My horse is a total nutcase and I don't know what to do... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 02-15-2020, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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My horse is a total nutcase and I don't know what to do...

First off all, my mare got checked nose to tail. Nothing is wrong.
The tack fits just fine, how do I know? Had 2 experienced friend and the barn owner look at it.

Well, here the story starts...

This mare is already 16 yo.
She's is know to be very very stubborn and also she is notorious for her killer bucks.
Before I got her she has been in good hands all her life, however people where afraid off her "issues" and they just had her out in the pasture.
Then she went (before me) to a nice lady who did mostly groundwork.(she was also pregnant at this time). During the stay with the lady the mare was pretty well behaved and not too bad overall. When the foal was born and about 2/3 months old this mare came into my life. Something just clicked and told me "this is the one".
The first month of bringing her back into work was smooth sailing with no fireworks. I even did a dressage competition and placed first.... I thought I did indeed found my one-in-a-million horse. I decided to buy her. We moved to another barn, at this time the foal was 7 months and ready to be weened. The mare was pretty chill about it but I waited a few weeks before I back on. I started riding her again and for the first few times nothing major happened, however I did notice she was more nervous and spooked a bit.
One time she bucked pretty hard, I chickened out and let my friend ride her through. I though this was a one time thing and the next day I decided I asked to much from her and I restarted groundwork.

She was a disrespectful nasty idiot who just ran off dragging the lunge line through my hands.
However I did not quit and I worked through that first time lunging.
After this I did "small" groundwork like leading around cones/poles, backing up etc. I did this for a few weeks.
Today I decided to lunge again.
Well, I saw every corner of that darn arena. Again a friend helped me out and he is very very experienced and he has seen many "problem" horses.
He got dragged around like a lil' piece of paper by this mare.
I decided that I was done and I whooped her bum and used a heavy bit(normally against it but I could not think clearly at that moment)....

So, my mare with a stubborn personality and a known bucking problem went nuts.

Currently considering tying her nose at her breast, taking my spurs and 2 wips. Just "kindly" saying "hey, I'm done do nor try me again"....

I think that small bits added up and spiraled out of control.

Also I cannot afford to sent her off to a training stall, my helping friend can only come once a week to help me out. I'm on my own.

I only have a big arena and no round pen or small paddock, she just smashes through wire so I cant section off a smaller piece. She just gives zero care about pressure, she just turns her head and bolts.
With riding, I hopped on a few times during this whole groundwork ordeal. She was very very very tense but wasn't mean.

Out of options, please help....

Last edited by loosie; 02-16-2020 at 01:54 AM.
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post #2 of 36 Old 02-15-2020, 09:14 PM
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I know you are frustrated and angry but escalating this further to the point of physical abuse wont help at all. When does one cross the line from trainer and become a bully? I urge you to look up on youtube a trainer called Warwick Schiller. He has tons of free material which will help you get into her mind. He has a whole series and charges something like $30 a month? You can watch the whole training series in a week. You can surely afford that. You nor I can never physically force a horse to do anything it doesn't want to do. I am an exotic animal trainer and trained/worked with a huge variety of animals. Between time pressures, desensitisation and specific shots required you quickly learn there is more than one way to train an animal and trust me - resorting to physical restraint and assault never works out. There is sitting a buck and pushing through however your post leads me to believe that as a result of inexperience you and your friends have only tried ONE method of training and that is "if she doesn't do what I want I will punish her. If she resists I will punish her even more". I trained bomb detection dogs. If they missed a scent should I just beat them? OFC not. One colleague did once and that young dog was put off by that one incident it couldn't walk into the practice room anymore and had to be retired.

Think about it. You go see her. You put a big bit in her mouth. Your heart is racing and you're pumped and ready for a fight (you actually see her EXPECTING a fight so duh... you're gonna get one.) You get on and bait her into misbehaving and go ham. What does she learn? That you will randomly turn up, get on and cause even more pain. I think some horses need a good rider to sit a buck or a rear but usually it's JUST sitting the buck and the rear, NOT accompanied by IMO torture as you suggest (spurring and jerking her mouth). You can sit a buck and she can learn futility in a bitless bridle even (not suggesting that though). It takes a special person to get on calmly and ride a horse out without getting emotional invested. Riding and training animals when angry is a BAD idea. Best case scenario things dont work out... worst case someone gets hurt.

