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terry6970 05-18-2011 10:24 PM

Seeking Advice - Exposure Training/Calming down overly excited horse
 
Hello Friends,

I have a 7 yr old mustang mare that gets VERY excited on rides outside of the corral whenever she sees another horse in the distance or heaven forbid close. She raises her head, snorts, holds her tail straight up and goes completely out of control. This happens whether or not I am leading her or riding her. I have tried the "calm-down" cue to get her to lower her head but she pays no attention. When I turn her in tight circles she gets even more excited and starts rearing, head tossing, backing up, and bucking. I have also tried correcting quick snaps with the lead rope or reins. Nothing seems to break her intense concentration on wanting to go to that other horse and it's all I can do to get her back home. I have heard she needs exposure training, but what does this entail and how do I get her under control? Thank you!

horseloverd2 05-18-2011 10:55 PM

This is definitely not one of those quick fixes that can be trained out in a week or so.

There are different things you can try with your mare. My friend had a horse that hated being separated from other horses. She could be a nightmare if one of the horses started walking away from her. Safety is with the herd, and if the herd is leaving a horse they start feeling vulnerable.

The last thing I would do is correct her when she acts up. Because then you become the monster that keeps her away from her buddies, and you don't want that. You want her to view you as a strong leader that will keep her safe and chastising her while she's scared will get you nowhere fast. If anything, she'll want to get away from you that much more.

Establish strong ground respect if you haven't already. This horse needs to respect and trust you before you work through this. That being said, you may want to make her stand in an open field with you either on or holding her. Have a friend (with lots of time and patience) ride away from you two. When your mare acts up, have your friend stop the horse and make it stand. Sooth her or just be firm and make her stand. Don't punish her. When she finally calms down give her a treat or some other type of praise and have your friend come back. Repeat this until your friend can walk the horse away without your mare becoming upset. End the training session then, do it again another day.

There are lots of different ways people train their horses out of being buddy sour, but the main two things you need to remember are that 1.) The horse needs to see you as a leader and trust you. 2.) This takes more time and patience than it does anything else.

terry6970 05-18-2011 11:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by horseloverd2 (Post 1039720)
This is definitely not one of those quick fixes that can be trained out in a week or so.

There are different things you can try with your mare. My friend had a horse that hated being separated from other horses. She could be a nightmare if one of the horses started walking away from her. Safety is with the herd, and if the herd is leaving a horse they start feeling vulnerable.

The last thing I would do is correct her when she acts up. Because then you become the monster that keeps her away from her buddies, and you don't want that. You want her to view you as a strong leader that will keep her safe and chastising her while she's scared will get you nowhere fast. If anything, she'll want to get away from you that much more.

Establish strong ground respect if you haven't already. This horse needs to respect and trust you before you work through this. That being said, you may want to make her stand in an open field with you either on or holding her. Have a friend (with lots of time and patience) ride away from you two. When your mare acts up, have your friend stop the horse and make it stand. Sooth her or just be firm and make her stand. Don't punish her. When she finally calms down give her a treat or some other type of praise and have your friend come back. Repeat this until your friend can walk the horse away without your mare becoming upset. End the training session then, do it again another day.

There are lots of different ways people train their horses out of being buddy sour, but the main two things you need to remember are that 1.) The horse needs to see you as a leader and trust you. 2.) This takes more time and patience than it does anything else.

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terry6970 05-18-2011 11:12 PM

Thank you for your advice although her issue is her excitement when seeing horses she doesn't know and wanting to be with them. Her barn buddie can even be with us on a walk but as soon a she catches a glimse of another horse she goes nuts and wants to bolt over to the "stranger". She sees me as holding her back and getting her attention back on me is nearly impossible. I like your advice on getting her away from her buddie too, so may try that for another training goal. Thanks
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horseloverd2 05-18-2011 11:16 PM

Maybe you could use a stranger horse instead of a buddy for her exercise? You may want to ground work her to get her attention on you. I suggest ground work a lot but it works so well in lots of situations. Best of luck and keep us posted on her progress. Does she seem scared or just plain disrespectful when she acts up?
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terry6970 05-18-2011 11:22 PM

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terry6970 05-18-2011 11:29 PM

Good idea. She's not scared at all, acts more like a dog in heat dying to meet another dog. I would attribute it to her cycles if it didn't happen all the time. Its like she loses control and is driven only by an intense instinct. I just want a way to say to her "stop all eyes on me and forget about that other horse". Thank you again for your advice!
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horseloverd2 05-18-2011 11:32 PM

You're very welcome! I hope it helps!

Spyder 05-19-2011 12:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terry6970 (Post 1039763)
Good idea. She's not scared at all, acts more like a dog in heat dying to meet another dog. I would attribute it to her cycles if it didn't happen all the time. Its like she loses control and is driven only by an intense instinct. I just want a way to say to her "stop all eyes on me and forget about that other horse". Thank you again for your advice!
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Part of the problem may be in what YOU do when she acts up.

terry6970 05-19-2011 08:17 AM

You're right, it may be what I'm doing, and that hasn't been working and that's why I was asking for some other suggestions. Have any?


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