Possible aggressive mare or just misunderstood - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Possible aggressive mare or just misunderstood

So, Im looking at outside opinions but here is the situation.....
I'm currently helping my instructor train a mare that she's on the fence about selling at some point. The mare is a 4 year old friesian/morgan cross, she stays stalled a majority of the day unless brought out for training. I talked to my instructor about the mare and she said she can't put her out into the pasture with mares or geldings because she has an attitude and will kick out at other horses. Obviously I'm not there 24/7 and she keeps her away from the other horses when I'm there so I've never seen her interaction with them. She doesn't seem to bothered when she sees other horses when she's outside of her stall though. Mostly just watches for a minute. She also said she's pushy with people but when I've handled her she's been nothing but sweet. When I go into her stall she will get into my space but will move when told and put her head down when I halter her. She's green and has minimal handling from what I understand but she listens pretty well when I lead her. I can get her to walk, trot and stop on a lunge line without a huge issue and we just started working on cantering yesterday. She has been saddled and from what I've been told has been sat on but not much else. Being saddled doesn't bother her, you can push and pull on the saddle with no explosive reactions, she just stands there. I've briefly discussed with my instructor that Id be interested in purchasing her if she does decide to sell but I'd hate for her to have to be stalled the rest of her life. So, I guess my biggest question is has there ever been a situation where someone would have to keep their horse stalled or do you guys feels its pent up energy?
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post #2 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 02:27 PM
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I wonder if what one sees as "aggressive" someone else may see as no herd manners had...

I would want to see the mare in a adjoining paddock next to other horses and how she responds to them...
You often can see "aggressive" attitudes and what you describe as she takes a look then moves on is not a aggressive stance to me.
She's young and I would hate to see the animal mis-categorized and lead a solitary life if all she needs is her butt kicked by a lead mare who teaches her herd dynamics she may be missing.
Seclusion, always removed and the mare has not done anything that you know of to be awarded such treatment...
If you're really serious I would have a very intent heart-to-heart discussion with the owner of the mare and see where you're at.
Solitary life to me is a cost negotiation price and recognition that the horse may never be able to be ridden in company, shown, trail rode...always solitary.
Or...
The mare may be being maligned and wrongly accused of doing something she didn't do...

Only you know if you can trust to try if you buy, and can you accept the consequence if her present owner is correct and the malign is justly earned.
...
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post #3 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 02:30 PM
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It's hard to guess not knowing the mare, so I'll just make some general statements.

I prefer a horse get quite a bit of turnout. Both for mental health and for physical health. Even if it can't be with other horses.

I have met only a couple horses that were too aggressive to be out with others. Both mares. And both so good at ranch work with cattle their meanness was worth accommodating with private paddocks. Both had good ground manners and did not kick when being ridden.

Neither was bred because the owners didn't want the personality traits passed on. Both had been assessed by veterinarians for a physical cause.

So I believe it sure happens, but fortunately it is very rare.
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post #4 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 02:43 PM
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It may be that this particular herd situation isn't right for her, for whatever reason. That doesn't mean another situation, with a larger or smaller group, or horses that are more submissive or more dominant, or with only mares, or with only geldings, wouldn't work out.

You might want to ask for more specifics, what exactly the trainer has seen that makes her not want to turn this mare out with the others.
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post #5 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Apparently this mare has been bounced around and was originally purchased from a kill pen in TX so my instructor is her 3rd home. The way her set up is the only way for her to be even relatively close to other horses is in her arena. After her training session I did give her a break and let her loose and let her stay in the arena to roll and blow off some steam before being stalled again. Personally I didn't see any aggressive behavior, she walked over to the side of the arena where the mare pasture is, neighed then cantered the fence line once and went about her business and ignored them. I totally agree with you boots, I prefer to have a horse out instead of cooped up all the time.
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post #6 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
It may be that this particular herd situation isn't right for her, for whatever reason. That doesn't mean another situation, with a larger or smaller group, or horses that are more submissive or more dominant, or with only mares, or with only geldings, wouldn't work out.

You might want to ask for more specifics.
That may very well be the case but I'm not totally sure. She said she put her in with her mares, which already has a boss mare but the boss mare left her alone so she moved her to the geldings and she said the she almost broke one of her geldings legs. She didn't elaborate on what led up to that situation just that she can't afford for her to hurt the other horses. Which I understand since she does board.
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post #7 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 03:21 PM
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I think part of her reason they are seeing that behavior is because she's stalled all the time...I personally am not a fan of stalling, I don't have a problem with people who do it though. It works for some horses, others...not so much. My horse prefers being outside, she's not a fan of stalling unless necessary (if she has an injury etc.).