Imagine you are a parent of a troubled child. Have you given your mare a voice and asked her whats wrong? Not assume but actually see what she is telling you. Is she afraid of you? Is she in pain? Has she shut down and given up because in her mind every interaction with you is miserable, that nothing she does is good enough. Why should she let someone like you on her back? Why should she run circles? Every session ends in one or both of you upset. Has she got low confidence? (Think about it.. some of the most destructive people are some of the most insecure). When my mare used to get upset she would run to the gate and weave "get me out of here!". It was a cry for help. Not her being stubborn. Make sure you truly are knowing the difference.

You can be scared of someone and at the same time not respect them. Almost all horses need a leader... a fair one. But some horses also need kindness. Some need patience. Some need space. Some need a friend. Right now what human is helping build her confidence and trust? I don't mean demanding X and her obeying. I mean doing fun little things (like liberty say) and building a relationship. Giving a carrot and asking nothing. Smiling and laughing. Or is it just resentment, frowns and tedium? You want her to do as you ask and behave. She might just want you to back off. But WHY? That's the important question. WHY doesn't she want to even be in your company at all to the point you can't even lunge her much less ride?

Really look into pain first but I think what is also broken is your relationship. It's toxic. You cannot expect her to be anything more or less than a horse. Of course you want obedience and you've learned that your way, your friends way and punishment doesn't work with you mare. Now try a new method. What about clicker training? Instead of "DONT DO THAT!" change it to "YES THIS IS IT!". See if maybe it works better for her. Stop going in expecting a fight. Starting going in "lets see what we can learn today and have fun". Speaking of pressure make sure your pressure isn't the equivalent of a hurricane. Maybe all she needs is a whisper. My mare gets offended if I go over the top "listen lady do I look stupid?! Why you shouting at me?!". When your mare fails you DON'T get angry. You just say "that's ok, we didn't get it right this time but lets try again.". You have to be calm. It takes so much fortitude to be calm in the face of failure and frustration.

Take a deep breath. You and she haven't been very good to each other. You need to be safe and protect yourself but remember - you should also be friends. Friends can forgive and forget. You are in it together. Heard of the marriage saying "it's us vs the problem" not "me vs you". What is the problem? How can you help her help you through it? Tomorrow is a new day and in the new light you can try again. "I'm sorry I shouted at you. I'm just frustrated. I promise to listen more." Full reset. Don't ask for a mile. Ask for a millimetre. If she gives it ... praise the heck out of her and end it there. Arrive with a smile on your face. You are HAPPY to see her and thus she will be happy to see you.

Work on being firm and fair. Work on building that relationship. As for riding... I think you should hold off on that until you fix the ground work and definitely investigate other causes such as pain. Do look up warwick schiller and liberty series.


edit: I have an irish draught that I free lunge in a rectangular school. With just the angle of my body and my pointed arm she lunges a perfect circle around me and changes direction. It took a year of regular relationship building, trick training (liberty) to develop the LANGUAGE we can now communicate with each other in. She also can get excited go for a run and a buck. I've witnessed several hot horses have their batcrap 5 minutes on the lunge. My girl sometimes wants to gallop off during our handwalks and she's 650kg. She knows she can run whenever she wants but chooses to stay by my side even through all that excitement. It takes so much self control but she had to learn that over time. Only once she got away and stopped about 10 meters away. I didn't react or go after her. I calmly went over and picked up the rope. No big deal. In the arena when she would break the circle in the beginning I would just calmly herd her back to my end. If I had a line I'd just pick it up and go again no big deal, no frustration.


You can learn another way. You care so you can.
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post #3 of 36 Old 02-15-2020, 09:16 PM
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You cannot pick a fight with a horse and win. What was the point of adding a harsh bit and using 2 whips? If the horse is already excited, this will only add to their energy levels.



Horses get excited on the lunge line, they run around, buck and act up. If they can break away from you, they will. This is why it is a good idea to lunge the horse in a round pen. If the horse is acting up on the lunge, remove the line, put them in a round pen and allow them to run around and expend some energy. Once they get tired, ask for a calm trot or trot walk transitions. My goal in lunging a horse is to calm them down, not hype them up.



For example, I recently broke my foot. My mare has had several weeks off, as I'm still on crutches. I decided to lunge her yesterday, while hobbling on crutches. Put her in the roundpen, and she takes off bucking and leaping. It's slightly drizzly and cold out, so she feels great. I stand there quietly and wait for her to come back to earth. Once she settles down, I ask for a consistent trot and maintain that trot, switch directions, and maintain the trot going to other way. I did not want her galloping out of control. Just a nice calm trot in both directions. Once she seemed like she settled down, I saddled up for a quiet ride around the property.



