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This is a discussion on RESCUED FILLY=1ST HORSE within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    08-04-2008, 05:49 PM

I recently rescued a young morab filly-she's about 9-months now. Our first goal with her was to get her use to humans working around/with her. We were making great progress with her until recently. We could brush/touch her nearly everywhere, including the legs, and lead her easily.

Now she's beginning to rear up quite a bit and kick once in a while. And her nipping is becoming more and more frequent. The biggest problem is probably the fact that my father, who is helping me keep the horse, and I are both a little pensive to work around the horse because one of us might get hurt.

NOTE: She does need worming, and I realize this might cause some aggravation. This might be the reason why she started acting this way, but I won't know until the ranch owners get her wormer.

We are looking for a trainer, but they are hard to find in my area without someone having to travel great distances. I realize she probably thinks of us food-givers, as we were usually the ones giving her the grain and treats. We have completely stopped giving her treats now, I don't know if this a good thing or a mistake, but I want her to stop associating us with her food.

OK, my big question. Does anyone know what we should be doing until we can find a trainer?? Is there a certain way we should grain her? What tools should we get and how should we use them so she stops the bad habits (especially nipping)?

I was given a Lyon's book on training horses and he reccomends always having a hank of rope with you so you can scare/slap the horse with it rather than slapping it's snout with your hand. This way they don't associate your hand with being slapped all the time. So we will probably pick up some good rope and a short crop (just for noise) ASAP.

Please give me your advice. Time is crucial, and I want to spend all of it as wisely as I can. Dolly (filly) is a good girl and will be a great horse, but I need help guiding her in the right direction.
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    08-04-2008, 05:56 PM
Wow, that's pretty interesting, we just got a horse as well; although she's older, about a year and a half and my problem is she won't let humans anywhere near her and touch her.

I have no advice on what you should do - sorry - because I don't know either, but might you have any advice on my situation?

