Need advice on hardheaded mare!!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-13-2009, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice on hardheaded mare!!!

I have been working with my mare who is four years old and want to get her broke this spring, however she can be very difficult and doesn't pay attention to me that much when I am lunging. She can be very strong willed and sometimes I end up just giving up bc I get so frustrated and want to scream. for instance while lunging she goes both directions at the trot only if I ask her to just walk she crowds me and I can't get her to respect my space. Also when she is lunging she will be doing fine and reverse on command, but she won't pay attention to me she listens to my voice but not with her eyes. She looks at everything but me. What should I do to get her more focused on me and to relax while we are working? Also she does great and never bucks or anything even when I have saddled her.any advice would be great as I am kinda at a stand still.
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-13-2009, 10:32 PM
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I would suggest you read up on Join Up and take her off the lung line while working with her in a round pen. This will deffinately help to get her attention on you. Just a thought : )

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post #3 of 8 Old 03-13-2009, 11:14 PM
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For starters, a lot of direction changes, using lots of body language to turn her, and really make her get out of your space. Frequent direction changes will have her start to look for them and will tire her. When she is getting "lighter" let her keep going in the same direction as a reward. Also, as she's changing, make her speed up and use some energy, then ask for a slow down, if she ignores, change direction again, etc. When she's doing well, stop. You don't want to overwork her all the time.

For invading your space, swing your rope toward her shoulder vigorusly and square up your posture and step toward HER. If she doesn't yeild let the rope get longer and longer as it swings and it "accidentally" starts tapping her shoulder. Stop swinging when she starts to yeild, whether you had to make contact or not. Basically, the posture is the signal to get out of the way, the rope is a back up, and she sort of "runs into it" if she's not doing as you ask. To her shoulder it asks her front end to turn away from you, toward the withers or slightly behind, is a lateral move away, toward the hindquarters asks them to scoot over. When you want a direction change, aim to step in front of her path about 5 ft in front of her to give her time to start to turn. Then signal to her OUTSIDE shoulder to keep turning and as she comes around, drive her hindend.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-14-2009, 12:48 AM
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Barefoothooves has a lot of great advice up there.

transitions are very important in lunging. As well as direction changes, work on very frequent transitions for some time. This will get the horse's attention on you as well as work the horse's back and tire her out a bit, using the energy in a positive way. Work also on varying speed in between her paces. Work for an extended walk, collected trot, extended trot etc. all of these will really help as far as getting her attention goes, as well as being incredibly good exercises for her.

Good luck with her. She sounds like a nice little mare

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post #5 of 8 Old 03-14-2009, 01:38 AM
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It sounds like she's bored. Instead of just lunging, mix it up a bit. Put a lot of obstacles down for her to navigate and make puzzles for her to figure out. Make it fun!

Like already stated, transitions can work great. The more inattentive she is, the more frequently you ask for a transition. And again, changes of direction can work really well, too. Also ask her for lateral movement, that way she has to focus on where her feet are, otherwise she'll stumble all over herself.
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-14-2009, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Spirithorse View Post
It sounds like she's bored. Instead of just lunging, mix it up a bit. Put a lot of obstacles down for her to navigate and make puzzles for her to figure out. Make it fun!
I agree...many horses get bored quickly doing ground work if you don't mix it up, and 4 yr olds have a limited attention span... after you reach that point, it's time to move on or your efforts will become counter productive (and you'll get frustrated, too).
And don't forget to end on a 'good note', even if it means doing something very simple or seemingly trivial. It sets you up for a good start the next time.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-14-2009, 10:21 AM
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It could be boredum or it could be that she is looking for comfort from somewhere else. I agree with Barefoot, but I'd also like to add on top of that is that when you grab her attention, if only for a split second, stop what you are doing and walk in and pet on her. Show her that being attentive to you is a pleasant experience. The second she looses her focus, shake the rope, do whatever to snatch her focus back. If she just gets a bit frightened by it and is still looking elsewhere, tone it town a bit but keep at it, walk in at her, so something to surprise her when she looks somewhere else. The second she looks to you for an answer, give her a big place of peace. Make it very clear that when her attention is with you, love on her big time. When you miss those opportunities to reward her for trying to pay attention, that is where you get that "checked out" state of mind. Don't continue to send her on a billion circles in hopes that in one of them she will decide to pay attention. To teach her to trust that being in your company is a good, positive thing, she will learn to always look to you for comfort and a peace of mind. :)

In riding, a horse's energy is like a river- guided by the banks but not stopped by them.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-16-2009, 08:17 AM
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Agree with Barefoot & others about lunging specifics, but I get the feeling the horse isn't up to all that yet. Without more info on how OP has been training her, her attitude with other things, can't do more than guess, but it sounds like she's afraid too. Crowding can be a defensive response and never feeling comfortable to look at the person or slow down is a problem I think should be addressed well before asking a horse to run around in circles at a distance(rope or no rope, not a big fan of 'join up' type submission).

I would be ensuring the horse wasn't afraid of my tools, bodylanguage or attitude(if you're not even tempered, better to walk away), and would confidently approach me, move off, turn, stop on cue, etc before I started asking for it at different speeds and at a distance, as with lunging.
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