Is this pain or agression? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 31 Old 01-24-2015, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Thank You!

Well, thanks, everyone for the insight and advice. For those who asked, yes, her environment and diet has changed fairly dramatically.

-She was with other horses before, now she isn't, but she can see my neighbor's horses (their pasture is only 15 feet or so away from hers).

-As for diet, the previous owner said she was on pasture, with a round bale, and two scoops of grain a day. He said the neighbors had taken over feeding her for him, and so at first he couldn't tell me what grain he gave her. Then he said the feed was a special mix made just for them and didn't have a name, but that when they ran out they would just give her "two scoops of any old sweet feed." I've tried to replicate this as best as I could until I speak with the vet because, of course, I'm trying to avoid stomach issues. However, my experienced neighbor thinks this story is suspicious any maybe Scarlet was not on grain at all. If that's true, it's very aggravating, because it means I may have suddenly introduced grain when I would have preferred to keep her on a high quality hay, with whatever else the vet recommended. But we can only speculate. This same previous owner also could not tell me if she had ever seen a vet or a farrier... Sounds shady, I know, but I think this guy, who my husband knows from work, was just embarrassed about the level of neglect and so was evasive.

So I have a two prong plan now:
1. When the vet comes Friday I'll tell him my concerns and see what he says about the medical side.
2. I'll start correcting Scarlet, instead of just staring at her dumb-founded and I'll also take the precautionary measures mentioned it the replies. I just wanted to know what I was dealing with before I took action. I'll also see about getting a trainer. There certainly are many to choose from around here. Ground skills are not something I've ever been explicitly taught. I've always just met a horse, ridden it right away, and established my dominance from the saddle. I haven't ridden Scarlet (waiting for vet) and I've never been tested on the ground yeah a trainer sounds like an excellent idea.

Thanks everyone!
Saskia, Cherie, JCnGrace and 3 others like this.
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post #12 of 31 Old 01-24-2015, 04:25 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
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ITo share a story I have about a made I owned.

I'd had this made for about six months and she had always been dominant but it was never a problem. I moved her to a new place where she had her own paddock that was bordered on two sides with other horses. She became super difficult, and aggressive. She went from a horse who would occasionally pin her ears at strangers to trying to back people into corners. She was very aggressive, charging, kicking out.

I dealt with and managed this behaviour but she was never right until I moved her elsewhere into a group paddock.

My gelding also got a lot more snappy and edgy in a private paddock, completely reverted back now he is with two others.

This may not be the case with yours but it is worth considering. Horses are happier with others. None of this excuses her behaviour, but its a consideration
Saskia is offline  
post #13 of 31 Old 01-25-2015, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Saskia, thanks for the input. I absolutely did intend to get her a pasture buddy in the future, but I wanted to get the hang of taking care of one horse before I started piling them on.

Although I must say, I am beginning to doubt everything after yesterday. We put Scarlet in her stall so that she couldn't mess with us while I finished cleaning the field and my husband did some fence repairs. It was her first time in there with the door closed and she didn't like it. She stomped her font foot in annoyance and kept turning round and round, but whatever, we just did our work and ignored her. But periodically I'd hear hear neigh and thump.

It was only perhaps 30 or 45 minutes later that we were finished and I really wanted to avoid a confrontation with her, when she was clearly in a bad mood, until I've had some instruction on how to deal with her. So I tried putting her grain in the stall and hoped that eating would distract her while we opened the door and made our way out...but that is not what happened. After we opened the door she came busting out and ran outside through the barn door opposite of us. That was fine with me, so I left out the door closet to me. But Scarlet was not done.

Once I was outside, she came charging at me from around the back of the barn. She was going too fast and her head was too high for me to catch her halter (she is actually an enormous horse) so I switched her to show her that she cannot charge at me. Then she kind of circled me for a moment and then tuned her butt to kick me, actually kick me, there was no mistake what she intended. So I switched her before she could kick. That spun her around fast enough, but she tried to turn and kick twice more, each time getting the switch before she finally agreed to face me.

Then I felt I had no choice but to advance or be advanced upon so I walked toward her tapping her with the switch and I got her to back maybe 6 feet but she would not run away like I wanted her to. After 6 feet or so she lowered her head and kind of stood there hunching but she wouldn't budge from the spot. I could have forced the subject, but all I wanted to do was get out of the pasture alive and I kept thinking to myself "you aren't trained for this!" and "only an experienced person should confront an aggressive horse!" I knew that if she reared up on me or went totally berserk I had no idea what to do. So then I had a hard time getting out of there, because every time I started to walk away she would start to come at me again and I would have to switch her back to that same spot where she would hunch and put her head down and refuse to move. Finally, after acting that out like 5 times, she broke it off and walked away.

My husband, who I thought was right behind me, had basically run away. Apparently as soon as he saw her square off with me in such an aggressive manner he assumed we were going to need an ambulance and was going for the phone.

