Mare with bad attitude - help me please - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 10 Old 04-26-2011, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow Mare with bad attitude - help me please

Sedona is a QH x Arabian. She is about three years old. When I fist got her in November '09, she was such a sweetheart. She would let me rub her all over and pick up her feet. For a while now she has had a bad attitude. She is always cranky and her ears are pinned 99.5% of the time when I'm around. She doesn't like to be touched at all, she tolerates some touching. She tends to kick out at me if I do something she doesn't like or she becomes frusterated. Such as if I won't let her have the bucket of grain. She does better when she is worked with everyday, but I have to take it very slow and be very careful not to agitate her. She always seems to forget the next day that we were becoming friends the day before. Day to day isn't so bad, but if I miss a day or two she's back to her old cranky self.
My dad does ride her some. She hates the bit. Backs up way more than she goes forward. She does better in the woods, even dense woods (point in the direction you want to go, if she doesn't see a path she'll make one). When she's out in the open, she locks up and stops listening all together.
She is the underdog of the herd. I also have a 7 yr. Old Belgian x QH mare; she's more like a pony (only about 13, maybe 13.2 hands), but she's built like a tank and has always been the boss. We recently adopted a 10 yr. Old Tennessee Walker mare (about 15 hh), she is well tempered, but is also dominant over Sedona. We also adopted the TWH's 8 month old filly. Due to limited shelter Sedona and Selah (TWH) share the main pen. Kiah (belgian x QH) is in our old fencing. Tabitha (the filly) is in an adjacent pen to her mother, Selah, and Sedona. When we have our barn built they will all be put together.
Any advice concerning Sedona and her attitude problem is welcome. Could it be a health problem or is it just behavioral? I recently changed her diet. She is now getting about 12 pounds of hay and 7 pounds of grain daily (two seperate feedings). She is a little ribby, trying to fix that (She's always been. It's hard to put weight on her and keep it on).
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-26-2011, 01:12 AM
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It sounds like she has no respect for you. Some work in a round pen or with a lunge line can do wonders. Make her listen to you and realize that you are the boss. When she tries to kick you make her move her feet away from you. Growl at her and swing a rope to make her leave. Its exactly what another horse would do to assert themselves. As for the bit it's hard to tell without seeing her what's wrong. It could be she doesn't like be bit or perhaps it's just a training problem. What type of bit do you use? What does she do when you put her bridle on? Has she had her teeth done recently?
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-26-2011, 08:02 AM
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When you say about three years old, what is her actual age, and when was she broken to ride? Some horses who are broken too young find it overwhelming, and can react like this. Arabs really shouldn't be under saddle until they are at least four. I would turn her away for six months to mature.

As she's a mare, could be a hormonal thing. I would try her on a hormone balancer like Oestress, which I've heard works well.

It sounds as if she's uncomfortable, so I would say either a problem with her ovaries or perhaps gastric ulcers are the likely cause. Ulcers can be caused by both stress and an incorrect diet, some horses are more prone than others. Avoid giving her grain, just let her have hay and grass, if she gets thin feed her chaff and gut balancer.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-26-2011, 09:35 AM
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This happened with my mare April that just turned 4. She was an awesome 2 year old when I bought her and was just broke to ride but never tried anything silly. I let her just be a horse for about a year and last summer she started with the bad attitude. She would try to stop in the shade while we were riding and try to rear when I asked her to take one step. She was very rude on the ground as well. I did lots of ground work with her and had a trainer work with us. She now is a lot more respectful and no longer tries the rearing, thanks to the trainer that helped us. She is the boss in the pasture of all the horses and thankfully no longer thinks she is the boss of me. She thought she was for a while until I got the proper lessons for myself and her. I thought about selling her but I am glad we were able to work through our issues.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-26-2011, 10:59 AM
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I agree that the mare does not respect you. You must keep in mind with horses that you do not want to become their "friend", so much as their "leader". Remember they are not our pets, they are our partners. I agree that round pen work would be a great idea, or perhaps you should get the help of a professional trainer. Bad behavior is 20x harder to correct than to prevent.
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-26-2011, 12:20 PM
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I just saw that your mare is only 3. I must have missed that the first time I read it. I agree that she may not be old enough to be ridden. Arabs should not be ridden until they are 4. Try doing lots of ground work like I said in my last post to gain her respect and allow her to mature before you ride her again.
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-26-2011, 01:02 PM
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I agree with the others that Arabs should not be ridden at age 3. They are slow-maturing, unlike TBs. They often aren't fully grown till age 7.

