My friend is having problems - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-15-2008, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Wisconsin
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My friend is having problems

My friend is asking for advice and I don't know how to direct her as I've never had this problem with mine. Her mare is giving her some issues..when she tries to ride her she's bound and determined to go home. When you're going away she'll fling her head all over and offered to buck the last time. This horse has never ever offered to buck before. She's recently had her buddy taken away so she's alone. She's always been the dominate mare. When my friend walks up this horse will walk away from her. If you chase her off she isn't like most horses..she doesn't come back. She'll run away when you chase her then just keep walking away when she does finally slow down. She is hard to catch sometimes as well. She's tried lunging her and she jsut pulls away the whole time. You dont get any slack in the line at all. And if she feels the littlest bit of slack she tries to bolt. She's given her rope burns from trying to lunge her. She doesn't come back from the ride until she says to. But she's tired of all the fighting and it hurts her to see that her horse basically doesn't want anything to do with her unless she has food. What can she do to get this horses respect and be able to do things with her? She won't sell her as she wants to work this out and not send her from home to home. Any help would be appreciated. Even if it's a trainer recommendation in Wi.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-15-2008, 10:37 PM
Green Broke
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First off, tell your friend, good for her for not giving up on the horse! That is really cool.

She's trying to push her dominance over your friend now that she's by herself. Seriously the best thing to do right now would be for your friend to get a trainer even temporarily and help her through this.

Never chase a horse when you are trying to catch them. Will a bit of grain work?

Have her wear gloves all the time when working with the horse from the ground. It sounds like the mare needs to go back to the basics of ground work and manners.

But again, have someone there in person that can see what she is doing and offer up the best thing to do to correct the problem.

I wish your friend best of luck and very big thumbs up for wanting to work through this tough period. Keep encouraging her. She's got to be really frustrated, but safety wise it'd be best to have someone with more experience to help.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
Solon is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 08-15-2008, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Wisconsin
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She uses grain and she can catch her with that. The problem is the grain is making her horse pushy and rude about it. She'll shove her out of the way to get the grain. She'll stick her head in long enough to grab a bite then bolt..coming back to grab another bite and bolt. If she grabs the halter she's drug across the ground until she finally falls off. This horse will run with a person hanging from her halter. I will tell her to look into someone to help. No she doesn't want to give up as she'll end up going from home to home because no one would want to work through the issues. So she's accepting any info/help she can. Thanks!!
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-16-2008, 08:40 PM
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Actually, 'chasing' the horse is probably a good idea. Horses generally do not want to work or really exert much energy. What I learned from my dad was when your horse won't let you catch them, make them run. Run them until they give up and stop. They'll start to lick and chew, put their head down and give in. This mare sounds stubborn so it may take more than a few minutes with her. Shaking a can of grain to get a horse to come is not a good idea, for exactly the reason mygirlmaggie described. The mare gets pushy over it and gets a bite and runs off. She's basically being rewarded.

As to lounging her: does your friend's lounge line have a chain? I'd use a chain, personally. That way when the mare tries to pull, that chain will tighten and she won't be too keen on pulling away anymore. That should help keep your friend from being dragged around. Same with leading her. Use a chain and if the horse gets pushy or tries to drag her, pull back. If she's very stubborn, your friend may have to pop her once or twice before she listens.

Hope that helps and best of luck to your friend! :)
Mira is offline  
post #5 of 11 Old 08-16-2008, 09:27 PM
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don't "chase" the horse...make her work if she won't come...but actually chasing will make matters worse.

What I do with my horse now since he was giving me hard times to catch is that, I'd go out in the pasture with him with two cookies in my pocket (horse treats that is hehe), and I'd go up to him and offer him one than once he took it I'd pet him all over and then go to put the halter on him than give him a treat. I'd walk him around the pasture once than let him go. Soon he realized that being caught wasn't a bad thing and he got treats also. He still won't come to me from a distance, but he's traveled 5 feet to come to me...and that's a start.

As for the dominance, I'd suggest LOTS and LOTS of groundwork. Not just lunging, for some horses instead of calming them, it will get their mind all crazy and wacko because of you asking them to go and go. Teaching her to move when she places her hands on a body part is a good idea...for example, if your friend places her hands on the hindquarters, her horse will turn on the forehand and move her hindquarters away from your friend.
It teaches them respect also.

Sounds to me like her horse may just be seeing her as " the girl that makes me work" and my horse saw me as that for a while. Once her horse is caught suggest her doing something that her horse likes...letting her graze on the halter, grooming her, and so she realizes that being with her can be fun.
I always end my riding session with my horse by letting him munch on some's a way of telling him he did good and a way so he realizes the "work" wasn't that bad.

I disagree with Mira about lunging in a chain.....NEVER lunge in can seriously hurt the horse no matter how bad of a puller the horse is. I suggest using a rope halter...they are more effective than the regular nylon halters. My horse used to ALWAYS lean into his halters to push and rush me into the stables...when I used the rope halter he stopped. It puts more direct pressure on one part of the nose...kinda like a hackamore.

I wouldn't use grain...or if you do don't bring a bucket full...just grab a handful, bring a chair in the pasture and just wait.
If you have to bring a bucket don't let her grab a bite and than run....that is rewarding her for running away.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-16-2008, 09:29 PM
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I agree with Mira. While a treat can help if done correctly it often backfires and the horse grabs food and bolts. If your friend can shake a can and get the horse into the barn/stall or small enclosure before giving the feed then that will help her get started.. But you can't hold a bucket and halter a horse who is about to bolt, as your friend has seen.

