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Moody, Stubborn horse - when does the exercise become unproductive

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  • Horse galloped for five minutes in round pen wouldnt etop
  • Do horses get moody when in season

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    06-24-2013, 09:00 AM
  #11
Foal
Hey, fellow Wisconsinites!

I'd definitely try some calming supplement, if this seems like it is going to be a regular problem while she's in heat. My mare typically are a little volatile during one of their spring heats, and then fairly calm.

If she's safe enough while in heat, and doesn't act up on the lead line, you could do exercise on a lead line to make her think: weave her through cones, walk patterns over poles, but again, only if she will calmly (and safely) walk next to you.

Or, ask your MIL what she did if this horse acted up, how she worked her, etc. Get more info.
     
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    06-24-2013, 01:57 PM
  #12
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palomine    
Are you working her in the round pen for a specific reason?

Or just doing it?

Horse may also, if trained to ride, be sick of the round pen deal too.

And if you need someone to help you cut her off and turn her? Then you are doing something wrong.
I may very possibly be doing something wrong. I video just about every "training exercise" in order to review and see MY mistakes because I know I'm making them. I have a video of that day if you'd like to critique (?) I'm brand new to owning a horse and fairly new to horses altogether. I'm working her in the round pen for bonding purposes mainly... I also throw a rope/whip at her, walk her around the property, weave her in and out of barrels and any other exercise I see other people doing. I've not been riding for long and I need more practice before I try to ride her. She has a lot of brio and she's a sensitive horse. Very, very smart - she's hand cued and catches on before I do... I know that if I am jumpy in the saddle she's going to be jumpy too. She does not forget bad experiences for a very, very long time. I have a trainer coming out to the farm to work with me on my own horse next month - until then, I'm working on trust and communication.

My main purpose in starting this thread was to (1) find out if others have had similar experiences with heats and (2) find out what is the fine line between working out the stubborn (winning) and working the horse too hard. My MIL is a self proclaimed anxiety ridden worry wart (yep.. and she owns horses?!?) and she has HIGHLY recommended I stop working her when this happens so that she does not over heat and die. I think I'm a pretty responsible person, and to me I have never seen her in that condition... but what do I know?
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    06-24-2013, 02:05 PM
  #13
Weanling
I would like to see the video, you might be doing something wrong. If she's only like this whole in heat you should try mare magic.
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    06-24-2013, 02:09 PM
  #14
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by star16    
If she's safe enough while in heat, and doesn't act up on the lead line, you could do exercise on a lead line to make her think: weave her through cones, walk patterns over poles, but again, only if she will calmly (and safely) walk next to you.

Or, ask your MIL what she did if this horse acted up, how she worked her, etc. Get more info.
Hi Star :) She absolutely will calmly (and safely) walk next to me even while she is in heat. That is a good suggestion - I just wondered if folks thought it was silly to cater to the hormones or not? The reason I had her in the round pen that particular day was because she did not readily come to me from the pasture, so I thought I'd make her want to come to me. HA! She had other plans. Lol. Seriously.

My MIL has virtually done nothing with this horse. She has about given up on her 100 times because she's not dead broke. The only reason she gave her to me was because I have been mucking stalls with her every Saturday for more than a year just for the heck of it, she "sensed the mare has a sweet personality and would do well with attention" and she was trying to decrease her horse expenses. My SIL was doing some round pen work with her last year because she was a basket case when she first got here from Kentucky - but my SIL is not sold on groundwork, she'd rather jump in the saddle and work it out from there. She has A LOT more experience than me. My SIL can ride her w/really no problems other than she wants to GO, but since I've been doing groundwork with her she's doing better with that too :)
     
    06-26-2013, 09:49 AM
  #15
Yearling
Several things come to mind, reading your posts.

(1) Round-penning/join-up does not make a horse want to come to you when it's in the pasture. It trains the horse to turn and face you and approach you in the round pen. The horse won't make the association between it not coming to you in the field and you chasing it around a round pen. Quite frankly, I wouldn't get hung upon whether they come to me or not in the field, so long as they don't run away.

(2) Round-penning/join-up is overused and it is not the answer to everything. If your horse is galloping like a maniac around the round-pen for 45 minutes, it's in flight and reactive mode, not learning and thinking mode. It's most certainly not bonding with you or learning to come to you. And charging flat-out around a circle for 45 minutes is bad for their joints. If I am going to do join-up with a horse, I work it at a trot and I am fairly sure that it will not go into panic mode at the pressure that I will put on it in the round pen. It can be a useful exercise for teaching a horse to pay attention to you and your cues, but not if the horse is thinking flight because it feels trapped and you're chasing it. If your horse doesn't really understand the exercise or is the sensitive type, it takes a lot of timing and feel on your part to get them to come to you and not upset them. When you put a horse into an enclosed space and chase it, you're in a very powerful position and they feel very vulnerable. It's not something most people can muddle through.