Please be extremely careful to not lose your temper with this youngun': Arabs often take offense to being struck/yelled at, & make you work very hard to make it up to them.

The ground manners when grooming, not by way of constant reprimanding, but by "feeling" toward her before you require her to feel toward you, & if you give her a sympathetic feel, she WILL feel back toward you, & you two can build a RELATIONSHIP, with you as benign leader.

Arabs require the relationship more than any other breed, imo. If they don't have the feel from the human, it's a disaster, even if the disaster has no drama, but is only written on the heart of the Arab.
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-26-2011, 01:37 PM
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I agree with Northern, Arabs have a reputation for being difficult, but only because they are one of the most intelligent breeds, a lot of people don't have the knowlege to deal with them!! I prefer my dumb thoroughbreds personally, so much easier to train But I admire anyone who does a good job with an arabian!
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-02-2011, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow mare with bad attitude update

Thank you all for your replies. Sedona is only half arabian, but should I not try riding her for six months? Just ground work?

I did work with her some yesterday. It was a rough start, but all in all much much better than I'd expected. I started out by rubbing her. She was very touchy about being touched by what I guess you could call her arm pit. I did get her to allow me to pick up both front feet. I didn't want to try her back ones though. Especially with her tendency to kick. I've had plenty of bad experiences doing that with her (I actually got a black eye from doing it once). I then tried lunging her and surprisingly she did very well. She knows how to do it, but often refuses to and starts to rear and crowd me. She did rear some yesterday, but only a little she eventually gave in. Had some difficulty getting her to go to the right I think it was, but did get her to do it (it's not a physical problem just a mentality she has).

To answer the question about the bit. I've always used a simple snaffle bit. She has not had her teeth done recently (I'm not sure if she's ever had them done, she was only two when I got her and I've had her for a year and a half). Her teeth don't seem to bother her, but then again she does eat slower than the other horses do, but I always thought that it's just the way she is. How often should her teeth be done and do they necessarily need to be? Are there any reasons or conditions that she wouldn't need them done? She never seems to mind it at all when I put the bridle on, in fact she does a lot better than Kiah (one of my other mares).

I'm going to see if she does better by taking her off the grain and working with her 1-2 days a week (I have college and other horses that need trained as well).

When we got her in '09 she'd only been ridden once (I don't know how that went). My dad tried riding her a couple of weeks after we got her, and he was on the ground in about three seconds (no exaggeration). He's ridden her many times since then, but has never really made any progress. I mean he can stay on her, but she is far from saddle broke. She walks backwards way more than she does forwards. I'm not sure if she'd do this anymore, but when my dad and I would go out for a ride she did okay on the trails, but when we got in a field she would run circles around Kiah (the horse I ride) and she would intermittently kick (which happened to hit me once in the shin, I was surprised that it didn't break. I still have small dent in my leg from her hoof). I've only ridden her once and that was in her fence for maybe five minutes (probably not even that long) she did fine, but I too scared to ride her any longer, because I knew what she was normally like with my dad.

How much hay do you think she should eat a day? We don't have a pasture available for them. We sometimes use a neighbor's field, but we have to wait until after the first cutting this year. I think she weighs about 880 pounds. I used a method I found online to estimate her weight.

Which was heart girth x heart girth x length + 50 / 330 = approx. Weight. I also divided it by 326 (a heavier possibility) instead of 330. So I had two possible weights and just took the middle of the two as her weight. If that makes sense.

I'm sorry if I'm rambling or forgot to answer any questions.

And in case anybody's wondering since I keep mentioning my dad, I'm 18 and will be 19 in September.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-02-2011, 08:31 PM
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it sounds to me like you need to start fresh from the beginning. I personally own a mare is has some arab in her, and she is very headstrong and smart( to smart for her own good).lol. But anyway, go back to the ground work, she has to realize that you are the lead on the ground. It sounds to me like she wants to be incharge and not take direction from you. As stated above she needs to respect you,but she also need to learn to enjoy being with you( this made a huge difference in my mare) she was very standoffish,so id just go out and sit in her pasture/pen(read a book do homework whatever) and she'd eventually come over and say hello we built off that, and she finally learned to enjoy my company and bushings. As far as riding her I do not think it is that big a deal, so long as you are not really heavy and don't push her too hard. Something to think about, my little part arab has a very good memory good or bad,soo be very carefull of what you teach her, wether on purpose or accidental. Good luck!
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bad attitude , training help

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