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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, Im looking at outside opinions but here is the situation.....
I'm currently helping my instructor train a mare that she's on the fence about selling at some point. The mare is a 4 year old friesian/morgan cross, she stays stalled a majority of the day unless brought out for training. I talked to my instructor about the mare and she said she can't put her out into the pasture with mares or geldings because she has an attitude and will kick out at other horses. Obviously I'm not there 24/7 and she keeps her away from the other horses when I'm there so I've never seen her interaction with them. She doesn't seem to bothered when she sees other horses when she's outside of her stall though. Mostly just watches for a minute. She also said she's pushy with people but when I've handled her she's been nothing but sweet. When I go into her stall she will get into my space but will move when told and put her head down when I halter her. She's green and has minimal handling from what I understand but she listens pretty well when I lead her. I can get her to walk, trot and stop on a lunge line without a huge issue and we just started working on cantering yesterday. She has been saddled and from what I've been told has been sat on but not much else. Being saddled doesn't bother her, you can push and pull on the saddle with no explosive reactions, she just stands there. I've briefly discussed with my instructor that Id be interested in purchasing her if she does decide to sell but I'd hate for her to have to be stalled the rest of her life. So, I guess my biggest question is has there ever been a situation where someone would have to keep their horse stalled or do you guys feels its pent up energy?
 

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I wonder if what one sees as "aggressive" someone else may see as no herd manners had...

I would want to see the mare in a adjoining paddock next to other horses and how she responds to them...
You often can see "aggressive" attitudes and what you describe as she takes a look then moves on is not a aggressive stance to me.
She's young and I would hate to see the animal mis-categorized and lead a solitary life if all she needs is her butt kicked by a lead mare who teaches her herd dynamics she may be missing.
Seclusion, always removed and the mare has not done anything that you know of to be awarded such treatment...
If you're really serious I would have a very intent heart-to-heart discussion with the owner of the mare and see where you're at.
Solitary life to me is a cost negotiation price and recognition that the horse may never be able to be ridden in company, shown, trail rode...always solitary.
Or...
The mare may be being maligned and wrongly accused of doing something she didn't do...

Only you know if you can trust to try if you buy, and can you accept the consequence if her present owner is correct and the malign is justly earned.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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It's hard to guess not knowing the mare, so I'll just make some general statements.

I prefer a horse get quite a bit of turnout. Both for mental health and for physical health. Even if it can't be with other horses.

I have met only a couple horses that were too aggressive to be out with others. Both mares. And both so good at ranch work with cattle their meanness was worth accommodating with private paddocks. Both had good ground manners and did not kick when being ridden.

Neither was bred because the owners didn't want the personality traits passed on. Both had been assessed by veterinarians for a physical cause.

So I believe it sure happens, but fortunately it is very rare.
 

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It may be that this particular herd situation isn't right for her, for whatever reason. That doesn't mean another situation, with a larger or smaller group, or horses that are more submissive or more dominant, or with only mares, or with only geldings, wouldn't work out.

You might want to ask for more specifics, what exactly the trainer has seen that makes her not want to turn this mare out with the others.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Apparently this mare has been bounced around and was originally purchased from a kill pen in TX so my instructor is her 3rd home. The way her set up is the only way for her to be even relatively close to other horses is in her arena. After her training session I did give her a break and let her loose and let her stay in the arena to roll and blow off some steam before being stalled again. Personally I didn't see any aggressive behavior, she walked over to the side of the arena where the mare pasture is, neighed then cantered the fence line once and went about her business and ignored them. I totally agree with you boots, I prefer to have a horse out instead of cooped up all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It may be that this particular herd situation isn't right for her, for whatever reason. That doesn't mean another situation, with a larger or smaller group, or horses that are more submissive or more dominant, or with only mares, or with only geldings, wouldn't work out.

You might want to ask for more specifics.
That may very well be the case but I'm not totally sure. She said she put her in with her mares, which already has a boss mare but the boss mare left her alone so she moved her to the geldings and she said the she almost broke one of her geldings legs. She didn't elaborate on what led up to that situation just that she can't afford for her to hurt the other horses. Which I understand since she does board.
 

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I think part of her reason they are seeing that behavior is because she's stalled all the time...I personally am not a fan of stalling, I don't have a problem with people who do it though. It works for some horses, others...not so much. My horse prefers being outside, she's not a fan of stalling unless necessary (if she has an injury etc.).

Horses also need time to figure things out - they usually figure it out amongst themselves. Sure, she may think she's alpha mare in the pasture. It doesn't mean it's the end of the world though. :icon_rolleyes: Let horses be horses. She's probably fine!

I hope you can get her, that'd be lovely. She'd do fine in turnout. It's the best thing for them IMO.
 

