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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was given my mare in July, and she hadn't been used for anything in at least 5 years. I am a new horse owner, and have spent the last 7 months doing nothing but ground work, trust building, playing, and liberty work. This past Monday was to be our first real ride, out on the trail with the other 2 horses from my barn. We made it around the backside of the barn, then all hell broke loose. She sat back on her haunches, and RAN backwards, stepping on her tail and scaring herself further. I got her to stand for a few seconds, then she starting spinning in circles, trying to get back to the barn. Basically, it seems as though not only is she herd bound, she's barn sour as well. I've taken a few steps back, and gone back to ground work and respect. We have started separating her from the others at turnout, and when I'm working with her, we're trying new things. Now, when the other horses are close, I make her work, work, work. If she wants a break, we walk away from the others, so she understands that being separated isn't a bad thing. I was lunging her yesterday, out of sight of the other horses, and she completely panicked. She was running me over on the line, and paying absolutely NO attention to me. When I tried to get her to join up with me, she wouldn't acknowledge I was even there, rather she backed up and reared, screaming for the others. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can someone give me some ideas or games/exercises I can do with my girl?? Just for reference, I have no round pen, no ring, etc. It's just the paddock and pasture area, as we are at a very small hobby farm with only 3 horses. Thank you!
 

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The thing that stands out to me is she RAN over you, or even just pushed into you. do you have a carott stick? or a flag would work great, if my horse EVER ran over me or tryed to push through me there would be some 'kicking' going on. What 'type' of natural horsemanship are you doing? because i know a lot of natural horsemanship people would look down upon hitting ahorse, but we cant hurt them, and her running through you really mean you need to lay down some ground rules. None of her horsey friends would let her run over them, and thats the same ofr you, her getting into your space in a dominant way is a huge no-no. Do you have a strong rope halter? with no buckle on the end of it? If i were you i would walk her by hand out on the trail. make sure to wear gloves, and that you have a strong halter. sorry, i am in a hurry, but i will come back and post some more (unless other peoples have given some realy good advice already) i hope she gets better for you! and remember, a herd leader would give her a boot (but do NOT hold a grudge for even a second, never hit them out of anger) if she tryed to go through them, and your supposed to be the herd leader, so dont accept that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you ridergirl. I gave her a smack with the end of the lunge line, and made her back up until I said she could stand still. I don't have a carrot stick or anything like that. I'm not doing any one form of NH right now, as I have no clue where to start. I also don't have a rope halter. She was badly abused and beaten when her previous owner sent her to a trainer, so I don't want to use whips or anything on her. As soon as she ran me over, she was made to back up, and then work, work, work. Once I had her attention, we ended on a positive note. I hope at least that was the right thing to do.
 

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I was given my mare in July, and she hadn't been used for anything in at least 5 years. I am a new horse owner, and have spent the last 7 months doing nothing but ground work, trust building, playing, and liberty work. This past Monday was to be our first real ride, out on the trail with the other 2 horses from my barn. We made it around the backside of the barn, then all hell broke loose. She sat back on her haunches, and RAN backwards, stepping on her tail and scaring herself further. I got her to stand for a few seconds, then she starting spinning in circles, trying to get back to the barn. Basically, it seems as though not only is she herd bound, she's barn sour as well. I've taken a few steps back, and gone back to ground work and respect. We have started separating her from the others at turnout, and when I'm working with her, we're trying new things. Now, when the other horses are close, I make her work, work, work. If she wants a break, we walk away from the others, so she understands that being separated isn't a bad thing. I was lunging her yesterday, out of sight of the other horses, and she completely panicked. She was running me over on the line, and paying absolutely NO attention to me. When I tried to get her to join up with me, she wouldn't acknowledge I was even there, rather she backed up and reared, screaming for the others. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can someone give me some ideas or games/exercises I can do with my girl?? Just for reference, I have no round pen, no ring, etc. It's just the paddock and pasture area, as we are at a very small hobby farm with only 3 horses. Thank you!
Very difficult working without a ring. Absolutely begin separating her from her buddies but only in baby steps. You don't want her hurting herself. Make sure she is in sight of other horses and give her hay so she has something to do. Also on the ground, get yourself a lead rope with a chain. Hook the chain through the side rings on the noseband of the halter running the chain under her chin. Then walking at her head do a series of walk, halts giving the verbal command. If she doesn't walk touch her on the belly with your whip as you give the verbal command. If she doesn't halt when you give the verbal command, check with the chain and repeat until she stands still. Technique is very important so you may need a trainer to assist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you. It is definitely difficult without a ring. She was left in her stall by herslef for an hour on Monday, and then 3 hours yesterday. She was upset, but didn't do anything stupid, just paced. Once she was calm, she was permitted her turnout time with her friends. Today I will be separating her from them in the other pasture, away from the barn. I do have a lead with a chain, but wasn't sure if that was the way to go. I will definitely try that though! Thank you. Please keep the advice coming!!1

