. She did injure her leg years ago (before I bought her)...
     
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    02-24-2011, 12:22 AM
  #2
Yearling
Thats a good question. I would keep her feet moving. Do serpentines and figure eights. Keep her attention on you and don't let her have a chance at that. Keep her hind quarters engaged and her neck flexing. Definitely listen to other replies. This is just what I would try doing.
     
    02-24-2011, 12:26 AM
  #3
Green Broke
This may sound a little weird, but it worked for my mare. Every time she would offer aggressive behavior toward another horse, whether it be kicking or biting or extreme ear pinning, I loudly told her "NO MA'AM!" and spun her in a circle a few times -- usually three times. After the circle, I made sure she was sideways to the horse was was behaving aggressively to, in case she was going to test my patience and kick out again. It almost always worked. If it didn't work the first time, she had to trot tight circles, which definitely got her mind off being a brat. She rarely even puts her ears back now.

Also, set your mare up for success. If she's being a royal be-yotch and is in heat, try to keep a few feet between your horse and others. Don't but her butt to other horses, or her head. Don't allow her to socialize with others and touch noses quite mounted, because she is working. She has to realize she can't socialize --whether said interaction be friendly or unfriendly-- while she is working unsaddle. Keep other horses off her butt and her off the butts of other horses.
     
    02-24-2011, 09:40 AM
  #4
Super Moderator
Spank her butt. It is aggressive behavior and calls for negative reinforcement that fits the crime.

We have about 10 'broke to ride' mares on the place and I can pony a strange horse from any of them. Even brood mares that have not been ridden for several years will not kick if I saddle them up and lead a horse from them. As a matter of fact, teaching them that I can lead any horse from them is a part of every horse's training here. Somewhere between 30 to 60 days of riding is when they each get this lesson.

Your mistake was not acting when she first laid her ears back. You gave her a 'pass' then, so she just kept upping the ante until this is what you have now. When she first laid her ears back, you might have gotten by with just scolding her. Now, you will have to meet it with more negative reinforcement to make her safe to ride.

This is just one more example of a place where you need to interrupt the wrong thing before it gets set in a horse's mind and becomes a habit with one. Anything you accept is exactly what you are training the horse to do. It just does not 'go away' with time -- it gets worse.
     
    02-24-2011, 10:49 AM
  #5
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brighteyes    
I loudly told her "NO MA'AM!" and spun her in a circle a few times -- usually three times. After the circle, I made sure she was sideways to the horse was was behaving aggressively to, in case she was going to test my patience and kick out again. It almost always worked.
Almost always? Meaning she still did try to kick?

I truly do not care for correction of circling a horse in a group of other horses. Unless you have a horse that will spin underneath it's self, chances are very high that another horse or a person will end up bumped or knocked. If the horse does have the finesse to spin, then it's not a correction.
     
    02-24-2011, 12:10 PM
  #6
Yearling
Well the automobile was invented for a reason and that was for reliable transportation.

I very much enjoy riding a mare but some of what you speak of is one of the reasons folks choose to ride a gelding.

I love the passion of a mare and sometimes they get real personal about protecting their rider/person and some of that may be going on.
Some view it as part of their job and a handler needs to let them know that all is OK and get them thinking about the work at hand.

It takes time for some mares to feel secure in a group and this does not just happen over night.

You are riding a "Whole Horse" and if you were on a stallion it would seem normal to stay back a ways.

I would keep her well away from the group and watch for any sign of insecurity and protective behavior.

Your job is to help her feel safe.
     
    02-24-2011, 12:44 PM
  #7
slc
Weanling
What she does in her pasture is her business. Mares turned out with geldings are often a problem, and there is often a lot of kicking and pinning ears in that situation. I don't blame the mares; it's not a good situation. Sure a good many mares tolerate a mixed turnout. And a good many do not.

When she is under saddle, and you are riding, she should be working hard enough that she is not aware of where every boy horse is, close to her or not. When she pins her ears, send her forward and put her to work harder, when she kicks, send her forward, and make it count.

Horses can only think of one thing at a time. If you're not working her enough, that will be on other things. If you're working her, her mind will be on you and what you're telling her to do.

You don't need to be mean or brutal, just give her something to do, to keep her mind on her own business. If she has enough energy to kick and pin her ears, she has enough energy to do a little bit of work.
     
    02-24-2011, 12:47 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
Well, I do not think it my job to make a mare feel safe. But, in reality, they have a great deal more trust and feel much safer with strict boundaries.

It is HER job to make me and those around me BE SAFE!.

