Training a 4yo Angloarab mare? Help?!
 
 

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Training a 4yo Angloarab mare? Help?!

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  • 4yo horse classes
  • Riding angloarab

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    10-03-2013, 01:27 PM
  #1
Foal
Question Training a 4yo Angloarab mare? Help?!

Hello everyone!

I am new to this site so it may take some time for me to respond. Here's a little about me:
I grew up riding Arabians so I am very familiar with their temperaments. I have been riding since I was a little girl but quit riding in about junior high school/early high school. About a year ago, I began riding again (I am 24 now). I still "have it" but I am in the process of getting my strength back and getting my position back to it's normal state.

Anyways, I found my first horse ever back in August. I have always just looked online at horses just for fun and I ended up looking at this ad for a 4 year old anglo-arab mare that was 15.3 hands. For some reason, I just KNEW I had to have this horse. I am currently in college and I kept telling myself I was an idiot for even thinking about getting a horse. I even told my parents about it and they were very supportive of getting her, which is very unusual for my parents knowing my financial situation.

Fast forward, I buy her and bring her home. I feel completely overwhelmed because I am thinking to myself "****take mushrooms Michelle...you now own your first horse...what are you doing?!" Even after being around horses all my life, after I brought her home I swear I forgot everything on how to take care of a horse. I am like "when do I worm her, when do I know when she's lame, when do I do this...when do I do that" I feel like I seriously just got thrown a test I haven't studied for in 20 years. It's weird.

Now, I also grew up only riding geldings. My first trainer HATED mares and only had geldings so I was basically forced to ride geldings. Even the girl who owned the Arabs I grew up riding only let me ride the geldings. The first mare I have ever ridden was one of the mares at the barn I currently work at now.


NOW HERE'S MY SITUATION!

I know to expect my mare to be a little on the "wonky" side because she is young, half arab, and a mare. She's a handful, and I was completely aware of this and she is pretty much my dream horse (tallish, arab of the sort, and young). When I ride her she likes to try and go whichever direction she wants to go and when I try to correct her, she pitches a fit. When I try to squeeze her into a trot she pins her ears back, kicks out to the side sometimes, halts, squirms around, sometimes even rears. I try to be gentle when squeezing her because she is very "short" and doesn't have much of a back so if I move my leg too far back with her, I am kicking her in the abdomen. After a bit of persuading, she will eventually trot until I tell her to walk. She does try to get away with a lot of stuff including eating the brush around the arena so I know to expect that "baby" attitude. I don't even attempt to canter her while under saddle because she is already giving me a hard time getting her to trot. She also throws her head around when I try to take any contact with her. Again, I know that's the baby in her.

I lunge her with the surcingle in the walk and trot with a very soft contact. She does well with that. I will occasionally canter her around just one time on each side. She likes to buck buck and throw her head around going into the canter. As my barn manager says "she canters very down hill" and has no strength for it so she isn't balanced.

My question (after my novel, thanks for reading!) is what exercises or methods would you suggest to work with her while riding to help with these bad habits? This is my first time training a horse from the basic level and I really want us to bond and ride well. It's more like we fight one another and get irritated with each other when we are riding. Any help or videos or whatever will be greatly be appreciated.

THANKS!

P.S. Is "mare magic" actually worth it? Everyone I know swears by it. I have never seen a mare be in heat like her! She's a mess!!!

(Here's my "nightMARE" or as known as "the witch" at the barn, Rosie...or I call her ROO!)
     
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    10-03-2013, 01:40 PM
  #2
Showing
What ground work have you done with her? What kind of training did she have before you got her? It really sounds like she has not been brought along properly and her "refusal" is not because she's a mare or because she's being naughty, it's because she doesn't know what you're asking her to do.

I own a 4yo draft cross gelding that I've brought along from a virtually unhandled 2yo stud colt. One thing I've learned is that you CANNOT rush them. That means you walk and do circles and serpentine until they do it perfectly with the softest request before even thinking about moving on to trotting.

Also, have you had her by a chiropractor and vet for pain?
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    10-03-2013, 01:50 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum    
What ground work have you done with her? What kind of training did she have before you got her? It really sounds like she has not been brought along properly and her "refusal" is not because she's a mare or because she's being naughty, it's because she doesn't know what you're asking her to do.

I own a 4yo draft cross gelding that I've brought along from a virtually unhandled 2yo stud colt. One thing I've learned is that you CANNOT rush them. That means you walk and do circles and serpentine until they do it perfectly with the softest request before even thinking about moving on to trotting.

Also, have you had her by a chiropractor and vet for pain?
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Ground work has basically just been light riding in the walk and trot in a dressage saddle and I have been using the reins like side reins because of her head tossing. She had "1 year professional training" before but it was western. The farm I bought her from was a great barn but she was taught completely differently from the training I do. I noticed she couldn't walk or trot a straight line and was very squiggly. One of the girls at the barn who is more experienced than me rode her and said that her squirmyness is from being trained that way. She was trained to collect by putting her nose into her chest, not by actually collecting properly (typical in the arab world...ughhh).

Any time she does do something correctly, I always always always make sure she knows she did a good job.

And no, I haven't had a chrio out to check her yet. I just lost my job two weeks ago so I am limited on my budget currently. I may end up moving out of the apartment with my fiance and move into the stall with my horse to avoid paying rent and board. HA!
     