Also, I've read in several different places that giving horses too much grain can lead them to be over-energetic and jumpy, and nippy and kicky, mayve you've been giving her TOO much grain? Also, how much do you feed her? I've heard that feeding them too much alfalfa hay can also lead to too much energy. Can you lead her? Maybe you need to exercise her more or something? That's all the advice I can give, we just got our first horse as well.
    08-04-2008, 06:23 PM
Well, I don't feed her. The ranch owners probably give her 1.5 bales to last her 2 days, but that's just an approximation. I try to watch her hay consupmtion, but it's hard as I'm only with her an hour each day.
As for the grain, my dad does that. He probably gives her about 2 scoops, once a day, though I'm not sure. I don't know how big the scoops are, probably a little under 2 cups. Getting too much grain sounds highly probable. I guess we'll try cutting down on and the grain a little and see what happens. Thanks for the advice!
    08-04-2008, 06:34 PM
Oooh, yeah, I'd suggest trying to spend more time with her... horses need to create a bond with you before they'll respect you and listen to you, and to do that you need to spend a lot of time with them, even I know that. She probably doesn't see you enough.
    08-04-2008, 06:38 PM
Until you find a trainer, you need to handle her. Put a foal halter on her and get her used to it. Where are you located? Rearing is something babies do, not that it's right, but it happens. What is she doing when she rears? Is it when you approach her, ask her to do something or is she playing. Whatever the case you have to establish ground rules and teach her that you are not another foal to play with.
    08-04-2008, 07:56 PM
I have a mare that was abused before I got her. She didnt want to be around me or have anything to do with me. So I used to go out to her paddock and read a book. Or something of that sort. Just anything that doesnt involve the horse. That way, she will learn to accept you more easily and she will come around quicker. Doing lots of ground work with her will also help. Make working fun and interesting. Give her something new to do every day you work with her. That way, she will accociate you with fun and interesting stuff.
    08-06-2008, 03:54 PM
Have you ever watched any of the Clinton Anderson type videos? They are very helpful, and even though you want her to bond with you, you also want to teach her respect. I like Clinton because he doesnt let a horse be pushy or get away with bad behavior, but he isnt mean about the correction. He is very big about teaching a horse to not come in your space until the respect is there or as a reward for doing well. He has a very natural way of training. I thinks it odd that she let you touch her and now she doesnt, and its not a bad thing that she associates you with being a food source, that's part of bonding when I first get mine. He also goes into the basics of just working on the ground with them. I have 3 geldings and one mare, and in my experience my mare is the one that can be an angel or a trial. She just knows how to push buttons and she will try and be the boss, its just her nature. She is probably the smartest of all 4 that I have...and that's just the way alot of mares are in the ones I have handled. Plus you factor in when they are in cycle and they get more moody. Anyway if you can get cable, they have clinton anderson on RFDTV and he has a website, and there are other trainers I like too, like Dennis Reis. I just pick up the things I like and what makes sense here and there.
    08-06-2008, 06:14 PM
DITTO on the Clinton Anderson tapes... and RFDTV. This filly needs to learn respect Now before she becomes a big, pushy, dangerous, full grown unwanted and untrained horse. Put her in a halter and lead, carry your crop and make her respect your space. No more treats, cut way back on the grain and spend lots and lots of quality time with her. Groom and love on her. The very second she nips at you or shows disrespect, you have three seconds to make her think she is going to die. Lyon's rope and a very loud NO, then back her up ten steps.... After she is corrected, immediately go back to grooming her, leading her, whatever you were doing before. You don't want her to be afraid of you but YOU need to be the boss mare. How do you think the filly's mom would react if the filly did something wrong? The mom/mare would correct her IMMEDIATELY, with a nip, push, or dirty look. You need to do the same.
    08-06-2008, 06:38 PM
I just want to add that I've only been a horse owner for 3 years, and I have learned alot in this time. I read everything I can get my hands on, watch other people with their horses, learn what I like and dislike by watching trainers on tv/video, and go from there. I, too thought that if you just treated a horse good (fed, cleaned up after them, spent time with them) that would do it. But it doesnt, there are days you just really have to get PO'ed (like the time my ungrateful mare went nuts on me and almost hurt us both) and remember that everything you are doing is in the best interest of your horse or you so that no one gets hurt. For example, I used to watch some horse owners tie their horses to the nearest tree for hours when they wouldnt behave, and Id think to myself, that poor baby tied up to a tree that way. But now, with time and wisdom, sometimes that is the best way to correct a horse that is not minding, it gives you time to think, and them time to realize that bad behavior isnt going to be rewarded and you are in charge. (you keep in mind of course weather etc, I live in texas so its hot) I mean if you have kids, you don't let them get away with bad behavior...and that is really essensially what a horse is, a kid that needs to learn what you expect of them. My gelding tried to kick me one time because he got possesive with his food, so after smacking his butt once and a 30 minute ungrateful piece of ---- lecture, I held his feed bucket for the next week and made him eat with me holding it and messing with him the whole time. He did not like that one bit, but he's never tried to kick me again either. And you will learn in time when they are intentially being difficult and other times you may be giving them mixed signals, but biting is really something that needs to be corrected right away. Honestly its the only time I really smack them in the head area at all (i don't like head shy horses), I immediately pop them on the nose. I did that one time with my mare, and she never tried it again. And young horses will try everything, and that's when they are the most unpredictable. Just keep in mind you are doing it for their best interest.
    08-06-2008, 10:51 PM
Originally Posted by dovelady4
Well, I don't feed her. The ranch owners probably give her 1.5 bales to last her 2 days, but that's just an approximation. I try to watch her hay consupmtion, but it's hard as I'm only with her an hour each day.
As for the grain, my dad does that. He probably gives her about 2 scoops, once a day, though I'm not sure. I don't know how big the scoops are, probably a little under 2 cups. Getting too much grain sounds highly probable. I guess we'll try cutting down on and the grain a little and see what happens. Thanks for the advice!
Why don't you see your feed dealer and ask about a supplement designed for a growing horse? Straight grain may not be the best, but what I feed my mature mare might not be it either. If you change it, change slowly and stay with the new one for a month to watch for affects before deciding it is or isn't right. Also, if possible, I would feed her the grain/supplement in two feedings rather than one.

We have completely stopped giving her treats now, I don't know if this a good thing or a mistake, but I want her to stop associating us with her food.
Is she nippy just at your hands or anywhere at all? If it's your hands, it is likely that the treats may be part of the cause and cutting them out will likely help. As for not associating you with food... I would definitely ENCOURAGE that not discourage it. That makes you the boss and the good thing in her life. If I have a horse that needs manners, I often start at feeding time as lesson time. My newest addition, for example, wanted nothing to do with a halter. Well, when she figured out that the only way she was getting supper was with a halter on, it didn't take long to get her used to it. Within 3 weeks of only dealing with it at supper time, I could then walk up to her anywhere, anytime and throw the halter on her.

Some horses respond quite well to just vocal discipline too. After a while, they'll even respond to your body language. Maybe if you just set your mind to being slightly angry with her (like, "who does she think she is anyway?" type of attitude) when she acts up, your entire response will be different and she'll react accordingly. She may well be spoiled. A spoiled child makes a rotten teen and an irresponsible adult. Be firm and stamp your foot (even literally sometimes) so she knows who's boss.

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