retrieving a mare from a rambunctious herd - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-14-2014, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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retrieving a mare from a rambunctious herd

Hi All,

I had a bit of a scary experience today and wanted some feedback. I went to retrieve the mare I've been riding from the pasture today. She is pastured with maybe 7 other mares. As I was leading her I noticed we were being followed by a few of her best buddies. Suddenly the girls behind as well as the rest started running-fast-towards the gate. I stood my ground with my girl (she was very excited at this point but she is generally quite well mannered on the ground and kept her feet on the ground). I thought all had calmed down again and resumed walking when the other girls had stopped, and then they started running circles again. At this point I removed the halter and backed away because I was getting quite scared. I got myself to the fence and by that point these mares were really all over the place, charging at the gate, freezing, and then running circles again. I got to the other gate and edged out and then got some help from someone with more experience. Now I'm wondering if there is an appropriate way to handle this if it happens again-especially if there isnt someone nearby who can assist. If it is relevant, most of these girls are pastured 24/7 although a couple do come in at night. And this has never happened to me before. 2 things that were different this time that might be relevant-I was wearing bright red (dont usually do this), and I walked out with an apple in my hand for my girl (I usually dont walk out with treats, I give those in the barn)
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-14-2014, 11:20 PM
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As long as the other mares aren't coming into your space ignore them. The mare you are leading should focus on you not them and if her attention wanders then you need to get it back. If she is well trained usually a short jerk on the lead rope and an abrupt sound like "HEY" or mine is "aaa" (sounds like the word "at" without the t). The apple was probably not a good idea but the color you're wearing should make no difference at all.
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-15-2014, 12:10 AM
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you should have someone who is experience help you and teach you what to do. it's dangerous for a newbie to go out in a herd like that. get someone to show you what to do , not just help you, because you've got to be able to deal with it on your own someday.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-15-2014, 12:26 AM
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I think under the circumstances, Altheablue, you took the best course of action at that time.

Now for future goes, I think you've got it right by giving the treat once the horse is away from the others (this prevents in fighting over who is entitled to the treat); if you are a helmet wearer consider wearing it when you go out to fetch her in (not to mention sturdy boots and gloves as well); if you can bring someone more experienced along for some hands on tips that would be good; if you have to go it alone, check out what the herd is doing before you head out along with what is happening externally that may stimulate them (for example, you see the tractor coming in from the field pulling noisy equipment - let the tractor go past the herd and out of the way before you go out or you see them all running around for whatever reason - let them settle before you go out); finally if the field is not too large, plan a trip back to the barn that keeps you reasonably close to a fence so you have a place to dash to if necessary. Finally, as the other posters said, keep her attention on you - I don't know what her disposition is like so she may only need a word and tug on the lead or you may ask her to do a couple of circles in different directions around you if she starts to act up.

P.S. Yes, it can be unnerving when a bunch of them start milling around. That's where it helps if you know them individually so you can avoid things like getting in between a dominant one and a submissive one, being active in moving pushy one out of the way, etc.
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Last edited by Chevaux; 12-15-2014 at 12:33 AM.
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-15-2014, 07:00 PM
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I would say you are asking for trouble to take treats into a heard like that, If a dominant mare grabs at a horse near you the horse would run over you rather than get bit or kicked.

you could get one of the bags of hay cubes and take something sharp and break them into tiny pieces, and scatter them quickly when you get your mare and run for the gate while they pick up treats.
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-15-2014, 07:13 PM
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I agree with not taking treats out with you. If I think other horses from the pasture will crowd me, I will take a whip with me. That way I can drive them away from me and the horse I am leading.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-15-2014, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great feedback; I really appreciate having more experienced people give me some insight. I dont plan on taking in treats again. Actually my mare is the boss but she is pretty level headed, which I think is a bit weird-I would think if the boss was calm and cool the others would take the lead. The other 3 mares who were originally part of her herd were also not really the instigators. This herd, I should mention, is comprised of 4 horses who've been together for quite some time (my girl included); these 4 were recently (within the last 2 weeks) moved into a new pasture with the other mares who are new to them. So maybe there is some posturing still going on there.

I will definitely talk to my trainer (who owns the 4 horses that were just moved) about what happened and have her walk out with me next time. It was odd though because I've gotten her out before from this pasture probably 4 or 5 times with no problem. I guess you just never know what to expect from a group of horses.

I like the idea of walking out with a whip, though I do wonder if that would just end up in me chasing my girl around the pasture trying to catch her. It's a pretty big field so that could go on for a while.
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-16-2014, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCnGrace View Post
As long as the other mares aren't coming into your space ignore them. The mare you are leading should focus on you not them and if her attention wanders then you need to get it back. If she is well trained usually a short jerk on the lead rope and an abrupt sound like "HEY" or mine is "aaa" (sounds like the word "at" without the t). The apple was probably not a good idea but the color you're wearing should make no difference at all.

No. This is a good way to get run over or kicked. Doesn't matter if her horse is focusing on her or not, the rest of them are loose and could run between her and her horse, knocking her down, or even getting her drug by the lead rope.

She needs someone to teach her what to do and how to do it safely, but even then, a lash whip carried in hand works wonders to keep them off of her.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-16-2014, 12:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altheablue18 View Post
Thanks for all the great feedback; I really appreciate having more experienced people give me some insight. I dont plan on taking in treats again. Actually my mare is the boss but she is pretty level headed, which I think is a bit weird-I would think if the boss was calm and cool the others would take the lead. The other 3 mares who were originally part of her herd were also not really the instigators. This herd, I should mention, is comprised of 4 horses who've been together for quite some time (my girl included); these 4 were recently (within the last 2 weeks) moved into a new pasture with the other mares who are new to them. So maybe there is some posturing still going on there.

I will definitely talk to my trainer (who owns the 4 horses that were just moved) about what happened and have her walk out with me next time. It was odd though because I've gotten her out before from this pasture probably 4 or 5 times with no problem. I guess you just never know what to expect from a group of horses.

I like the idea of walking out with a whip, though I do wonder if that would just end up in me chasing my girl around the pasture trying to catch her. It's a pretty big field so that could go on for a while.

These are horses and this is what they do in a pasture situation, and this is one of the most dangerous times for a handler, is to go out among horses and try to bring one out, when you don't really have an understanding of how to handle horses, and what you are doing.

Get someone on the ground to help you.

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post #10 of 15 Old 12-16-2014, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palomine View Post
No. This is a good way to get run over or kicked. Doesn't matter if her horse is focusing on her or not, the rest of them are loose and could run between her and her horse, knocking her down, or even getting her drug by the lead rope.

She needs someone to teach her what to do and how to do it safely, but even then, a lash whip carried in hand works wonders to keep them off of her.
Did you read the part where I said as long as the other mares aren't coming into your space?
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