With a horse that is overly excited, you need to calm your body language down. If you get aggressive with the whip, you will get an out of control horse. If the horse decides to gallop around and act silly, I put the whip down, and stand there quietly. The more aggressive you get, the more the horse will act up. If you come unglued, the horse will only act worse. The biggest part in training the horse is in controlling yourself and your behavior.



My mare has plenty of energy and she is responsive enough I can pretty much just stand in the center with the whip, and cue her off voice commands- otherwise it would be pretty difficult to lunge her while on crutches. I can't exactly hop a circle right now.



If you do not have a roundpen you can make one using an electric fence. Make sure you train her to respect the electric fence- if she runs through wire fences, I would run electric using a corner of the existing fenceline. Use polytape of something highly visible.



I do not think your horse is mean in any way. She is a horse with high energy levels that needs an outlet for that energy. If you are not riding on a consistent basis, then it is understandable that she is going to buck and kick. IF she is bolting off, then she is anxious about something- you cannot get rough with a horse that is anxious because it only reinforces the anxiety.



She will probably act the same way the next time you lunge her because she will remember the prior bad experience. Even if you have to build a roundpen or find a friend with a roundpen, I suggest you start there. Once she learns to behave in a roundpen, then you can add a lunge line. Part of this is on you for not knowing how to react to an out of control horse.



Many horses are very sensitive and will react to aggression, with an increased flight response- hence galloping around and dragging you all over the place. You have to learn to work with her and not fight her. When I start a horse on the lunge, I want a quiet walk in a circle. IF they can consistently walk in a circle, then you can add trot.



The problem is many people think they should just run the horse on the lunge line. I want my horse to relax and behave, not gallop with his brains falling out. Try walking a circle on the lunge. Even if you need to stand in the center with the lunge line on, and have your friend lead the horse in circles around you. Work on walk- whoa. Use the word whoa and the person in the center can give treats. It should get the horse to start looking at you in the center (and anticipating that whoa and cookie for good behavior).
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post #4 of 36 Old 02-15-2020, 09:20 PM
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I have a wildcard bucker, as well. West Taylor''s methods have been miraculous for us!
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post #5 of 36 Old 02-15-2020, 10:26 PM
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@Kalraii and @4horses covered it all.

If you attempt to beat this horse into submission, one or both of you will get hurt. Since she weighs a lot more, I'm betting you will get hurt more than she will.

The horse, when you got her, was good and ridable, but since you have had her, she has gotten worse and unmanageable.

What do you think is the cause?

A little empathy and kindness goes a long way.
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post #6 of 36 Old 02-15-2020, 11:24 PM
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I donít have any training advice but a practical idea. Can you use jumps to section off one corner of the arena for lunging? You donít have to fully enclose it, just place two jumps strategically, in spots where it would be natural for her to start pulling.
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post #7 of 36 Old 02-16-2020, 12:43 AM
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The fact that you're even considering belting this horse into oblivion concerns me greatly. You will be killed doing that. Your horse will take the blame and someone will put her down because she killed you. Never mind that that outcome would be completely, entirely, undeniably your fault - the horse pays the price all too often.

You need to reassess your entire attitude regarding horses. Not just this one but all of them.

WHY is she playing up? What does she gain? WHY does she want to gain it?

If she was good to start with and her behaviour has worsened, why? I can answer that one: something you are doing or not doing has given her a reason to believe that you are not worth following. So ask yourself what happened. Why does she not want to follow you anymore? Have you been too soft? Too harsh? (Your current attitude makes me think the latter is more likely)
Have you been dismissive of her quiet pleas to be heard? If she's been trying to tell you something and you haven't listened, she will SCREAM to be heard. I have a friend who has an absolutely lovely 12 year old TB gelding who went from soft and willing to a little resistant to dangerous, nearly flipping rearing. Why? His back hurt. His saddle fit and he had regular bodywork but he has spinal degeneration and his back was getting more and more painful, and she wasn't listening to him when he got resistant. So he exploded because he was desperate and she wasn't listening. My friend is a wonderful horsewoman, and she has a brilliant coach, and between them they thought the resistance was typical "this is new and I don't get it" kind of stuff. Nope. He was hurting.

