My mare is deathly afraid of me since she bucked me off! HELP
My 5 year old 13.3hh morgan cross mare, Ruby came from the Amish. We got her at an Amish auction like 3 months ago and she has come A LONGGGG way. When we got her wouldn't let you catch her, but once you did she was just so afraid that we were going to hit her or whip her. She has finally overcome that fear and she trusts me a little bit.
She came broke to drive but I want to break her to ride, jump especially. I have broke and sold about half a dozen horses now so I have a good idea of what I'm doing. I am firm when the horses need it, like I WILL NOT let them push me around. They are not allowed in my little 'bubble', etc. I soon realized this isn't how I should work her.
The first few times I rode her around she was so easy going, nervous, but easy going. I ride her in my barnyard, nice level surface, fenced in. Nothing special. I decided to ride her in a different area because the night before it rained so it was all mushy. First I took a whole lap around this front paddock, probably 3 times the size as my barnyard thing, leading her so she wouldn't spook under saddle. So no spook so I flexed her climbed on and just walked around the paddock. When we got to a corner, the farthest point away from the barn, I asked her to stop. She always had good brakes so I wasn't pushing it. She stopped fine, then wouldn't stand and thats when the bucking began. Nice high bronc bucks too! So I just bailed, landed on my butt and watched her buck her way to the gate.
I walked to the gate, not expecting to catch her soon, so I just stood there, with my head down, shoulders in. Within 1 minute she comes walking up to me licking her lips and saying she is sorry. When I go to grab my reins (slowly) she throws her head up in fear and runs away. Eventually she comes walking up again. So I just start slowly rubbing on her shoulders butt everything to calm her down, but still, with every touch she flinches. I didn't get back on for that session, but I just worked on rubbing her down until she calmed down.
This was about 4 days ago... And I have worked her every day, by lunging her saddled with a tie down and my 'Anti-Buck strap'. Its just a piece of baling twine around the saddle horn and around her neck, so when/if she puts her head down to buck, it kinda chokes her off.
Also my saddle isn't the problem, its a 15'' Billy Cook barrel saddle, that fits her nicely, plus I've lunged her W/T/C in it, no buck before this.
So my question is how do I get her to trust me that I will not hit her whip her etc? Haha also I kinda need my confidence built up too... Any tips?
Thanks guys for reading my essay!!
Patience is the only cure. She's scared that she's done something wrong and she might get beaten up for it. You need to show her that you're not like that.
I'm working with a young horse that was deathly afraid of people and is still very wary/suspicious of anything that you could hit her with... the only cure is patient persistence and knowing when to let the smallest baby step be a win, and when to push the horse for more.
Mine is coming around incredibly fast, but I'm working with her 3 times a day, always patient. SHE has to ALLOW me to do whatever, I can't force anything on her at all... and it was the same with halters, when I first got her the only way to halter her was to back her into a corner and force the halter on. I refuse to do that, so it was a few days before I could get one on her, but a day or two after that she started trying to take the mickey, and then all of a sudden she became totally easy. All from patience, and not giving up until I got a small win.
Doesn't sound so much like fear to me, as a pain reaction.
It could be any number of things, including the saddle. It may have been hurting her all along, but she put up with it as long as she could.
You might want to check her teeth and see if they need to be floated, as well as checking for pressure points down her back where it might be hurting.
SR, mine flinches at touch sometimes... and was REALLY bad when I first got her. But she's not even broke, and isn't sore anywhere (I have massaged her all over), it's fear and/or ticklishness. Around her flanks it's ticklishness, she's a red mare and I have found such creatures to have more sensitive skin than any other horse... but she also has a spot just behind her elbow, and used to have a spot under her belly, both of which are places an angry farrier might jab a rasp into a horse should it fidget. Her previous owner was a very impatient man, and had been a farrier for too many years... as a result her feet are brilliant but being a young TB she wouldn't have been especially willing to stand still, so I wouldn't be surprised if she'd copped a few rasps to the gut.
Thanks guys. I had a good idea patience would be the answer, but was just wondering if there was any other tips. She is getting better, a lot better. Yeah she is real scared of my lunge whip, I feel so bad for her. She is breath takingly beautiful, and the amish used her as a plow horse.... She's a chocolate palimino :)
I think the bucking might have been caused by her not being quite ready for riding just yet, actually, upon thinking on it for a while. (and having a near-disaster with mine because I tried to do something she wasn't ready for - not riding, but a groundwork thing that I've done with every single one of my horses)
Usually, if you overload them, they do go backwards. The art is knowing when to push and when to say ok, I'll let you have that baby step and try to do more tomorrow.
Horses crave leadership and they get their confidence, initially, from their herd leader. YOU have to become her leader. Here is another instance where Clinton Anderson's methods would really help you. Usually I just suggest checking out his videos online, but IMO, it would do you good to buy his basic DVD's and follow it. Right now her fear is making her VERY DANGEROUS to you. This is a LOT cheaper than your hospital bill when she hurts you, and it's inevitable if you don't turn her around. Plus, if you give up on her and sell her, trailering is probably gonna be difficult, too. I've had several friends injured over the years trying to load a problem horse.
