extreme alpha mare
I need a little help. my mare is on pasture board at a local barn and she is currently sharing her pasture with another mare that i am a little bit afraid of. D (my mare) is not an alpha mare per say but she knows how to hold her own which is why she is currently in the pasture with this alpha mare. Alpha (the other mare) is extremely gate agressive and for some reason just loves my mare. when i go to take D out of the pasture or bring her back in Alpha meets me at the gate and wont let me pass without pressuring us. D always gets antsy about being near this mare when she is with me and often tries to get away at any cost (i.e. pushing, rughing the gate, kicking out...) but my mare does not display these behaviors outside of the pasture or when around other horses its just this one mare. also she has never actually kicked out AT me but i am worried that i might get caught in the cross fire.
however irritating this may be, this is not the true problem. Alpha gets agressive towards D when i am trying to negotiate the gate and when i try to get her to back away from the gate she often turns and becomes agressive towards ME directly, often biting, kicking out or other such antics. i have already been kicked in the knee once in the knee and was layed up for a week because of this mare. she is at our barn for training and i have talked to both my trainer and Alpha's owner about her attitude but she doesn't become agressive with either of them, although she has gone after some of the barn staff. the other issue is that we have limited space and Alpha has no other pasture to be put in away from my mare.
so here is the crux of the issue: this mare is overly agressive towards me and my mare and i am afraid that i am going to get caught in the crossfire between them when i enter or exit the pasture. also anytime i try to get this mare to leave me alone she comes after me which is obviously not acceptable. I have and will continue to defend myself with the whip (and have often had to actually hit this mare to get her to back off which i HATE DOING!!). I have resorted to unclipping my mare's lead and letting her rush through the gate so that she can get the heck outta the way of this mare and i don't have to be in the pasture with them which is totally unacceptable because i HATE letting my mare develope such nasty manners but i feel like i am outta options to keep myself and my mare safe. any suggestions you for me would be totally appreciated. i really just want to be able to go see my mare without having to deal with this stress (or atleast not having to worry that i am going to end my excursion to the barn with a trip to the hospital.) anyways, thanks for your time and sorry that this is so long.
There's absolutely no other place for them to put your mare? Would the BO consider putting the other mare in a stall when she knows you are coming to see your mare? Is finding another boarding stable completely out of the question? I really don't have any advice, except to say that if it was me, I would have to put the other mare in her place, and would NOT feel bad about using the whip----what choice do you have if you are forced to inter-act with this mare on a regular basis? I am so glad I don't have to board my horses, and they are right on my own property. Good luck with all this---it must be very stressful, and not the way I would want to start my time with my horses.:?
By any chance can you take a helper every time you go there? Friend, mom, bo, anyone? I usually ask someone to hold my qh when I'm taking my paint out, because qh always try to chase paint away from me (she wants to be the one taken :) ).
Letting your horse run through the gate won't do you any good. I'm not critiquing you here, but I was in the same situation in barn I used to be before, and then it took like a month to break my horses from that bad habit (after I moved them to my place). If you can't take another person take a LONG whip (like the one for lunging) or broom (something you could keep a good distance with) and don't feel sorry letting mare know it's not OK to attack you. Yes, I hate doing it too, but you won't really hurt HER, but she can hurt YOU and it's no good.
I've been through a similar situation twice with my horses, you have every right to be concerned.
I had my 2 mares boarded at a friends, she had 20 acres of pasture 6 horses of her own and a mare/foal that belonged to another friend. This mare that belonged to another friend was very aggressive especially when she seen someone driving up or walking up to the gate, feeding time was a nightmare. We ended up stalling her and her foal separately when it was feeding time which fixed some of the problem however she had one mare of her own that could be down right nasty and she was the type that really tried to hurt the other horses. It got so bad I wouldn't let my youngest out of the truck when we went to feed afraid she would get caught in the cross fire, and while I got the feed together my oldest stayed by the gate with a whip to keep them back.
A couple months go by and I go out to feed one evening and my QH mare is limping I see a huge cut right across her back right coronet band from the barbed wire at that point I figured it was from kicking out at this other crazy mare and decided I better find someplace else to move them before they ended up seriously injured...well while in the process of trying to find another place The friend gets this gorgeous TB gelding and another pony. One evening we go out and I notice the gelding is down in his hind quarters, he can barely walk the owner isn't home I'm trying to round up all the horses get them fed fight with this one mare keep everyone from getting hurt, he won't come up to eat so I walk out across the pasture to see what exactly is going on with him. I was horrified both back legs were swollen almost twice the size they should be he had blood that had run down the back of his right leg, to put it bluntly I didn't think he was going to make it he was beat up really bad. I was furious even though it wasn't my horse. When I finally got a hold of the owner I asked her what happen and she told me her mare had attacked him, I told her point blank if you don't do something with that mare she is going to kill one of your other horses or mine. I had been talking to this guy about renting a small pasture from him and I called him and asked him can you come get my horses we moved them that night, I offered to buy the gelding from her very cheaply of course since I didn't know if he was going to live or not or if he would ever be able to be rode again she declined my offer I moved my horses and that was that. None of the injuries to my mare or this gelding took place when we were around as far as the mare that belonged to another friend she aborted a foal around then to my guess from fighting with this other mare but who knows. He came and got her and the foal she had with her as well. So to sum all this up if there is anyway you can move your horse or have this other mare separated from her it would be wise to do.
You said you have already been kicked as sorry as I am that has happened it could have been your chest or your head lord knows how high a horse can kick. Taking a whip with you will probably curb the problem at the gate but there is still the times something could go wrong when no one is around.
i do take a whip out everytime. This mare is leaving my barn in a couple of weeks to go home for a couple of months. normally i would just move my mare out of the situation all together but the issue is right now i am unemployed and this barn is letting me work off my board. you are right that it could have been my chest or head and i thank goodness that it wasn't ( i have already broken my ribs once before in a non horse related accident and have no desire to repeat the experience.) i guess my issue is that i feel really bad about hitting this mare and while i know that i am not going to hurt her i also know that she is a sweetheart when i am not entering or exiting the pasture (not that this excuses the behavior but it does tend to make me feel very guilty.) more than anything i am frustrated that my mare becomes so upset and aggitated during the process. i have worked very hard to put her in a situation that she feel comfortable and happy (she is an ottb and an abuse case to boot) and it really upsets me to to see her so up tight. on the other hand i think that it will be easier to remind my mare that rushing the gate is not appropiate than it will be to wait for a split skull to heal or goodness knows what else could happen if this mare actually makes contact.
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