Working with my mare - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 11-07-2006, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: in the country, Kansas
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Working with my mare

a few details first......

we purchased my 4 yr old bay appendix mare almost a month ago. the previous owner said that she had been mostly pastured, rode infrequently, and usually only with a gelding that she followed around while he did cattle work. she is very buddy sour.

she is kept at a friends house right now, about 4 miles away, until we get our fencing finished. my friend has an 11 yr old mare, 4 yr old mare, and a 7 mo. old filly (daughter of the 11 yr old). they are all pastured together. i go down everyday to groom and feed her.

i try to work her everyday when there. if i can't ride, for whatever reason, i longe her. i also spend some days doing nothing but loving on her, completely separate from the others. brushing, talking to her, rubbing her, etc.

most days she is calm and focused. when i ride her, i longe her for 10-30 minutes (depending on her mood) first, with saddle on. then i climb up and ride her in the fenced pasture. the filly is usually stabled at this time and the other two mares are removed to a separate pasture.

there is usually some resistance from her when i first get on, i.e. rearing, head-throwing and pawing the ground. up until yesterday the rearing was only 6-8" off the ground. but yesterday we had a rodeo!!! :(

side note:i have on one occasion, taken her out of the pasture for a ride down the road, with my friend and the 11 yr old mare. we had a good ride, except for one moment when she spooked and i went off. i climbed right back on and the ride continued with no further problems. we rode that day for about 5 miles. the 11 yr old mare is TJ's MAIN buddy, she is always by her side when they are free-ranging.

yesterday, i longed her, rode her in the pasture, and then we attempted to go for a road ride again (with the 11 yr old mare and my friend). we got to the end of her driveway (about 1 ½ acres away) and then it was rodeo time. she came up off the ground, straight up. looked like "hi-ho silver away". head-throwing, pawing, rearing, snorting, etc. the whole she-bang!!! this time i could not get her under control, whatsoever. as much as i hated doing it, i took her back to the barn, unsaddled her, brushed her out, checked her feet, and put her away. i know that is the wrong thing to do, but at this point our safety was first and foremost in mind. i might add that my friends' mare was doing almost the same thing, but she got under control quickly. TJ never got under control until she was back in the pasture.

we saw nothing that could have spooked them, but i realize there could have been something in the grass that they saw/smelled and we couldn't.

i got the other mare out and we went on our ride, with no problems, for 10-12 miles. when we got home we realized that both of these mares were coming into heat. i suppose it is possible that TJ is also, but we saw no sign of it, like the other girls. (flagging, winking, etc.) both of the other mares have had babies, TJ has not (if that makes a difference?).

so this is my BIG problem... one day she is great and the next day she is a devil child. it is very frustrating... i know she is only green broke, but is this normal to have good days and then bad ones??

i do have her set up with a trainer as soon as he is free. but how do i handle these problems in the meantime?
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post #2 of 42 Old 11-10-2006, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Location: in the country, Kansas
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two days ago, my friend (Terri), her hubby (Bill), and I decided to take all three mares for a road ride.

Bill asked if he could ride TJ and of course, i said "Sure, but if you get hurt, I'm not responsible" he, of course, laughed and said no problem.

he got on her in the pasture, after i had longed her for a bit, and she started throwing her head and only wanting to be near the barn. he fussed back some and she finally calmed down for him.

we left the yard and rode for 10 miles, getting back to their house after it was completely dark outside. we rode on some pretty deserted roads (lots of coyote scat), one stretch of paved county road about ½ mile, through a very small town (right down main street), and back onto a dirt road, and home. we passed dogs, horses, semi-trucks and cars, and not once did she spook!! (i ride her in the pasture and the wind scares her)

overall, i was very pleased with her that day. she did well for Bill. i've decided that part of my problem is that i'm afraid she will throw me, so i'm nervous. i HAVE to get over that!!!! i know better.

the trainer called last nite and he is ready to take her this sunday, so all is well with that!

i still need all the help i can get in the future with her, so help me out here guys all you want. my past experience is with well trained horses, not green-broke. but am willing to learn all i can.
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post #3 of 42 Old 11-11-2006, 06:03 PM
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You didn't mention what breed of horse you have-? As a trainer, this means a lot to me when working with clients horses. Different breeds have their own dispositions, allowing me to adjust my training to each horse accordingly.

