Need help with stubborn mare! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 01-30-2014, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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Need help with stubborn mare!

We live on a farm and I have had my warmblood mare for about two years now. She hadn't got ridden for a while because of some complications with my pregnancy. During this time I handled her every day - I groomed her and took her for walks on a lead rope. When I got the thumbs up from my doctor I was so exited to get back into riding. But...

She just refuses to go forward! She stops when she decided she had gone far enough and then bucks a lot to get rid of me. This was never a problem before, and I really believed we had special bond.

How do I stop this stubborn behaviour? I've tried rewards, treats, sweet talking, even hitting! HELP!
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post #2 of 16 Old 01-30-2014, 06:24 AM
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I would go back to ground work and get her respect again, it sounds a lot to me like she's just got spoiled during her time off and doesn't feel the need to do her job anymore. You'd be wise to rule out pain as well - how are her feet? When were her teeth last floated or looked at at least, and does the saddle still fit properly? If she's in pain you can't blame her for wanting to escape it.

And stop with the treats and sweet talking, especially WHEN she's misbehaving - all you're doing in her head is reinforcing the bad behavior by rewarding her. Once pain is ruled out, It's time be a hardass and remind her who's boss - ground work is where that starts.
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post #3 of 16 Old 01-30-2014, 07:56 AM
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If she behaves normally when you walk her in hand but suddenly acts up when you get on her back, I would take a look at back pain or any other possible cause of pain too. Since she hasn't been ridden in a while, she may have lost some muscle tone and that matchmaker it harder for her to bear weight.

If she's A-OK according to your vet/chiro/farrier, then I would think she just got spoilt.
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-30-2014, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. The farrier was here about two weeks ago, but will get the vet to check her over as soon as possible. Really hope nothing serious is wrong with my girl!
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post #5 of 16 Old 01-30-2014, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heleen Strydom View Post
We live on a farm and I have had my warmblood mare for about two years now. She hadn't got ridden for a while because of some complications with my pregnancy. During this time I handled her every day - I groomed her and took her for walks on a lead rope. When I got the thumbs up from my doctor I was so exited to get back into riding. But...

She just refuses to go forward! She stops when she decided she had gone far enough and then bucks a lot to get rid of me. This was never a problem before, and I really believed we had special bond.

How do I stop this stubborn behaviour? I've tried rewards, treats, sweet talking, even hitting! HELP!

She has had a one year vacation and is not too keen on leaving the "good life" and going back to work.
And the rewards and treats have not worked because she probably did nothing to really earn them, thus they are bribes, and bribes rarely work (except to "lure" a horse into a trailer or out of a paddock or such, and even then , they do not cure the problem).

Bond has nothing to do with this. Your horse thinks you have a bond, too, and that the bond consists of her standing near you, maybe following you on a leadline and getting treats. She is confused as to why any of that should change.

Since she is bucking when you apply the whip, and since you are a parent of a small child, you would be smart to get a trainer or a sharp rider to get on her and get her going forward, regardless of the bucks. The bucking will probably stop when she gives up the idea that she should be able to stop when she wants. You, or the trainer, has to change her mind as to who's the boss and what her job is.
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-30-2014, 03:37 PM
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Yes, I would agree to work with a trainer just so this doesn't become her pattern? How was she before this when you rode her?

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post #7 of 16 Old 01-30-2014, 04:21 PM
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One thing I will say right now, is that when you are trying to get your horse to behave and respect you - I wouldn't use treats or sweet talk.
Maybe one treat at the end of the day ONLY if she has been good, but I rarely give my boys treats. And when I do it is only when they did very good for me.

One of my horses likes top buck, he doesn't get a treat. My other horse is doing much better and is actually lsitening so much better now, so he gets one treat. But I wouldn't really use treats to reward - it can cause them to become spoiled and possibly even worse.
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post #8 of 16 Old 02-01-2014, 04:21 AM
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I agree with people that have said stop giving treats, for now at least. But it is not because treats as such cause any issues, but *Its the behaviours people inadvertently reinforce* that do. So if you're not knowledgeable & skilled with training, I'd probably avoid it until you are.
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post #9 of 16 Old 02-01-2014, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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I got Winter checked over by the vet - nothing is wrong with her. So it's official - she is spoiled!!! Starting tomorrow it's me, her and ground work again! Thank you for your advice and replies.
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post #10 of 16 Old 02-01-2014, 11:02 PM
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Good-oh. Is the vet an experienced bodyworker & did he also check your saddle for fit? Teeth/bit for comfort? I suggest having some lessons, as if pain/discomfort are ruled out, then it's likely something you're inadvertently doing/not doing that is causing her 'stubbornness' and especially if you're aiming to train up the pony for your daughter, you really want to be sure what you're doing.

I just twigged you're the same poster with the 2yo daughter - I certainly wouldn't be putting her on your WB then, at least until you have a very respectful relationship with the horse & if she's seen the horse buck, or you after a fall, another reason she is reasonably afraid.
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