So, why is your horse screaming at you? What have you not heard?
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post #8 of 36 Old 02-16-2020, 02:15 AM
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thank back, back, back . .. to where trouble started.


Ok. she bucked afer a succesful dressage competition. Why? why did she buck? Was it exuberance? or fear, or what. Think on that, carefully.


Is that in any way related to her pulling away from you, on the lungeline, and running though taped off areas?



From what I see, they may or may not be connected, but you are best to concern yourself with ONE issue for now, instead of calling her a psycho hell raiser in general. Both issue may be connected, but for now, let's consider her pulling away from you.


She has learned NOT to give to pressure. This is something we hope our horses will never figure out. we teach it in early , and hope they never push the boundaries too far and figure out that they can win that war. Now that she knows she can get away from you, she will try that again and again.
Approaching that with MORE fear inducing tools and attitudes will NOT HELP.


You have to do two things;


1. re-teach her to respect pressure and to give to it.


2. to get her to look to YOU for answers , instead of something 'out there'. And, I think, in order to get that, you have to get her to be able to give to pressure , so that's why number 1 is number 1.


Is this mare ok with being tied up? left tied up? like, at a trailer, or at a hitching post? Can she tolerate cross ties? or does she pull back? If not. I say that THAT is where you start; teaching her to tie and not pull back.


That opens a huge can of worms right there. there are loads of posts on that problem here. How to get a hrose to stop pulling back. But first, I think I should see if that is or is not a problem .


And , yes, whipping her and tying her down will not be a good choice at this point, IMO.
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post #9 of 36 Old 02-16-2020, 02:45 AM
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Brute force and ignorance is never going to work.

As has been said, you need to look at why there has been this change in her behaviour.

To work successfully with any animal you have to earn their trust, that will never come from a big stick and bad temper.
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post #10 of 36 Old 02-16-2020, 02:45 AM
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Hi & welcome to HF... can we call you Psycho for short??

First & foremost, I do understand & sympathise with where you're at(been about there personally, albeit a long time ago & my first horse was a rearer, not a bucker, with 'experts' who advised 'show him who's boss' type stuff). Most of us didn't go into horses already understanding horses & training well, we have all made many mistakes, due to the knowledge & skill we had - or didn't have - at the time. Many of us also don't have the best of support, end up with some... questionable attitudes & practices from the helpers we can find, and many of us don't have $$$ for exxy trainers either. So, this is by way of explaining, I'm not trying to judge or 'come down on you' for what you've said/done, just that there are lots of 'issues' I see here. I'm going to comment with my opinions on specific bits of your post as I go thru...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MymareIsSweetButPsycho View Post
First off all, my mare got checked nose to tail. Nothing is wrong.
The tack fits just fine, how do I know? Had 2 experienced friend and the barn owner look at it.
Great that you have tried to check out that side of things, as 'bad behaviour' is very often due to pain/discomfort, or fear. I wouldn't be so quick to assume you have ruled out anything physical or tack related from what you've said above though.

How was your mare 'checked nose to tail'? By a good equine vet? Has she had any bodywork such as a chiropractic vet, esp since having the foal? Why I ask is that even vets may miss things, that 'general' equine vets, unless specialised may not have good knowledge about body issues, so may not be qualified to find/fix those type issues like a specialist chiro-vet for eg. Also regardless of whether she had previous body issues, it's common for mares to have pelvic issues after foaling.

And tack... Just how *knowledgeable about good saddle fit* were these experienced friends? IME - and it seems many, many others here & elsewhere I've discussed with - even 'professional saddle fitters'(whatever that title is worth) are often incorrect/mistaken/don't understand all the factors of *comfortably* fitting saddles to horses. I personally trust my chiropractic vet to assess saddle fit, but have only had terrible experiences with hiring 'pro saddle fitters'("trust me, he's not bucking because of the saddle...") So... not saying it is of course, but I also wouldn't class it as ruled out. There are a few here with good knowledge on the subject, particularly a guy, @unclearthur who is very knowledgeable & while pics & measurements don't allow for real accuracy, he could give you some sound advice if you wanted to make a thread on that.

Now, assuming it is all behavioural...

Quote:
She's is know to be very very stubborn and also she is notorious for her killer bucks.
'Stubborn' means a horse has learned that resisting works for them. IOW, people have inadvertently taught her how to 'out persist' them. In order to 'untrain' this, you must make sure resisting NEVER works again(if it works occasionally, like the pokies for people, her belief in 'being stubborn' and resistant behaviour will get even stronger!), and you need to make the 'right things' - ie. responding to soft cues - easy *& rewarding* for her.