So now I'm actually really torn. It is obvious that this horse is thriving here. When we brought her she was so docile, and actually kind of down-trodden. She seemed like an old tuckered-out horse half dragging herself when she walked. I thought she was here for horsey retirement. Today she is out there actually running around. I actually saw her prancing this morning. Her poo is normal now and she seems 10 years younger at least. I'm thinking her digestive problems must have sorted themselves out and the better nutrition is making her more energetic.

But I'm not sure that this is a beginners hose. I was in way, way over my head yesterday in that I had no idea if what I was doing was right or wrong (I'm sure I made mistakes) and I didn't know how to get myself out of that situation. If I could be sure that she is truly a beginners horse and that she is only acting this way due to my own mistakes and that I can fix this...that she will once again be a docile horse that is safe for children to be near, well then I would be happier. But after yesterday, yeah I'm doubting everything. I don't feel comfortable going out there at all now, not without someone who knows what they are doing.

I have the number for a trainer that I intend to call tomorrow, but I'm afraid that they will say whatever they have to in order to get my business, whether or not keeping this horse for myself is actually wise. Opinions?
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post #14 of 31 Old 01-25-2015, 08:46 PM
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I think you won that battle yesterday, the fact you stood your ground and she walked away from you is telling. She took you seriously. Without seeing what you did in persona and just reading it sounds like you made progress whether you think so or not. The key is consistency, now you have to do the same thing every time. She may get worse before she gets better, but you have to stand your ground, I bet within three days she gives it up.

I am so glad your getting a trainer to help you. Just be honest and up front with any trainer you speak with, a good trainer will listen and want to help you attain your goals. Hopefully the trainer will be honest and tell you if your goals for this horse are realistic. If you have a bad feeling and the trainer is just making it sound to good to be true it probably is.
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post #15 of 31 Old 01-25-2015, 10:17 PM
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I agree with the others and want to add that I don't think it's any coincidence that her hind feet ended up where your head had been. Horses know what they're doing.

Also NEVER move out of her way, pick up your fork, make lots of noise and make her move out of your way. This would be best done with experienced help.

PS I'm not sure what you mean by "switched her", I haven't heard that terminology before. Do you mean you had a lunge whip?
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post #16 of 31 Old 01-26-2015, 07:39 AM
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I do not think yesterday was much of a win. I think a 'stand-off' would better describe it. She did not yield ground until SHE wanted to. It beats having her chase you, but it was not a win. You need a decisive win in your column.
So I switched her before she could kick.
I don't know what you are using for a 'switch' -- but it ain't adequate. If it is not capable of leaving a big welt, it not going to change her attitude.

I walked toward her tapping her with the switch and I got her to back maybe 6 feet but she would not run away like I wanted her to.
Don't 'switch' her. Run at her screaming and yelling and hitting her as hard as you can. You are dealing with a horse 10 times bigger and probably 30 or 40 times stronger and many times faster and more quick than you are. Don't take a small switch to a gunfight!

The longer she goes without serious consequences, the harder someone is going to have to get after her. I usually tell people not to get mad or do things in anger, but in your case, you may need to get really mad at her to become assertive enough for her to take you seriously. It is hard to put the Genie back into the vessel.

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post #17 of 31 Old 01-27-2015, 03:30 AM
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I don't have anything to add to Cherie's great advice, but I do want to caution you. If the mare views your confrontation as a stalemate, she may think of you as a more challenging opponent or a greater threat to her dominance. If so, she will probably come at you harder next time. Be ready, and be careful.

I think having a trainer assess her is the best step since you seem pretty shaken by this. If you are still not comfortable after they work with her, move her on and get a horse you can enjoy.

Good luck, and stay safe.
MinervaELS is offline  
post #18 of 31 Old 01-28-2015, 03:11 AM
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Your mare is in heat, I'm 99.9% sure. If this continues for more than two weeks you could have your vet check her hormones. Don't let it scare you!
Good luck!

......Why I have a gelding
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post #19 of 31 Old 01-28-2015, 01:50 PM
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i agree with Cherie

but would like to add, get a long range weapon -- a lunge whip, or a carriage whip that you can tag her with at a distance

if you run at her swinging the whip screaming your head off, and she doesn't move - you need to be able to get her from a safe distance

also, the #1 resource that can help prove your dominance, or set up a situation in which to prove your dominance is food

set out a bucket and she may try to run you off -- use that lunge whip and tattoo her with it --- be safe when you do it --- but run her off the feed and guard it

don't let her run you off, and don't let her come in with a disrespectful attitude
IF and only IF she comes in with head lowered slightly, let her have a few bites --- then run her off again
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post #20 of 31 Old 01-28-2015, 03:48 PM
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If you got her to back up, you won. Don't scream at her, it's not horse language. If you want to gain her respect circle way around behind her then when she's not paying you mind, suddenly run up behind her, to startle her. Not so close as to get kicked. Stand where she was eating for half a minute then back well away. Allow her to return if it's a pile of hay, then begin your big circle again. After you've startled her a few times she'll start watching you with both eyes (you need both) and make it difficult for you to get behind her as she'll keep moving her hiney. This is what you want. You've just won a pile of respect. Do this exercise each time you enter the pasture and before long she'll want to approach you.

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behavior problems , pain , training

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