Hi. I am aring for a pony mare for about three years now. Since two years ago I have her at lease. She used to be quite agressive, wouldn't let anyone but her owner get her tacked, groomed etc. She bit, kicked, ran away from humans. Through the first year I managed to let her know I am not the bad guy. The problem was, she was not afraid, she knew everything too well. But she got used to that if she didn't let anyone touch her, she will live in peace. And that if she tries to bite, noone will bite her back, they will go away.
So I started to groom her with a stick in my hand, because otherwise she could have killed me. She was easier to handle after riding, so I gave the upringing more time after riding. Well, we beated ourselves for many times, I got my ribs broken, lip bitten through, nose brokem, hand twised, etc, she got a high number of scratches from stick, my feet, lead rope, whatever was by hand. After a while she was trying it less and less. In a year it was perfecty OK, standing while grooming, tacking, mounting up, mounting down, un-tacking,... Sometimes she tried it, but just a "no" was enough for her.
She has learned the basic maneurs, I think. When it was safe enough, and when I strted to trust her enough, we sterted doing some "playing" together. Not really some Parelli or etc but our own style- building the trust, more respect (method of whip and sugar-lot of "treats" if she was good, sharp signals, if she wasn't). It is all going quite well, I would say.
The prblem is, every once in a while-sometimes after a month, sometimes after three, she makes a "mistake". She tries to kick me hard (ok, sometimes I come to her while she i s eating, but anyway, she cant do this), or she makes something bad, which she perfectly know is bad, and she mostly makes a soudn like "queeeeeeeeeeck", gives her ears flat, her eyebowls out, turns her ass to me. I don't let it go, i would be back again on the beginning. I ususally grab the first thing unger hand and "deal with it like an alpha horse would"-i give it back to her, usually beat her in the butt with the wooden thing on shovel, etc. It is harch, but if i werent, i would be killed by now. Of course I do not use this if she only tries to bite me, but if she really becomes agressive, i become too. I normla "tryings" she is ok with just "NO" or stronger "AY". she knows that very well.
so she is perfectly lovely, i can lie under her, but after two months, she just makes this. I give her one shot with a whip/stick/whatever, and she gives her head down, starts to chew, watches me, and as i say "come", she comes to me, lets herself pet etc...
-I think she understands, that i am no harm to her if she doesnt do anything. She is perfectly ok with whips etc, i can wave with it around her head and she doesn't even blink. So i dont think she is afraid of it. I just cannot understand, that she s always trying again and again. I never let her win.... Do you think it is possible she will never change and will be always like this? for six years it was perfectly normal for her that if she bit/kicked someone, it was alright... she trustes me, she comes to me at calling, she greets me everyday when i come to her, everything is fine, just once in a while she has some "error" in her mind.... after 5 minutes she is all fine again.... :(
do you by any chance hand feed her? Some horses you can not hand feed treats, they get aggressive if they don't get one or want one. Any treats my horses get are always in their feed dishes. I have a 3yr. who was born here from my mare, he was only a few days old and he was always trying to suckle me, I didn't want to hit him so I did what his Mom would do.....I squealed at him! I only had to squeal 3 times and since then he has never nibbled or bitten anyone. All my horses know when I walk in the pasture I am in charge and I didn't have to hit them with anything for them to respect me.
Do you do ground work with her? Sounds like she needs to start with the basic ground manners.....teaching her to stay out of your space, lots of backing......I follow Clinton Anderson's methods and have for about 7yrs. now, his DVDs teach the handler on to gain the respect of the horse on the ground first and once you have that when you do ride they listen and respect you.
Do a search on Youtube for Clinton Anderson, I know there are alot of vids up there showing how to do ground work.....good luck!
You said she "knows you aren't the bad guy" and she trusts you. These are mutually exclusive for horses - she will trust you when you put the fear of god into her. She needs to understand that you are the leader - if she is kicking out and trying to bite you, then she thinks SHE is the leader, and that needs to stop. To know how to make yourself her leader, you need to watch horses interact together, particularly the boss horse in the group. Watch how they chase the others around, how they bite and kick the others into submission. That is how you need to be - completely domineering, expecting your horse to not ever put a foot wrong, and bringing the wrath if she does. Only once this respect is there can you allow her in to be "friends" too - but always at your invitation, not at the horse's.
By way of your descriptions and your pictures with her, that actually speak of a great bond there, I think you have found a path that is not at all wrong. We have one horse in our barn who has some ground manner issues that most of the time are completely gone - but whenever he is exposed to something new, some change, anything stressful, he reverts to his old self and becomes very hard to manage.
Those are the days we lead him with a nose chain, and make him step off of us.
My trainer says, that a horse will always return to first trained patterns if the surroundings and impressions change to where they used to get away with things or when they are under a lot of duress.
I am not sure whether she will ever be completely "there", but take Chilaa's words to heart and become also very self-aware and aware of your own body language toward the horse. Be confident :)
1 years work to undo 6 years of shambles isn't really all that long. And seeing the pictures, you have come a very long, successful way. Well done :)
PS: by the way the pictures look, the fence is built and the house in the background.. are you in the Germany, Austria Region somewhere? :)
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About ground work, the first year, she would have draught me on the lead rope back home, shile kicking, bucking etc, since it was possilbe, we sterted to ground work, beginings just with respecting the alter and human as a leader (going side by side, stopping when the leader does, strating shen he does, basicly going with the leader withou pulling the leadrope) and letting me to touch her in different body parts (she is an ekzemer, summer rug), sinc I have to put some medicine i.e. between her hind legs, under the tail (putting a crupper on, putting on medicine for he rug), and giving all four legs without kicking my face etc. Right now, we also do some ground work, usually once a week, and she respects me touching her at all body parts, but still she is a bit stiff when i touch her teats, but i think she will get along. this summer i put on the mdicine usually and she got used to it. (and even didnt kill me evidently :D), she will go away from the pressure put on butt, whithers, belly, get her head donw on the pressure behind the ears, can do "stay" and "come" (i still secur eher with the long line, since we do not have any fenced area), she lets me handle all her legs-i take one, do some stretching, twisting, i do some things what are done by siths, although she has no horse shoes. some "hitting" on the hoof etc. O the lead rope we do walk-trot-halt-back without the leadrope pulling, she goes side by side, goes backwards on "back", and we make some funny thing s like "please"-rising her front leg, i tech her to rise all fer feet only when i point at it... She would stay at a place when i groom he reven without being tighten up by a leadrope, as well by tacking her up, no poblems with tightening the girth, both from ground and from saddle, or mouting up. all is fine. while riding she tries not to eat grass, when she is rutting, she i s a bit lazy, but otherwise she is perfect to ride, soft, and would do anything i as for, if she understands it. On trails she is afraid of creeks, since she never saw any, just this holiday, we were on hliay together for a week in the mountains, but when I go beside her, she goes in it. Otherwise she goes everywhere, where I ask her to go, even into a wall.
While I am grooming her on the whithhers, she "massages" me with her upper lip on myback or butt. she bites not...
for biting, she sometimes "licks" my fingers, without using teeth, i just say "firmly, firmly" and she licks it. few times did she try to use teeth, but not in a bad manner, she just doent understand I am more sensitive then horses. So i said her "no", an when she started just licking, I again said "firmly, firmly" and after few tries she is ok with it...
P.S.: I am from Czech :) So please forgive my bad english :)
The strange thing for me is that she is alright and suddenly she has some "error" and after five minutes she is just fine again.... That it doesnt begin gradually-one little bit, bigger bite, bite, kick...
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