Pissy mare - getting irritated - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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Pissy mare - getting irritated

Ok, I know itís always the rider.

Still, I am getting reaaaallllly fed up with my mareís attitude. Other than jumping, she doesnít like to work. She comes up with all sorts of evasions all the time.

Today was a perfect example. She just would not stop trying to throw her shoulder out and to drag me to the gate. I can and do handle it but itís getting to me. Itís like babysitting a fidgety toddler. And when she realized we are jumping, all of a sudden she was great, traveling nicely, no complaints. It was lovely.

I realize sheís most probably bored but, darn it, itís her job. She does nothing 23 hours a day and then I must come up with ways to keep her amused?
Ughhh!

Sorry, I know I sound spoiled but Iíve had almost 3 years of her antics and sheís not getting any better. Itís getting to me.

Thank you for listening to my rant :)
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 08:56 AM
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You can't really say "It's her job" because she didn't sign up for what you have her do. It seems as though you haven't found her currency yet - you know how to correct, but you don't know how to motivate.

You can't really tell a horse, "or else..." so it's irrelevant what you consider her obligations to be. She doesn't know "obligations".

I also believe - though it doesn't sound like it from your description - that horses only repeat behaviors that worked for them in the past. At the beginning, there is trial and error - sometimes successful, sometimes not. Whatever works (for the horse) is retained as behavior and becomes habit.

It could also be (and you have given no indication of that, but I mention it anyway) that the horse doesn't know what you want when you direct her to a task, and that her "misbehavior" is actually an attempt to figure out how to respond to pressure coming from you - intentionally or not.

Just some stabs in the dark here - some, many, or all of these may well not apply.
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post #3 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mmshiro View Post
You can't really say "It's her job" because she didn't sign up for what you have her do. It seems as though you haven't found her currency yet - you know how to correct, but you don't know how to motivate.

You can't really tell a horse, "or else..." so it's irrelevant what you consider her obligations to be. She doesn't know "obligations".

I also believe - though it doesn't sound like it from your description - that horses only repeat behaviors that worked for them in the past. At the beginning, there is trial and error - sometimes successful, sometimes not. Whatever works (for the horse) is retained as behavior and becomes habit.

It could also be (and you have given no indication of that, but I mention it anyway) that the horse doesn't know what you want when you direct her to a task, and that her "misbehavior" is actually an attempt to figure out how to respond to pressure coming from you - intentionally or not.

Just some stabs in the dark here - some, many, or all of these may well not apply.
I absolutely agree with everything you said - hence the ďitís always the riderĒ preface :)

Iím just getting....I donít even know... fed up?

I spend a lot of time thinking of ways to keep my mare happy and healthy and in good working order. She NEVER EVER got away with anything but she keeps coming up with new ways to get out of work. I fix one thing, she comes up with something else. All the time.

I had the vet and the dentist out - nothing wrong. The vet was particularly embarrassing because she got apprehensive of a man looking at her in the school and she behaved amazingly. He was just about to ask me to buy her, thatís how thrilled he was with her movement.

I suppose I need to challenge her more. Iím just running out of ideas.
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 09:38 AM
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When my horse is stressed or uptight, I have him do his favorite lateral work, walk pirouettes. I have no idea why he likes them so much, but he does. So we do usually about 4 pirouettes until I feel him relax, then back to something else.

If your horse is telling you he needs a break, give him one but have him still be doing something. I like lateral work best because it gets them thinking.

Also make sure that your saddle fits and fits well, as some of this could be pain.
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
She NEVER EVER got away with anything but she keeps coming up with new ways to get out of work. I fix one thing, she comes up with something else. All the time.
Some kids can sit for hours and color between the lines or bake sand cookies in the play ground, others need to run around like idiots, jump through puddles, and swing from trees. Did you ever try her in an environment where she can do the latter for a bit and see how that goes?
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post #6 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mmshiro View Post
Some kids can sit for hours and color between the lines or bake sand cookies in the play ground, others need to run around like idiots, jump through puddles, and swing from trees. Did you ever try her in an environment where she can do the latter for a bit and see how that goes?
I think that is the problem. Iím a laid back kind of person who fires up easily. And she is a laid back kind of horse who fires up easily. Except we donít fire up at the same time :/

I need to find that sweet spot which fires us both up at the same time and Iím struggling with that.
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post #7 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Actually, @mmshiro , thank you for helping me think through it. I need to find a way to sync me and my mare.
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post #8 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
When my horse is stressed or uptight, I have him do his favorite lateral work, walk pirouettes. I have no idea why he likes them so much, but he does. So we do usually about 4 pirouettes until I feel him relax, then back to something else.

If your horse is telling you he needs a break, give him one but have him still be doing something. I like lateral work best because it gets them thinking.

Also make sure that your saddle fits and fits well, as some of this could be pain.
Lateral work is my nemesis. Thatís her favorite evasion. I tried many times, with an instructor in tow - she loves it because it means weíre not going forward :/ She can leg yield and shoulder in forever. Weird horse, that one.
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 10:47 AM
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Actually, @mmshiro , thank you for helping me think through it. I need to find a way to sync me and my mare.
Ha, ha! Well, after eliminating the impossible, what remains, however improbable, must be the solution. Or so Sherlock Holmes said...
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-24-2018, 11:26 AM
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She sounds like a Miss Smarty Pants.
Do you ever get out on a trail and just relax? That's what I would do...but then that's all I ever do so I'm probably no help.
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If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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