I am currently working with a 5 year old Standardbred mare. She was a racehorse and I have a theory that something traumatic has happened to her at the track because since she has come back, she refuses to go into the barn. I have been told that she was a hard break and was a 'useless racer' because she was inconsistent and 'broke' a lot in the races.
I was asked to help get her into the barn at night (For some reason the barn owner insists the horses have to come in at 9pm!) This mare will rear up and almost go over backwards when you ask her to be lead in the barn.
I have done everything I can think of... Done some ground work- have gotten her to the point where she will lead mostly respectfully, stop when asked, and back up. But when it comes to bringing her in, I have tried positive reinforcement with treats, pressure and release, but nothing seems to work.
I cannot put a chain over her nose. She will flip over. Speaking from experience. I have also tried having a assistant tap her hindquarters with a driving whip and stopping when she moves forward. This resulted in her swinging her hind-end towards the assistant and bucking at her, then began her huge rears again.
She may have had some whip abuse at the track. But I honestly do not have a clue. But all signs point that way.
I am just looking for some different ideas to try with her. I have told the barn owner that she would probably be just fine outside at night. She has a run-in shelter, heated water and would be fed. She has a thick coat. But the owner insists that she comes in, but he is not capable of doing that himself because of his age (Over 70) and his recent surgery.
I just don't want anyone, person or horse, getting hurt and would appreciate any ideas or tips.
I do not want any judgmental comments such as 'That old man shouldn't own horses' or 'horse sounds crazy'. We all have our opinions, but lets keep them to ourselves and only say useful and respectful things. Thanks!