Progress with my mare - little brag! - The Horse Forum
  • 3 Post By EquineGirl1965
  • 1 Post By tinyliny
  • 2 Post By Saddlebag
  • 2 Post By EquineGirl1965
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-09-2013, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: East Coast of Australia
Posts: 89
• Horses: 1
Thumbs up Progress with my mare - little brag!

I've had Amber since July 2012 and I'll give a brief run-down of her issues in a moment. She's a Quarab chestnut paint, 14 hh and just turned 16 yrs. I bought her at public auction and didn't know her history but she looked nicely balanced and quiet in the ring. When she got home, over time I found out:

1. She was hard to catch.

2. She didn't like people much.

3. She didn't like her mouth being touched.

4. She was head-shy.

5. She would occasionally buck, pig-root and regularly shy/spook for no reason I could see.

6. She wouldn't accept worming paste.

The first issue was the most important. I tried all kinds of things to help work her through: sitting in the paddock ignoring her; sending her away; attempting to bribe with feed or treats...nothing worked consistently and I could go for a week at a time being unable to get near her. Today I had the biggest break-through. Amber not only let me approach her in the middle of the paddock, but she lowered her head through her halter to boot! It's the first time she's done that without a fight and I'm so proud. Once caught I brought her home for a wash, and she stood calmly while I completed this including her dock and udder. Afterwards I walked her to dry her off, then took the lead rope off...and she continued to follow me. If I turned, she turned, if I stopped, she stopped. MAGIC! I think we finally have achieved join-up.

She still doesn't like people much - she will not approach strangers at the fence - which I think is a good thing. But under saddle or with me leading her, she allows people to pat her. Most of the time anyway.

She still doesn't like her mouth being touched but she tolerates it now. Sometimes she also takes feed and treats out of my hand...which is huge progress as she always turned her head away in the past.

Amber is no longer head-shy. I can put on a halter or bridle, groom her face, scratch her poll, wipe her eyes, just about anything, as long as I do it slowly and gently.

She's still shying and spooking from time to time. But I think it's mostly because she's a mare. The bucking and pig-rooting got her nowhere so she never does it under saddle any more. She'll run around the paddock and give out a little buck or two but that's just her letting off excess energy and it's great that she's so happy in her skin.

I haven't given up on worming paste but I usually prefer to dose her with pellets. Why stress out a horse which has come so far?

All of this has been achieved by working at her pace, thinking like a horse, using and watching body language, being gentle and patient, and getting help from a really good trainer every couple of months. Even he is amazed at how far she's come - he's also my farrier so he's seen a huge improvement.

Yeah, I'm just a little proud of her. She's doing so darned well.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-09-2013, 12:56 PM
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great work! you have every right to be proud.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-11-2013, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: North Carolina
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Congratulations I'm working my mare in natural horsemanship also
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-12-2013, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: East Coast of Australia
Posts: 89
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I went out for a ride today. Amber has stopped shying at everything and now only shies a few times a ride...way better than when we started out as she would shy every few paces. We also took a new trail and she willingly trotted and even cantered through a narrow section. She's enjoying our rides and so am I...we are both a lot more relaxed and calm.

I'm in the process of buying a Standardbred mare and she'll be barely started under saddle. So that means I'll get the opportunity to teach her the finer points of ridden work. I'll start her on groundwork and slowly progress to ridden work. She'll have a week to settle into her new herd and then we'll get started - just hanging out with her and a bit of grooming for the initial week of contact, then I'll move onto a bit of ground work on a line, then at liberty.
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-12-2013, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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Just a tid bit, when on the trail keep her mind busy by moving her feet, not just following the trail. Circle rocks, trees, anything you can to keep her focused on you instead of thinking up something to shy at.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-12-2013, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: East Coast of Australia
Posts: 89
• Horses: 1
Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
Just a tid bit, when on the trail keep her mind busy by moving her feet, not just following the trail. Circle rocks, trees, anything you can to keep her focused on you instead of thinking up something to shy at.
Have to be very careful riding trails here as we have a few venomous snake species around. They're very active right now so my eyes are constantly on alert for them. But I love heading into the bush with her as it's quiet, I can ride along and listen to the birds calling out and feel like we're a million miles from anywhere. And this is all at the end of my road!

I do move her up and down through her paces though so she's listening to my aids and keeping her focus on me.
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