Then there is the green broke issue. Yes, your horse is learning quite a bit during this time. She is also quickly learning between riders what she can and cannot get away with.

The other thing I have picked up on is that your horse is with new horses, and has found some great friends, some true barn buddies. Your horse is comfortable with familiar faces and her comfy stall, so going out on a trail ride that is a new experience and sometimes stressful, is not always her choice. Hence, she wants to run home and will try all sorts of tricks on you.

I am very impressed that you have decided to hire a trainer. This will help you not only understand your horse better, but you will have a professional evaluation of the situation and what can be worked out to help your horse, and your future safety. I hope that your trainer will include you in working with your horse.

In the mean time, check that your horses mouth is not in pain from teeth coming out, sore gums, an improper fitting bit or one that is too harsh (or too soft/no control) and that all of your tack is fitting well and comfortably on your horse.

Yes, mares in heat (well, mares in general) do tend to have a reputation for having unpredictable and irrational behavior at times, so regardless of the training she gets, always keep that in mind!

Make sure that your trainer is taking this horse on trail rides for trail training, since that seems to be what you do the most. Ask your trainer if he will be doing this because many trainers stay within their own facitlites to use such as their arenas, round pens, etc. That is what your horse will of course need, but your situation includes riding on the trails, so that should be part of this trainers plan, in my opinion, or else you will still have issues out on the trail regardless of how well trained your horse is under saddle.

Hope that helps, let me know how things work out :)
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post #4 of 42 Old 11-13-2006, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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thank you Rider for your response......

my mare is an appendix quarter. (Sandys Honest Money x Handy Bee Jay) the top side goes back to Honest to God >Honest Pleasure > What A Pleasure > Bold Ruler, and Bar Money > Three Bars. the bottom side goes back to Tee Jay Squirt >Jackie Bee and then Our Lady Fourth > Swen Hired Hand > Hired Hand's Cardinal > Hired Hand. with, of course, a few others thrown in there like Raise A Native > Native Dancer, and others......

so, we are talking about a quarter/thoroughbred mare.

yes, she is with new horses. when i first got her, the only horses at the location she is kept, were an 11 yr old mare with her 7 mo. old filly. then a week or so after getting her there, another 4 yr old mare came. she is very partial to the 11 yr old mare, always staying as close to her as she can. she waffles on her feelings about the other 4 yr old mare, sometimes friendly, sometimes fussing.

the majority of my problems are happening in the fenced pasture, there at the barn area. when we go for "trail rides" she is always with the 11 yr old mare, and on the latest ride, with all the adults, we left the filly at home. this last time, we only had some slight problems, wanting to go back to the barn, at the beginning of the ride. after she realized that Bill wasn't going to let her go back, she settled down for the long haul, with no further problems.

the trainer came yesterday and picked her up. he checked her teeth and said that her wolf teeth had been pulled, and that he saw no tooth problems. i have been using a tom thumb bit, and he said that was ok for now. he also says she has "soft eyes" and should be no problem. plus he is encouraged by her "ground behavior". he said i could come down anytime to watch her training.

she still has not shown any signs of being in heat. so i'm not going to worry about that for now.

i will keep you posted, and once again, thanks for responding...
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post #5 of 42 Old 11-14-2006, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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another interesting (to me) side note i forgot to mention in the previous post...

on the latest ride, with my friend, her husband and i, TJ took the lead on the ride. in the past, she has always been the last horse in line, prefering to follow. we weren't concerned with this because we felt it was an improvement with her, that she chose to step out in front, instead of always being behind her buddy.

i went down to the trainers last nite, and she was working good! i waited until he was done and putting horses away before i spoke with him.

he worked in the round pen, and also worked her, walking and trotting, around barrels and the pole bending pattern. i felt this was good as it seemed to help her reining, which she doesn't like to do. i have never been able to get lateral flexion with her at all. he did!!! i was so encouraged by what i saw.

when we spoke, he said that he felt she needed a running martingale for awhile, and would implement that. he also said that more than anything, she needed miles. he was very confident that she would come along nicely and quickly. said she was a good horse!!