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Is the trainer/BO's mare lead and put her in her place or the mare was submissive and did not challenge the lead? If that is the case then she should be with the mares. If the mare was vying for top position and trainer/BO didn't want her herd dynamics to change that is her prerogative though sad situation for the horse. If putting the mare with the geldings caused problems that were escalating and more than a sound thumping or scuffings were occuring then she doesn't need to be with them. If there is room and a horse or two that accepts her (low or high) place without fuss best would be to turn her out with the few. Not everyone is set up to manage several small herds though. Some barns go through several changes in herd dynamics and accommodations seem to be made seasonally and as the horse loyalties change or different horses pair up the pasture arrangement changes. Things seem to be fluid and there is space to make changes. Here I have limited flexibility but that is not because of space limitation more I have multiple strong personalities that try to run things. Pastures are big enough that I can put a couple of small groups together in each space and they mostly stay out of each others way but I have two that cannot go together at all. Those two and their little bands are kept separate completely and the more accepting groups are added in with either of those based on how well they interact.



Even with that sometimes you just have to let them work it out. Sometimes it can be done over a fence, other times not. You're taking a chance and if the horses are high dollar enough then it may be that a chance can't be taken. I've seen a couple of hocks fractured and broken ribs and an ear almost ripped off over the years. It happens but that isn't usually the case. Most times it is bruises and scuff marks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think part of her reason they are seeing that behavior is because she's stalled all the time...I personally am not a fan of stalling, I don't have a problem with people who do it though. It works for some horses, others...not so much. My horse prefers being outside, she's not a fan of stalling unless necessary (if she has an injury etc.).

Horses also need time to figure things out - they usually figure it out amongst themselves. Sure, she may think she's alpha mare in the pasture. It doesn't mean it's the end of the world though. :icon_rolleyes: Let horses be horses. She's probably fine!

I hope you can get her, that'd be lovely. She'd do fine in turnout. It's the best thing for them IMO.
I agree, if I am able to buy her I'd much rather have her in a turn out and possibly stalled in the evening. Unfortunately I probably won't know if she's going to sell her for a couple months. She said she was planning on sending her to the amish to saddle break, not sure when she's planning on that though. I talked to my husband about maybe trying to see if she'd sell her to me before that and go a different route for a trainer. I honestly think a big issue is she just isn't worked with a lot. My instructor has other horses that have been brought in for training and she just doesn't have time to mess with her.
 

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Is the trainer/BO's mare lead and put her in her place or the mare was submissive and did not challenge the lead? If that is the case then she should be with the mares. If the mare was vying for top position and trainer/BO didn't want her herd dynamics to change that is her prerogative though sad situation for the horse. If putting the mare with the geldings caused problems that were escalating and more than a sound thumping or scuffings were occuring then she doesn't need to be with them. If there is room and a horse or two that accepts her (low or high) place without fuss best would be to turn her out with the few. Not everyone is set up to manage several small herds though. Some barns go through several changes in herd dynamics and accommodations seem to be made seasonally and as the horse loyalties change or different horses pair up the pasture arrangement changes. Things seem to be fluid and there is space to make changes. Here I have limited flexibility but that is not because of space limitation more I have multiple strong personalities that try to run things. Pastures are big enough that I can put a couple of small groups together in each space and they mostly stay out of each others way but I have two that cannot go together at all. Those two and their little bands are kept separate completely and the more accepting groups are added in with either of those based on how well they interact.



Even with that sometimes you just have to let them work it out. Sometimes it can be done over a fence, other times not. You're taking a chance and if the horses are high dollar enough then it may be that a chance can't be taken. I've seen a couple of hocks fractured and broken ribs and an ear almost ripped off over the years. It happens but that isn't usually the case. Most times it is bruises and scuff marks.
From how she explained it, she put the new mare into the herd and the boss mare looked at her and backed off, which apparently isn't the norm. All she said was basically the new mare was acting like a witch to the other horses. With the exception of the boss mare all the other mares are boarders. How her barn is set up is there's really no option of separating into smaller pastures to see how things would go unfortunately.
Now I'm no expert but I'd bet money a lot of her issues with herds is she has pent up energy that rarely gets released. Just like a person cooped up 24/7 you'd go a little stir crazy too.
 

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If you bought this horse, would you have to leave it at this place?

If it were me, I'd be willing to try her with some other horses, but it seems like the trainer isn't willing to do that. It sounds so strange, like she didn't even really give her a chance. Having said that, I get it if all the other mares belong to boarders -- she doesn't want the liability. Where I board the owner is also like that -- she will give horses more of a chance if they are in a pasture with one of her own horses, but not much of a chance with boarder horses. Even so, my barn owner would have let it go to see how things went.

Regardless, if you buy her and leave her here, it sounds like she will mostly be confined to a stall. I personally would hate for my horse to be stalled most of the time, and it sounds like you feel the same way.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you bought this horse, would you have to leave it at this place?

If it were me, I'd be willing to try her with some other horses, but it seems like the trainer isn't willing to do that. It sounds so strange, like she didn't even really give her a chance. Having said that, I get it if all the other mares belong to boarders -- she doesn't want the liability. Where I board the owner is also like that -- she will give horses more of a chance if they are in a pasture with one of her own horses, but not much of a chance with boarder horses. Even so, my barn owner would have let it go to see how things went.

Regardless, if you buy her and leave her here, it sounds like she will mostly be confined to a stall. I personally would hate for my horse to be stalled most of the time, and it sounds like you feel the same way.
If I did buy her I wouldn't have to keep her there and I would move her to be honest. My instructor is great but I'd like to try and give her a better chance of success of not having to be confined so much. Actually I think she'd prefer if she left and opened up a stall for another boarder or training client.
 