(3) A lot of mares will be hotter and more reactive when they are in season. I cater to that, to an extent, but I know my horse well. If my horse is having a raging heat, I don't take her out on long trail rides alone, because she'll be sharp and spooky and it won't be fun for anyone. I know that next week, when she's no longer in season, we can do all the long trail rides I want. I still make sure the horse behaves when being lead, tacked up, etc., but over the years I've learned to not pick fights with that part of her that will always be hers (this is why a lot of people have geldings). But I can't say that everyone should then start ***** footing around and using it as an excuse to let their mare get away with anything and everything. It's a careful approach I have worked out through 14 years of working with one particular mare, catered to her, and based on my absolute certainty that she will resume being a saint of horse within a few days. She's never failed me.

In any case, if your mare is having a strong season, she might be more reactive and more likely to have a meltdown in the round pen, especially if you are novicey and don't yet know how to apply and then remove pressure in a productive, positive way.
     
    06-26-2013, 10:09 AM
  #16
Yearling
Addendum:

I just reread your OP and wanted to add that I don't think it's useful, nor indeed accurate, to equate "respect" with the horse approaching you in the round pen or conversely, "disrespect" with the horse running away. There have been several empirical studies done which suggest that horses are conditioned, or trained, to approach the handler because they get a reward, the removal of pressure when the handler (or remote control car in the case of one study) stops chasing them. But as I said above, a horse in a reactive state of mind won't respond to conditioning as easily.
     
    06-26-2013, 02:31 PM
  #17
Yearling
I think it would be in your best interest to put her on a lunge line and just work her at a trot. You have more control, and it is way more productive than just blasting around a roundpen. Maybe throw down a ground pole or two - my boy (who hates to be lunged) pays far more attention when I do that.

Just remember gloves! I forgot today, and now it hurts to type
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    06-27-2013, 02:19 PM
  #18
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by thesilverspear    
Several things come to mind, reading your posts.....
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Very good advice ~ all of it. I will layoff when she is in heat, because she is definitely a whole other horse.

My other problem is that she does what I ask her to do almost immediately every time. I'm never ready to quit "playing" as quickly as she is... as I've said I'm new at this and I want to "practice" for more than 5 minutes... LOL! However, should I be moving on to something else once I get compliance?
     
    06-28-2013, 10:51 PM
  #19
Foal
I have a trainer that uses a rope halter and incorporates Clinton Anderson's methods on the groundwork. The rope halter is great and my mare responded so fast. All I have to do is wiggle the lead line and say "back" and she gets away from my space. She could get so zoned out at times, I had to get help.
Also, since it is so hot and she is getting worked for at least an hour or two, I am giving my mare some Vita-Calm mixed with some crushed apple treats about twenty minutes before working her. The Vita-Calm has tryptophan, Calcium and Magnesium, and the apple treats have alittle sodium. I won't give this to her every day since it can build up in their system and then you have to be off it for two weeks and start over again. Helped to calm her alot the first time I used it. Very helpful when she is in season. Plus, I don't think the previous owner/riders ever rode her outside, so she is enjoying being outside and learning to go straight instead of in circles or along a rail of a small indoor arena. After the first training session, I was able to walk my horse down to the pasture while making her walk behind me instead of up beside me.
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    06-29-2013, 05:50 AM
  #20
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmateurOwner    
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Very good advice ~ all of it. I will layoff when she is in heat, because she is definitely a whole other horse.

My other problem is that she does what I ask her to do almost immediately every time. I'm never ready to quit "playing" as quickly as she is... as I've said I'm new at this and I want to "practice" for more than 5 minutes... LOL! However, should I be moving on to something else once I get compliance?
I would. I find that most horses get soured on seemingly pointless exercises or repeating the same things over and over again. They aren't dogs and don't have the same interest in fairly repetitious "play" (and I doubt they see the backing and yielding exercises as play). If you're working towards something, whether it's ever increasing elevation and engagement for a dressage horse, or going round a course of fences for a jumper, or chasing cattle for a cutter, or even going somewhere for a trail horse, you'll keep their interest. Even then, a good trainer won't jump the same fence one hundred times, or spend an hour schooling only the half-pass on the same line.

I'm not one for drilling groundwork. If I can lead the horse from A to B and it's soft and willing, get it to yield its quarters and forehand and back up, have it stand tied (or even groundtied) for grooming, tacking up, and mounting, then I'm happy and I don't belabour that work. I've seen horses get cantankerous and sour when they have owners who make them do little circles or yielding exercises just to do it, but without any point from the perspective of the horse (horse already knows it, but owner thinks it improves the "bond").

I had a music teacher once say "practice makes permanent, not perfect." If you're "practicing" free lunging your horse and just end up chasing her around and getting her worked up, but requiring a second person to cut her off, you're not practicing the timing and feel, the skills needed to do that exercise in an effective or useful way.

If your MIL is horsey and gave you the horse, why isn't she helping you?
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Tags
horse sweating, mare in heat, moody, stubborn, working too hard

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