Ugh...I think I may need help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-13-2015, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Question Ugh...I think I may need help

So, here I am asking for help...i've got at least 10 years in the saddle but just got my first horse and now i'm stuck. i dont want her to end up being a pasture pet and i would love to get her out on some trails but where do i start???

What i know about zoey:
She is alpha mare at two years old
She lunges like a dream
She is extremely tolerant
She takes a saddle pad and saddle, as well as cinching with ease


My problems:
Because she is alpha the herd that i had her out with where she is currently boarded didn't like that she was trying to be alpha and ended up cornered, kicked and bit. she's a trainwreck. i mean shes all sorts of patchy and what not. she was dragging her back feet while walking for about two days but now that she's been separated from the other horses she's been perfectly fine.

What i'm thinking about doing:
i'm debating on bringing her to my gramp's house and having her be on her own because she has been boarded at two places now and with both places she has gotten herself hurt or in trouble. she was at my gramp's place in a transition period and she did great. she was dropped off there when i purchased her and she went from trusting nobody to trusting my fiance and a few friends and i. we also went on daily walks to work on leading and what not. do you think i should put her back there? i mean i know that she'll only be handled by family she just wont be around her kind. whatcha think?

-zodiac's mommy
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-13-2015, 10:06 PM
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Put her somewhere with a nice submissive gelding. Places you board should be able to accommodate. Our mare (23 yo) will fight to the death with another dominant mare. She goes absolutely nuts, comes right through/over fences. All the other's trust her as she's the matriarch and I think this right here is the problem. A two year old needs to be put in her place by another herds dominant mare, and she will do that. -whether it means beating her to a pulp or not- best thing for her is a nice submissive gelding friend. She'll learn to lead on her own while she gains size to be let into a big herd. Out of our herd of five, Trouble is the youngest at a year and a half. Everyone else is at least 10+ years older than him. They chase him around like no tomorrow, (he has room to run away.) he retreats as necessary. It really keeps him in line. To him I'm just another horse he has to listen to. He's a dream.
ETA: Sometimes I have to really slather some blue goo (healing stuff) on a lot of knicks and bit e wounds, but his behavior is worth it. As long as he has room to retreat (our pasture is a huge U shape, 70 acres.) he will go as far as he needs.
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-13-2015, 10:09 PM
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I wouldn't want to mess with the natural learning process of being in a herd. I've seen a lot of horses that have become socially inept. and don't speak very good 'horse' and have to be isolated because they never learned any manners. However if she is really really taking a beating a change would be a good idea. Maybe you can find a place where she can have a buddy or two and not a whole herd to contend with. I know when horses are transitioned to and from stables they arent often just thrown out into the pack, rather they get a buddy for a few days and then those two are turned out with the rest of the herd. But I have no experience with that only what i've read.
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-13-2015, 10:38 PM
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I think horses need herds. Especially young ones. Anytime you change the herd dynamics there is a bit of time while the horses all figure out their new spot in the herd. It typically smooths out an a week or 2. Unles you have another horse at home for her to be with, I would leave her where she is.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-13-2015, 10:43 PM
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As long as the injuries will not cause long term problems, I wouldn't worry about it.
If you do bring her somewhere else, get a companion. Horse's are social creatures (even if they get in fights) and are unhappy alone.
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-13-2015, 10:49 PM
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Its important for young horses to learn their place in herds. She needs to learn the correct responses to pressure and leadership. These will be used in her training later.

How long was she in those other paddocks for?

I'd try and find somewhere with big paddocks where she isn't going to be cornered and she can work out how to act. Somewhere there is no fighting for feed.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-14-2015, 12:57 PM
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It sounds like she never learned the dynamics of being in a herd before you purchased her. I am surprised that a two year old is trying to be so dominant because in a herd situation they usually respect their elders but work out the pecking order among their piers. if it is possible, I would find a situation where she can be turned out with one other horse. A horse that's not overly dominant but one who won't be pushed around by her either
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-14-2015, 01:27 PM
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Agree with Textan. Putting her by herself does not solve the problem. Only puts it off. You could be setting yourself up with problems riding with others in the future. If you feel that you have to move her, put another in with her.
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-14-2015, 11:16 PM
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Agree with others, sounds like she hasn't figured out herd dynamics quite yet, that and she is still only 2. When a new horse is put in with a new herd, it's normal for there to be some level of fighting and learning the pecking order. Unless the injuries are serious (long term or require emerg. vet care) then I don't see why you wouldn't just let them sort it out.

You don't want her to become "socially awkward" so to speak. I have a mare that I bought at 4 (9 now), she had never been out with other horses except her own mother. She had zero idea how to behave around other horses, whether it was in the field or if another horse was in the arena with her - she simply didn't have a clue. She's much better now, 5 years later, however it took a lot of time and effort. She's not mean toward others in the field, just very very submissive now. Under saddle she behaves almost as if she is nervous of others in the arena, she doesn't have a mean bone in her body unless she is undersaddle and another horse gets "too close", then she will kick. Never on the ground or in the field, though. She is 10x better than when I first got her, but still has her moments. Basically anyone who sees her in person will agree that she acts as if she's a socially awkward teenage girl, and has zero friends. If she's put out with a horse that's a little too "alpha" she gets beat up (actually to the point of having to get vet out, had it happen a few times). There's a few horses she is fine with, so for the most part she only goes out with those few.

If I had had any say in the way she was brought up until I bought her, she would have been put out with others right from the beginning. She would have done groundwork in the arena with other horses being ridden at the same time. I NEVER would have left her without at least 1 buddy in the field. To this day she is noticeably different around other horses than a "normal" horse would act. She is an amazing mare, just raised completely wrong, unfortunately.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-15-2015, 09:24 AM
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Horses are going to get nicks, scratches, bumps and bites. That's what they do. Unless she is being seriously injured I would leave her to learn her manners. They do need space to work out their places in the herd though.
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