What to do with my 2yr old mare - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-17-2012, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
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What to do with my 2yr old mare

i have a (just) 2yr old mare that I bought in April and she hasn't been handled hardly at all.
i am letting her out to pasture in every day then bring her in at night. I groom her every night, although have missed a couple of nights due to pregnancy/a toddler/ paperwork. I really notice a difference if I miss a night grooming.

She absolutely hates me touching her feet to clean them, she also hates me grooming her from half way down her body where she can't see me, I've managed to her her to enjoy brushing her mane, forelock & tail which she lets me do whilst standing very relaxed, tried doing that a few times in between the rest of grooming but she moves all over the place (I have her in halter and lead rein & have varied the length to see if that helps but doesn't)

Am I just expecting too much and do I just need to give her more time getting used to me?

Also what should I be doing with her each day as I know she is to young to lunge, when people say lead her as much as possible, how long is that for, is it round e roads to get her used to it?
I have walked her round the roads a few times (we live in countryside so country lanes) which she enjoys and she is very sou d at dogs flying out barking, cars passing through puddles etc...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated......

Many thanks x
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-17-2012, 06:38 PM
Green Broke
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How is she too young to longe? I would suggest teaching her to circle you, even if it's just at a walk and trot. Teach her to back away from you and yield her forequarters and hindquarters. This will all help build her respect for you and may also help calm her down so that she stands nicely to be groomed.
You could also starting desensitizing her to certain things. Get a short whip for example and tie a bag to the end of it. Rub it all over her, especially her feet if she has troubles there. This will help keep you out of harm's way if she tries to shy or kick. Do it until she stops moving away from it and then relax. Stopping and removing pressure is the best reward for a horse.
Getting her used to having blankets on her and objects under her belly are also good steps that will eventually lead up to saddling.
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"If a horse fails to do something that is because he was not trained to do it. If a horse fails to do something properly that is because he was not trained properly."
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-17-2012, 06:44 PM
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What do you mean by `she hates me touching her feet`. What are her actions, is she nervous, agressive or what exactly is she doing. I like that you are walking her, it does not really matter for how long you are doing it, a wild horse (no matter what age) moves about 20 miles a day, so I am not sure why you can not even start doing some ground work in the round pen like circleing and so on... as more you do on the ground before she is rideable or lets say fully grown, as easier it will be for you dealing with her under the saddle once she is 3 - if you decide riding her when she is 3 :0) As earlier you teach her that you are the boss and ONLY YOU as more fun and less work you will have with her in the future!
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-17-2012, 09:46 PM
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There should be no issue with light lunging. I'm no expert but have always been told light lunging is fine. Walk + trot nice big circles.

Practice getting her yielding to pressure, backups fore and hind quarters, drop her head. Then put it all into practice opening and closing gates.

Can get her uses to carrying a saddle pad with a circingle (sp)? Or even a lightweight saddle I have an old wintec 100 I can carry with 2 fingers.

Practice float loading and if your interested take her to a couple of in hand shows (good experience).

With her feet I'd more information. Is she worried or being a brat OR being a brat because she''s worried?
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-17-2012, 09:51 PM
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I bought my Arabian filly at two. Just keep working with her. When you pick her feet, is it when you are doing the action or bending down to do it? Her hooves could be sensitive, or she just isn't used to it and unsure. I think lunging is fine. My horse was lunging at 2 as well. Started with a shorter line, taught her cues as far as moving her shoulder away with a crop (do not use a long lunge whip, perhaps just a driving or dressage/training) and tapping, not hitting, it on her points (hips and shoulder). Depending on the type of horse she is, look into surcingles. If you bit her up, have teeth checked though first. Definitely desensitize her to things that some horses may deem scary like traffic or tarps, water, or clippers. These are just some of the things I did. Every horse is different. Ground manners are key though. Establish respect for your boundaries, she stops when you stop. She backs when you back. She moves away when you move towards.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-18-2012, 06:25 AM
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I just bought a yearling a few months ago. She had been handled but was a spoilt brat in that her previous owners let her walk all over them (literally!). First thing I did was get her used to being groomed properly as she was a bit sassy around her belly, tail and flank, she was simply told very firmly that getting sassy with me was not on.

