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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been working with my horse for a while now. She was started for a few months about two years ago, and then had a year off. I am in college so I was unable to consistently ride for a while, but I have been back at it for about a month now.
It used to be that I could not get my mare to walk. She was super high energy and did not want to stop. I was getting ready to take her to her first show (just english pleasure, which ended up being canceled) so I was just working on collection for a while and she was doing great. But then she started to just get mad after a little while and just stop dead and not move forward or start to back up. I have tried a crop, spurs, and turning but it has just gotten worse and she doesn't respond to any of it. She has gotten to the point where I go about one lap trotting and she is like "nope. I'm done". I always tried to do different transitions, circles, pole work, grids, ect to keep her mind occupied and not bored.
I am getting really frustrated. I don't know if this is just her being a baby/mare or what. I only ride 3-4 times a week and not that hard. She gets turned out regularly. She is kind of a brat and an alpha mare to begin with but this isn't like her to not want to do ANYTHING while riding. I watch her fly around and buck in the field with the other horses and she seems to be in a good mood until I get on her. I have been riding for over 10 years, so I know I am not giving her mixed signals. She has not shown any signs of lameness and I have pressed all over her back and she has not flinched once. I also do not believe it is my saddle fit. I was thinking maybe it was her teeth, but she isn't having any trouble eating and is more than eager for me to put on the bridle (she actually tries to get the bit in her mouth as soon as I put the reins over her head). She is ridden in a regular d-ring snaffle or a slow twist snaffle with no problem so the bit is not too harsh.
I just wanted to know if anyone had any ideas... I want to get her checked by a vet, but unfortunately I only lease her so this is going to be up to her owners.
 

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Sounds sorta like the trouble we're having with one of our horses.
What I would recommend is to do lots of lunging and ground work.

Another thing you could do is pony her from off of another horse and use verbal ques so that she learns them. What your horse is doing is called sulling. We have a horse that sulls so what I doe when our horse does that is get off and immediately start making them work. Turning, backing, and doing what ever I asked when I was in the saddle.
 

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She has probably just learned that when she stops and doesn't move that she doesn't have to do anymore. Its a learned behavior, shes choosing when to stop the workout not you. Right now you need to show that you have authority and that its not up to her.
 

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it is very likely her realizing that she can get away wtih this. It sounds like you two are in a bit of a stalemate. time to call in a trainer who will help you get back into a position where she will not question your leadership. also, if you are doing the same thing, over and over again, try to mix up your interactions with her by adding trail riding, or working over obstacles or things like that to keep her interested and challenged mentally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I even used the rounded end of my mane comb (as some websites suggested) to get "deeper" and she did nothing. She is the type of horse who would let me know if something i was doing was hurting her by at least looking back at me or pinning her ears.
 

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This sounds quite possibly like a training issue, but as 'behavioural issues' are commonly due to pain, and there are questions & no answers there, I'd absolutely rule out/treat physical issues first, before focusing on the training side.

If you 'pushed down' on her back, even used a hard pointy thing to do it, sounds like she's just trying to ignore it - Even if she doesn't have a back problem, she should 'shrink away' from something hard poking into her. Horses are naturally very stoic animals though. On top of that, a lot of training actually teaches them 'learned helplessness' - that is, you can't change it, so you have to just put up with it, grin & bear it. This is due mostly to people missing signals, not recognising signs of discomfort & just making the horse do something regardless of what they're 'saying'.

You say you don't think it's saddle fit, but that can be tricky to assess for some horses too, and you haven't had any bodyworker, vet or such to attend to her, so that's where I'd start. If you can find a chiropractic vet in your realm, that would be my choice, and you can 'kill more birds' because they can do other veterinary checks & should be knowledgeable about saddle fit too.
 

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She had a year off and figured out she'd much rather stand in the pasture and munch grass than work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I want to add that she had time off from about March 2013 to August 2014 when I started riding again. She has been in a consistent workout since April, so it is odd that a month and a half later she started this.
 

