Gaining respect from my mare
Sorry if this is long but want to try and explain my situation.
I bought an 8 year old Qh mare a couple of months ago. She was listed as a trail horse that had been started on the barrels. Her temperment was listed as a 2. scale 1-10 10 being very hot. The day I went out to ride her was very windy and cold and it had rained a lot the day before so the outdoor arena was sloppy. I figured it would be good to ride her in the worst conditions possible rather than the best. I watched as their son rode her then I rode her. I felt comfortable on her right away which is unusual for me. She backed, worked off my legs, walked and trotted away from the gate and did everything but loped. too muddy for that. Then I got her home. The first time I rode her she was like a different horse. She wouldn't stand still while I was trying to brush and saddle her. Then when I tried to mount she wouldn't stand still. I finally managed to get on her and she wouldn't listen. Kept jigging. I only rode her a few minutes it was still really windy and put it off as being in a new place. For a week or so I just was brushing her but then she started refusing to stand tied. Pulling back and broke a couple of halters. The next time I tried to ride her it didn't go much better but I did ride her longer. The last time I rode her I lunged her first and that seemed to help. I haven't ridden her since thinking I should do ground work. I took her out to lunge her and she did ok, then when I asked her to go from a walk to a trot she just took off, pulling the line out of my hands. I got her and lunged her longer but at this point i don't know what to do. I KNOW she plain out doesn't respect me. Somehow she sensed my lack of confidence and is trying me.
I have access to a round pen so I can take her there and work. If someone can give me advice I'd appreciate it. Please don't tell me to work with a trainer, I live in a small town and there really aren't any around here.
How long have you had her at this new place? She may have been drugged...
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i was wondering that, myself. you might need to get a trainer to help you get a foundation with the mare. does she have other horses with her where you are? did she have them at her former home?
What else is different?
I have an old donkey that keeps her company. She has been here since the last part of February. She was kept with other horses when I got her. When I first rode her she didn't appear to be drugged. Just an easy going horse. They had several other horses for sale. They had other horses that they advertised for experienced riders or green broke and so on. This was the only one they advertised as being calm and laid back.
I don't know any trainers around here that could work with me.
Please don't give up on her. A new horse needs time to get adjusted to new people, surroundings, new feed, routines, etc., and spending time with her on the ground just getting to know her will get you two off to a good start.
A round pen is a great place just to relax with her and build your relationship before you ask to get on her back, and when you do I would do so bareback with a halter and reins and just get a feel for each other. Without knowing much if anything about her history, there is no telling what she knows and how she's been treated, and from what you described, her trust is shot, and you have nothing if you don't have trust, so that is likely problem #1 which isn't her fault or your fault.
If the person you bought her from is a horse trader, she may have been through one bad owner after another and probably was aced when you came out to look at her and ride her, so based on how she's acting you may as well consider yourself to have rescued a horse and it's time to rehabilitate her :)
Do you know how old she is? Whatever the person told you, I would open her mouth and take a look for yourself. You can guess well by the angle of the incisors approximately how old she is.
I post this video a lot because I think it's very critical to address possible pain issues first:
I am not a fan of lunging, there's an art to it and if it's not done properly it is really detrimental, and can injure or lame a horse as well. As for her pulling back when she's tied, I suggest not tying her for now, you can just drape the rope over or around a post or whatnot without securing it in any way while you're brushing her and such, and if she still pulls back, then keep the rope in your hand and work with her, and stay very close to her body and be soft.
Sometimes you have to work backwards, sometimes back to Square One, to regain their trust, and you can work magic. Be her friend and ally first, and let her know you are going to do what you can to understand her and be there for her. She's probably had a hard life already, and God only knows how many homes.
Firstly, you're both very new to eachother & I'd advise starting on the ground & developing your relationship first anyway, starting in environments she's comfortable in, in a non confrontational way.
What are you lunging her for? I use it to teach/confirm communicating with horses at a distance. I would guess you're not up to that yet, let alone using it for other reasons.
Yes, if you're nervous, she won't 'respect' you, because one component of 'respect' is trust IMO. If she can't trust you to take charge & keep her safe, she has to either take charge herself, or just become more & more nervous & reactive. I would suggest working with a good considerate trainer/instructor to help you both.
Is there anyone in your area, not needing to be a trainer, but at least experienced with working with horses? Someone that has had horses for quite a while that you could ask help from? If not, find some books or videos that you can learn from. Personally, I like Clinton Anderson's method. He's easy to understand and he breaks things down to understand.
The key to gaining a horses respect is moving their feet. Not just forward but back, left and right. Since you have a round pen, start there. Get her going forward and change her direction often. Making her back away from you is another big respect builder. Once you get her respect, she'll start to trust you.
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if you can get your hands on CA round penning and gaining respect and control on the ground, do it ! like usnadpets said, you should be able to move your horse forwards, backwards, left, and right using light cues. since you are not feeling confidant about riding this horse, i would stick to ground work for awhile.
Can you have trust without respect? Yes. You can see that with many horses. Is it wrong? To me, yes. Most of them I would consider as spoiled and coddled horses. You can have a harder time training them too. For example, our youngest mare. We got her at 6 weeks old and she had an injury to her back leg. We had to deal with her daily and she trusted us and didn't fear us or anything else. That is good because not much spooks her and she is extremely curious of everything. The bad thing is trying to work with her. You really have to work at getting her to move because she doesn't care what's going on.
Another thing is if they don't respect you but they do trust you, they are more likely to run over you, push into you or bite or kick you. They can easily become dominant because you haven't put them in their place under you.
Can you have respect without trust? Yes. You see it when introducing a new horse to a herd. Maybe they trust the other horses a little because they are both horses but they learn respect right away. They realize right away who the lead horse is and then figure out the rest of the order. If you take the lead role right away they will understand and respect you. You can get their respect in a short amount of time.
Getting them to trust you takes a longer time. It takes dealing with them and showing them we aren't there to hurt or eat them. That only comes with time.
I think it is easier and takes less time to get their respect first. You get their respect by getting them to move where you want and do what you want. Basically controlling where they put their feet. If you can't control them, how are you suppose to show them that they can trust you without bribing them with food?
And that's my opinion.
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