Dear backbone, please grow. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-16-2011, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 5,582
• Horses: 2
Dear backbone, please grow.

I'm not sure if this is actually going to be a "journal" or anything, more of just a temporary admitting of defeat. I may continue writing in here if I grow a backbone.

Anyway, I have a 7-year old Paint/QH mare named Abby. I have talked about her before in random other threads. I have only had her since September and she is the first horse I have owned. When I found her ad online, it didn't say much, so I emailed her owner and asked for a picture and some more information. I fell in love with her in the picture and even more so when I went to look at her. She is the definition of my perfect horse and she's gorgeous, which makes it even better.

Howeverrrrrr. she has learned lately that she is bigger than me and is learning to push my buttons...annnndd it's basically killing any confidence I had. I am a wrangler at a summer camp, so she's not the first horse I've ridden or anything, but the majority of those horses are more than deadbroke and I am comfortable riding the horses that are only ridden by wranglers. Although I don't like him just as a horse much, I am pretty comfortable riding the hottest horse there. Granted, he's a 25-year old Arabian/QH, if you aren't paying attention, he'll take off at a full gallop and he's the fastest horse in the herd by a lot.

While I was home for Christmas, Abby did God only knows what to her back right leg. She wouldn't put weight on it when I discovered it. It looked a lot like a horse at camp that kicked at another horse and got her leg caught in the gate, but the vet said it looked like rope burn, then another lady at the barn said she probably got kicked. I dunno. She's a horse. The ways they manage to hurt themselves is a wonder. Anyhoooo, she wouldn't let me come near it and would attempt cowkicking if I did.

The vet came out..on Tuesday and tranquilized her to look at it and Abby tried cowkicking her even under the influence of a fairly strong tranq. After she figured out it wouldn't hurt, she was fine. The vet wants me to spray some antibiotic spray on it if I can. She said wrapping it would have been best, but there are no open stalls inside and the snow would get it wet..and I would have to drug her up every time I needed to change the wrap. So that's out.

I was out there today to try the spray and that was basically a fail. Another lady there suggested getting the BO (a guy) to twitch her tomorrow morning while I try spraying her leg again and she should calm down. She's learned how to push my buttons.

Basically..the point of this is that I need to grow a backbone and Abby needs her ass handed to her (and stop her herdboundness that she has developed) and she'll be fine.

I just needed to rant and admit that I have lost a great deal of confidence in myself.

Sorry this is so long. I am just typing, so I doubt it makes sense. Suggestions and the like are welcome.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-16-2011, 10:02 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
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Hello Poseidon =] I'm not very familiar with problem horses, as I've worked with ponies almost all of my life (yes there is a difference in their behaviors and why they do things o.-) but I'm going to try to give you some help.

First off, it sounds as if Abby has decided that she's the boss and that you can't do anything to control her- and essentially, that is true- but ONLY if you ALLOW her to be the boss, and you don't have the confidence to tell her you are the boss. Thats the first problem and something you can't just give up on. If you allow her to be the 'lead mare,' she's going to start messing with your confidence, your happiness, your love of horses, and really even your head if you let her. So that really needs to change. You have to want it to change though, and until you decide that you're going to stick to this until the very end, there really isnt even a reason to try. Try to get into the mindset ' I am the lead mare, you will listen to me. '

Respect starts from the ground up, meaning you need to have her listening when you're smaller than her before she'll listen to you when you're on her.

telling her that you're confident with your body language[even if you really arent ) is a key thing when you go to catch her, release her, walk her somewhere, treat her wounds, tack her, trailer her, etc. hold yourself proudly, and don't act afraid around her. If she gets too close to you, glare at her- staring right into her eyes and shoo her away. Tell her who you are and what you expect! Slumping, avoiding eye contact, and allowing her to push you around will make it even more firmly ground into her head that SHE not YOU is the lead mare.

At the moment it would not be a good idea to have her 'join up' with you, but once her leg is healed I HIGHLY recommend doing it. It will make her submit to you, and tell you 'ok, ok. you're the alpha.' check out How to Join Up With a Horse - wikiHow to learn how if you've never done it before.

WHILE her leg is healing, just work on ground manners as far as not letting her crowd you. If she gets to close, push her away with your body language. Tell her 'hey, that doesnt fly with me. cut it out.'

Drop the riding for now, until she's listening to you on the ground. THEN you can start riding her again- and DONT GIVE IN if she acts up! Correct her correct her correct her. Dont let her stop until she does what you want. YES she is stronger than you and YES she will ALWAYS win a war that envolves muscle. You a tug of war with a horse. you CAN however, will a wits war. Use your head- catch her off guard. Make her work! Try reading Four Ways to Teach Your Horse Respect for help with riding, its helped me and my boys a lot.

I dont know if that helped at all and its awefully late... theres so many other things you could do that I havent even mentioned, but I need to sleep ^^ just remember that your ACTIONS cause REACTIONS. A horse will always take advantage of unconfident owners. If you can, seek professional help. Ciao and I hope you guys can get back into your rightful pecking order again, keep me updated!


P.S; please please please leave the twitch as a last resort. its rather cruel and can make so many things go wrong. If you have to, then fine- but tire your other resources first. Try graining her as you spray her leg!

Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-16-2011, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
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Thanks. I'll try that. I haven't ridden her often because first she was about a half hour away and I had class until 4:15 and I wouldn't get out there until after dark usually, then she got ulcers, now her leg is healing.

She listens fairly well under saddle fi you give her a smack when she does something to test you, then she calms down and accepts that you're the boss.

And twitching is basically a last resort. She tried cowkicking the vet under a fairly heavy tranquilizer. The vet would have liked to have it wrapped up (she has cuts all over from what the vet thought was rope burn. dunno.), but she literally said "There is no way in hell you're going to be able to wrap that without tranquilizing her every time." Clearly, nothing is going to distract her. She's just being a b*tch about it. She let me touch my hand down to her hock, right above the first cut, which was a huge improvement. She's just afraid of the spray in general. I tried spraying on her and around her where she could see and she still spooked every time.

She knows when I'm mad at her because I make my body language. She lowers her head submissively immediately and basically looks like a pathetic puppy.

She also respects my space and decent manners on the ground, it's just her cowkicking, which begun from her ulcers. She didn't do it before then. She usually comes when calls, isn't pushy when leading or standing, she stands still while tacking up.

Either way, she's a dbag right now and that's why I'm frustrated.

Thank youuu.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-17-2011, 05:19 PM
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mmk. You made it sound in your first post as if she was just a monster all around. If her manners arent that bad and its just the spray, I guess there really isnt much you can do if she won't even calm down for the grain. Maybe you could soak a clean rag in the stuff instead, and try to get her to let you run that over her sores? It may be less scary.

Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-17-2011, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 5,582
• Horses: 2
Oh, she's definitely not a beast all around. I was more frustrated when I wrote it. She is just a b*tch.

I was talking to my BO about it today and he said the spray really won't do much good anyway because the wounds are old. and scabbed. He likes that vet and they're good friends anyway, but he's not sure why she gave me the antibiotics because she's outside in the snow, so it stays clean for the most part.

And he said she must have gotten kicked because a couple geldings got put in with Abby and this one other mare she's usually with because they were moved to a different paddock thanks to snow. Anyway, they got into a scuffle, I guess and he figures that's why her leg swelled up. It's down again and she's putting weight on it.

But if she wasn't going to behave about it, I wasn't going to do it anymore unless it would make a difference, which I figured it wouldn't anyway.

So she's good now and I can do those respect exercises with her until her leg is completely healed. She's pretty good now, but there's no reason not to make her more respectful of me since I'm still fairly new.
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