CA had a recent program with a woman whose mare had been neglected before she bought her (halter grew into the face, and other stuff), and then she freed the horse when a fire (in Texas, 2011) was engulfing her property and the mare wouldn't load in her trailer. She thought she'd never see this horse again, but the mare found a creek and her survival skills kicked in. But, she was wild when the owner got her home. CA turned this mare around in about 4 days. She was quiet and obedient and loaded to go home.
We THINK that these horses cannot be retrained, but your mare is looking for security. Herd leaders DEMAND attention and instant reaction of the lower members of the herd. CA's method primarily teaches you to move your horse's feet, and demands that the horse look to YOU for commands. This will translate, later, into riding cues. Those of us who have ridden and trained for decades KNOW when our horse is "listening to us" bc we get quiet, instant obedience of cues. (We also know the difference between how a hot blooded and cold blooded horse reacts obediently to our cues. Your horse is probably on the "hot" side.)
I've taught my 6yo geldings to move over EVERY TIME I groom them, and many other English terms, and I reinforce my commands with a whip when they don't respond when I ground train. I use lots of lots of backing every training session, too, bc horses don't naturally like to back up long distances, and none like to back straight. I am only 5'4" tall, but I can still train my 16'3hh gelding, who has had some issues with fear and confidence. The more I train for obedience on the ground, the more confident AND relaxed he becomes.
Abuse and fear can come from any owner. My farrier is an Amish man, and his horses are obedient, but not fearful, btw.
I quite honestly don't have time to do a 20 minute paragraph about leadership and crap.
The bottom line is, you probably shouldn't have bailed. Not saying its easy to stay in a buck.. But you probably should be more prepared next time you ride. Not only are horses completely unpredictable but young horses are for sure. Also considering you took her to a new place and she "seemed" to not react at first, but then she did under saddle. So my advice is be prepared next time.. Everyone has these slip ups and everyone has to learn at some point. So when you decide to ride her next time, have a bucking strap on and only ride her in places shes familiar with. To get her familiar to a place lunge her and desensitize her completely. It could have even been a discomfort issue, maybe not even the fact that shes in a new area and thinks she could get eaten. So make sure you stay in her buck because horses are fairly intelligent and you may have taught her that when she throws the pressure is off her back. This won't interfere with her "trusting issues" either.
Also, don't chase her around the pasture, make sure she comes to you.. It doesn't matter if your out there for 10 hours. You want to make sure that horse trusts you.. If your chasing her around your making her believe shes pray to you and she may think bad things will happen. It shouldn't take long for her to come because horses are extremely curious animals.
Hope this helps.
Riding too soon a scared horse is the result here.
Go back to basics. She is broke to drive? Good. Put the saddle on her and long line her. Treat her like an unbroke horse.
Catching is an issue because she is afraid? Easy... put her in a small space (like a roomy box stall). The ONLY time she eats (or drinks) is when you bring food and water to her. It means a LOT of your time.. but all of that time will be a positive association. No other horses or people.. ONLY you and food and water ONLY when you show up. No halter or any equipment. Her confinement is the stall.
When she starts looking for you.. nickering even when you walk into the barn.. THEN she gets a little paddock and the stall. She now gets water free choice (I get that going asap) but still no food unless you are there and you take it with you when you go.
It is amazing how quick the horse will stop being afraid if all the stuff she needs to stay alive comes from YOU.
Riding her in a new area created anxiety to an already delicate situation. The situation being that she hadn't completely trusted you at that point. Then coupled with you requesting for her to stand still in the corner after a stop caused in explosion and loss of trust.
When I ride a colt in a new area or doing something new that is going to create some anxiety and test how much he trusts me I don't ask him to stand still when I know he can't. When you do it makes a colt feel trapped and creates more anxiety. What I do instead is simple redirect him. All I want is to be able to direct him where I want. When he gets relaxed enough and wants to stop, then I will ask for it. Not only does that keep building the trust by making him feel safe in a new situation but you will get better, complete and safe stops.
Last weekend is a perfect example, we own a very green 5 yr. That had some bad habits and spoiled. We turned him out for 6 months to gain weight and be a horse. I rode him a couple of times, then last weekend my husband wanted to use him gather cows. This horse was a little excited and unsure as I don't think he has ever been around cattle. So he took the back to push cows. If that horse wanted to go forward and blow through the back of cows instead of pulling on the reins and forcing a stop, he just let wallow around and if he blew some cows out, no big deal, there is a fence on all four sides, we just gathered them back up. After a few times of that, just redirecting him in the general direction instead of holding him back, he relaxed and hubby could ask for a stop.
When training you try to use everything the horse does, good or bad, to your advantage. So if he has energy, use the energy, teach direction, do circles or serpentines. That will also get him paying attention and start focusing. When you feel he wants to slow down and maybe stop, use that to teach a relaxed stop.
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