The "mental mare"!!
Okay some of you may or may not be aware of my current situation, and I have never properly introduced myself on the forum. So, first of all, allow me;
I started working with horses when I was about 5 years old, and started actually riding when I was about 7 years old. I took lessons once a week, without fail, for 9 years. At this point I had to stop because I could no longer afford the lessons. By this time I was 16 years old. I am 18 now, and since I stopped my lessons I have just been riding friends horses in my free time, helping them whenever I can. In the last couple of months I have been looking for a loan, for myself.
A girl who I used to know when I was about 10 got into contact with me, saying she needed help with her mare. It's not a loan because i'm not paying any money.
This is what I was told about the mare, and I quote; "She is a typical mare. She is pushy and hates it if she doesn't get her own way. She behaves well on the lunge line but not so well when you get on her back. She rears up when you jump her, she rears on the roads sometimes and on a couple of occasions she has reared up when being led if things aren't going her way".
"Great" i thought :shock:
Well Saturday just gone I decided to visit the horse, called Fen. I bought her in from the paddock, spent a good amount of time grooming her, and then decided I would lunge her to see what reaction I got. When I first asked her to move out she reared up at me, I was looking up at her hooves above me! When she came back down I pushed her on, as if nothing happened. Made her work like normal. Just simple walk to trot, trot to walk transitions. I didn't think about making her canter because the ground was wet and slippery. After the first rear she behaved like a diamond!
The next day I told my friend I wasn't too keen on helping, because I just fancied a nice easy horse. Not a plod, but one that didn't need totally re-training! She begged me to help her, so I gave in.
I went back there today. Fen was a totally different horse! She did come over to the gate to me, so I thought, "hey today is going to be a good day". But no. I tied her up inside and she had a right tantrum because she couldn't see her field buddy. She was kicking, pawing the ground, snorting. I knew that persevering would be better in the long run, but I just couldn't groom her when she was doing this, so I moved her outside instead and she stood good as gold, didn't move at all. I gave her a carrot from my hand, and after that she nipped my fingers constantly! I will be feeding her treats from the ground from now on! I decided not to lunge her today because it was very, very windy, and the ground was even more slippery than Saturday. After spending more time with her, I put her in her stable ready to bed down for the night. She turned into a nightmare again! Pacing around the stable, barging me, nipping at me. It took me forever to put her rugs on because I had to keep reminding her that she WOULD stay still!
I know it's not Fens fault, she just needs more time and effort put into her than what her owners are putting in now, but dammit she is frustrating! I am doing my best with her.
My friend wants me to start riding her next week (she was backed at the age of 5, was good as gold with her previous owner but as soon as my friend got her she changed), but I really don't think thats a good idea. I was planning on spending a couple of weeks at least just on the ground with her. Am I right? My friend really hasn't done much for this mare, I feel bad for her. I am an experienced rider, I can't wait to get on her back and see what she can do!
Well anyway I apologise for my waffling! Here are some pictures I got of Fen on Saturday:
P.S: please ignore my hair and lack of make-up!! :-o
Well good luck with her! One thing you should start teaching her on the ground though: ONE REIN STOP. Very very useful. My horse used to be pretty pushy at times, but now he's an angel sent from Heaven above (: Training ~ One-Rein Stop That website explains it very well.
You're welcome! Oh ok. Just go to Natural Horse Supply . com (put the spaces there for a reason.) and click on training article at the top. after that on the left it shows the article index. Just keep looking on the index until you see one rein stop.
Sounds like she has taken advantage of your friend. It is definitely fixable, but she has to be taught respect from the ground up. Be picky with her, and make sure whatever you do is done to earn her respect. Demand it!
You are right, you need to fix this on the ground before the saddle. She could seriously hurt someone in her current state, especially rearing under saddle.
I'd be doing the same as you- lots of work on the ground first to get her back in the mindset that she needs to listen and that being pushy or bratty isn't going to work. If your friend wants her ridden next week, she should do it. Otherwise, she should respect your skills, opinion, and desire for personal safety since she seems to want your help so badly.
You are on the right track. Don't hop into the saddle until you have her respect on the ground. She certainly needs to be in the right, respectful mind frame on the ground before riding comes into the equation.
Is your friend there with you while you are working with the mare? To prevent this happening again, it might be a good idea to explain to her what to do to get and maintain dominance, and why it is important. That way she can keep this mare working well.
Good luck! Post pics of how she is going
I agree with Lakota. Sounds like this mare knows she boss because your friend has let her get away with it. Does your friend discipline or reprimand her at all when she acts up?
I had a similar situation with my old gelding. Owners let him get away with EVERYTHING, including climbing up your shoulder if he "spooked," putting him away if he "spooked" or didn't want to do something, you name it. We had to start at the very beginning. Lesson one was "I am the alpha. You do not crowd me. You do not push me. You do not TOUCH me, unless I say it is okay." This meant that if he crowded into me or tried to push me, he got backed up until he decided to stop being a dick. One day we had to back all the way down the aisle between the stalls (a good 100 feet or so), but we did it, and after that I rarely had a problem. Lesson two was "I am the alpha. If I say you are going to stand here for an hour and not move, then you will stand here for an hour and not move." Took a lot of standing tied and letting him tire himself out by fidgeting and pulling back (I was always right there in case something happened), but he finally learned to stand quietly. He got a good smack on the shoulder or chest if he even ACTED like he was going to paw or kick. As for nipping/nibbling/biting, he didn't have a problem with that, but Aires, my current horse, did. Aires had never been taught that biting was not acceptable. First time he latched onto my forearm 'cuz he got pissed off, he got my hand HARD across his nose. He hasn't bitten me since. If he even acts like he's going to nip, nibble, lip or bite, he gets his nose smacked...and he knows it.
With the problems lunging (her rearing at you), work her butt off if she does something like that again. Make her understand that she keeps going until you say stop. If she tries to stop on her own, make her go more and harder until you say it's okay to bring it down and stop.
Of course, all of this is completely moot if her owner isn't on board with it and willing to step up and gain the mare's respect as well. If the owner lets her get away with the stuff you're trying to fix, she'll just compound the problem and the mare will get worse.
This is going to take a long time :shock:
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