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New horse is very antsy while being groomed
Hi Everyone :)
I am having a strange issue with my new APHA mare. I have had her for going on 2 months now. Just about 3 weeks or so ago, she started having issues with being brushed, and even being loved on.
When I am grooming her to ride, I don't tie or cross tie her because I was told she had never been cross tied before. I normally just ground tie her so to speak, as the previous owner did. And at first she did great with that. Totally fine. And like I said, about 3 weeks ago, she started to act antsy/nervous when I would brush her, even with a soft body brush. She would start to shy away, walk around in circles. Anything to avoid contact with the brush. For the life of me, I don't know of anything that has happened that would have scared her, or anything I have done that has hurt her in any way.
Some of you may suggest cross tying or tying her, and I have thought of that, but I'm afraid she may get so scared that she would pull back and break her halter, rope, etc. And then I would really have a fear issue on my hands, I believe.
I don't know of anything physically that could be wrong with her. She is not affected under saddle at all. In fact, when I am saddling and bridling her, it's like someone pushed the "calm" button. She relaxes totally and is great when I ride her. No issues there. I just don't understand what's happened with her as far as the grooming. She is a very loving horse and I know she enjoys being loved on but at the same time she seems scared.
Any ideas/suggestions to help her get over this?
It's that time of year.....is she in season?
I haven't seen any signs of her being in heat right now. I think she actually was last month when I first got her.
Could be a respect issue. Does she just simply walk or step away or does she have a scared look on her face?
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Maybe try to associate grooming with treats? Have a brush, let her sniff it and as soon as she's aware of what it is give her a piece of carrot or something? Then start making the experience longer and longer until she only gets a carrot when the grooming is 100% done.
She genuinely seems scared/worried. I always give her treats while I am petting and grooming her but as soon as the treat is gone, she's back at it.
The weird thing is that when I am cleaning our miniature horses' stall (which has short walls) she will come and stick her head in there to see what I am doing and she wants me to love on her face. I can love all over her face and neck, but as soon as I come out and try to do that she is leery again. I am really hoping she gets over this. She wasn't like this even when she first arrived.
What do you do when she does dance away? Stop grooming? Correct her?
Have your vet check for Lyme. Sensitivity to touch is a symptom.
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I always keep brushing her. I have hold of her lead rope and if she's walking in circles, I just continue brushing her while she's walking around. I'm not really sure what to do. I think you are right about her needing a leader. I have not been firm with her on the ground. I know I am trying to get her to "like" me LOL which is probably not really the right thing to do :/
If she started this after she came makes me think you are the cause in the change in behavior. See I think this a respect issue if she moves her feet move her yourself with a lunge whip or crop make her work in circles by disengaging her hind quarters. I have a disrespectful mare who doesn't want to stand for me sometimes so I make moving hard work and sitting still a reward. Get to about a 45 degree angle which is about the middle between her head and shoulder. Keep left hand which holds the rope near her eye and hit the ground with the lunge whip try to stay in that beginning spot while going in a circle with her keep her head towards you and keep the horse out of your space when she stops on her own for around 8-15 seconds stop whipping the ground (pressure release) rub her with the whip and a good girl. Do that on both sides she will learn to respect you and sit still. I would also recommend looking into more ground work exercises I'm not into the guru thing too much but I love Clinton Anderson's ground work so check out YouTube and also I recommend a video that is at Downunder Horsemanship TV called A Reluctant Star watch the whole thing but particularly at the end the mare doesn't want to stand still for the rider when mounted. Congratulations and Good luck with your new mare. I recommend ground work for you it will help you bond and establish respect :-)
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