boy, am i glad i sent her to him........
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post #6 of 42 Old 11-26-2006, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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this past saturday, the trainer let us know that he was taking TJ to the local arena to do some calf work. several people got together and were working some new steers, to teach them all about chutes and penning.

we went down to watch them work, and boy was she doing great!

she got right in there with the rest of them, wasn't afraid of the calves or the commotion. everyone was hooting, whistling, and just generally making lots of noise. she was doing real good with turns and stopping also. occasionally he would tie her at the other end of the arena, away from everyone else (which she hates), and of course, she would whinny, stomp and move around, but he would leave her there. she needs lots of this as she is so impatient and herd bound. hates to be tied alone!!

she is starting to keep her head down (martingale is helping) and put her butt down on stops. her laterals are much better.

we were very encouraged by watching her work. he did say that she is still very hyper at the beginning of a ride, but feels that part of this is because of the thoroughbred in her. he round pens her for awhile before getting in the saddle, and then she is ok.
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post #7 of 42 Old 11-28-2006, 02:58 PM
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When your friend rode her and she was fine - was it with all of the same tack?
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post #8 of 42 Old 11-29-2006, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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yes, prior to going to the trainers, she was always ridden with the same tack.

now the trainer has her with different tack, as he prefers to use his own, instead of hers. i can't tell you what kind of bit he is using, other than it is different than the tom thumb that i was using.

trainer took her for a 7 mile road, ride this past monday afternoon, BY HERSELF. he said she did great!!! this is a major accomplishment for her, as she hates to be by herself. he told me that she is doing real good in her training, but that when she is "boxed in she gets upset". i took this to mean that anytime she is doing something she doesn't know or understand (or want to do), then she freaks out. understandable! they are working through all kinds of situations and for the most part, she is working through them. i am real pleased with him so far.
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post #9 of 42 Old 12-12-2006, 07:45 PM
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I really enjoy your documentation on her training! I enjoy hearing how she is progressing. I think it was very wise that you sent her to a trainer, and am happy you still get to be part of her training by watching her progress and talking to the trainer. Please keep us updated!
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post #10 of 42 Old 12-13-2006, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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thank you kristy for saying that. i'm glad that i have someplace to share, and hope that you guys can keep me grounded and not let me forget any important things i need to think about.

latest update:

went down to the trainers, monday night, to watch him work with her. before he started with her, i groomed her from head to toe and just spent some time alone with her.

then he saddled up and went to work. i sat quietly in my car just watching.
he did some round pen work with her and then took her off, into the field. they did all gaits, stops, backs, and then he took her around the barrels and poles, getting her use to the patterns at a very slow pace. this is good, cause eventually i would like to do those with her.(barrels/poles). he would circle each one a couple of times and stop/back at each. i asked him later why he did that and he said so that she didn't pass them up or anticipate a next move to soon. he also took her into a stand of thick trees which will aid me later in trail riding. took her around several obstacles(combines, carts, etc) to de-sensitize her to them, as she will occasionally spook at things. she also has an issue, once in awhile, with dogs, so his lab runs around following him and will sometimes jump up at the horse. she is getting use to him now and no longer spooks at him. at first i thought the dog should be put up when working the horse, but realized his logic with him running loose - it teaches the horses to ignore them, as loose dogs can be a big problem when out riding on roads and such.

she is doing much better with lateral flexions and lead changes. those were big issues with her at first, wouldn't do them. she is now getting all her feet under her in the right order and lead changes are starting to be more automatic. before, when she would canter, all her feet were going in different directions.

as far as the laterals, this was the biggest challenge to me. i could not get her to do them at all, so of course, i had no emergency stop with her. now we do!!

she is doing much better at keeping her head down too. before, she always wanted that head way out in front of her and higher than her withers. it was tough for awhile because once that head went up and out, she was on her way with no stopping.
now she pretty much keeps it at wither height or lower. yay!!!

i've been telling hubby that when she is done at the trainers, she needed to come home to our house, so that she learned to be alone. (she is very herd bound) he would not agree to that, and felt that we weren't ready for her at home, and she needed to go back to my friend's house. well!!! the trainer said she needed to come home!!!!!!! so now we have been spending every spare moment, getting a place ready for her. its almost done, and will be done by the end of this weekend!!!
she will come home sometime next week/weekend. i am sooo happy

so thats how she's doing............
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