Jynx has taken to temper tantrums...
I swear if it's not one thing with this horse, it's another! I think it is beginning to become apparent with time that Jynx is no where near the docile easy going horse we seem to think she is. The vet is convinced her problems under saddle are just tantrums. It seems that as long as she's getting her way or doing something she enjoys, she's a champ. But the minute the pressure comes on, she just goes into fits.
In light of these increasing tantrums, we've gone back to ground work to re-develop some respect. She has become idiotically herdbound to Justus, which is also creating problems. I took her for a walk down the road today to get her away from the rest of the herd and listening to me.
It started out well, just a LOT of moving her feet and making her listen - walk straight, stay at my shoulder, jog, halt, back, pivot away, follow abrupt changes, etc. Just basically keep her focused on me and I took a Dressage whip just in case.
As we progressed, she started getting worse. A Thoroughbred back at the farm was screaming, and she started screaming and worrying back. She progressed into paying ZERO attention to me. I got in her face, threw my hands up, anything to make her get OUT of my space, and she'd briefly listen before trying to charge home again. A tap of the Dressage whip to remind her would evoke a full blown temper tantrum - jumping, bucking, spinning, lashing out with a hoof and in general, actual dangerous behavior towards me in her fits.
I worked her to the point of making her understand she better effing listen or we could stay on the dang road all day long. Although she was only paying partial attention, she began halting and standing and moving away from pressure although still charging into the halter when moving forward (which was corrected by a halt and stand every time.
We FINALLY worked back to the driveway, and when she could see AND hear them, her entire brain had a complete meltdown. She went BALLISTIC. Any attempt to re-focus her attention or back out of my space was met with what can only be described as equine rage - to the point where she reared and staggered back so hard, she almost went over backwards for NO reason other then being asked to stand and move away from pressure.
We worked all the way to the barn, where she was promptly led inside and put into a box stall. She pitched a fit, complete with screaming and hurling her body against the walls of the stall. I closed all doors and just let her defuse. After about 20 minutes, it was finally silent, so I walked in, caught her and led her directly out to pasture and turned her loose before any "excited energy" could start, and also while Justus was still being ridden so she wasn't going "back" to her, just being turned out with her other buds as a reward for calming down and acting sane.
Ugh, sorry for the novel guys, but this horse really surprised me today. I pride myself in my ground work, I haven't found a horse yet I couldn't handle on the ground with good results, and she tried every last aspect of my experience just stopping her from hurting me or herself. I just wanted to know if anybody had experienced this type of mind set, any successes or failures you may have experienced and any further advice you may have as in what I can do to calm her down.
As of right now, my biggest problem is nowhere to ride. The round pen is under water, and we simply don't have anywhere to really work them until it dries up - I can't lunge her, I can't round pen her, and I have nowhere to really ride, although I COULD take to the roads and just work her frenzied butt into the ground.
Any commentary or advice would be great, I've really never experienced such a Jeckel and Hyde type horse!
Did you have the vet out? What did they say?
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Yes. In his opinion, it's completely psychological. He did a lameness exam, had her trot out and lunge, as well as palpated her back and checked her legs. Based on everything he observed in the duration of his visit, he cannot find any explanation for her violent outbursts. He said for her to be protesting so strongly at the trot, there would be SOMETHING visible in hand, lunged, palpated, at the walk, etc. and there is absolutely nothing whatsoever - she's completely relaxed and sound in every single instance except being asked to trot/canter with a rider only.
I'm not against seeking a massage therapist/chiropractor, but based on the temper tantrums she's starting to pitch anytime she's in a situation SHE doesn't want to be in, I really see no evidence of physical issues. She spent the first 2 years of her life learning that anytime she intimidated a human, she would get her way - I thought we'd gotten over it, but I was very clearly wrong.
I would have her hormone levels checked as well. I've seen another horse act like this, she had a testosterone producing tumor on her ovary.
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This not a Vet or health issue. It is simply a terribly her-bound horse that needs to be taught how to handle separation. Some horse have a more difficult time handling separation than other and this one is a 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10. They can be dangerous and they can hurt people and hurt themselves if they are not taught to be sane and 'give it up'.
The ONLY cure I know is to tie them out under a tree limb until they quit. I have had it take at long as 3 full days. I take them out in the morning after they have been fed and nave drank water and I put them up at night when I do chores. I offer water at noon but most won't drink and they are just fine. I have done this for more than 30 years of my 50 years of training and have not had one injure itself and have not had one get better.
The main thing is to tie them safely. Use a flat web halter, a big, strong nylon rope with a big swivel snap in it so the rope will not twist up. DO NOT TIE ONE LIKE THIS WITHOUT A BIG SWIVEL SNAP IN THE LEAD. The snap should be about wither height.