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I agree with everyone else but this is what jumped out to me, the backing part is the clue.
"so I was just working on collection for a while and she was doing great. But then she started to just get mad after a little while and just stop dead and not move forward or start to back up. I have tried a crop, spurs, and turning but it has just gotten worse and she doesn't respond to any of it. She has gotten to the point where I go about one lap trotting and she is like "nope. I'm done"."

I haven't seen you ride of course but I suspect you're using too much rein without reward. In other words you're riding the head for 'collection' instead of the butt.
 

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Agree, think between holding back a forward horse and pulling her in for collection she's just decided she's done.

Can you "throw away" your reins? If it's safe do that. Ride her (safely) on a nice long rein and just go have fun. Stay out of her face.

She needs to learn to respond to your seat.
 

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The phrases you used that stick out to me, are you're "frustrated" and she's an "alpha mare". I'm currently on an Alpha Mare, and she used to do this to me too! I called it "time out" as in "She put me in time-out again." The problem with alpha mares is they get frustrated too. They're smart, so naturally, they think you're the idiot in the relationship. They're too smart to do the same thing over and over again, to smart to tolerate a rude correction, and smart enough to realize the more frustrated the human gets the less work you can make her do.

My advice based on similar circumstances...When she puts you in time out, kick the stirrups free, drop rein, breathe and relax. Don't think of it as rewarding her behavior--with stirrups free and reins free, its a moment for her to breath too. Think of it as a break from each other. When you feel calm and loose, pickup stirrups and reins and ask her too move. Calm is key. It makes no sense to 'correct' a horse for being frustrated if you're frustrated too. Think relax, relax, relax, don't forget to breath when your riding and only correct misbehavior when your relaxed not irritated. And when she starts getting frustrated, instead of whips and spurs, try asking her to do something you know she enjoys and when she loosens up, go back to the hard stuff.
 

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I have a naturally lazy horse who did the same thing to me when he came back from being started. It seemed to me that he got no reward from the trainer for moving forward because she would constantly push (kick) for more speed. It took a while to change his behavior, but what I did was ask him to go forward, demand it when necessary, and when he was going forward nicely, I let him have a break. He learned there is a reward for doing what I want. I know a lot of people would think it is frustrating to go so slow with a horse, but it worked without a lot of "fighting."
 

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Arena sour? Sounds like it. If she balks and won't move forward, bring her nose about half way to your knee and hold it there. Resting your hand on your leg will keep your hand steady and relaxed. Don't ask her to move or do anything. Just wait and wait. She'll get tired of this and will start moving her hindquarters as she tries to straighten out. That is when you release her and ask her to move on. Repeat if necessary. Usually don't need a third time.
 

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I agree with everyone else but this is what jumped out to me, the backing part is the clue.
"so I was just working on collection for a while and she was doing great. But then she started to just get mad after a little while and just stop dead and not move forward or start to back up. I have tried a crop, spurs, and turning but it has just gotten worse and she doesn't respond to any of it. She has gotten to the point where I go about one lap trotting and she is like "nope. I'm done"."

I haven't seen you ride of course but I suspect you're using too much rein without reward. In other words you're riding the head for 'collection' instead of the butt.

My suspicion also.
What does collection mean to you-just a head set?
You could be confusing your horse, holding on to her face, and not driving her with legs, and then rewarding, esp since she is backing up instead
 

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How do you ask for collection?
Before you ever worry about ahead set, you have to get that correct movement from behind, riding with more legs than hands, back to front. The reins only hold abit barrier, to conatin the engery that the horse generates from behind, , and when that horse is driving up correctly, the shoulders will be up, , hocks under the horse, and thus the horse will feel light in your hands-that is when you reward with a loose rein
Curious-why in the heck use a slow twist snaffle, on a horse that already has no 'forward?'
 
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