Known for her 'killer bucks'. Whether it is or not now, IME I believe either pain or fear was behind this behaviour originally. If she was great until one day... then I'd say pain was the likeliest, but if she's always been like that since first started, and as a lot of people 'break' horses rather confrontationally and they are fearful & reactive(bucking) when first saddled, it is likely fear based 'habit'.

So... as well as ensuring nothing is hurting her now, I'd 'restart' her from scratch, to ensure that there was no fear/reactivity at any step of the way. And again, if she does buck, be it from fear or otherwise, if it works for her at all - gets rid of the worry on her back, or at least causes them to quit asking for something she doesn't want to do - she will do more of it. So if you're not quite sure you won't come off, I'd find a (considerate, if that's not an oxymoron)bronc rider to help break her of the habit. **As she has apparently done this successfully for some years, I would not assume she will ever be 100% 'broke' of it tho, so I wouldn't allow anyone but an experienced rider who knows how to handle it, to ride her.

Quote:
We moved to another barn, at this time the foal was 7 months and ready to be weened. The mare was pretty chill about it but I waited a few weeks before I back on. I started riding her again and for the first few times nothing major happened, however I did notice she was more nervous and spooked a bit.
One time she bucked pretty hard, I chickened out and let my friend ride her through. I though this was a one time thing and the next day I decided I asked to much from her and I restarted groundwork.
1. you moved to a strange environment. 2. foal was weaned. Means, aside from other factors, her nutritional & calorie requirement has changed, which may have also had a bearing on her attitude. 3. she was understandably a bit spooky under saddle - what did you do to *help her regain her confidence*?

When she bucked & you 'chickened out' does that mean you bailed? Of course, don't try to hang in there if you feel unsafe, but do realise every time this happens, you are strengthening her 'training' that bucking... & bucking harder if it doesn't work to start with, is the Right answer.

Yes, you may well have asked too much of her at that point in time, and yes, groundwork may well be a good move for her too. But realise that this will not change her ridden behaviour. Horses learn from instant, direct association, so to change her ridden behaviour, you need to do so while riding.

Quote:
She was a disrespectfull nasty idiot who just ran off dragging the lunge line through my hands.
The kind of trendy term/theory about 'respect' and 'disrespect' of horses grates on me quite a bit personally. That she 'disrespects' you is an obvious 'no brainer' & unhelpful, IMO, just like saying "your problem is she wasn't obedient - you need to gain her obedience & then she will be obedient." I don't subscribe to the opinion that you can force 'respect', that it entails fear(of punishment or otherwise) or that the horse should be 'obedient' to whatever you ask or they're being a 'nasty idiot'.

How respectful are you of her attitude & feelings? I ask this because to me, 'respect' is something you *earn* through being trustworthy, considerate and clear and consistent on everything. IOW it's a 2 way street - you can't earn respect without proving to the horse you're respectFUL of her. So, when you called her a 'disrespectful nasty idiot' it suggests you are probably not respectful & understanding of her, so therefore her not respecting you is a given.

As for what exactly she did, I'd first ask whether she has lunged well in the past, and how well she understands the task *& all the 'ingredients' of that task? Was it that she wasn't 100% sure what you were asking, that you weren't clear, that she has not learned how to *respond* rather than react to what you were asking? If she did understand all that well and if she has lunged well & reliably *for you* in the past, perhaps she was reacting to your attitude, or perhaps due to her nervous disposition ATM & that you weren't being a respectFUL leader, she was worried & reactive, or perhaps, because of the above, she wasn't actually nervous, but was effectively telling you 'you & who's army?' - that you don't have the right to tell her what to do. From what you have said, I sus there is at least a fair bit of fear & confusion involved tho.

Quote:
Today I decided to lunge again.
Well, I saw every corner of that darn arena. Again a friend helped me out and he is very very experienced and he has seen many "problem" horses.
He got dragged around like a lil' piece of paper by this mare.
I decided that I was done and I whooped her bum and used a heavy bit(normally against it but I could not think clearly at that moment)....
One more thing about lunging is, I use it to teach/reinforce a horse responding to 'implied' pressure - eg bodylanguage, a pointed finger, a raised arm, swung rope/stick/whip... signals at a distance. It's important to have a good understanding of where you're at & where you're wanting to go with it. So I'd ask *why* did you decide to lunge & what were you wanting to teach/reinforce? What made you decide she was ready for that step? What was your reason & method for this?

