My horse has changed for the worst - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-24-2009, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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My horse has changed for the worst

A bit of history on my horse can be found at this thread, My first project
I rescued this horse and began to feed her quite well to put some pounds on her. In the process I rode her about once a week for less than an hour, nothing too extremely strenuous. She had such a good nature, I would joke around with others who asked about her that she wouldn't ever think about bucking or running away with you because it seemed like it would be too much of a hassle for her. A few times I put a few of the neighbors on her because of her gentle nature. One was a 13 year old girl who had no horse experience, another a 19 year old girl with this being her first time on a horse. I really trusted the nature of this horse. About a month ago I had to leave to go away to school. I went up there for one last ride before I left. Jambers threw a fit! We had barely started out when she started doing a little crow hop and kicked twice. I checked the saddle and made sure everything fit correctly. We went out again and rode for another half an hour. She was acting a little antsy, after we climbed a really steep hill we stopped to rest and when I asked for her to go again she kicked and nearly hit the horse behind us. I let that horse lead out we went down through a ravine and after coming up the other side Jambers kicked twice again. I thought perhaps she just woke up on the wrong side of the barn. I left for school and wasn't able to return and ride her for a month. (she was ridden twice by some relatives, their response was "she acted like a fool" and "I would never ride her again")

I went up to ride her yesterday and as I entered our property I saw all of our horses running across a field. Behind them was Jambers, she caught up to them and kicked our horse (the one who had previously bit her) with both legs right in the ribs. I decided to do a little ground work on her. She has a real problem with crowding my space, she is the type of horse that is stubborn and says "I am not going to do that and you are not going to make me" now. After trying to do a few things, I went and saddled her up. This horse who used to stand still all day long and took more effort to get her to go than to ask her to stop, would not stand still to put a saddle on her. After the circus was over and I had the saddle on, we headed out and she immediately headed for the other horses. With just a slight tug on the reigns to turn she started to kick again. After she settled down I hopped off and lead her out into another field away from the horses. I was working with her on staying out of my space. After we had walked as far away from the other horses as possible I hopped on and after 30 feet or so she kicked again!

I was furious and confused! It seems as though after this horse has put some weight on she is a completely new horse. She has made a complete 180 degree turn, however it is in the wrong direction. I now am unsure what I want to do with her. I wish I had more time to spend with her but I am in college right now taking 20 credit hours and live 4 hours away from where she is being kept. Sorry for the long rant, I have just been looking forward to riding her since she has gained weight and now am extremely dissapointed. If you were me what would you suggest? Could she just be in heat?
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-24-2009, 01:32 PM
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She may be really feeling like a different horse with more weight put on her. That can sometimes happen, when a horse's true colors show as well as lack of training and respect for a new rider after going through a rough patch in life. Have you had a vet check her out to make sure your saddle fits, teeth are checked, ect? But from what you were saying about her being a little witch in the pasture it may not be something about her being in pain at all.... How much groundwork has she had since you got her? You may have to start from the ground up all over again. It may progress slower than before but you would be better off in the long run.

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post #3 of 13 Old 10-24-2009, 03:36 PM
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Maybe what you are feeding her is too "hot" for her? Dunno, just throwing things out to consider.

"When you're young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you're my age, you splatter." -- Roy Rogers
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-24-2009, 04:19 PM
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This also happened to me when I brought Ice home, although he was nowhere near a weight that needed to be rescued, he did need to put on some pounds. It seemed that as he settled in to his new home he got nastier and nastier, when I bought him under the assumption that he was a giant lap dog. We moved him around between turn out herds and finally separated him completely (something you should do if you can still her attitude shapes up). The nasty attitude seemed to stop after a few days ago, when he tried to bite my BO and she really served it to him. Essentially she threw a fit, screaming "NO" flailing the lead rope in his direction to get him to back up, and she did this for about ten or so feet. When she was done Ice was stark still with a look of "holy crap". He tried to be pissy a few times after that, but he got the same reaction until he wasn't so nasty anymore.

It sounds to me like your horse got a little bit of weight on her and went from "survival mode" where she sucked up to anyone with her sweet attitude for food, to "test mode" and now shes trying to figure out her place in the herd. Aaand it sounds to me like shes kicking everyones butt. She may not need groundwork, just an attitude adjustment.

Teach Your Horse to Respect Your Personal Space

I personally have not used this article, but Horse and Rider does have an excellent series of them, written by Clinton Anderson, and they have been on topics like proper leading, respecting space, and other issues that can be resolved from the ground.

