is my new mare sensitive to touch?...

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is my new mare sensitive to touch?...

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    12-24-2009, 12:07 AM
is my new mare sensitive to touch?...

I just got my mare this last weekend. She is 12 yrs old, competed in reining/western pleasure... really well broke.

I'm not sure if its just because she doesnt trust me yet or something.. but when we go to pet her side or her neck, or if we brush her body, she either backs up, or turns her body away from us.
Is that just being nervous, or is she really sensitive?

She only does it sometimes though.. sometimes she stands still and lets us brush her, hug her all over.

Also, she is very very well trained, and is sensitive to aids/cues.. maybe by brushing, she thinks we are putting pressure and asking her to move?

To get her to back up, all we do is lightly push her chest, and she backs up really fast.

If its sensitivity, what should I do to get her to stand still?
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    12-24-2009, 12:17 AM
What is the rest of her body language like when she moves over? Does she flare her nostrils, widen her eyes, pin/drop her ears, tense her muscles, or raise her head when you approach her head/neck with your hands? Or does she stay calm but just move over?
    12-24-2009, 12:23 AM
Her head is almost always raised.. cause she is always curious and looking at other things..
But she is still calm, doesnt seem like she is scared at all.
Also, what I'ved noticed when I walk her in the arena, she always has both ears back, except when she sees something in the distance
    12-24-2009, 12:35 AM
Without actually seeing what she is doing, it sounds to me like it might be an issue of over-training. Some trainers spend so much time working with a horse to keep them out of your space that they start moving away before you ever ask for it. You might try a lot of approach and correct with her. Whenever she backs away or turns, move her back to where she was and start again. When she stands still while you approach, praise her with whatever she is most fond of (scratches or a kind word, maybe occasionally a treat). Some horses carry their ears pointed to the rear most times, I think it might be a part of their personality or maybe that is just where their ears fall when they relax, I don't know. So long as she doesn't appear to be scared of you, I would treat it as a training issue and just work with her for a while.
    12-24-2009, 02:46 AM
Okay thanks for the advice.. that is probably what it is, she is really sensitive to aids, and is very well trained in reining, so I think she is responding to my touch as an aid for her to move.

Also, I think she likes to sniff you when you touch her body, b/c sometimes if you touch her neck, she backs up until her nose is touching your fingers, and she rubs your hand with her nose.

I will see how she is as we get to know each other better, maybe she wont do it anymore :)

Thanks and Merry Christmas!
    12-25-2009, 06:37 PM
Depending on the barn she was at, she may not have received a lot of the 'hands' on pampering... she may need to get used to you spending time with her just to pamper her.

At the same time, if she is just 'over sensitive' to your body language, you may just have to ignore the moving away, and just lead her back forward, and start again. She may just think that you want her to move just have to desensitize her to not having to move unless you actually ask her.
    12-25-2009, 07:47 PM
Vida gets like that in the winter months when the air is really dry and she is fuzzier than usual. Its static electricity. I'm giving her little shocks when I brush or touch her.
I keep a can of Static-guard and spray my brushes with it in the winter.
It sometimes helps if when I'm brushing her I keep one hand on her at all times so that I break the circuit sort of.
Listen and watch when your petting or brushing. If you hear the familiar "popping" of static electricity than problem solved Hope that's all it is.
    12-26-2009, 01:51 AM
I have a similar situation with Ellie - she's I think 15, had spent the last several years in pasture with a half-dozen other horses before we got her this fall, not being ridden or getting much attention. She doesn't like to have her body brushed, or much ear/nose scratching, though she likes having her mane & tail combed, and scratching along her neck. Her reaction to more than a few seconds of brushing is to put her ears back. And then walk away.

It doesn't seem to be a space issue: she's happy enough to stand with me holding a halter while her hoof dressing is changed (she has an abcess), or before that to walk beside me on trail hikes. She does have a thin coat, without the thick winter hair that the others have.

Do you suppose she's just sensitive, or is it perhaps a "nobody ever did that to me before" reaction that will go away with time, or something else?
    12-26-2009, 08:01 AM
Originally Posted by jamesqf    
Do you suppose she's just sensitive, or is it perhaps a "nobody ever did that to me before" reaction that will go away with time, or something else?
A lot of how new and/or horses unfamiliar with you react comes from their previous owners, training, and experience, so this may be something new to her. With a new one, we always continue our normal routine (brushing, feet, etc) and the horse will become familiar and comfortable with it (or at least accept it) after time. Like most training, patience, consistancy, and repetition.
    12-26-2009, 10:16 PM
Originally Posted by Vidaloco    
I keep a can of Static-guard and spray my brushes with it in the winter.
Hey this is a really good mare hates all the static that happens when I pet her!

I've also found that spritzing her with conditioner (Mane and tail diluted) helps ALOT as far as the static goes.

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