She hates all horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-18-2008, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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She hates all horses

I have a very temperamental OTTB mare. As long as there's no face to face contact she doesn't mind horses being near her while she's not being ridden. But as soon as she has a rider she pins her ears at every horse that gets near her. It always happens at the trot and canter and about half the time at the walk. I have no clue why she's like this.

I thought it might be a pain issue. I check her back before and after every ride and there's never been a problem. Her saddle isn't a 100% perfect fit but it's not to narrow and doesn't rub her withers. And she doesn't show any signs of pain when she's ridden by herself.

I also thought it might be something that happened to her in her racing days. Maybe she learned to associate the sting of the whip with a horse approaching from the rear. I have no idea.

So far she's only kicked at one horse (she missed). But she always pins her ears and slows down. I don't know what to do other than to keep her moving forward when she slows down so the other horse doesn't get within kicking range. How can I correct this? I ride in group lessons all the time and plan on showing her this summer. If she keeps this up she may not miss the next time she kicks.
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-18-2008, 09:35 PM
Green Broke
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Hey there,

I have the SAME issue with my mare...she is an ANGEL to people and she's okay with other horses most of the time when she's not being ridden but the minute she's working in the arena or on the trail and another horse gets near her she pins her ears back and even tried to kick a horse & rider on the trail before!!!

What I've heard from my trainer is that she is just not used to being ridden around other horses yet...she wasn't used much at her old home, and when she was it was just on the trail directly behind or in front of another horse...she doesn't like when they get up next to her. Another issue is that she is an Alpha mare with a capital "A"!! lol So I think most of the time she's just aserting her dominance!

What I've done is just force her to walk/trot alongside other horses/riders (horses that I know are calm!!) and I tell her it's ok and pat her neck while we're doing it. Eventually she calms down, gets used to it, and stops pinning her ears and acting like she's about to kick. She's gotten a lot better about it in the month I've had her and we've been doing this...I think you may need to just get your horse used to it and with time, she'll get used to it too.

Just make sure you keep a close eye on her...I always lean back a little and collect her head when another horse comes to try to discourage a kick from her, but ever since I've been exposing her to the situation more, she doesn't seem like she wants to kick or get mad much anymore!

You may just have a very strong willed mare, like mine...good luck with your training!

"The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you..."
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-18-2008, 10:54 PM
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I've always refused to think that mares that are like that are mean by nature, but as of recently because of a horse at the barn I have started to wonder that. Any horse that gets near her stall and she will lunge at them and I mean attack. She will do the same thing with people except she just lunges at the stall wall, once you go in the stall she seems to be ok(tho I've only seen it done. I stay away from that horse).

I wonder if it's a hormone thing. I know some women are like that so I could see how it's a hormone thing with horses as well

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post #4 of 11 Old 12-18-2008, 11:29 PM
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I worked a Stock type morgan that was a definate alpha mare. She had to take the lead on trails and was hard to pair in team drills in the arena. We had her working with a big ex racing TB who had to move up along side her one day and she pinned her ears and kicked. Caught him dead in the chest. Fortunately he was fine, but it scared us because she never pulled things like that. We finally figured out that it was due to him being a more dominant gelding in his pasture and she felt she was being challenged. Your mare may feel threatened and be protecting herself, and you from the other horses.
I'd recommend, to start, warning anyone you ride around that she is horse aggressive and to keep back. Then you'll need to develop a plan to restructure her thought process. Good luck.

The best index to a person's character is (a) how he treats people who can't do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can't fight back ---Abigail Van Buren
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-18-2008, 11:55 PM
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If you go to a show with her, tie a red ribbon to her tail. That way people are warned that she may kick if something gets to close behind her. Mostly I have been told that it means the horse may kick at another horse if it is to close but I stay away from any horses butt that has a red ribbon tied to I don't have any suggestions on what to do to change the behavior except start slow with maybe a friend and their horse not getting to close but up to the point where she is uncomfortable and keeping her going while the other horse keeps the same distance. Walk around or trot around at that same distance for awhile each time you ride to see if you can get her more relaxed and make her keep her focus on the job at hand.

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post #6 of 11 Old 12-19-2008, 01:02 PM
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April gets that way. As soon as she starts to pin her ears back and acts aggressive I put her to work, trot fast circles, lope-stop-lope, you get the picture. She has gotten much better since I think she associates aggresivness with work. I also agree with M2G with the mare part... they are more moody by nature

It's not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-19-2008, 07:08 PM
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I've got a mare that is the same way. I cured her by getting a bigger mare! All the geldings I had were too docile to do anything. This new girl has put the old girl in line. Now the old girl doesn't mind anybody. Go figure.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-19-2008, 09:28 PM
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I have the same problem with my OTTB gelding. He 's fine with all horses until he gets under saddle, especially in a group of horses, when he pins and makes to bite, rounds his back and gets behind the bit and fools around. I'm feeling that is that it is coming from experiences at the track, even though that was seven years ago. He also has to be the first horse on a trail ride. Sometimes it's OK with one horse, especially in the arena, but with a group he's always uncomfortable. Luckily, I usually prefer to ride on the trail by myself! When he acts up with other horses, the only thing I can think to do is press him forward, which usually helps. Interesting to hear others with the same experience!
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-19-2008, 09:32 PM
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We have a mare just like that at our barn, and I think IMO that she got it from her watching her mother as a foal. This mare, Stella was an EVIL mare who hated every horse, and would kick/bite at other horses weather you were on her or not. When she had Comet, the mare we have now, she was still like that, and I'm almost positive that's why Comet is just like her mother. The only horse that Comet will tolerate (but only to a point!) is Athena, and that's only b/c they used to share a stall as weanlings, so they grew up together.
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-21-2008, 02:01 PM
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I personally think it's just the way she is and you can't do much. My qh does not tolerate any horse around us (especially if I ride her). Even my other horse she's been with for 2.5 years. Actually, she's not big fan of people around me too, but she tolerates them (up to the certain point). I tried to teach her that it's not OK trying to kick at other horses, but she watches for other horses constantly anyway, so I have to watch her constantly too when on ride (so I prefer to ride her by myself, because otherwise I'm getting too tired). All I can say put a red ribbon on her tail and keep eye on surroundings...
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