Temper Tantrum, Help please!
Hi everyone, I am so happy to be a part of this forum. It sounds like a place I would like to visit often.
Well I was given a 2 year old Tennessee Walker x Quarter horse filly last Thanksgiving (2011) The horse was to be taken for slaughter if I didn’t take her. I didn’t know a thing about horse training, but together we have come far-ish. She will stand for grooming, lunge very good, she will have tarps rubbed all over her. She will stand on anything I ask her to. She will even stand for her feet to be tied together to simulate vines and brush…she doesn’t flinch. She knows how to back up, and turn on command. She is now happy to be rubbed all over her body. We got her into saddle and she has been doing awesome with it. BUT, I keep her in the back yard on about 2 acres more or less. She ate up the grass in there within a month, so now she has good quality hay (large 5x4) and her sweet feed 2x daily with a cup at about 11 pm as a bedtime treat. Well, the front yard is grass, but we do not have any fencing around it and the main road is right there. Last week I took her out to graze the grass in the front on her lunge rope. We walked around for about an hour and she threw the biggest temper tantrum to stay out there. I know grass is such a natural food to a horse, it must be hell to see it all day and not to be able to eat it. But today I got her saddled up and she wanted to go into the front again. She bucked, reared and just about threw me off. I jumped down and told her to go back to “Her tree” which is the dismounting spot, and end of lesson spot. She decided that a tantrum was only beginning. She threw herself around that much, she fell and almost hurt herself. Now, I am totally scared to get back on her tomorrow, but I know I should. We are moving home soon as we need her in a pasture. This will help financially too, as the hay is expensive. We cannot afford a trainer at all. Both the horse (Bronwyn) and myself have bonded so beautifully, she is always relaxed when I enter her place, she will greet me with her head down, yawning and nuzzling gently for that kiss she gets! I am at a loss how to tell a horse she cannot have any grass in the front yard? I thought she had better manners than throwing a fit after an hour of grazing, but she is a strong girl and I was very aware of the dangers she was presenting me with. Any help will be much appreciated. Right now I am thinking of going back to basics, Lunging her every time I go out and treating her like a baby again. I know she is still a baby, as she is 3 next month, but basics is all I know. Thanks so much for ANY advice.
I'm not a professional by any means, but I would do a lot of groundwork in the grass with her. That way she learns that she isn't aloud to eat whenever she wants, and it will be easier for her to learn when your in the saddle. Do a little lunging, and just basic groundwork that you taught her before.
The only thing new she needs to learn when your doing this is to keep her head up and her thoughts on you, not the grass.
Good luck! (:
Edit: I know how you feel about the "not feeling like I can get back on" thing. I had horrible confidence when it came to getting on horses because I had a lot of bad accidents with them. I spent two weeks with my new mare before I felt comfortable to ride her out of a fenced in enclosure.
Groundwork helped me a lot, made me more comfortable with her. Just take deep breaths and try and relax yourself before you get on. Being anxious will make her jumpy.
Wow! Thanks so much, it makes a lot of sense. I will work with her in the grass for a couple of weeks, then get back in the saddle! Awesome reply, thanks again. Oh i know, it takes so much time to build confidence doesn't it? I did notice that the more groundwork i did with her, the better we both became. Today she knocked me for a loop, but i will do as you suggest....cant thank you enough :D
Anytime (: I hope things get better.
Oh, not sure if you knew but pictures are required. Haha.
Just kidding, but really, I'm sure everybody would love to see your mare. (:
So you're riding her, and she's only two?
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JustdressageIt, no she is three in 2 weeks. She loves the closeness of me being in the saddle. I do too, well up until today!
Oh, forgot to mention, i have never rode a horse before, but practiced balance on a barrel etc. We just walk around her area, steady plodding. The idea being, we are both learning and in no rush to get moving. I dont know how to ride and neither does she. But we both have time and patience, which so far, has been both our best friends!!
I would take her off the sweet feed. Too much sugar.
I agree with KatieQ, since she's just plodding she doesn't need the sweet feed. Horses survived for millenia without it. Teach her to lower her head, by inches if necessary, always releasing the tension on the lead when she drops even an inch or two. It's releasing the tension on the lead that teaches. When you progress to when her nose is almost on the ground, place your hand under her jaw to signal her to raise her head and tell her "head up". Do this a hundred times if you have to. When her head is low it forces her to relax. When you allow her to graze she is to do it only when you signal her and she's to lift when you ask. And likely she won't so give her hip a good tap with the lunge whip. Just me sure you are beyond a kick. She'll skoot forward so encourage her to circle you. Hope you get the idea. If you are consistant she'll begin to respond to your just moving the whip. Contine to tell her head up even if you have to whack her. She'll learn. Mine learned that he could go on long walks and indulge in grazing by doing it my way.
No fenced arena? You NEED a fenced arena. NEED one. And I mean NEED. Or atleast fence in a little area. That should help.
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