How to stop pony kicking?
Hello all. I am new to the forum and relatively new to the horse world. I am in desperate need of a solution. We recently acquired a 7 year old mare paint pony for my son. This horse has been stalled for at least 2 years that I know of only being turned out occasionally. I purchased a grazing muzzle for her so that she could spend time outside with my other horses and reduce chances of founder. My problem is now when I go into the field to bring her back after her allotted time she will turn her hind end in my direction, pin her ears back, and start kicking. Obviously she does not want to come in. I was told to "run her" until she stops and lets us approach. The problem with that is we can't seem to get her going long enough. She will kick, go a few feet, and stop to eat more grass. I have now started going into the field about 3 times before I intend to bring her in and take her a treat. This does seem to halt the kicking, but I was told I am rewarding bad behavior. She is honestly not a friendly horse to begin with and is very stubborn under saddle tending to just stand there instead of going. If she is on a lead rope, there is none of this kicking behavior. I would very greatly appreciate any opinions and advice on if I am doing the right thing and if this behavior can be fixed. Can her disposition change as well or is she just a permanently grouchy mare? Thanks to all.
Do a combo. Run her and provide a treat once she has stopped and allowed you to halter her. It doesn't matter that she runs, stops, and eats. The fact is, she probably won't be able to eat for more than two or three minutes at a time before you're up in her face again... and that's the point. She isn't "winning" if she gets a few more bites, because you're still persistently driving her away from her victory. Eventually she ought to give up and let you halter her... at which point you can offer her a treat. As you do this more and more, she ought to improve.
As a side note, when you are "running" her, don't literally chase her. Start off by just calmly walking over to her. If she threatens you, then you should reprimand her and chase her off. If she just decides to run, let her. Just keep calmly walking over to her until eventually she gives up running away. When a horse I'm after does this, I just take it as an opportunity for a casual stroll while they run around like a fool. I find it amusing really.
I have now started going into the field about 3 times before I intend to bring her in and take her a treat. This does seem to halt the kicking, but I was told I am rewarding bad behavior.
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I'm a little confused on this one. If by going out 3 times before you actually bring her in seems to halt the kicking at you, you are in no way rewarding a bad behavior. The bad behavior is the kicking or running from you. You are rewarding the good behavior when you go out and give her a treat and she doesnt do the bad stuff you dont want. Ponies are very stubborn and she probably feels that everytime you go in to her space,, you are taking her out of where she wants to be. It sounds to me like she doesnt respect you. How long have you had her?? Have you shown her she can trust you. Sometimes trust can take awhile. Do you feed her any grain??? Maybe instead of going out to the pasture to take her inside, you could take her out and give her a bit of grain. Something yummy. Do you spend time with her out in the pasture? I became part of the scenery with ours. They are so used to me walking around the paddock and walking up to them, petting them, talking to them and wanting nothing more than that. If I shake the halters, they come whinning. They know that if I take them out, they get brushed, grained, taken for a walk etc.... I also would say, that if you intend to run her, make sure its not in a huge area. She will only get whats she wants in the end. You on the other hand will only get frustrated and tired. I would do something like that in a dirt pasture that is not very big at all. Like a round pen or small paddock. Good luck and be patient. She will come around but make sure you spend alot of time getting to know her and her to know you.
I Agree with this! I've had the same problem with my mare. What I did to stop it is I took her into a round pin and worked her. Lunged, under saddle and bridle, lot of ground working. I also put her in the round pin where she was away from her friends for about an hour and then came to work her. The purpose of her being in the round pin by herself is to teach her patience and respect. It's very important to have it!
After a while of doing this, my mare came up to me with no problems!
Thank you all for the tips! I have only had her about a month now so I don't think I have established her trust yet. I make sure to spend time with her grooming and talking with her hoping she will accept me. So far, she just seems to tolerate me and has not warmed up to anyone yet. I do indeed take grain to her and when she sees the can or hears it she comes right up to me. BUT, if she happens to not have the muzzle on the grain or treats make no difference. She wants her grass and will kick to make sure she stays on it. It has been very frustrating for us as I am told very different things like never bribe a horse or it won't respect you or take the grain out and avoid a fight. I just haven't been doing this long enough to know the best way. My son is now terrified of her so I hope this hasn't ruined his desire to ride. I will admit that my heart goes a flip flopping too when I see those feet flying!! Thanks all again and I will certainly implement the suggestions.
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