I taught her to yield her hindquarter, back up and then to yield her shoulder. Leading was already ok but had to put a stop to her running past me, when I stop, she should stop.

Those activities will help you gain her respect, as will lunging. At 2 she should be able to handle light lunging at walk and trot, up to maybe 15-20 minutes a day.

My filly was a bit funny about her legs too and tried to kick out, I went gently just running my hands hands down her legs all the time and not always asking her to pick them up every time. She loves scratches on the rump so I would reward her with that. Then progress to just asking her to pick it up for a second and then put it down straight away, when putting it down don't just let it go, put it down gently or keep your hand at her hock as she puts it down.

Not sure if any of this helps, am writing in a bit of a rush!

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post #7 of 9 Old 05-18-2012, 08:05 AM
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Hi ClassyDaarcy. Welcome to the Horse Forum.

Am I just expecting too much and do I just need to give her more time getting used to me?
No! You're expecting too little.

I suspect that when she acts 'fussy' or 'upset' about something (like touching her feet), you back away and try not to upset her but to sooth her.

WRONG! You need to continue doing whatever she does not like until she relaxes and 'settles' and THEN, back away. Whatever a horse is doing when you 'back off' is what you are training them to do. It is just how they respond.

If it takes more than 2 or 3 sessions to get a horse to accept and be comfortable with a certain action on your part, (it usually takes only one when you get your timing right), then you are doing it wrong.

I suggest you do a search on this forum for 'approach and retreat' . This method has been discussed many time. I also suggest that you try to be more of a leader and less of a friend. For some unknown reason on how a horse's brain is hooked up, they become your 'friend' in that leadership and strength is what they crave and truly need.

Here is an old post that popped up that explains a little of how it works.
I am afraid that you are missing everything. This horse needs a competent leader and trainer and not a friend.

If it were my problem, I would put her in a small, sturdy corral. If you don't have one, build one or make one from sturdy panels. [I do not ever use my round pen for a corral. It really messes up the footing and it does not have any corners.]

Then I would get a halter on her any way I could. I have used a stall, bucking chute, a stock trailer or roped them when there was no other way to get it done in a timely fashion. Then, I would work with her and when finished, I would turn her loose in the corral dragging a 15 foot rope. Catching her with the rope should be no problem.

A person that knows what they are doing can use a round pen to get a horse to come to them, but I have never seen this technique taught on the internet. It takes a real live person that knows when and how to 'read' a horse and they 'approach' (drive) the horse at the appropriate time and 'retreat' (draw) the horse at the appropriate time. Timing and 'feel' are everything.

If you catch this horse by picking up the dragging lead-rope, you can do the same thing. The 'approach and retreat' method there is also the easiest on both handler and horse.

The main thing you need to learn -- no matter what method you try -- you cannot back up or offer release at the wrong time. I suspect that is exactly what you have done to make her worse now. Timing is everything and you can't learn that off of the internet.

Even a feral horse that has never been handled can be gentled within a week and can usually be caught anywhere within a couple of weeks. Remember, a horse needs a competent leader that they respect and look up to. From that relationship comes trust. Not the other way around.

Read more: Stuck in a rut
I have to go out and get some chores done, but I will try to come back in later and explain a little more of what I think you need to do specifically.

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post #8 of 9 Old 05-18-2012, 09:52 AM
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For me i would be lunging her. Keep getting her use to grooming. Picking her feet every night, and get her ready to get on.
I broke my 2 year old the week she turned 2. I was lunging her when she got to 18 months old.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-18-2012, 02:41 PM
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I lightly lunged my filly at about 6 months. Too young, maybe, but after weaning her...she needed a job of some sort. She turned two the beginning of this month. Yesterday, i put her first little pony saddle on her. As well as a snaffle. Put her in a stall, lightly bent each direction, to teach her to follow her nose. Then went and drove her...this is a lot of first time things for a horse...but my filly is incredibly smart and needs a job. Keep working with yours. Theres not much you cant do with a two yr old. They will let you know if its too much!
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