Can anyone help me with a baffling problem I have with my 2 year old Quarter Horse filly Rosie?
Background: I live in the UK, I'm in my fifties, have been around horses for many years. I currently own 3 mares - two of them in their teens and this 2 year old (currently standing at 14.2hh), who I bred from one of the mares. During the day they are turned out together on grass and at night they are stabled. In the pasture Rosie is at the bottom of the pecking order. Her mother is the dominant mare.
I weened Rosie slowly when she was about 8 months old and her progress has been going really well. I have had a couple of youngsters before, so know they can be unpredictable at times, so whenever I have encountered a problem, I work round it or ask advice from a respected trainer that I know. She leads beautifully, trailer loads, stands for the farrier and vet and is generally the model of good behaviour. She has been away a couple of times for halter training and recently went to her first show, behaving perfectly the whole time. I was able to move about her stable with no problems.
Problem: A few months ago she began behaving differently in her stable (this is before she went away for the first time). I opened the door and went to put her head collar on and she slowly turned round and backed up, pushing me into a corner and pinning me there. She wasn't aggressive and didn't kick, just kept me there! If I moved, she moved with me. I eventually managed to slip out, but the incident unnerved me. She tried it again next day and it only happens in the mornings when I go to get her out. Next time I tried going in and pushing her butt round before she could do it. This worked for a while, then she got wise to it and was ready for me, pinning her ears back and turning before I can open the door. I now go with a long lead rope, throw it round her neck and once I do that she 'gives in', comes to me and is back to her normal self.
I like to try and think round a problem and work out why a horse is doing something, so that I can try and find a solution, but this one has got me, and those I have asked, stumped! I think she is trying to dominate me (she is growing up and hormones are kicking in and I guess she is challenging me) but how do I tackle the problem safely in a small confined space? As I said, she only ever does this in the stable and once I have her on the lead rope she becomes a different horse - willing and obedient.
Sorry to write so much, but I am baffled Has anyone come across this before? Can anyone suggest anything? I want to sort it out before it becomes a bigger issue.