Picking a fight vs. disipline?
Hello! I'm on my way to a show so bare with me * should have done this yesterday :? - or later * Anyway, my question mostly is for mares. I have always owned geldings and if they did anything wrong it was quite easy to tell them "no". But my mare, well, she used to kick out very quick sharp blink of an eye kicks, straight back, cow kick-whatever. But getting her used to me and knowing I'm not going to beat on her and working with her everyday she has stopped. She wouldn't let you anywhere near her head before, except to bridle she would shoot up. Many signs of a horse with some.. handling issues.... *cough*
But there are times when I bath her, groom her, fuss with her hind end area or just taking too long with her feet exc. she will just do a little twitch or swish of the tail, all the signs that she will kick out. She will lift her leg staight up then back down.
So I know how to fix this with a gelding, quite easy, but with her...not sure. One person has tried smacking her with a crop on the leg and she gets mad and gets worse. She has come so far, i couldn't lift her back feet to pick them out because she would just shoot with those legs when you touched her. I can do anything with her but now but I don't want to leave it and it actually become a big problem. She has hind shoes with corks and one good kick on me or someone else.. I don't even want to think what a "good one" would do.
So my question is, how to fix/ prevent this from getting worse without picking a fight with my horse. I have asked at the barn and they said smack her with a whip. I would like to get more options before I do that. She has come SO far, I do NOT want to put her back.
Instead of a physical correction, try a work correction. She gets stroppy, you make her back up till she gets it. Or you make her leg yield, or you make her turn on her forehand a few rotations.
I know what you mean.. this mare would do the same thing if someone physically struck her she'd get worse. So I growled instead and put her to work.. and I became her herd mate. She didn't disrespect me again
I'm of a differing thought about this. In a herd situation, this mare would kick out, and either be disciplined until she realized her place in the herd, or would become dominant and therefore a bully, as she would keep repeating this until a firmer horse was introduced into the herd.
AND, have you made absolutely sure there is nothing physically wrong here, as in peritonitis, spinal problems, "mare" problems within? And that will mean more intensive tests than a vet having her walked around and looking at her, and doing a few tests just as temp taking. IF, and this is a big IF, she has something going on internally? You need to fix that first of course.
We had a TB colt, that was a crypt, but he was put into training. Ran pretty good for little bit, but then would show pain that got worse. X-rays revealed that the missing testicle had lodged right up against his spine in saddle area. It had migrated that far, or been there all along? But point is that without a clear look at what is happening inside? You may be seeing the signs of a horse in unremitting pain too.
And you also didn't say what breed?
The pain issue addressed, let me go on to say.
I understand the wonder about forcing the issue, and if it was just the tail twitching? I'd ignore it, but to me, the longer you let this sign of disrespect go? The bolder she is going to get. Right now she is at the "I DON'T like you telling me what to do" and is testing the waters, so to speak, to see just how bold and brassy she can be would be my thoughts.
Also, this will escalate until anyone walking by her, or around her could be fair game. For instance, in the warm up ring, walking her back to stall, or whatever, and she could add more to it too.
And there is a big difference in horse's mind, as to "deserved correction" and undeserved, (although with TB mares? They will hold a grudge about being gotten onto for behaviors and wait for timing.) And many a horse has been overcorrected by person, who would not get tough enough at first to get point across, but just kept flailing away.
With aids? Gentle, gentle, firmer FIRM. With correction? FIRM, FIRM, FIRMER! That stops the escalating anger and frustration level when it is fixed simply and firmly the first time, rather than human beating themselves into a frenzy. And not coincidentally the horse. THAT leaves a mark on both. A firm correction, one meant to end the problem quickly would have worked.
Pain ruled out? I don't think being kind/ignoring it/work is what is needed. I'd either tie leg up when working with her, or put kicking chains/hammers on her, and let her correct herself, or I would keep shank on her and correct her as needed.
To me, when you "move" a horse like this for correction, it may actually be what she is wanting, to do something, and working is adding to it, if work is a correction. You want her to stand still, so I'd find a patience tree, add some anti-kicking devices, and let her stand tied for several hours, and I would continue to correct her as needed.
Run a stout rope around her leg and see-saw it up and down and remain out of kicking range. As you do this, sometimes pull on the leg just so she feels pressure. When it's around her anke, pull it forward until the toe clears the ground, then release. Stay close to her rib cage so that you're not pulling her leg sideways. Her bridle evasion is simply her outsmarting you. These issues are not gender related. There are helpful videos on youtube to help with these issues.
If it were my horse I would start working them. Simply giving them a whack is just going to get them more stressed out. With my gelding my old trainer would give him a whack to cure everything, but he would bite her twice as hard. He didn't really take that and would plot his revenge. But if he does something now I go about it a different way and he is much more respectful. So if your horse would try to kick you, you immediately untie her and make her yield her hindquarters, forequarters, do circles, back up until you can lead her up to where she is tied and get her to stand there respectfully. You might have to do this a thousand times, maybe only once or twice. If she is a hot headed breed obviously running her will do squat, but get her to think twice about kicking you. Most importantly, get that mare to think. But change it up and keep them guessing, you also wouldn't want them to automatically assume that they are going to run in circles blindly; keep there feet moving, but on your terms. When I do that with my gelding he hardly knows what just happened and takes a deep sigh and decides he'll keep his mouth to himself and feet planted.
Every time I got a new horse we encountered this problem. They wouldn't be like this to people, but this is the behavior that they'd have out in pasture the first few days or even weeks. For example, when we got our most recent mare Tenakee, Moe (my gelding and alpha) didn't take kindly to her just ignoring him. She just puttered away and paid no due to him, and if he got close she'd pin her ears and whack him in the chest. The second she did that he would pin his ears back and wanted that mare to RUN! He probably would have chased her around and bit her all day if I hadn't made it clear to him that he still had to be respecting me no matter if a new mare was around or not. But you need to be like Moe, maybe not in an as obnoxious way as he is with his mares; but when she disrespects you make her move her feet. Make her want to know where you are and figure out that it is a haven to stand still and listen.
This is just what I figure with my horses, maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong; but it seems to work just fine with my creatures so I wish you the best. But you might not want to do this at a show, but if you could practice a few times before it could help. But it is something that needs consistency until you don't need to do it.
You may need to play around with things to determine what SHE considers fair discipline. For example, using my mare:
A poke in the ribs with an elbow or fist = fair.
A light swat with a crop = unfair, fight.
Backing up = fair.
Turning in circles = unfair, fight.
Smack her in the butt with a rock = fair.
Dig my heels into her, any reason = unfair, fight.
So I play by her rules, and discipline, for her, includes backing up, a poke with an elbow, a pop in the butt with a stone...but NOT digging in my heel, turning in tight circles, etc.
My other two horses have their own ideas of fair/unfair, and so I treat them differently.
I just tweaked a well known quote to make it suitable for this way of thinking, lol.
But yeah it worked for this mare (and she was nasty.. she would kick volunteers for no reason, go after people in pasture, mean ***ch. But afterwards we were good friends :)
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