The Chasing game certainly does work, but it needs to be done "right".. This is where I'll say your friend needs to find someone local who can show her how to be effective with this exercise. Hopefully your friend has a round pen or a not so round pen, or even an arena will work if that's the smallest available size enclosure. Trying to do this out in a big pasture can be very difficult.

Now, basically what you do when the horse begins to leave you depends on where you are and how fast she's leaving. ;) Bolting/trotting moving away fast is grounds for giving a pfft move faster cue.. Whatever works works. You don't actively "chase" as in run after the horse tho. You simply make the horse move at the speed you chose. Then you either walk toward/at an angle watching for further evasion, or you pretend you don't want the silly horse anyway. Usually curiousity will kill the cat and the horse will wander back your way. If the horse is coming toward you do not engage her. Turn slightly to the side and back a step. This invites the horse to come to you. If you walk toward the horse and she begins to turn away or walk off, back up slowly a couple steps at an angle toward the rump while you motion the horse to you. Once the horse is looking with interest and or coming to you continue to back as needed. You teach the horse to catch YOU..

That set of instructions is very basic. If you cannot read what the horse is about to do before she does it then it will take a while for you/your friend to learn that as well.

Funny story, I had a Race bred QH once who was evasive but didnt' bolt. He'd just move away a lil ways when you got in his bubble. ;) The first summer I literally backed toward him to catch him. Once at his neck/head i could place the rope around his neck which meant he was caught.. Didn't work the next year.. I had to learn the catch me game. lol
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-19-2008, 12:32 PM
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I'd agree with Appyt here. The chase method is powerful when done correctly, with the right body language. Your friend needs to allow plenty of time the first time she does this - I had to resort to this method with my boy a couple of years back, and it took an hour the first time I did it. He was sweating buckets by the end of it and so was I (LOL!). It gets quicker the more you do it, and your friend should be able to dispense with it once the mare gets the idea that she's the boss.

For lungeing, your friend might try leading her around in hand and slowly letting the line out, just keeping it at a walk. And always wear gloves!

Wish your friend good luck!
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-22-2008, 03:05 PM
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Catching a horse

You have to make it the mares idea to come to you. Since she is the dominant mare(or used to be in a herd setting but still is with you) she might work well with this. Dont "chase" them. That is the usual flight or fight episode, which usually ends in flight away from you. She wants to play the game with you. I wouldnt use grain, except to reinforce it after she has either stopped and faced you and waited for you to walk up to her and haltered her or else walked up to you like a "lady" lol. If she walks away from her, shoo her away with your arms and make her work. If she is near you, she doenst have to work. She just has to stand there with the halter on next to you. If she is away from you, she gets to work. Dont make a big deal about it but get her moving with your body. Its all in the "language", just like mentioned above. Once she stops and faces you or stops and walks up to you and allows you to put the halter on, pet her and give her some kind words and then let her go. Dont shoo her away, just let her walk away from you on her own accord. Do this several times a day, like two or three even in short periods so she doesnt get bored. Make sure you always end it on a good note, though! Good luck! My one mare used to be really hard to catch but with this it really does work. Sometimes having more poeple to help you keep her moving so she cant slow down is effective too.

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post #9 of 11 Old 08-22-2008, 04:36 PM
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Everyone has given really good suggestions about how to catch the horse so I won't bore you by repeating, except to say that if one of mine decides he isn't coming those get moving and they don't stop until he turns to face me and I will not bribe my horse to do anything.

Lunging? A rope halter adjusted properly will do the job. I'm not a fan of chains, I'll try something else first. That would be a last resort.

If she rides western, tack up the horse fully. Take the reins off or tie them up and lunge in a bit with the line through the stirrup. This does two things, she less likely to take off and the pressure of the stirrup will get her to flex at the pole. A horse with it's head down is much more relaxed. A relaxed horse is usually a thinking horse.

The other thing that hasn't been addressed, or maybe I missed it, is the general feeling of the horse towards her owner. My views may not be the popular opinion but here goes.....Horse's want to be lead. There are more comfortable giving the responsibility of leadership to someone else who they feel has earned it. It's tough to always be the leader. Your friend does not have the respect of her horse. That's not necessarily gotten by running them around in circles on a line. It's achieved by being patient and consistent in their handling. Spending time going for hand walks, grooming, ground work other than lunging. Then upping the challenge by working through obstacles, like ground poles in hand, walking over tarps or working with bags. Anything to keep her attention and all the while getting her to realize that whatever your friend is asking her to do is not going to hurt her. The more they do together the more comfortable the horse will be to relinquish her leadership.

The bucking and wanting to go home will only escalate until the horse has complete trust in the owner.
G and K's Mom is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 08-22-2008, 09:01 PM
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I think if your friend can she should see if she can dedicate a week or so (or atleast a couple of hours a day for a week or so) and do some intensive work. Personally, I would remove her from the paddock. Once you are able to catch her once, she will learn your "tricks" and next time you try a new method. If possible I would use a roundyard that I could keep her in for a while, although to most people that isn't an option. Either way I would get a small yard with little food where the horse was relying on the owner more. If she is the dominant mare then she may be better to control without her herd. I have a couple of horses that if they are with big herds all time they can get a bit scatty and uncontolable. I don't like keeping horses in a small place for extended periods of time but if you are looking to do lots of training and need to get control of the horse one of the best things is to remove her from the current situation.

I would loose lunge in a round yard for a bit, if she wants to run let her run, eventually she'll stop, and your friend can use the chasing technique mentioned in earlier posts, and it will work much easier in a small area. Its good to remember that horses use body language, so your friend should adopt a dominant body language around this horse, although it may be helpful for your friend to read up about some natural horsemanship or something.
Andi is offline  

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