Problems Leading my Mare!! - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Skyseternalangel
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-06-2011, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Unhappy Problems Leading my Mare!!

Hi Guys,

This might be quite long and I'm new to this but I'm trying to be as descriptive as possible

I've been looking for some help for a while now.... I bought my mare about 18 months ago, she is a 10yr old Anglo Arab. When I first got her, I had no problems, she was a bit sharp but quite predictable.

She used to be kept at grazing with her younger brother, thats it. We then moved in June of this year to a yard with about 15 horses, her and her brother used to be in a field together with no other horses and she became increasingly dificult to catch. She used to gallop up the field to you despite being headshy I could always put a head collar on with no problems.

The situation now is that I would all her, she wont come, just stays in the bottom of the field resulting in me walking to her, when I get near her she threatens me with her ears back and teeth showing before walking away, It used to be that I would just have to persevere with her before she gave up and would be caught but now it can take me the best part of 2-3 housr to catch her. once caught, she has developed a nasty habit of spinning circles on you in an agressive manner, she will again have her ears back and when you try to walk forwards, she runs in front of you to stop you from being able to take her up the field. I ended up sending her round in a lungeing affect but she bacame wise to what I was doing and didnt seem to get tired of going round in circles so she began to turn her bum on me to threaten to kick me.

I then asked for some advice from a BHS instructor who said to try and get 2 people to lead her up with 2 leadropes clipped to either side so she doesnt have the option of circling me, it worked once before she again got wise to it and just bolted forwards ripping leadropes out of your hands.

I tried a chiffney but after spending 2 hours catching her to then stand with a headcollar on and attempt to put a bit in her mouth, all she could do was head shake and despite trying for an hour, she wouldnt allow me to put it on (she is similar when bridling, headshy and shakes her head but gives in after about 5 mins).

Her brother has now gone away to be broken so she has been moved into a field with 3 other horses (2 mares and a gelding), very placid horses who have not probelms being caught, she has been in the field for about 2 months and is comfortable with her new friends, I have tried repeating the process of removing all horses so she feels lonely and wants to come in but no, she stands there and says "i'm happy to graze all day long thank you".

She has been wintered out for the last 3 years and I am wanting to stable her soon, she has been in once over night a few days ago and all went very well, she was relaxed and she isnt only brought in for riding, she can be brought in just for feed or for a brush so that she doesnt associate me with work but she is just getting worse and worse and I dont know what else to do.

Someone please help me I will try anything.

Gabbie x
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post #2 of 4 Old 11-06-2011, 10:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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My horse used to be hard to catch so I made it more work to not listen.

Instead of walking after him and he galloped in the other direction, I got a lunge whip and I made him move his feet.. we were back and fourth in the pasture running around and if he tried to stop, I'd send him in the other direction.

He got so sick of running around, that he stopped and would turn and look at me. When he did that, I stopped (released the pressure) and would wait for him to either walk towards me (It helps to have cookies) or I'd take a step and watch his reaction. If he backed away, I'd send him off again. If he stood, I'd wait and then take another step.

When I got over to him, I'd praise him like there was no tomorrow and I'd give him cookies and make it very pleasant.

Then I'd bridle the little man before he could run off. The secret of bridling is to prepare the halter in your left hand, and have the rope draped across your arm. When you bridle your horse, bring your left arm under their chin with the entire halter, pass the long strap that goes over their poll and fastens up to your right hand that should be waiting at the base of the mane, and that way if they try to back up, and run off, you are right there to stop it.

After you can catch her, catch her more often.. even if it's more hand grazing or popping her in her stall for hay. Make her WANT to be with you.. that doesn't mean babying her or half-asking.

Good luck
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Skyseternalangel is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 11-07-2011, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Central Coast CA
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Firstly, if you have the availability of a smaller pasture or paddock, put her in that to work on catching, something about the size of an arena.
If you don't have that option this is what I use for hard to catch horses.
First, approach the herd. You mentioned that there were other horses in there with her. give them attention and ignore her. If she happens to be near, then stroke her but give her no other attention or attempts at interaction.
When you DO walk up to her and you see her tense as though she is going to move away- YOU MOVE AWAY FIRST. This puts you in control and doesn't leave the decision up to her. That strips her of her dominance.
Take a halter and lead rope with you always. This is likely a trigger to your mare right now that she is going to be caught. Make it a common occurance. Pet her with it in the pasture but do not actually catch her every time. When you do catch her, just stand there for a while, give her some affection, brushing, petting whatever you wish and then release her. Do this as often as possible, sometimes take her out, sometimes leave her in the pasture to do this.

It should not take more than 2 weeks (usually under a week) of this before she will be caught easily and readily at any time.
DCKaio is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 11-07-2011, 05:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Donegal, Ireland
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My horse was the same when I first got him, what worked for us was not catching him! I would come into the field with the headcollar & leadrope & just stand in the field for a bit. Then move closer to him, and closer until I was beside him. Then I might just give a pat or spend some time with him in the field at liberty (no line attatched or anything). It made him realise that me coming into the field didnt always mean being dragged out to work, that we could just have some chill time too :)

I really like DCKaio's ideas too! (y)

Across the Border
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