It will take five minutes for you to assert yourself and say "HEY, you need to listen to ME", and as long as anyone who takes care of her uses the same techniques and doesn't let her get away with things, she should turn back into that sweet horse that you bought.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-24-2009, 05:35 PM
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I think now that things have changed, you need to re-assess and start from the beginning again and see where your holes are in the foundation. When you find holes, don't be upset, think of it as a gift! Now you have an opportunity to fix it and to grow. You should also investigate any physical issues such as feet, teeth, saddle fit, chiro/massage work, etc.

Definitely start with ground work. Getting trust and respect on the ground absolutely transfers to the saddle. I'd suggest the Parelli 7 Games. It's a great way to build trust and respect, and the riding skills taught in the beginning stages are all about safety.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-24-2009, 06:30 PM
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It seems a little extreme for her to just be in heat. I'd get a vet out to make sure there's no underlying problems or pain. It's not unusual for it to be a physical problem when they change so suddenly.

Otherwise, it could be the extra weight. It could be the weather too. My two year old is pretty docile in the summer, but the second fall hits he turns psychotic on me for a month or so before setlling down.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-24-2009, 07:32 PM
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Not trying to take over, but it won't let me post a question. I have a similar situation with a horse I bought about 3wks ago. She was a rescue and I made it very clear to the people that she would be a first horse for myself and my 2 young kids, 7&3. She was very docile at their barn and the ladies daughters were just mauling her. she rode well, but I have to look to my husband for knoweldge because as I said before this is my 1st horse as well. I am a beginner in every sense of the word. He gave the okay and we brought her home. it wasn't til a week later due to weather that we were able to ride her agian. She did fine with being tied my 3 yr old sat on her bareback while we brushed her and didn't move an inch. When my hubby went to saddler her she started acting up a bit. He finally got her tacked up and went to get on her when she started fighting him. She started jerking her head and then just took off. She bucked and reared and at one point he said he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to stop her. He finally got off and after about 3min of pursuading I got on. No problem. I rode her around a little she has a very fast walk and she kept trying to go under the trees, but nothing scary. My 7 yr old got on her and I lead her around she did fine. We have chaulked it up to her not liking men. She is also a little spooky. Not bad though. Bottom line hubby doesn't want to deal with her and I don't have the knowledge or confidence to work with her on my own. I am planning on selling her. My question is, can I sell her with these issues or is she just going to be a psture orniment. She's not registered so I don't know if broodmare is even an option. Your opions and knowledge are appreciated.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-24-2009, 08:00 PM
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I am going through the exact same thing with Noah. He's been with me since Sept 18th. He's put on needed weight and my sweet old man and turned into a giant wrecking ball. He's pushy, won't stand still, walks into my space, pulls forward when leading, and is a general PITA on the ground. Fortunately, when riding he's still and calm and steady as ever. I'm praying that he is still adjusting to new surrounding and a new routine and will do better on his new feed. He has become dominant with people, but not other horses. He tests everyone CONSTANTLY. Not exactly what I bargained for, but I'm lucky enough to have just moved him closer to home so I can spend more time working with him. Sorry, no suggestions, but I feel your pain and am going through the same frustrations!

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post #9 of 13 Old 10-24-2009, 08:57 PM
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Horse Dreamer, I wouldn't give up on your horse. You've only had her for a few weeks, so you are still getting to know each other. IMO there is no such thing as a disposable horse. I posted my thoughts for the OP, so my advice would be the same for you :)
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-25-2009, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Toymanator View Post
A bit of history on my horse can be found at this thread, My first project

I was furious and confused! It seems as though after this horse has put some weight on she is a completely new horse. She has made a complete 180 degree turn, however it is in the wrong direction. I now am unsure what I want to do with her. I wish I had more time to spend with her but I am in college right now taking 20 credit hours and live 4 hours away from where she is being kept. Sorry for the long rant, I have just been looking forward to riding her since she has gained weight and now am extremely dissapointed. If you were me what would you suggest? Could she just be in heat?
IMHO, I think you are seeing the horse they way she truly is. She's back to her old self, so to speak - and her old self may not be a horse you will enjoy being around. What you do with her depends on what you want. I personally never recommend anyone buy a neglected or abused horse for the simple observation that a good horse is much less apt to be abused or neglected than a problem horse is.
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