I have heard forever that it is just part of being a mare. BS!!!! A mare can be mannered much easier than most stallions. (I ride both and used to show 5 or 6 stallions every show season.) I have never seen a trainable, rideable mare that could not be mannered. People used to send me their mares to turn them into well-mannered riding horses. Even the spoiled ones like this mare can be mannered in a few rides.

I take out all of the trail rides in a large park and campground in southern Oklahoma (7500 acres in the Arbuckle Mountains). Since my declining health will not let me ride young horses any more, I took my many 'broke' horses and turned them into trail riding mounts for dudes and dummies. About 1/3 of my trail horses are mares that were used for breeding before the collapse of the horse market. They went right back to being trail horses after years of raising babies. I have not had one kick at another horse.

On the other hand, I have two geldings that I have to be very careful what horses I put behind them or what riders I put on them, on the trail as they have started getting cranky with horses behind them. They are both scheduled to be replaced before the main trail riding season. Neither even puts an ear back with a competent rider (like a guide) but are not to be trusted any more with children or dummies on them, so they have to go.

Please tell me what mares are supposed to do for a living if you do not think they are safe riding horses? In this current market, most of them should not be bred. You can buy 1 or 2 broke horses for the price of spaying one. Should they just be put to sleep or packed off to the killers? I think they make great riding horses and have other possibilities if they are ever injured. Obviously you have to have a well-mannered safe mare that can be ridden around other horses if you want to put a show record on one to make her a breeding prospect. How do you propose to do that?
     
    02-24-2011, 12:54 PM
  #9
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marecare    
I would keep her well away from the group and watch for any sign of insecurity and protective behavior.

Your job is to help her feel safe.
Wrong. It's our job to ensure they behave no matter what the situation. We have a very alpha mare being used by a green teenager for team sorting right now. The mare does not care for the close confines of the arena where we all MUST stand to wait our turn. The mare has been taught that agressive behavior is not tolerated. She may put her ears back and waggle her head a bit but she will NOT attempt to bite or kick. She simply knows better.
     
    02-24-2011, 12:57 PM
  #10
slc
Weanling
Please tell me what mares are supposed to do for a living if you do not think they are safe riding horses? In this current market, most of them should not be bred. You can buy 1 or 2 broke horses for the price of spaying one. Should they just be put to sleep or packed off to the killers? I think they make great riding horses and have other possibilities if they are ever injured. Obviously you have to have a well-mannered safe mare that can be ridden around other horses if you want to put a show record on one to make her a breeding prospect. How do you propose to do that?


You certainly do make outlandish, far-out conclusions from what people write. But it's quite a common tactic on bb's, to exaggerate out of all compass, what the person did say, in an effort to poke holes in the statement.

Only trouble is, that technique is pretty transparent.

I certainly never said anything like what you're accusing, and I didn't read where anyone else said anything even near that.

If anyone did say that, I think they would realize, with a little more experience, that it is not universally true. However, I think they'd also pick up, in their experience, two points:

1. Reproductive diseases can, yes, make mares act very difficult, even dangerous. Especially when these diseases go untreated or are aggravated by how the animal is managed.

2. To a novice, much of the behavior that occurs because of his lack of skill, seems like conniving, plotting or cleverness on the part of the horse. It isn't. It's an outgrowth of his lack of skill and technique.

As for it being your mare's 'responsibility' to make you and others 'feel safe', I think you're getting a little too wrapped up in things. Horses don't understand things like 'responsibility'.

They 'understand' habits, training, and whether or not the person handling or riding them, is doing it effectively or not.

When their training is not maintained, they act - well - like horses. That includes mares kicking at geldings, and more of that behavior occuring when they are not in season.

That is nature. Training is teaching horses to not act like herd animals act around other horses, but to do something different, something that the human wants them to do.

Responsibility, all these complicated things, they don't figure into the equation. The horse is either trained or not. Once it's trained, it either continues to do what it was trained to do, or not.

Correct methods and rewarding good behavior and correcting undesirable behavior, that's what it's about.

Once you start ascribing all sorts of 'motivations' to a horse, and start giving him all sorts of underhanded and conniving thought processes, you've stopped understanding him. And very truthfully, such thinking leads to an awful lot of rough handling, anger and temper on the part of the handler/rider/trainer. So it's a good thing to avoid.

Horse gets trained to do desirable things. Horse does desirable things. Horse is not trained, horse does not do desirable things. Rider does not keep horse behaving by correcting in a timely manner in an effective way, whatever training horse ever got, is null and void.
     

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