Need advice with ground manners with my new horse.
I'm new to the horse world. I recently bought 20 acres and have always wanted to help the less fortunate of horses. About three and a half weeks ago I got a rescued QH. He is 18 yrs. old and he's my big baby. Almost a week after that, I got a 20 yrs old mare. I was told she has great ground manners, bomb proof, great on trail rides, etc. Both horses clicked immediately. She started herding him around, (she eats first) is the impression she give us when we go out to feed them. They both freak out If I take one with out the other for a walk. So I was happy they got along. Then two days later she started being aggressive to him. Like biting and kicking at him if he doesn't move quick enough out of her way.
A day later, after they got done eating their grain. I took her bucket away and started fixing her blanket, she gave no warnings at all, then reached around and bit me on the hip. I was shocked, so I figured she wanted to be left alone. Two days later she broke one of the gates and got loose. I grabbed her lead rope and calmly walk up to her, she turn around and started trotting the other way. As she passed me, she attempted to kick me. I jumped back on time to avoid being kicked....But this is starting to worry me. I don't know much about her history. The woman I got her from told me she was an all around good horse. Even great around kids. But I haven't even let them near her.
I don't want to get rid of her. I want this to be her permanent home. Four days ago I payed for both horses to get checked out, and trimmed. I'm now saving money for a trainer. But until then is there any advise anyone can give to help me with this situation?
Welcome to the forum, nunezlm! :D
Everything is currently changing for your mare--new pasture mates, new living areas, and a new owner. Most horses will start to settle in after a week or two, so I would give her some time. That said, no horse should be biting or kicking at a human...that is unexceptionable behavior in my book, whether or not the horse is new.
It sounds like your mare needs to be more respectful toward humans. She sees herself as the dominant horse of your herd, which includes you. Since the dominant horse moves the other horses while moving little themselves, I would suggest that you do the same with your mare. The Parelli program would be an excellent place to start, in my opinion. You need to assure your new mare that you are the leader, not her. This needs to be done before you or somebody else gets hurt. Are there any experienced horse neighbors that could give you some pointers?
Do you feed them seperately? I would pull one of them out of the pasture, and feed them seperately. It would also reinforce the idea that being apart is ok, since you get fed.
If you had a round pen or a small paddock, I woud take the mare in there and work on moving her around, in any way, just that you make her go forward and only you decide whenshe can stop or change directions.
She is obviously alph in her mind and you are below her and she kicks out when ou become an annoyance to her.
If she ever kicks at you again, you must Immediately get after her. Yell and scream at her, drive her off, smack her on the butt with a whip, anything that really startles her and says "that was a mistake!"
Also, doing some work with driving her off of her food andmaking her wait until she stands politely , no ear pinning, no scaping feet on the ground, no sweinging her hind end at you . Wait until she stands off to the side and looks submissive, then you move off the food and let her in.
When you bring the food, you move her off of you and make her wait politely before you let her at the bucket.
You will need a whip perhaps, to keep her at a respectful distance.
This is a lot to ask of someone new to horses, so if you have a friend who is more knowledgeable, I would call on their guidance.
I would say that your mare is trying to prove that she is the dominate horse over you and the other horse. The best thing that you can do is start working with her.
It sounds like you are on a bit of a budget so my suggestion would be that you sign up for giddyupsflix.com it is like netflix for horse people. They are a little slower than netflix but they are cheap when you think about how much training dvds cost.
You should rent from there or even buy the Clinton Anderson series starting from the level one and work your way up. Your mare might see you as a bit of a push over and decided that she can be the dominate horse. You need to establish your dominance and respect by making your horse move her feet. Get a rope halter and long lead line and those dvd's and get to work.
Maybe when you save your money you can go to a clinic and learn from Clinton or another clinician. Watch RFDTV and tune into every program they have about horses. I don't know if you are planning one getting and rescuing more horses but I would suggest that instead of investing in a trainer you invest in your training abilities. That way you aren't lining the trainers pockets with each horse you get.
The best investment you can make is in you. Clinics might seem like a lot of money but they are worth is because you learn things you can apply to all horses.
When I got my mare she was 5 disrespectful, and unbroken. I started watching the farm channel and reading everything I could. Then I went to a local clinic. It was amazing the amount I learned. My horse had at a competitive trail ride, is the envy of everyone because she behaves so well, and recently we have taught her to bow and lay down. I have another horse I am currently applying all the things I learned on and she is progressing quickly and has become a great partner.
Where are you located? I am just curious for the purpose of what clinicians are near you.
Thank you so much. I guess I found my first mistake, I was trying to baby her a little, it was because she didn't get much attention from what I understand.
I definitely agree, that she shouldn't be biting or kicking. My daughter wants to use one for 4H. But I'm need to get my mare under control.
I have been reading everything I can get my hands on, and watching some training video's I found on the net. I'm in this for the long haul.
I do have a friend who knows a lot about horses, but she's got into a car accident so she can't make it over for awhile.
@chvyluvgrl: I live in Roy, WA.
Thank you again to you all for the advice.
I agree with what they others have said, and also I have one valuable piece of advice to offer:
Don't make a big deal out of anything. When you make a big deal out of something, that's when it becomes a big deal. What I mean by this is, when you correct a horse, do it in a straightforward way, to the point, and then let it go.
Keeping this in mind has always been very effective for me with horses, especially in teaching ground manners - and always praise good behavior.
^^ Good advice for sure. I am totally against using just any paddock for making a horse move, unless they are on a line. Guess it comes from one of mine jumping out of a round pen.....the most helpless feeling ever, and ever since then I make sure I have some control with a line, or have the horse in a place where they absolutely cannot get out! (like an indoor with the doors shut.) Then, and only then, am I comfortable making mine move until he is ready to "jion up", so to speak.
Horses do not recognize us as humans, but as two-legged animals at least until a bond is created. We have to establish ourselves as the higher in pecking order than they are. There is an adage that says: When working with a horse that misbehaves there is a *3 second rule*, literally make that horse think it is going to die in *3 seconds* by yelling, waving your arms or even better carry a stock type whip to only use as an extension of your arm then continue with what you were doing. Our safety is all important when working with a bad horse. Never ever back away from or turn tail and run away from the horse. That will only establish more dangerous behavior.
A mare will boss a gelding around which is their nature even in the wild. With dynamics of a wild herd the alpha/boss mare is the one who tells the herd to move on to better grazing, to go to water for drinking or to flee when in danger not the Stallion. Of course, there are no geldings in a wild herd, but horses do not recognize a gelded male as not being intact.
If you have the facilities to feed your gelding and mare separately that would be a far better option. Be careful to not ever turn your back to the mare. Best Wishes for a successful experience.
If you live in Washington then you should get yourself and your horse to a Steve Rother clinic ASAP. He is great. If you take his advice fully your horse will be changed as will you by the end of the clinic. horseteacher.com is his website. Especially if your in this for the long haul it will be a much less bumpy road if you go to his clinics.
A couple comments...
As hard as it can be for most folks, try and lose the "But this is starting to worry me..." feeling. Horses are great at sensing apprehension/fear, and this will make your job harder.
Don't give up...with all the change in your horse's life, if you are the 'constant' factor (confidence, patience, consistancy in disipline, not giving in, etc), everything will settle into your routine and you and your horse(s) will be fine together.
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