Trouble Ahead?
   

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Trouble Ahead?

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  • Submissive herd bound horse

 
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    05-14-2011, 08:01 AM
  #1
Weanling
Trouble Ahead?

Sorry for posting two threads within several days of each other, but I am looking for some feedback.

Yesterday I got my pony out. My mare, however, has decided that she's the greatest thing since sliced bread and this previously independent horse was running the fence line, calling for the pony. The pony, good on her, barely reacted, but I was pretty irritated by the mare's behaviour.

I got the mare out, and when I had her on the lead with me, she stopped calling for the pony and mostly just quietly did what I asked. However, she was very restless, very high-strung, very tense, and quite spooky, which is not at all normal for her. She would also try to keep stealing glances back at the herd in the paddock. I tried to stay as calm and serene as possible, but I did give her a good wallop when she was starting to get dangerous, and it took me a long time to get her calmed down.

This morning I got her out again and she was quiet and willing, just still fairly restless. She whickered to the others a few times and would look at them as much as I let her, but much of the time she followed me around with her head and ears down and I had no issues besides her trying to walk a little fast. When I put her back, I discovered she was winking and peeing, so yeah...she's in heat. She came in heat almost exactly this day last year, too. I hate using this as an excuse for bad behaviour, but at least her restlessness and hotness is more...understandable, at least.

So now my question is: even though she's fairly quiet and submissive around me, do you think there will be a problem when I ride her out alone this summer, away from the others? If so, what should I do to prevent or deal with this?

And should I just have left her alone yesterday when she was running the fence and calling instead of bringing her out and working with her? I mean, yesterday didn't go so hot-do you think I could have just cemented her desire to be with the herd by doing this? Or was bringing her out away from the others the right thing to do?

Could the fact that she's in heat be the reason she is so herdbound, or is this completely absurd? Do you think I'll have less of a problem when she is no longer in heat?

Uh...she's never ever had any herdbound tendencies before, so this is just really discouraging and frustrating. I don't know what I did wrong.
     
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    05-14-2011, 09:28 AM
  #2
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThePrettyHorses    
So now my question is: even though she's fairly quiet and submissive around me, do you think there will be a problem when I ride her out alone this summer, away from the others? If so, what should I do to prevent or deal with this?
You won't know for sure until you try it, and different horses react differently. For some, being within sight of their buddies is comforting and they become more unsettled when you ride out of sight. For others, once they are out of sight of their buddies, they are less excited and become focused on you. In either case, you just need to keep putting more and more miles and hours of experience out being alone. Your horse will learn that riding is work time, its buddies will still be there when you return, and you'll keep it safe when you're out together.

Quote:
And should I just have left her alone yesterday when she was running the fence and calling instead of bringing her out and working with her? I mean, yesterday didn't go so hot-do you think I could have just cemented her desire to be with the herd by doing this? Or was bringing her out away from the others the right thing to do?
Any time away from the herd helps, and more importantly, don't let the horse dictate your schedule. The horse needs to learn that some things need to be done when you need/want them to be done, from grooming to trimming to riding/working. Just make sure you always set aside enough time to finish what you start... you're much more likely to end on a good note.

Quote:
Could the fact that she's in heat be the reason she is so herdbound, or is this completely absurd? Do you think I'll have less of a problem when she is no longer in heat?
Not absurd and certainly possible, but in my experience with mares, it doesn't seem to be a major factor in herd bound horses.

Quote:
Uh...she's never ever had any herdbound tendencies before, so this is just really discouraging and frustrating. I don't know what I did wrong.
Probably nothing. Horses and herds are not static. The old saying that 'every ride is different' is very true. What you're really looking for is actually one of the biggest goals in getting a horse to being seasoned, and that is to achieve day to day consistency in work performance. Work, practice, age, patience. Frustration and discouragement not allowed
     
    05-14-2011, 12:12 PM
  #3
Weanling
Thank you PaintHorseMares for answering all my questions. I guess I do just need to get on and ride. She's had a bevvy of soundness issues for months and is always hurting herself, so I haven't really worked her in a long time. I'm always so concerned with planning and controlling and being prepared for everything that sometimes I miss the bigger picture.
     

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