    10-03-2013, 02:01 PM
  #4
Showing
Working under saddle is not ground work. Ground work is lunging, yielding, backing, pivoting on the forequarters and hindquarters, etc, all with you on the ground holding the lead rope. Look up Clinton Anderson and see what he recommends teaching your horse on the ground before you get in the saddle.

It sounds like there are huge drive-a-semi-through-them-holes in her training, both on the ground and under saddle. It doesn't matter if she had a year of "professional" training if that training was crap.
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    10-03-2013, 02:01 PM
  #5
Trained
I think you need a trainer. She's green, you're green. It could turn south very quickly for you both. You can't just do some exercises and be good. She's going to need probably several things going on at once to get her right. She's a wiggly little horse who is still figuring things out.

I know she's young and it could be my iphone screen doing it but I hope that's not how she normally stands. If it is, stop all work and get the vet out.
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    10-03-2013, 02:04 PM
  #6
Weanling
What a pretty girl! Agreed with Aires, though. She is probably just confused. I got my boy as a late 6yo who had 60 days with a trainer at 3, then was taken out a few times a year for trails until I got him. His previous owners just didn't have the time or the know-how to do much else with him, and they were more "mare" people anyway, at that!

On the upside, at that age he was developed solidly enough that I wouldn't have to worry about breaking his little baby bones, but I still had to consider that lack of training often equals lack of attention span. When I test rode him at a lope before buying him he was fine. A bit rough around the edges, but did his best. Only after the honeymoon period did he start to really show how green he was! He would crow-hop into the lope every single time because I hadn't properly prepared him to be able to balance himself at that gait with a rider. Once I slowed down and worked on a balanced trot under saddle and a balanced lope on the longe I saw a tremendous difference under saddle and really, in his general demeanor and interest in his work.

It may be a bit frustrating at first having just gotten back into it, but you'll get better. I have been riding for about 16 years, though for about a year of that time I was mostly off for school, and that happened to be right before I decided that I really wanted my own horse. Good lord it was scary at first, and I would have nightmares about leaving my horse overnight, him going lame and me not noticing, hurting himself in some inane fashion, the, "omg everyone else is (graining etc.) their horse and I'm not? I'm such a bad mom, I don't even know how to correctly!!!" moments... You'll get past it and you'll learn, and there will inevitably be things that you feel slightly guilty about for being ignorant. You are doing the right thing by reaching out, though, and always remember to ask questions, because even if they sound stupid, it's better than guessing. Best of luck!
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    10-03-2013, 02:06 PM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum    
Working under saddle is not ground work. Ground work is lunging, yielding, backing, pivoting on the forequarters and hindquarters, etc, all with you on the ground holding the lead rope. Look up Clinton Anderson and see what he recommends teaching your horse on the ground before you get in the saddle.

It sounds like there are huge drive-a-semi-through-them-holes in her training, both on the ground and under saddle. It doesn't matter if she had a year of "professional" training if that training was crap.
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Ahh sorry, I'm in my campus library and it's loud as mess in here. I'm not thinking straight. What I meant to put was ground work has been just been lunging for now and under saddle was what I stated.

And yes, that's why I quoted the professional training because it was crap. She's confused I can tell but she's also irritated lol.
     
    10-03-2013, 02:07 PM
  #8
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunQueen    
When I try to squeeze her into a trot she pins her ears back, kicks out to the side sometimes, halts, squirms around, sometimes even rears. I try to be gentle when squeezing her because she is very "short" and doesn't have much of a back so if I move my leg too far back with her, I am kicking her in the abdomen. After a bit of persuading, she will eventually trot until I tell her to walk. She does try to get away with a lot of stuff including eating the brush around the arena so I know to expect that "baby" attitude. I don't even attempt to canter her while under saddle because she is already giving me a hard time getting her to trot. She also throws her head around when I try to take any contact with her. Again, I know that's the baby in her.
Does she always stand parked out like she is in the photo?

I have a young mare that would act like yours. I had her teeth done and switched up her tack. (I own enough saddles I was able to try multiple combos until I found the right saddle/pad) Different horse. 99% of the issues went away.

Kicking and ear pinning are usually pain or confusion.
     
    10-03-2013, 02:09 PM
  #9
Showing
When she's challenging you, don't assume she may be in heat. If she was trained to work on a loose rein, then she may have no idea of working on contact. Be prepared to start her over again and plug all the training holes. For now when you lunge her, don't ask for the canter as that is an easy way for her to show her disrespect by kicking out. When she will lunge relaxed at the trot, both ways, and is stopping nicely, then try the canter.
     
    10-03-2013, 02:11 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by DancingArabian    
I think you need a trainer. She's green, you're green. It could turn south very quickly for you both. You can't just do some exercises and be good. She's going to need probably several things going on at once to get her right. She's a wiggly little horse who is still figuring things out.

I know she's young and it could be my iphone screen doing it but I hope that's not how she normally stands. If it is, stop all work and get the vet out.
Posted via Mobile Device
HA! I was waiting for someone to say something lol. No, she doesn't normally stand like that. That was right when we were about to load her into the trailer and she spooked a little and got into that position.



This is her attempting to stand normally. She liked to move around in the cross ties when I first got her but she finally stands still.

And yes, we have great trainers that come out but we have to pay for lessons and as said in my last comment, I just lost my job so funds are limited. I was just curious what all I could work on until I have the funds to get us both into some good trainers hands.

AND to clarify, that is a scar on her leg. She got it after birth. Apparently fell on something learning to stand. The vet cleared her and she is completely sound. It does not effect her at all.
     

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