I need some advice!
We went out to see our horse this afternoon and realized that the lack of attention she has had this winter has not been a good thing - she's getting naughty! I need to re-establish some respect with her and I need some advice on how to do this. First off I was holding her today while my daughter was brushing her (Normally we put her in the cross ties but some snow slid off the barn roof earlier in the day and spooked all the horses and I didn't want her to spook and flip) and she started nudging me with her nose. She has never done this before so I would say "quit!" and give her a firm, but gentle pop (jerk) with the lead rope and she soon realized that this was a no-no.
After we brushed her my daughter took her out in the pasture for about 15 minutes of ground work, mostly walking/stopping, trotting/stopping, keeping our space in the meantime. Lily was wonderful during this time. She was very obedient with my daughter and well behaved. Shortly after we were done it was turn-out time. The horses were wild out there! Galloping, bucking, trotting, snorting - they were really full of it but having a wonderful time!
Then a couple of hours later when we were bringing the horses in for dinner she almost plowed me over to get into the barn! I was opening the barn door and she started to crowd me so I made her step back and as soon as I opened the door a little more she barged right in! She's never done anything like this before so I want to nip it ASAP!
I'm open to any advice!
Did you bring her in alone? (ie without any other horses, if you didn't I would suggest bringing her in alone until you solve this problem) If you did, as soon as she crowds you I would have her back up (not just step back) for maybe 4 to 6 strides, then go to the door again and if she crowds you repeat the process, repeat it as many times as you need to until she is staying at a "polite" distance and waiting for you to ask her forward.
Hi I agree you need to nip this in the bud.My mare years ago did the same to me . I solved this by going back to basics ie ground work- making her back up go forward backwards ect at my command.Also i did pole work with her.Good luck and never be afraid to get in an instructor to help with issuses.Bevie
Got2 - yes she was with other horses. Unfortunately, she currently lives with my MIL and I know my MIL will not put our horse out alone. In fact, I'm sure my MIL would never, ever take any training advice from me. If I know my MIL she'd intentionally NOT put my horse out alone just because I asked her to do so! She gets offended if I indicate that I have an idea and didn't ask her input or suggest that she do something different. She obviously doesn't have the answers to this though, because it is happening under her care! (OK, I'm done venting) However, I know I am truly to blame because we haven't been working with our horse much over the winter. The good news is that I'm working on moving our horse nearer to us and I'm not going to give up until it happens! :-)
Bevie - I like the idea of doing ground work, as a matter of fact we were doing some of that today! We just did a little and very basic stuff. It was my daughter doing the work though. I'm going to try to work on only that this week and try to get this new situation under control.
What is pole work? Other than backing up is there any other exercises that you'd recommend?
if your leading her into the barn and she's getting pushy or rushing stop her, back her up a bunch of steps and then come to a halt. Do not take another step until she's standing quietly, you should be standing quietly as well. She'll take her cue from your body language. After she's been still for a minute or two start for the barn again. Wash, rinse and repeat as many times as needed. Once your at the door stop her again and wait for her to be quite. Once inside the barn stop again at her stall door and ask her to stand quietly. Go with her into the stall, ask her to drop her head so that you can remove the halter without any drama.
You want to her to get the idea that calm and quite is what's expected of her.
Additional ground work will reinforce who's in charge. Pole work is working over trotting poles. I use it to break the boredom of lunging.
Given how frisky she is, I would lunge her before anyone gets on. This will help take the edge off of your horse as well as helpt to re-establish her respect for your authority without you being in a vulnerable position.
Absolutely nip her pushiness in the bud. Do you have a chain on the lead line that you can put over her nose? The minute she starts getting forward or pushy, a light but stern correction should convey to her that what she's doing is unacceptable.
Personally, I wouldn't put a chain on her unless you need to. If I'm reading this right, she used to be good but has lost her respect due to lack of attention/enforcement. The other advice you have received I agree with. Also, you could make sure you always have something in your hand to use as a tool -- a lead line flipped in circles in front of her to back off, a crop, a long whip, even a feed bucket flipped up and out. If you have none of these one day and she gets in your face, use your arms and become BIG and IN HER SPACE. And never let anyone feed her until she has been given permission to advance.
Yes Northernmama you are reading this right. She has always had good ground manners, not perfect but good, so I have never been concerned. This is definitely new for her and I'm sure it's because of the lack of work this winter. Like I mentioned in my OP, when she started to nudge/push me with her nose while being groomed I was a little taken aback but started to say "QUIT!" give her a gentle, firm jerk on the lead line (no chain) with each nudge and after 3 or 4 of those she figured it out. In the past she has been a very sensitive horse so she was easy to correct if needed.
I'm not sure how to handle it when there is 3 horses all trying to get into the barn for dinner especially with Lily out in front! If I use a whip or something won't they just blast past me the second I point it down? How would I get them to walk in quietly? I'm thinking the halter might be my best bet.
Typically my MIL will bring them in for dinner by putting hay in the stalls and then opening the barn door so that they just come in (or rush in) and eat. I doubt very much that she has much control over the three horses when they come in. I know I won't be able to change my MIL's way of doing things so I will need to work around it as much as possible. I'm going to start going out there 3x a week so hopefully this will be enough to have some impact. I don't care how Lily acts around my MIL but I would like her to have more respect for me (and my daughter).
Also, I really want some groundwork ideas if anyone has any. In the past we have worked on walk/trot/stop, moving over, and backing up, but I'd like to do more. I'd love some ideas for some creative, fun and different exercises. To be honest I wouldn't mind spending more time doing groundwork than riding for the time being. I want to really establish some good solid respect and trust. Plus I think it would be very good for her mind.
Your MIL, really does things the "cowboy way" doesn't she....LOL. I boarded at a barn that unbenounced to me that's how they brought the horses in. It took George about two weeks before he was trying to rush past me to get into his stall at dinner. He got a real shock the first time he tried to barge by me! They learn pretty quick who they can get away with things and who they can't. So you and your daughter keep at what your doing.
For ground work, if you've got some poles put them down in shapes. Like a "L", practice backing her through the L. You can use just one pole, get her front feet on one side and back on the other and have her side pass the length of the pole. Tarp training is fun. We start by putting some hay in the middle and let them figure it out on the own time. Like this:
Then this is what happens LOL:
LOL! Yes, my MIL is pretty "old school" and stubborn and outspoken as can be! Anyone who doesn't do it her way is an idiot and nobody knows as much as she does! It will be difficult to do some of the things I want because she will do her best from discouraging me if the idea doesn't come from her or isn't something she agrees with. She told me that I was wasting my time when I was going to try to get my horse used to things being rubbed on her body, like a plastic bag for example. Hopefully she won't do the same this time. If she does I need to just ignore her, but it's tough!
Well, I'm very encouraged that our horse will be able to reestablish respect for my daughter and me even if she doesn't have it with MIL.
Thanks for the pole idea! I know there is one at the barn and possibly 2 more, but at least we have another exercise to work on and keep things from getting too boring.
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