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AEJaro 04-04-2012 08:29 PM

Can't get her OUT of the arena....
Hello all. I just got my first horse earlier in the week. =) We have been working on bonding and doing lots of leading, ground manner work and some lunging. She has been doing WONDERFUL! She works great with me and will follow me around/stop when I stop/come when asked without a lead in the arena. We have an indoor. However I have an issue with getting her OUT of the arena after we work together. She will go right to the threshold and then plant her feet or back up while yanking hard on the lead. Yesterday I thought it was because the other horses (who she hasn't quite gotten to like yet) were down in the lower paddock that is visible from the exit. I thought she was just scared of them. However she did it again tonight and the other horses were no where in sight.

I stayed calm and I didn't yank and pull on her head (she is quite head shy due to being abused in the past) I asked her to back across the arena. Then asked her forward again, but I stopped her before the threshold and backed her again. I repeated this for a good 5 min. I tried to do it Monty Roberts style. (If anyone has ever watched him teach a horse to load, this is how he does it). I got her to step through the entrance and was super pumped....until she planted her feet and backed right back in. =(

I ended up backing her out of the arena. Because well....tug of war with a 900lb creature just is not a good time.

I know she is testing me and trying to do a mare-ish dominance fit, but I was wondering what else I could do to stop her from pulling this trick on a daily basis.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Northernstar 04-04-2012 08:46 PM

Welcome to the forum, AE- You'll find many friends here! I have a mare (at home now, but was boarded for a while), and I know the "mare moments" for sure! Seems puzzling to me that she is so reluctant to go be with her buddies, though - When my horse was boarded she worked great for me in the arena, and when it was time to be turned back out with her friends, she was fine. What I would do is go to the barn when you have an ample time in your day and just observe quietly from a distance (without calling to her) her interactions with the other horses. That way you can see if she's being "bullied", getting her share of the feed, etc. Watching this can pinpoint some problems that could easily be resolved. Best of luck! :)

sjwrightauthor 04-04-2012 08:53 PM

Could she be afraid of the gate? Maybe she had a gate closed on her in the past.

AEJaro 04-04-2012 08:58 PM

Thank you. =) She is being a stubborn brat and WON'T join up with the other three horses actually. They actually don't bother her at all now. She is the one who goes all squeaky and hissy when they are near. I did watch them in the field, the original 3 horses don't bother her, when they do approach it is with ears forward and kind body language. There is no ear flattening, no haunches turning, no neck snaking, no kicking from the "original herd" that is all on my brat.

I wish she would stop being anti-social, I guess I did just rip her from her home and throw her in a new place, so she needs time I guess. Regardless though I don't think this is reason for her behavior when trying to exit the arena.

AEJaro 04-04-2012 09:00 PM


Originally Posted by sjwrightauthor (Post 1439108)
Could she be afraid of the gate? Maybe she had a gate closed on her in the past.

I don't think so...she has no problem with the field gate (which is smaller than the arena's) or either of the arena gates.

That is a good thought though! I didn't even think of that one. =)

Northernstar 04-04-2012 09:02 PM

I agree. She probably does need time, and we have to remember they're not able to process cognitive thinking. Just be patient as you have been and give it a little while. I think you're handling this well! Keep being patient :)

CLaPorte432 04-04-2012 09:13 PM

932 Attachment(s)
Maybe she just really likes being in the arena with you and has a tremendous work ethic! LoL.

But seriously...

Have you tried taking a dressage whip and while leading her and when she plants her feet, tapping her butt with it and continue moving forward? I'm not sure if she's scared of whips because of her abused past. Whenever my horse is being a butt, a swift tap to his butt gets his forward motion in high gear!

Just using it a few times to get her through the gate should be enough. And then she'll realize your not messing around.

AEJaro 04-04-2012 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by CLaPorte432 (Post 1439134)
Maybe she just really likes being in the arena with you and has a tremendous work ethic! LoL.

How I would love that to be true. I can only hope that maybe one day it will be with her.

CLaPorte I did try using the dressage whip to tell her "I mean business" but she gets REALLY upset then and it takes me longer to calm her down. I am leery on having to "beat" her out of the arena because of her sketchy past. I found that swinging the end of the lead rope back and hitting her lightly with it doesn't get her QUITE so upset though. I guess I will just have to keep doing baby steps and backing her out until she gets the hint. I just hope that this is enough for her to eventually get it.

I said I wanted a project horse. =)

tinyliny 04-05-2012 12:05 AM

I always want to encourage people not to append the name "Brat" to a horse that is having trouble. Your new mare has a very valid reason for her behavior; you just dont' know what it is. For her, there is something really important here, important enough to resist. I doubt it is pure "brattiness" as there is no obvious reward in the arena, and she is not avoiding work by staying in the arena , either.

There is some kind of fear issue out there, and not brattiness. I would guess that time will make her more comfortable with the others. But it's hard for one newcomer to be thrown in with three old friends. It is good to put the new horse with just one other horse for a week or so, then put the two in with the big herd. That way, the new hrose has a ready made buddy.

AlexS 04-05-2012 12:30 AM

I am guessing that she is barn sour.

I'd take another horse out with me if I could find someone to work with. Then have that horse outside at a distance away and keep increasing that distance until she is out in the big bad world on her own.

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