I think it's hard to say, but from personal experience with our 4 horses, and observing other horses at our barn, I think you should look carefully at whether your handling has changed.
I have been guilty of personifying situations and feeling sorry for my horses, which makes me rationalize their bad behavior, and ultimately let it slide until they become serious issues.
My husband, who is generally not too permissive with his horse, broke Gus' manners last week, and we had to go to the round pen yesterday to fix him. Last week we were riding on a windy day at our barn. We rode in the arena a bit, and then rode out around the property for a bit. Gus is not brave out of the arena, and gets very looky in the wind. We rode past a line of parked trailers, and someone had left half a bag of shavings out in the open. Gus caught a glimpse of the out of place shavings bag and the wind rattled the plastic, so Gus had a big spook and spin. My husband sat it and got him back, but from then on, everything became a scary monster to Gus.
(Side note: Wild Card One Eyed Salty followed suit with the spin and spook, loaded up like he was going to blow and buck, but then immediately came back to me, put his head back down and walked forward. I breathed a sigh of relief, petted him up, and we ambled off to the obstacle course to end on a win. Yay, me and Crazy Salty!)
My husband, not wanting to give in to Gus' over active imagination, walked him further down the row of trailers, exerting every ounce of energy to holding Chicken Gus together. When they got through it, he went and got his rope halter and put Gus to work on the ground in the spooky place. My husband usually doesn't get too shook, but Gus was wound up. When my husband backed him up, he reared up. When my husband tried to yield his hind quarters, he nipped him on the arm. My husband, feeling sorry for poor, scared, 1300 pound Gus, didn't correct those two things. Over the next week, Gus kept getting nippier and more disrespectful. My husband didn't want to smack him because he's had some harsh training in the past. Gus was disrespectful, nipping, refusing to do anything on the ground, rearing up instead of listening and working.
To the round pen we went. Gus was being awful to my husband, escalating his antics, not listening, not working. He had quickly learned that the rearing got him out of work, and was using it for all he was worth with my husband. He was also pushing into his space and nipping him. I went in with him, backed him up, scolding and backing him harder when he reared, sending him both ways and waiting out his wild bolting, getting after him when he tried to come into my space. It took less than 10 minutes to get him fixed and have him walking, trotting, backing, standing with respect. My husband took over and worked him, and they seem to be back to good now.
The bad behavior started because my husband attributed bad behavior to being scared, and let Gus have a pass. Then, recalling his past rough handling and bad training, my husband didn't want to correct the nipping. Gus is the smartest lazy horse in the universe, so he took advantage. When reminded of the rules and put back in his place, he is happy and calm.
I'm wondering (after my long winded story) if you started letting her manners slide because she lost her friend and moved to a new place, and she is taking advantage of the chink in your armor and exploiting you to get her way. Now she has your number and is threatening you and pushing the limits, and you don't want to get after poor, nervous, sad horse.
Maybe she needs you to get back to handling her firmly and correcting her bad behavior, regardless of the cause.
Last edited by horselovinguy; 01-26-2019 at 08:48 PM.
Reason: not permitted..