Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: The Middle of Nowhere
Mare Wants to Kill Me...
About a year ago, I purchased a mare with Easy Jet on both sides of her bloodlines, as a barrel prospect. She was only green broke and I knew she was going to need work when I bought her, but personality-wise, we clicked; which is something I definitely need with a horse. I rode Cocoa several times after we brought her home, and she actually did really well. She didn't understand back up cues, but understood the basic walk, trot, canter and stop. No buck, bite or rear. Just a sort of curiousity about what we were doing and why were doing it. Her only real vice was being terrifed of the horse trailer. I found out a little later that she had been "trained" the mean way....beat on her until she breaks.
A few months later, I decided to take her to a trainer in our area. We did a walk through of the facility, as well as see them work with one of the mustangs that they owned. Being one (and I know it's silly) to hate seeing a horse "hurt", I was a little iffy on their round pen style with the whips. They weren't really hurting the horses by any means, but it just seemed unneccessary. But we ended up taking her there because the references we checked all came back pretty good.
We had her there two months and I pulled the plug. Sure, they got her in and out of a trailer, and she still does it pretty well, though I've had to change the direction on how to get her in (using pressure and release as opposed to just yanking her in with a lunge whip at her butt). She backs up now. She still will walk, trot and canter. Her stop went away a bit and I had to bring it back. But then she started rearing and bucking when I got on her back. I checked the saddle and bridle/bit for pinching, hooves for abcesses, and any other things that might be causing the bad behavior.
About 8 months ago we moved out to nine acres, where we could have lots more room for our five horses (three Drafts) and I finally aquired a round pen. Fortunately, I am one of those people that can read something and put it into action near precisely. Working off Charles Wilhem and Clayton Anderson training styles, I've been working with all the horses with great success - with the exception of Cocoa.
I get her in a round pen and run her out, and she'll stop and turn when I ask her. However, she'll also stop by the gate and want out (which I know is probably pretty normal, I understand that). She'll kick out at me several times before I can get her to get going again. It really scares the heck out of me because she gets really, really close, but I try not to let it show. Only a week or so ago, did I get her to make full circles both way, just once - but at least it was complete without kicking or stopping. I felt some sort of success with it. But after that one time, she never did it again. It's all kicks again.
I know this is one heck of a long post, but I wanted to see if anyone had any advice or knew of any reasons why she might be acting up this way. Like I said, I think I'm doing all right with getting the training down because of our other horses (one a Belgian gelding that I even have under saddle now, when he'd never been before). Cocoa's the only one that doesn't want to cooperate or listen.
So long story short, Cocoa took five hundred steps back after coming home from the trainer and I've got to fix them all. I'm not giving up - selling an animal is just not something we do at our house. I'm determined to shape her into a loveable riding horse. Any insight would be 100% appreciated.
Thanks in advance,