Kim, thanks for pushing me to ask for help from the NH peeps, haha. They rock, lol.
 

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Good advice already posted. This takes time and patience...the safety of the herd instinct is very strong in horses. Be prepared to go through a similar routine again when you ride your mare away from the barn, especially if you go by yourself. All the ground work is a good foundation, but being under saddle on the trail will seem like a different world to your horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have ridden her under saddle 2 times before attempting the trail. However, with it being the first time, I kept it short and sweet, and close to the barn. She didn't offer any resistance then at all. i don't want to push too hard and undo the past 7 months of hard work, but I also know that we need to progress onto new things, for both of us. We all figured she'd be ok going on the trail ride, as she is the low man on the pecking order, and would want to stay close to the others. Her fear of being away from the barn and her fear of being away from the others appears to have made her just panic. I love my girl so much, and having her is a lifelong dream that finally came true at age 29. I want to do what is best for the both of us while keeping it safe. Do you think I should try again with the trail ride this coming Monday? There is going to be a trainer there, and she offered to pony us alongside my horses daughter.
 

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One of the risks with ponying is that you have to worry about two horses stepping on you if you fall off. I think you need a trainer to ride her for you. When a horse acts like that you need to be able to react to them without thinking. You also need to be able to ride really well. The only way you learn to do either one is by riding for hours and hours there are no shortcuts to that. You will do no favors to anyone if you get seriously injured trying to ride her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Kevin, that was my concern as well. I figured that if she panicked, the other horse(my horse's 5 year old daughter) may panic too, potentially causing harm to myself, the trainer, and both horses. I am working on trying to find someone to work with both of us together, as I want to be as involved as possible. I feel it would be just as good for me as it will be for Morgan. If it takes another 8 months until I can safely ride her, I'm ok with that. I want to do what is best for both of us, and pushing too much too soon would be a disaster. I'm lucky that I'm in a position where I'm not paying board, feed, and hay costs for a horse I can't ride.
 

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I take green or nervous horses on trail with ONE other horse ridden by someone I know I can trust to basically read my mind if a situation occurs.

Being low on the pecking order may have caused your mare to start worrying. I will bet she tensed - then you did and confirmed her fear that something was wrong.

Remember to talk, sing, whatever on a nervous horse. A lot of people tend to focus too much and tense up. The horse feels the tension and reacts accordingly. If you are talking, you have to breath - thus you can't get stiff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was talking to her quietly and patting her telling her she was a good girl. I was relaxed until she freaked, then I did tense up. We had a great mini ground work sessions this afternoon, and are taking baby steps. I also just ordered some Smart B1 from SmartPak.
 

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I really have nothing to add - cept my fear for Morgan's digestive system when you say you leave her in her stall alone.

You are setting her up for ulcers and digestive difficulties when you leave her in her stall, alone, to stress - pacing, whinnying etc, etc.

If she is easy to stress out, she is exactly like Nelson - and remember what happened to Nelson when he was on stall rest in January? Please, don't set Morgan up for the same thing Nelson went thorugh. That would break my heart for the both of you.