Horses also need time to figure things out - they usually figure it out amongst themselves. Sure, she may think she's alpha mare in the pasture. It doesn't mean it's the end of the world though. Let horses be horses. She's probably fine!

I hope you can get her, that'd be lovely. She'd do fine in turnout. It's the best thing for them IMO.
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post #8 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 03:43 PM
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Is the trainer/BO's mare lead and put her in her place or the mare was submissive and did not challenge the lead? If that is the case then she should be with the mares. If the mare was vying for top position and trainer/BO didn't want her herd dynamics to change that is her prerogative though sad situation for the horse. If putting the mare with the geldings caused problems that were escalating and more than a sound thumping or scuffings were occuring then she doesn't need to be with them. If there is room and a horse or two that accepts her (low or high) place without fuss best would be to turn her out with the few. Not everyone is set up to manage several small herds though. Some barns go through several changes in herd dynamics and accommodations seem to be made seasonally and as the horse loyalties change or different horses pair up the pasture arrangement changes. Things seem to be fluid and there is space to make changes. Here I have limited flexibility but that is not because of space limitation more I have multiple strong personalities that try to run things. Pastures are big enough that I can put a couple of small groups together in each space and they mostly stay out of each others way but I have two that cannot go together at all. Those two and their little bands are kept separate completely and the more accepting groups are added in with either of those based on how well they interact.



Even with that sometimes you just have to let them work it out. Sometimes it can be done over a fence, other times not. You're taking a chance and if the horses are high dollar enough then it may be that a chance can't be taken. I've seen a couple of hocks fractured and broken ribs and an ear almost ripped off over the years. It happens but that isn't usually the case. Most times it is bruises and scuff marks.
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post #9 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PoptartShop View Post
I think part of her reason they are seeing that behavior is because she's stalled all the time...I personally am not a fan of stalling, I don't have a problem with people who do it though. It works for some horses, others...not so much. My horse prefers being outside, she's not a fan of stalling unless necessary (if she has an injury etc.).

Horses also need time to figure things out - they usually figure it out amongst themselves. Sure, she may think she's alpha mare in the pasture. It doesn't mean it's the end of the world though. Let horses be horses. She's probably fine!

I hope you can get her, that'd be lovely. She'd do fine in turnout. It's the best thing for them IMO.
I agree, if I am able to buy her I'd much rather have her in a turn out and possibly stalled in the evening. Unfortunately I probably won't know if she's going to sell her for a couple months. She said she was planning on sending her to the amish to saddle break, not sure when she's planning on that though. I talked to my husband about maybe trying to see if she'd sell her to me before that and go a different route for a trainer. I honestly think a big issue is she just isn't worked with a lot. My instructor has other horses that have been brought in for training and she just doesn't have time to mess with her.
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post #10 of 32 Old 06-15-2020, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by QtrBel View Post
Is the trainer/BO's mare lead and put her in her place or the mare was submissive and did not challenge the lead? If that is the case then she should be with the mares. If the mare was vying for top position and trainer/BO didn't want her herd dynamics to change that is her prerogative though sad situation for the horse. If putting the mare with the geldings caused problems that were escalating and more than a sound thumping or scuffings were occuring then she doesn't need to be with them. If there is room and a horse or two that accepts her (low or high) place without fuss best would be to turn her out with the few. Not everyone is set up to manage several small herds though. Some barns go through several changes in herd dynamics and accommodations seem to be made seasonally and as the horse loyalties change or different horses pair up the pasture arrangement changes. Things seem to be fluid and there is space to make changes. Here I have limited flexibility but that is not because of space limitation more I have multiple strong personalities that try to run things. Pastures are big enough that I can put a couple of small groups together in each space and they mostly stay out of each others way but I have two that cannot go together at all. Those two and their little bands are kept separate completely and the more accepting groups are added in with either of those based on how well they interact.



Even with that sometimes you just have to let them work it out. Sometimes it can be done over a fence, other times not. You're taking a chance and if the horses are high dollar enough then it may be that a chance can't be taken. I've seen a couple of hocks fractured and broken ribs and an ear almost ripped off over the years. It happens but that isn't usually the case. Most times it is bruises and scuff marks.
From how she explained it, she put the new mare into the herd and the boss mare looked at her and backed off, which apparently isn't the norm. All she said was basically the new mare was acting like a witch to the other horses. With the exception of the boss mare all the other mares are boarders. How her barn is set up is there's really no option of separating into smaller pastures to see how things would go unfortunately.
Now I'm no expert but I'd bet money a lot of her issues with herds is she has pent up energy that rarely gets released. Just like a person cooped up 24/7 you'd go a little stir crazy too.
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Last edited by QtrBel; 06-15-2020 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Language and Typing around censors
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