Picky Mare- please help
This might be long and I'm sorry, but to understand Whisper, you have to know her past. She came to me 4 years ago. She was 11 years old and completely wild except for when her old owners beat the crap out of her. they beat her over the head with two-by-fours, broomsticks, anything handy. she had one person on her before me. they put a pelham in her mouth and pulled. she reared up, fell over, and stayed there in shock. i was told she was a show pony so, needless to say, i fell off a lot.
Our saving grace though was jumping. I would let her run as fast as she wanted. i always felt like she wasn't running from me, but her past and i wanted her to know i would be there for her when she was ready. i started putting jumps in her way and she never touched a rail. she is about 13 hands and has free jumped 4 feet (because she jumped out of the 4 foot paddock). i've jumped her 3'6". she loves jumping more than anything.
I've worked with her, but now that i'm in college, i have less control. she isn't my horse, she is owned by my barn but everyone calls her my pony regardless. i'm away for the summer and a friend of mine is trying to ride her. trying is the key word. with little kids, Whisper is awesome. she knows exactly who's on her back and how to behave.
but the more advanced, the less she behaves. for me, she's great. if i do something wrong, she has no qualms about dumping me, but she rewards me for doing things right. without me there, she has started bucking again. she avoids the leg at all cost and no one can figure her out. she is completely sound, the vet has checked her out, her back is fine and the girl isn't too big. i think she's just rebelling.
Does anyone know anyway to broaden her? She still is so distrusting of people, despite me making other people handle her. a 4 year old can bring her in from the paddock, but someone new, she hides in a corner. she's such a great pony, i just want to help her. nothing spooks her on trails, she's done dressage, a little cross country, show jumping, and even some western. but all with me. no one else liked her.
please help! i don't want my barn to sell her and i can't buy her. she's my mare and i love her and i just want whats best for her!
Could someone work with her and do a lot of groundwork and respect building? I think her problem is psychological and she needs either to know that people aren't trying to hurt her or that she has to respect people. It's hard to tell by only what you have shared.
I would do ground work for sure. It won't hurt anything and it's a great place to start
Poor girl! The more 'practice' she gets being forced into things, frightened of people, reacting to leg aids, bucking people off.... the more confirmed in her attitude & set in her ways she'll become & the harder it will be to retrain her. Can you buy, beg borrow or steal her??? If they're attempting to use her for lessons, the barn owner might be willing to give her to you, given that she's obviously a potential big liability to them, when someone gets badly hurt coming off her.
I suspect with a history like that, she may always have a big problem learning to trust people. Unfortunately forcing the issue is very unlikely to do anything but make the matter worse. Therefore I'd advise that she only gets used with little kids that aren't threatening to her, or those she already trusts, unless people are willing to put in the (probably quite substantial) time to teach her to trust them, at her pace(probably VERY slow, lots of approach & retreat). If you can find, or pay (very good, gentle, considerate)people to do this, the more of it's done, the more likelihood she'll start to generallise with other people... but I say likelihood, not definite.
As for controlling, riding, leg aids, etc, has she actually been taught what it all means?? Does she understand how to *yield*(respond with understanding & without fear) to legs & other cues? If not, I would definitely not put people on her back until she's learned this on the ground first, and then only allow experienced *and considerate* riders to further her education.
I wish there was some magic pill we could send her to make her forget her past. Unfortunately she is in a place where she will be judged by her performance. Sounds like she needs some consistency and a gentle but firm hand by someone who will be there every day. If you have a friend who will do this until you finish college and you can be there for her that would be great. You need to be very nice to that friend :wink: Is there no way you can buy her and care for her?
I just have an awful feeling she is not going to last long if she is in a place where she is expected to be a lesson horse.
Again I wish I had some better advise, but long distance horse training on a horse that is someone else's is tough. My best to you and Whisper.
Thank you all for responding, i truly appreciate it. Sadly, I have tried to buy her many times, the owner is willing to give her to me for almost nothing and my trainer at school said he could definately find a leaser for her, but my mom has threatened to stop paying for college. Hopefully when I'm out I can do it myself.
She actually has impeccable ground manners. I am a stickler for them. i have walked all over the property without a lead. She turns when you turn, she backs up when you back up, if you stop, she stops at the shoulder and if she goes too far ahead, she backs up to the right spot. She lunges great too, no chain and no pulling, no whips needed because she is voice trained.
A friend of mine has been working her, but I think she's getting frustrated because she doesn't understand her. Whisper has never bucked anyone off, she just kicks up to tell you whats wrong. I told my friend that she is not allowed to do that, bucking is not the way, she has to "use her words."
The way she dumps people is actually quite funny. it is usually over fences; she will come up to it and the first time you mess up, she'll stick her head up in the air and save you. if you do it after that, she'll put her head down and let you fall. She stands perfectly after and just kind of looks at you like "do you understand yet?" She's too smart for her own good.
She understands leg commands (we did a little dressage to strengthen her), but a trainer used spurs with her for a month and now she resents the leg. I don't know how to stop that resentment, the trainers not even at the barn anymore and it was 6 months ago...
http://www.hoofstepstrainingllc.com/...ta1_type=large I thought people might want to see what she looks like. This was last summer when we went swimming.
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