Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
When you go up to your mare and she doesn't run away, pet her, say hi, make your small talk and pet her.
Ok this is exactly what Ive been doing, even when she wasnt in a herd I would always make small talk. Say hi, ask how she is, what shes doing etc while letting her sniff the back of my hand then pet her on her neck, withers, etc, but rarely the head (at least not right away). Its a bit too aggresive IMO, and my mare isnt crazy about hands going right for her face.
That's her reward, you can sporadically give her a food treat if you want, but I wouldn't do it every time, not for this. If you decide to teach her to come to the gate when you call or whistle, then especially in the beginning I would food treat, praise and pet.
I do eventually want to teach her to come to me at the gate, Im confident this shouldnt be too difficult. I sometimes will whistle at her as I walk up to the gate and she will hear it every time right away. Unfortunately I suck at whistling, I cant do the loud whistle so if i really wanted to teach her a "come to my whistle" command, i will need to buy a whistle.
Remember the personal space bubble, 10-15 ft all around you and your mare or you if by yourself.
Ill remember that, 10-15ft bubble from me.
They don't get to come in any closer and no touching noses. The day that filly irritates your mare and somebody bites somebody and somebody's feet fly, you're likely to get caught right in the middle. So, no it's not harsh, it's smart. Just like little teenaged girls, they can put the phone down long enough to have dinner with the family (or you mare can quit socializing and do some work with you).
And this is why I will start carrying my carrot stick with me for now on. If its what i feel the most confident in using to keep that 10-15 ft bubble then so be it.
And oh my yes, you are building trust and earning respect every time you work with her. You're actually sounding like you're doing a really good job of it.
Thanks, I feel Im doing a good job but the most important thing is that things are improving progressively!
When I come to think of it, you know over the past month my mare and I have gone through a lot of adjusting and a lot of change. Shes now in a herd, has made new friends, Im no longer her herd, Im no longer seeing her everyday (she gets more horsey time and I get to reset my mind), shes put on muscle since being ridden by the trainer and I havent had to correct her or whack her in the past few weeks. And when I do, do it, its no longer a daily task for me.
A month ago I was having to whack her or nip her in the bud at least 1-2 times a day because she went on a nipping frenzy where she would attempt to bite everday. She was testing me everyday. Remember this? Me whacking her muzzle but then she would try to bite then immediately pull her head back so I cant connect. This habit was just as bothering to me as our leading issue. But something mysterious has happened over the past month that has caused this habit to go away!
Well she hasnt tried to bite in a long time (I dont even remember when the last time was) but all I know is that Im not having to correct her every single time that im handling her and its so nice for a change! Because of this Im no longer micro managing her. Before I would go to the barn, see her and anticipate every time handling her, her biting or not leading properly. It was on my mind all the time because it bothered me so much it corupted my mind and Im pretty sure she could sense it.
But now its not, I just go about my business and Im really enjoying my time with her so much more, words cant even describe how dramatically more positive it is for me. Before I was stressed, I was annoyed, I was less confident, I was confused in some ways, there were question marks in my head as to why she was doing this and that.
Now I feel so much better and feel so much more confident. I hope my mare has sensed it and fed off it positively.