The Big Debate - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-25-2013, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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The Big Debate

Feeling seriously stuck between a rock & a hard place right now. I have always always wanted a horse I could do a little bit of everything with. We didn't have to be good at it, but we'd go out & try. A horse who could hit the trails one day then turn around & jump a course.

I thought my 7yo AQH Dani was turning into that horse. This summer she was amazing. We could hit the trails with everyone without blinking an eye. Take lead, hit the middle spot, ride in the back. No problems. Could take her out in the front pasture with everyone to screw around or just relax. But then could come into the arena and try her hardest to be a fancy Dressage pony or jump the moon. I even took her to a XC clinic that she was pretty much fearless doing & seemed to really enjoy. I was just enjoying my summer & enjoying my horse.

Until I take her out on another trail ride this past week and she's rankled being in the back (she's usually ALWAYS in the back), then when I move her up and ask her to stretch out a bit I get some good bucks & fit throwing. So we're walking again. Cue the prancing sideways, kick outs, baby fits. Same old crap she's done since she was 3. Then I have one of the other gals ride her for me. Sends me a text she was absolutely HORRIBLE. She just got ON Dani & she took off bucking. Before calling this just an attitude problem I checked for any pain, free lunged her, put all her gear on & lunged with side reins etc. Fine. I get on and ask her to do something? Not gonna happen.

I'm just sick of the fights. They're not anything I can't handle or work through. It's more like a just don't want to ya know? I just want to be able to get on and enjoy my horse. I don't want it to be a fight every time. I don't mind a little fit every now and then - they're horses it's gonna happen. But when this mare throws a fit? She throws a freaking FIT. I've owned her since she was 6 months old. She means a lot to me as I've done the majority of her training. And I can admit any faults she's got I probably caused them. She has such a sweet & loving personality. To me >.> She's really kinda become "my" horse and this summer was everything I ever wanted. I just don't know what the hell happened. And right now, I'm seriously debating selling her to find something that can be that everything horse. I don't know what to do. I know I'm over the "will this cause Dani to throw a fit? Do I need to be worried Dani will throw a fit & be potentially dangerous for me?"
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-25-2013, 11:50 PM
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She kind of sounds like a horse that needs a job. Frequent riding to "stay broke."

But, maybe not. What's she eating? How much turnout? Are you not able to ride as often (you mentioned the summer was great)? None of those are bad things, just require some adjustment.

The only reason I'm asking all that is: If all those things haven't changed, then you may a) need a vet check, or b) need to work with someone to find out what the horse is responding to. Mainly because if the horse hasn't changed but you have, a different horse will not be a solution.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-26-2013, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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She's never really been that type of horse to need frequent riding to stay broke. Definitely appreciates it, but where I kept her before it was sometimes nearly impossible to ride regularly.

What's she eating? SafeChoice Original 2lbs AM+PM & 1LB Triumph Complete AM+PM, Alfalfa/Grass 50/50 Mix Hay
How much turnout? She did go from 24/7 pasture to back in the stall at night, but that was a couple months ago. The past couple weeks she's been back on 24/7 pasture.
you not able to ride as often (you mentioned the summer was great)?
I was out at the barn every day, but didn't ride her every day. I'm still at the barn every day but same deal. There were times where I didn't ride for a week or two then would hit a trail no problems.

I've got a trainer who can come out whenever. These fits aren't anything new though. This is actually more like the horse she was before the summer. Or last year when my trainer was frequently working with us. She lost a considerable amount of weight during the summer (so I wasn't riding her that frequently because of that fact). I'm not sure if it's the weight, the weather, or she's just feeling more herself again. This isn't the first time this mare has thrown fits like this and I've gotten her vet checked but no problems showed up. I took her to my trainer's place for a week back in March. She's kinda behaving exactly like she did then. So this isn't a new occurrence for her The summer behavior was the amazing change to something different.
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-26-2013, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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I probably won't ever sell this horse. I went through this same debate with myself years ago on her. Just kinda needed to talk it out :/
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-26-2013, 02:16 AM
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Have you considered her being in heat? How often does this happen & the time periods in between?
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-26-2013, 02:23 AM
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I don't have much advice except make her life hell when that happens.

My mare, Selena, is very much so like this. She was a monster when I got her. Bucking, crow hopping, rearing, refusing to go into the show gate, couldn't go out on trails, etc. She's great now, I can do anything with her and we've shown in a lot of classes and continue to run barrels...But every now and then she'll still get a "mood" and just be a total pill. We work through it, but it'll be something that always happens I suspect.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-26-2013, 07:56 AM
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You may be doing the wrong thing when she gives you attitude. Teach this mare a very good 'one rein stop'. Teach her that every time she starts to throw a fit, you are going to take her head away (and all of her power with it), kick her butt to the outside (disengage her hind end), and in general, make her life miserable without engaging her in HER fight. Instead of playing 'defense' all of the time, go on the 'offense' and make her pay for her fit.

Then, after taking her power away and kicking her butt with her head at your knee, put her to work hard. Trot back and forth in one area, pulling her around hard at each direction change. If the direction change turns into a fit, take her head away again and kick her butt some more. [Make sure you do this BOTH directions -- taking her head away more often to her stiff side if she has one.] Then, go back to riding her harder. Repeat this process until she rides off nicely and does not offer to fight with you.

Remember, every time you ride 'on defense', she is in charge and calling the shots. The results of her throwing a fit always needs an unpleasant and negative experience for her. The result of her going good needs to be pleasant -- her reward.

Since it appears that there is a 'nice' horse in there, make the ill-tempered horse pay the price. It is just a variation of "make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult for her". All but an idiot horse will quickly choose to drop its head, flatten its neck out, and walk off nicely waiting for your next instructions.

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post #8 of 9 Old 10-26-2013, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by farahmay View Post
Have you considered her being in heat? How often does this happen & the time periods in between?
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She's very obvious when she's in heat. Her last heat cycle was awhile ago & she hasn't been showing signs since. When she was younger she used to get super cranky around her heat cycle, but she hasn't so much anymore.

Thanks for the advice everyone Was just in a serious doubting myself week. Over the fighting & crap with this mare.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-26-2013, 10:11 PM
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Assuming you've ruled out pain (teeth, ulcers, back, etc) and tack fit...

She may just be the kind of horse that doesn't necessarily need to be ridden often to stay broke, but she might need a 'reset' every so often. That's just what I call it, I'm not sure if other people call it something else.

A "reset" is just that. I've run into it more than once and my horse does it too. Every so often, all the training seems to go to crud, behavioral issues crop up and horsie becomes a turd. I then go back to basics with him - groundwork, lunging, respect/leadership exercises, etc. Usually, after a week of this, my horse has this huge breakthrough, takes a deep breath and exhales. It's like he goes " last!" and goes back to his normal self.

I don't know what sparks it in him, but it's like he feels the need to test the lines drawn in the sand and see if I really do mean business.

Maybe you just need to stop the riding and spend a good week or two with her on just the absolute basics.

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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