I wouldn't be surprised if she already has the starts of tummy issues if she is a high stresser like BooBerry. I am not saying she does or has - I am just putting the cards out on the table for you, so that you are aware that you have to take care of Morgans Digestive System and Tummy.

I am really hoping that the B1 will aid in calming her down, what I would also do, is add a Probiotic as well - I saw that wamart sells Probios in the pet section, I was shoked to see it there, very cheap as well. Go have a peek and add that into her daily rationing of feed, because it will help protect her tummy and digestive system.

If you want to get more bang out of a digestive aid, you can get the B1 and look into SmartDigest Ultra from smartpack...I have Nelson on that and it was the best thing I spent my money on.

Love ya! Talk to you later chickey doodle!
 

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Could you maybe set something up with the trainer for the first few times to have some help working with you and your horse. It is always better to have someone who is really confident take your horse out , it gives the horse a good experience. Then maybe you could ride her in the pasture with the trainer watching to give you some pointers as to what to do if she acts up and give you pointers as well. After a while you will feel more confident as you go on your trail rides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the advice everyone. Kim, I have been thinking about the possibilities of tummy trouble from being left alone in her stall. I spoke with the vet today, as well as the trainer who has been out at the barn working with Morgan's daughter. They both feel that with her particular situation, it should be ok. Her goat friends are kept in the barn with her, in the next stall, and the top door of her stall is kept open so she is still able to see and have limited interaction with the others. However, I DO have concern of future issues. This is meant as a very temporary arrangement, at which time she will be getting turned out in the adjoining pasture to her buddies. I am going to look into digestive aids anyway, though.

Amy, I do agree with having the trainer here. Megan Gerber had Morgan's daughter at Quarterline for 2 months, and is now coming to the barn at least once a week to keep up with her. She was actually with us on Monday when we had the issues, and was right there giving me pointers on how to handle the situation. She is going to be coming every week to continue riding Maddie, but will be available for advice and tips. I found a wonderful woman who gives lessons at the local therapeutic riding facility who has agreed to come help me periodically as her schedule allows. We had a wonderful ground work session today. It was only 5 minutes, but it was very productive, and Morgan was very receptive to what I asked of her. I ordered the SmartB1 from SmartPak today, and it will be here Friday. I'm hoping that it will help her with some of her anxiety issues, and I will keep everyone posted on our progress!
 

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^ Oh good , I really love Megan , she has been amazing with my daughters lessons : )

When I first started working with Radar he gave me just about any issue that could come up, I do believe that in the beginning it is the quality of the lessons being taught and not so much the quanity of time. I would work on things over my lunch break at work , sometimes only having 15 min...but I did this everyday and it worked wonders and you're correct to always end on a good note.

Hope the B1 works , let us know if it does ...I thought about using something like that too but I don't know much about them.
 

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Parelli isnt getting rave reviews lately , on this forum and others...but yes, My horses know the seven games and it has worked well for me. I also pull from others. I am a sponge when it comes to horse behavior and training and try to absorb all that I can...somethings have worked , others not so well for me.

Kevin has me interested in reading Horsmanship through feel , I just havent gotten the time or $ to purchase it just yet.

Is there anyway that Megan can take her in for training? I don't know how much she charges for training. Just a thought ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Megan would be willing and able to take her in for training, it's just having the money to do it. I've picked up 2 new jobs in the past 2 days, bringing my work load to 52 hours a week. Once I've been getting regular pay for a few weeks I'm going to send her somewhere. My friend Becky, who has been riding since before she could walk, and training for several years, volunteered to drive 2 hours one way on her day off to help me with Morgan once a week. She's coming tomorrow, so we will see how things go. As far as Parelli, I've seen some videos that make me squirm, but there's good and bad in any type of training. I know how interested you are with the natural training, which is why I figured I could learn something from you. Maybe we can get together for coffee sometime and talk about what you have found that works and what you like. Give Radar and Henry kisses for me, and tell M I said hi.
 
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