Tie them to a big over-hanging tree limb that is high over head if you have one available. If not, tie one to a safe, strong smooth place where a horse cannot hurt themselves. I prefer the tree limb because a horse cannot paw at anything and repeatedly hit their front legs and feet on anything.
Expect a meltdown. Don't babysit the horse. The whole idea is to let them 'get over it' by themselves and find out there is life and return AFTER THEY SETTLE DOWN. I had one take 3 full days. I would not bet the this one does not.
You cannot train or even ride a horse that has this type if separation anxiety. We tie every horse out before we even try to train it. I do not waste my time on one that has not settled down. It is like spitting in the wind. You just cannot do it.
Another method to fix a herd bound horse is to work them where they want to be and let them rest away from there. Start with working her close to the other horses. Then take her a little ways away, about where she would start throwing a tantrum and let her rest. Take her back to the other horses and make her work. Take her away a little farther than the first time and keep repeating until she can be taken away without any fits.
When you are done for the day, tie her up in a safe place away from the other horses and let her stand there for an hour or two. If she is standing without fussing, let her go back to the pasture or barn with the other horses. If she is fussing, have her stand for another hour. Repeat until she stands calmly before turning her out.
Do expect Jynx to have a total meltdown with pitching resisting the restraints imposed on her. The thing about horses pitching fits and getting away with it only makes the situation worse. If it takes 3 days to settle your horse down, then so be it. Another thing to know is that when a horse reaches the height of their fit pitching is when their are about to quit and accept the restraints imposed on it.
i'd go for a walk with the horse on a long line (22+ ft) with a whip of some sort to help defend myself if needed, and keep going further untill the horse lost control of itsself, stay there and do whatever i can to keep our distance from the rest of the herd, and simply outlast her. eventually she'll regain control, then once that's happened i'd ask her to lower her head a few times (very submissive) then go home, letting her know that the only way to get home (to the herd) is to be in control of herself when she's away from home.
and untill you and the horse have control of the issue i personally wouldn't be riding at all, as being on the horses back puts you in a less than powerful (and dangerous) position to help the horse through this sort of thing.
I also agree with Cherie and candandy; But I would DEFINATELY use the tractor tire intertube (thax MHFQ) which will lend a bit of give. Tie them off and do not waste your time or risk injury to yourself or her. She has to focus on you and when in this state of mind she won't. Anxiety seperation alone is bad enough, but you have these other issues going on as well. I may have missed this, but how old is she? Just curious how long she has been getting by with this behavior....(before you had her I mean)
Thanks guys. I think what worries me most is these tantrums - the herd bound issue is relatively new, shes been worked and ridden away from other horses consistently since I've had her and this is the first time it's been an issue and is within a week of moving to a new barn - even Justus is acting stupid and herdbound, and she's a pretty stable and sane pony.
I like the tying to a tree idea anyway, mostly because tying itself has been a major issue in her training as well. She would pitch tantrums over tying, and after snapping a restraint and almost going over backwards, I took her out and tied her to a tree at the ranch with a bit of give and sacked her out. She blew a few times before realizing she wasn't getting loose again and finally stood quietly and let me touch her all over. This was a year ago and she's been perfect for tying since - until last weekend when we got her in the trailer, and she decided to randomly pitch a tantrum once she was inside. The doors were already closed, so she basically just hauled back and slammed herself against the sides for half a minute before giving up. It just SERIOUSLY concerned me because nothing happened and I thought we were done with the tying issues.
I have no doubts her "herdboundness" will resolve itself, but the increasing temper tantrums at ANYTHING she doesn't want to do is concerning. After we fix this issue, what is she going to pitch tantrums about next?
I bought her as a spoiled 2 year old who was a nipper, a kicker and would bowl you over without a second thought. We had a few "come to Jesus" meetings when she decided she'd rather kick my head in then be lunged or groomed. She'd never had her feet done, and that first time was a trial on everyone - it's been two years and she's STILL prone to blowups with the farrier if I don't watch her like a hawk and distract her constantly.
She's come extremely far with her ground work, and 90% of the time I have total respect in the halter, even for tying she "had" reached a point where she would not tighten that slack on pain of death. But then she has her "moments" where NOTHING matters but getting her away. I would say she has never won yet during these moments, and yet it seems to do little in teaching her it's a waste of time next time.
To whoever mentioned the hormone imbalances, I think I may talk to the vet again when he comes out to do vaccinations and see what he thinks. I am not a pro trainer, but I am not inexperienced whatsoever, I've been riding, working and training horses my entire 25 years and I have yet to see a horse seem SO "bi-polar". One minute she's in your pocket, nuzzling and loving on you and overjoyed just to be with you, and the next she's deliberately trying to hurt you in her quest to do something. I've learned to be quick on my feet around her, but how long until she hurts someone else who's not expecting her to snap? :?
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