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SkyeAngel 05-15-2011 02:20 PM

Pulling back?
Well, I have a problem here.

My mare is sixteen years old, she does flatwork schooling, a tiny bit of jumping and a fair bit of hacking. I have had her for four years.

In the time I have had her she has usually been a bit of a fidget to mount, but not too bad. She often likes to walk off as soon as i'm in the saddle, but it's been getting much better. Other than that i've had no problems.

So a couple of months back, I messed up. I was putting her saddle on, and hadn't noticed a little bit of mud stuck on her girth. It was enough to dig in and irritate her when I tried to saddle her, and she pulled back and got loose. I checked her and the girth, found the lump, took it out and she saddled fine.

I tie her to twine. I know a lot of people here don't agree with tying to twine, but I have always been taught it's the safest way and everyone I know ties to twine. I do because I don't really have anywhere that would be safe to tie my horses without it.

Anyway, she learnt that she could break it, and a monster was unleashed. I worked with her on this, generally by making her work when she pulled back, and rewarding her when she stood well. After a week or two she was fine again and I forgot the whole thing.

Then this weekend I had both horses tied up in the yard. A friend and I were tacking them up for a hack. We'd been grooming them for about ten minutes and I went over to her to check out a rub mark on Solo that she wanted me to look at. Suddenly for no reason, Phoebe has pulled back she broke two bits of twine that she was tied to, but she was also tied to a braided part which didn't break. She then stopped, rested a foot, sighed, looked around a bit, looked for something to eat, then she went crazy and started pulling back again. I ran to untie her because I didn't want her to go flying if the twine broke. I then circled her and made her stand until she was standing quietly. After a minute or two she's pulling back and doing mini rears while i'm holding her. I responded with a pretty good slap on the shoulder followed by circling. until she stood again. She stood perfectly to be tacked up and was really calm. Then when I tried to mount her she ran back and mini reared again, twice, until I made her stand and mounted properly. We hacked out. She behaved perfectly.

She's perfectly calm in between times, and actually pretty calm during. I don't know why she's suddenly gone a bit psycho. Please don't say back pain or poorly fitted saddle. I have had a trainer, two vets and a qualified saddler all say her back is fine and her saddle fits well. She is respectful in all other ways. I can move her feet to wherever I like, she does not barge me, she lunges, freeschools, moves off to pressure etc etc.

Clearly what I tried before hasn't worked, even though she has been fine for a couple of months now. I don't know what started her up again, but what do you all-knowing, wonderful people suggest I do to sort this out completely? All suggestions respectfully taken!

sorry for the essay, thanks for reading this far!

JessPintoMare 05-15-2011 02:27 PM

Thatsbwhat my mare does. One time I tied herbto a wooden fence post and she started yanking back and she ended up breaking her lead rope and halter and putting a big dent in the gate. So now unjust kind of gave up tying her to things. So the other day I was saddling her and she really sensitive to the girth. And she reard up and just about fell over. Then took off running around the pasture with everything flapping. So your not the only one!:)

horseloverd2 05-15-2011 02:38 PM

Stop tying her with twine. Even if she doesn't always try to break free, she knows it'll give if she pulls back. I think the reason she pulled and stopped was because she felt the twine break, so she started relaxing even though there was a braided one she didn't break. If you want to make sure she doesn't get hurt, get her a breakaway halter. That takes a lot more pressure to break and it's very safe.

I think that will work because it sounds like the only reason she pulls back is to break the twine. Some horses pull back because they are anxious or something. But from the way you're describing it, she just has a habit of breaking it.

SkyeAngel 05-15-2011 06:39 PM

I've been worried about tying her without the twine because the only thing I have to tie her to is the yard gate and it's not exactly stable. I thought she would be more likely to injure herself if she breaks the gate? I see your point though. I know she's not doing it out of fear/anxiety/pain. She's just learnt a bad habit and now she's being a cow.

I might look into a breakaway. I really don't want her breaking my halters!

horseloverd2 05-15-2011 10:01 PM

Honestly I would invest in at least one safe hitching post. It wouldn't be that expensive and they are necessary. I wouldn't keep tying them to the gate.
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SkyeAngel 05-16-2011 11:22 AM

I'll see what I can do. I've never seen a hitching post in England. They're not really the done thing around here.

horseloverd2 05-16-2011 01:32 PM

Usually they just put a couple pieces of strong wood into some concrete, bury it, and put another piece of strong wood on top of the two. It doesn't even have to be a hitching post, just someplace safe to tie the horses.
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barrelracer892 05-16-2011 03:06 PM

My horse had this problem a few months ago and I did exactly what you did-- work him when he got loose and let him rest at the hitching post. It worked great for me after a few tries and he hasn't tried pulling back again *knock on wood*. Another thing you could try when you saddle her is to just wrap the lead rope around a hitching post if you can find one to use (assuming it's very stable) and leaving it undone in case of an emergency, so when she pulls back just grab the end of the rope so it won't unwrap around the post. Just let her figure out that she's not going to get loose whenever she wants to and when she finally relaxes reassure her that she's fine and give her a pet.

momo3boys 05-21-2011 07:31 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I really liked the Clinton Anderson tie ring. It works great without panicking the horse or you. If you make a hitching post I would put this on it.

KennyRogersPaints 05-21-2011 08:01 PM

My filly has broken chains on leadropes from pulling back so hard, if you tie them with no twine and nothing breakaway sometimes they get so scared from it when the oull they wont do it again for awhile, thats what i do

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