Sounds to me like your friend may have a lot of experience with seeing 'problem' horses, but he's not very knowledgeable or experienced with actually training horses effectively.

When did you 'whoop her bum'(I gather than means you hit her with a whip/rope?) exactly? And what exactly for? And what exactly did you use a heavy(I presume you mean harsh, painful?) bit for? Do you understand that horses don't think rationally, cannot understand abstracted ideas? So they need *INSTANT* consequences, to link cause to effect. So... for eg. if you 'whooped her bum' *as* she was running backwards, in order to make her come forward, then quit the *instant* she jumped forward, that would be potentially productive - you punished the behaviour that was Wrong. If however, you walloped her after the event, whatever she was doing at the time is what you effectively punished. If you put a 'heavy' bit in her mouth so that *when* she was dragging you/your friend, it would be painful for her, then there is some value in it. But if you just got stroppy with her & handled her harshly because of what she had been doing, you're being harsh & stroppy for no reason in her eyes.

Quote:
So, my mare with a stubborn personality and a known bucking problem went nuts.
Yep, as I hope I explained, as she wouldn't have had a clue what YOU were 'going nuts' on her about, it's not surprising she 'went nuts' even more with this treatment. Perhaps we can anthropomorphise for a minute... Imagine you were taken by foreigners who's language you couldn't understand, then made to do something that... seemed unsavoury to you. Imagine you also don't understand what is wanted of you, and the foreigners are yelling & gesturing, unintelligibly at you. Imagine then they started 'walloping your bum' and put a bit of sharp metal in your mouth & got rough with it. Would the last things help you better understand & trust what they were asking? Would you 'respect' them for all this? Or would you perhaps 'go nuts' trying to escape?

I think, respectfully, that it sounds like you could do with some lessons in equine behaviour/psychology, and the *principles* behind training, before you practice more of it, esp with an already 'difficult' horse. If you don't know what you're doing yourself, especially as it sounds like the mare was already dangerous & messed up by people before you got her, if you can't afford a trainer(maybe you could barter with one if you don't have the cash - maybe work for them & they can teach you as well as the horse??), for safety's sake, as well as not adding to her 'wrong training', sounds likely best to find this horse a home(if you can) with a good, experienced trainer, or just keep her as a 'pasture pet'(tho you still need to ensure she is able to be managed safely for hoofcare etc). Because trying & failing with others who don't know what to do either is only likely to make her far worse, more dangerous, more difficult for even a good trainer to be able to 'recover'.

Quote:
Currently considering tying her nose at her breast, taking my spurs and 2 wips. Just "kindly" saying "hey, I'm done do nor try me again"....
Glad you are asking for advice before doing anything of the sort, as, as I hope I've explained clearly above, horses don't think like people, so she wouldn't have a clue what you were being cruel about even.

Quote:
I only have a big arena and no round pen or small paddock, she just smashes through wire so I cant section off a smaller piece. She just gives zero care about pressure, she just turns her head and bolts.
If she either hates/is frightened to stay with you so much that she 'smashes through wire', I think that is somewhere you can start safely, without help from others. Work on getting her to *want* to stay with you, to trust you not to get after her. THEN you can start to teach her that to *respond* to your 'pressure' is something she will be rewarded for, so she will learn to respond rather than react, and want to stay with you even when you 'put pressure on'. I do not believe this horse 'gives zero care' about pressure - on the contrary, I think she either hates or fears it & doesn't understand, or is not reinforced/rewarded for *responding*.

Quote:
With riding, I hopped on a few times during this whole groundwork ordeal. She was very very very tense but wasn't mean.
Horses are not(with perhaps extremely rare exceptions, of which I've never met) innately 'mean' or such, but they can be made to be, by people - including well meaning people who just don't know what they're doing. I would definitely NOT be getting on this horse at this point, if you value your safety, and also if you want to get her happy & confident about being ridden. If she is tense about you just being near her, 'very, very tense' about being ridden, you're only asking for her to 'go psycho' on you if you insist on riding.


Boy... started this answer this morn before there were any other replies, but had to come back to it between 'life' a few times, so sorry if I've basically said what others have said already.

Last edited by loosie; 02-16-2020 at 04:26 AM.
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