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Number one issue I hear is: NO turnout. The horse MUST get some sort of turnout and if that means the horse goes to another barn where that is an option that sounds best. horses are not built mind/body/emotionally to stay cooped up unless being ridden.

Let her be a horse and I bet you see a lot of her attitude wear away!

Second is
ground work ground work ground and building up a connection. Mares are also often a ONE person type of horse and work 10x better when they find their person they trust and have a bond with and it sounds this is doable if you are invested.
 

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Yea, I don't think you can know anything for sure about a horse's personality when she's kept in a stall all the time. I probably have stronger feelings about it than most people, but I think keeping a horse in a stall all day every day is cruel. It's like keeping a dog in a small bathroom its whole life except for walks. Working with the horse out of the stall once a day doesn't count. If she truly can't be out with other horses, your trainer should shuffle the groups around, build another paddock, even a round pen. Something.

At my barn, we have "ambassador" horses who help get the new horses accustomed to herd dynamics. We start the new horse in a small turnout alongside another small one with just an ambassador horse, then we put them together under supervision, then we add another chill horse, etc., until the new horse can handle being out with one of the herds. Some of them end up in permanent groups of two or three, but there is not one single horse on the property that can't be with any other horses.
 

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One of my horses is a friesian/saddlebred cross. Her behavior on the ground is a bit pushy, sometimes. It's not aggressive or nervous pushy. It's just that they are a little thick skinned and also want to be around you. Friesians are notorious for wanting to be around their people. They are also very smart, learning quickly and retaining what they've learned. She's in the middle when it comes to hierarchy of the herd.

I very much doubt that your girl is sooo aggressive towards other horses that she can't be kept turned out. More than likely she was trying to find her place and didn't get a chance because your trainer was nervous borders horses would get hurt. It usually takes a couple of days for everyone to work it out when a new horse is introduced to an existing herd.

Why does the trainer want to send her off somewhere else for training and why Amish?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I totally agree and I hate that she's kept stalled as much as she is. Like I said in an earlier post, when I left her in the arena to just chill out she went over to the side where the mare pasture was neighed, cantered the fence line once then started doing other things. I do feel that she wouldn't do bad with other horses she'd just have to find her place. As far as her being pushy, she's not bad, she'll move out of your space when asked. She's extremely intelligent and retains what we went over from her last sessions but obviously still learning, i.e getting hosed off isn't going to kill you (she's gotten better with her front legs now we have to work on back legs). I honestly think her biggest issue is she just hasn't been given a proper guidance.
As far as the trainer and why she wants to send her off it basically boiled down to not enough time to mess with her and why the amish I have no idea ( Ive read some not so good things about amish training and would hate for her to be put into that type of situation if I could help it, not saying all amish trainers are bad but good ones don't seem to be the norm). I was thinking of maybe offering to buy her as is and move her to another barn and work with her there.
When I spoke to her about being interested in buying her she told me that she wouldn't be opposed to selling her since the mare kind of fell into her lap and she's not attached to her at all but apparently its her husbands call.
 

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I can understand the BO's desire not to have a boarders horse hurt when a new horse is introduced to the herd. But honestly I have never introduced a new horse and not had their be some kind of scerfluffle. I feel sorry for the mare - because a stalled horse is generally an unhappy horse. I have my fingers crossed that you are able to purchase her. I wonder what she does with the other training horses she gets in? Do they stay stalled as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm not totally sure what she does with the other training horses for the most part. Every time I go she has a lesson and then we work with the mare. But while I'm there the other horses are stalled as well. But thank you, I hope I'm able to get her as well.
 

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I hope that you get her as well. I don't think that you will have any problems with her.

Every once in a while my horses will kick out at each other. Sometimes seriously and sometimes in play. Never has anyone gotten seriously hurt. Usually not hurt at all.
 

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I have a bossy mare here. She's fine with my other mares that yield to her. My gelding is boss over her which was shocking to me. They both did a kicking show - look how high I can kick, then she yielded and he has been boss ever since. She has reacted poorly to other horses in the past- trying to chase away strange horses or new horses. In her mind, this is her property and strange horses don't belong here and should be chased off. Depending on the specific horse...

I am very careful about introductions. I've had her kick the fence down before, so I normally keep 2 fences between her and new horses. One electrified. I've had her kick my gates as well.

I don't think she is a bad mare. I think she's very protective of her property and her herd. It took her 3 months to accept one horse I had in for training. As in she wanted him "gone" for most of that time. I never did turn them out together.

I think you should try turning that mare out by herself, with horses in the paddock next to her. See how she does. I don't trust my mare around strange horses. I do trust her with her herd mates, after a long enough introductory period.

That said, some horses are best kept separated. I've known some that are extremely horse aggressive. I knew a gelding that tried to rip my mare apart- ill tempered animal. I've known mares that will deliberately corner and kick other horses. I've seen a horse break a leg after getting kicked by an aggressive mare. Care does need to be taken. Don't just throw them together to sort things out.
 
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