I have a problem with my 8 y.o. standardbred mare being excessively grumpy. She has very good ground manners and will do whatever I ask her. I do a lot of Parelli with her also.
However, I have a real problem when asking her to circle around me, either lunging or circling game. She has her ears permanently pinned back and she has flexion to the outside. Anything else I ask her to do, she will do happily and with her ears forward. i.e. moving backwards, sideways etc etc
I also have trouble as sometimes in the paddock, she will sidle up to me with her ears back and stand really, really close to me. Should I just send her out of my space as she's trying to be dominant?
And occasionally when I'm leading her and I accidentally bump her, she puts her ears back and threatens to bite, never actually bites though. I don't really know what to do - should I tell her off and get her out of my space or just ignore the grumpy stuff she does? Perhaps she's just I normal mare... i don't know lol
When she acts that way, she is being dominant and pushy.
You should ask her to spin her hind quarters, side pass, yo-yo her back, anything to get her feet moving. She is trying to dominate you, and she does not like you sending her away when you ask her to circle because that means you are sending her out of the herd, and she thinks she owns the place.
She doesn't respect you, she tolerates you. It should be the other way around.
edited for spelling.
Seeing as you do some Parelli, have you done a Horsenality profile on her? Sounds like she is a left brained introvert possibly.
For circling, she may be BORED BORED BORED with it! lol. She may see no point at all going in a circle, especially since she is left brained. Try this.....as you ask her to circle, if she starts leaving with a nasty look on her face shut it down immediately. Shake the rope up and down to interrupt her pattern. Then gently ask her to go again. You're basically telling her "Wipe that look off your face!" Now it's your job to be more interesting and provocative, otherwise she will continue to hate circling. It must have a purpose. The flexion to the outside sounds again like boredom. She's like, "Oh brother, here we go again, I hate circling......when will it be over?!"
Like in the paddock, if she ever comes toward you with her ears pinned back drive her away immediately. Focus on driving her front end the most. Drive her away and don't allow her to come in to you until she has a positive look on her face. This is a very dominant behavior and her pattern needs to be interrupted. Be prepared for her to possibly lose some confidence, so you may need to revert back to confidence building strategies.
My new horse has an issue with me accidently bumping into him as well. Have you done Extreme Friendly game with her? Can you jump all around her and have her be okay? My new horse has a real problem with high energy being in his personal space so I'm working on that and he's getting a lot better.
thanks for the replies so far. They are really helpful. I thought sending her away was the right thing but I just wanted to make sure that others agreed.
in response Spirithorse:
She is fine with the extreme friendly game. I can run around her, get inside a sack and jump around and smack the ground with the carrot stick. She stands there half asleep lol
I'll try both of your suggestions in about half an hour when I go down to see her.
I am with you on this one. Same thing is happening to me. My horse lunged great just a month ago now. Now I have been doing all these sacking out exercises and he doesn't want to lunge just pin his ears and point his nose at me. I think he is confused with standing there and be calm and move around in a circle. I smacked him a few times last night with my whip and he just stood there and looked more angry. He was find before. How do I get him to know the difference.
If she gets in your space regardless of her reason, you push her out. End of story. I don't care what a horse's history is-its MY space and no one enters it, it's a simple safety issue :D
As for the rest you are describing I'm not sure I fully understand... :?
I agree that your mare needs to respect you. My mare Jubilee is quite dominant as well, but not as much with people. She will do stuff though, if she knows she can get away with it. Before, when I first got her, whenever I went in the field to catch her, she would turn and walk away from me. I started doing a lot of groundwork with her, just simple things like asking her to back and turn, and she started respecting me. I also started not putting up with crap undersaddle. She respects me so much better now. She has never been a pushy horse, but she stands quietly, wont enter the barn unless beckoned and does get intrude on my space. She also comes TO ME in the field now! Haha. I think, especially with mares, they need gentleness and respect from you, but also firmness. She needs to know that you, not her, is in charge. She needs to start respecting you more. Good luck and I hope things work out for the best!
Yesterday, I had her doing figure 8s around some buckets at liberty. She was perfect and tried really hard. I don't get why she is grumpy sometimes but not others... Obviously I have at least some respect from her to get her to do this... Are you sure she'll understand why I'm sending her away when she approaches me with a grumpy expression?
Ok, this may help people know whats going on with her grumpiness when lunging/playing circling game. I ask her to walk out on a circle and she's fine. BUT when I ask her to trot, thats when her ears go back and STAY back for the whole time! Until I ask her to come back in, and then her attitude immediately changes and she's happy again. *sigh* horses are so confusing!
Yes, she will understand why you are sending her away when she has a crabby look on her face. Or at least she will once she thinks about it. As soon as she gives you a snotty look send Zone 1 away strong and then let her be. Don't ask her to do anything else. Now you are playing the game of "The next move is yours." It may take her awhile to make a change but hang in there. You'll want her to either look at you and ask a question or come to you with a nice expression. Or she may just stop, in which case you would cause her to be curious by heading for Zone 5 and when she looks at you draw her to you.
Also when you ask her to trot and her ears go back shut it down. Shake the rope to interrupt the pattern then gently ask her again. Be consistant with this and you will see a change.
A horse responds to pressure, and when the horse gives into the pressure and does what you want him to do then you release the pressure and praise him. That programs the horse so that after several times doin the same thing, it will be ingraved into his brain, so that when a particular pressure is applied then he needs to preform the requested task.
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