Pissy mare starting to buck - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 15 Old 09-01-2009, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Pissy mare starting to buck

My friend's mare has typical marish attitude and we really like that about her.
But lately when we're out, if she thinks she's getting left behind she'll give a buck or two in annoyance if she isn't allowed to gallop to catch up. She also will refuse and offer to buck if she is expected to walk out before the other horses after mounting.
She is not normally a difficult horse to manage and she gives up pretty quickly if you let her know you won't take any nonsense from her. I've ridden her quite a bit without any problems, but she has gotten really bonded to my gelding who is also her pasture mate.
My friend's a good rider but easily scared because of a really bad fall several years ago.
Any suggestions how to nip this in the bud?

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post #2 of 15 Old 09-04-2009, 02:57 AM
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Okey dokey, so a bratty mare, eh? Well I have a method for you. I hope it works! You obviously could tweak it if you need to.

Week 1:
Everyday your friend comes down to ride her, make her ride in the ring by herself. Don't let any other horse in. This should temporarily solve her issue of being left behind. If she is alone, she has nobody to be left behind. If she still bucks, then you have a whole other issue.Have your friend ride her for 1 week with no other horse.

Week 2:
The first day, bring her in the ring with other horses, but hand walk/trot her. Trot her behind other horses and make sure you do the things she normally gets bad at. Carry treats. Every 2 minutes or so that she is good, give her one and reward her. If she is bad, halt her and back her up 2 steps.
The next days have your friend, or someone who's not nervous to ride her, get on her and do these things she gets bugged at. Give her treats while you are riding her if she is good (if possible) and do many figures (figure eight, circles, etc) to keep her attention on the rider. If she bucks, halt her and bac k her up 2 steps

Continue doing this until she stops. Good luck!
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-04-2009, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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Makes sense, especially as she is VERY food-motivated. She learned to stop dancing and fretting at the mounting block when she started getting a treat for standing still.
I've had her out a few times by herself and she complains at first then gets over it. We'll see how she goes with a more structured approach. Thanks.

don't worry, spiders, I keep house casually.
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-04-2009, 05:51 PM
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No problem! With a food motivated horse it should go even smoother! Uhm, just try to keep everything well planned, organized, and consistent. Good luck!
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post #5 of 15 Old 09-05-2009, 02:33 AM
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Agree with above suggestion(except for the 'bratty' or 'pissy' or 'typical marish' lables). If she is doing this because she's a 'dominant' type. BUT horses typically buck under saddle because of fear or pain.

Rule out pain/discomfort from saddle, back, neck, mouth, bit, etc first & foremost before treating it as a training issue. Then work on getting her *confident & trusting* about being alone with you, with 'approach & retreat' tactics, rather than forcing her into a 'sink or swim' situation. Sounds like it might be relatively easy for you, but will likely be difficult for your friend if she's nervous, as the horse will feel that & obviously this doesn't lend itself to the horse trusting your friend as worthy leader.
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post #6 of 15 Old 09-05-2009, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, that is certainly an issue, my friend prefering not to get in any fights with her.
We think it's not pain related because she only does it under these particular circumstances, otherwise she goes along willingly and fine. In fact we wouldn't have the bucking issue if she was allowed to just gallop to catch up.
Don't mean to be offensive with labels but we actually like her mare-ishness, and she tends to be pushy and assertive when she can be. When we first got her last fall she had very little for ground or saddling manners, but she's gotten much better with structure and treats, so she does strike me as very able to learn and change. Just don't want her to think bucking is a problem-solver for her, and don't want my friend scared or hurt.
I use something like the approach-retreat for my Arab who gets wired in company, and it seems to help, so I'm confident it will be a good option with her.
Thanks for your input.

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post #7 of 15 Old 09-05-2009, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toadflax View Post
Yes, that is certainly an issue, my friend prefering not to get in any fights with her.
I don't think it's ever a good idea to get into a fight or confrontation with a horse if you can possibly avoid it. That's why I think approach & retreat is the better way to go.

Quote:
Don't mean to be offensive with labels but we actually like her mare-ishness,
What I meant regarding 'typical marishness' is that I don't believe in it generally(except for some mares at that 'time of the month'), except that assuming certain attitudes are typical of a sex or breed are often self fulfilling prophesies - you tend to get what you expect. IME mares aren't any more likely than geldings to have 'dominant' type personalities.

Quote:
Just don't want her to think bucking is a problem-solver for her, and don't want my friend scared or hurt.
Of course. If your friend will go along with it, I would suggest she doesn't put her into those kinds of situations for the time being(don't ride with people who won't wait for her when she needs) and leaves it to you to get her reliable before she starts to 'test' it herself.
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-05-2009, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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To be honest I agree that it's a more unusual mare that is a 'stereotypical' mare...
Yes, my friend is looking to defuse the riding experience for both of them, she's also trying to be more assertive in the saddle (we do get lazy on the trail and let the horses make quite a few of the decisions) and asking more of Sunny that won't be hard for her to give, like having her lead some and directing her with the reins even when she knows the way for example.
And I plan to take her out some by herself, meanwhile we're just making sure she doesn't need to feel left behind.
We'll also probably switch horses when we decide to work her on the details.
Thanks for everyone's input, it's giving me more to think about than just swatting her a good one.

don't worry, spiders, I keep house casually.
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-05-2009, 08:57 PM
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For some reason (I'm not at all suggesting this, just stating), this guy thought that it was a miraculous idea to tie up one of the horse's front legs and then lunge it..and then proceed to riding it with its leg tied up, to prevent it from bucking. I was like "WTH?!" But anywho, I just had to ride my horse through the bucks. I'm not sure the extent of her bucking but like when its just one little buck here and there, just push her through it and keep riding like nothing happened.

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post #10 of 15 Old 09-05-2009, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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So far it has been just a buck or two. Really the issue is not letting her make it a habit. I don't think we'll be tying her leg up though .

don't worry, spiders, I keep house casually.
~ Kobayashi Issa

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