Mare won't stand still for un-tacking.

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Mare won't stand still for un-tacking.

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  • Wont stand still to tack up

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    03-04-2009, 02:50 PM
Mare won't stand still for un-tacking.

I have a 4 yr old mare (She is practically 5 yrs old, as her b-day is in April). I sent her to the barn where I ride for dressage training on Jan 1st. She has made good progress overall, although lately she has become alot more energetic (they increased her feed since she is worked 5 times a week and she has put on 150 lbs in the past 3 mo...she looks like a million bucks!) Okay, when I go to catch her and bring her up for a workout she is fine- she ties and stands while I tack her when we come back to the barn to untack that I am starting to have trouble. She will not stand still- she is back and forth and it takes forever to get her untacked and when its cold it takes forever to cool her down because she wont stand still and she literally prances in place. Any ideas on what might help her? She doesn't cross tie- my trainer put her in them and she had a mild breakdown...she didnt hurt herself but it's something we will start working with a little later...for now she is just tied to a stall for tacking and grooming. She has come into her spring heat cycle and this has made it even harder- but the untacking is the main problem that I am concerned with for now. Her energy is something else I would like to address. They are cutting back her grain at that barn as of yesterday- so hopefully that will help some. She is still a baby and I don't expect a statue- but I can't and wont tolerate a horse that just wont stand still. HELP!
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    03-04-2009, 02:59 PM
Does she get fed after her workouts? Untacked and immediately turned back out with friends?

Horses learn the routine if it's set. If the routine changes suddenly, they will react accordingly.

I would suggest after your next session to untack, putz with her for a bit and then retack her up. Even if you just lead her back to the riding area - it's a change in her routine!
    03-04-2009, 03:28 PM
I was going to suggest the same as mls. It really helps to not let a horse get too used to a set routine, especially after a ride. After a ride, we will sometimes take them to the hitching rail and untack them right away. Other times we sit on them awhile and take them right back out. Other times we leave the saddle on for awhile and let them stand. You have to keep them guessing
If she starts getting goofy when your taking the saddle off, just put it back on and let her stand there for awhile
    03-04-2009, 04:15 PM
Originally Posted by mls    
Does she get fed after her workouts? Untacked and immediately turned back out with friends?

Horses learn the routine if it's set. If the routine changes suddenly, they will react accordingly.

I would suggest after your next session to untack, putz with her for a bit and then retack her up. Even if you just lead her back to the riding area - it's a change in her routine!
Spot on! I couldn't have said it better myself!

If she knows that when that saddle comes off she is going to get plastered with treats and love and put back with her buddies, she is going to be aching to get that saddle off and get some yummies into her stomach! I've admittedly had to cut the cookies with my guys because they became to expectant of them (I made sure to stop -before- they started pawing or pacing around their tie). They would get agitated whenever it took me a while to go into the tack room, because they knew when I came out I would have something nice for them.

Anywhoo.. as mls said, change the routine up! Take the saddle off and poke around on her bareback (with helmet please!!) and just enjoy her company. Then put the saddle back on. I would even go as far as to say that when you go to untack her the moment the jigging behavior starts, re-tighten the girth, drop your irons, and hop back on and walk a lap around the arena. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.. so to speak :p continue this until she has calmed down then untack her.
(Edited to add: Oops, I see Vida already touched on this!)

Change the scenery when you untack her.. that may help too. Maybe even try untacking her inside the arena and letting her roll right after a ride. My guys always love that! Mmm Arena sand + sweat = Love!
    03-04-2009, 06:25 PM
Along with changing her routine you might want to check her for pain as well.
    03-04-2009, 08:13 PM
Originally Posted by Spirithorse    
Along with changing her routine you might want to check her for pain as well.
I'd imagine since she isnt showing agitation or impatience while being tacked and ridden that pain might not be a factor in this particular horse. I know a TON of horses (mostly old lesson horses) that'll take a finger or two off when their girths are being tightened (poor things having to deal with newbies way over-cinching)

Infact, Jasmine has permanent nerve damage from being a beginner lesson horse. She was the horse everyone learned how to saddle up.. and a lot of beginners cut corners with her and tightened the -heck- out of her cinch to save themselves from having to do it at the mounting block.

Anywhoo, I way digress :p

I don't think this particular horse is suffering from pain.. but heck, i'm always up for checking for pain and hot spots *puts on latex exam glove* it never hurts to ask the vet's opinion next time you get shots/coggins pulled on your horses =) I always have a list of questions for my vets when they come out. Im sure they *love* me for it, LOL They can't ever get away from me fast enough! =)
    03-04-2009, 08:25 PM
I agree that if a horse is in pain they usually show signs while being tacked up....but I say usually.....I love the saying "Never say never, don't always say always, but usually say usually." Something I live by! Lol. I figured she'd want to check anyway, just to make sure.
    03-04-2009, 10:25 PM
Of course! I definitely follow ya in that logic! That's why I said i'm always looking for an excuse to check for hot spots and mysterious bumps. Im a hypocondriac so my horses don't have to be! :p
    03-05-2009, 11:02 AM
LOL I'm kinda the same way :P Every time I untack my horse I check his back....even though I know his saddle fits, is placed correctly and he never has any negative reaction to anything lol. Oh well!
    03-05-2009, 04:48 PM
Thanks for all of the input guys! It's such an obvious I'm really glad that I asked...I'll start changing it up- today after our ride I untacked her and put on her side reins and took for for a workout in the round already seemed to help a smidge. Thanks again and hopefully with some time she will really improve.

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