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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a new mare, she currently isnt being ridden due to an abcess!
But i do need some help and some advice.
When I first rode this mare to see what she knows, she was very forward pushy and i rode her in a halter, she orginally rides in a snaffle but she bites at the bit to go forward. She will throw her head if i stop her and back her up in the halter. And she will stop moving if i dont take her in the direction she wants to be in.

Its been a few days since ive had her. Ive learned a bit about her
She can be a little brat, but she is very skiddish and i went to treat her abcess and soak it. I got the bandage out of a plastic bag she freaked out, i can tell shes not well desenitized.

she follows my lead so leading her isnt a problem. She just doesnt want to do what shes told.

ANy advice, i think i need to go back to basics and start from the gorund up again.
What are some exercises i can try with her!
 

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Yeah. To me, it sounds like a mix of confidence issues, and disrespect.
I would start with spending time with her. Getting to know her. And her getting to know you. Do some ground work. Lunging, desensitization, etc. If she's good at leading, maybe try leading her past something scary so she learns that you can keep her safe in a scary moment like that. If you were to do that, you would need to be careful to not break the little trust she does have in you. If you ask for her to go past a scary object, and she objects and you can't make her go past it. It will make the situation worse. She will have learned that if she doesn't want to do something, she doesn't have to. So choose something that is scary, but not too scary. And reward her! Give her a treat when she does something good! And make sure what you're asking of her makes sense to her. If she doesn't know what you want her to do, she isn't gonna do it, you're gonna get frustrated, and she's gonna lose interest, cause she can't do anything right. Reward the small tries.
You might also try mourning her with the saddle and bridle and all her gear. Then get someone else to lead you (with a lead rope! You can leave her halter on underneath her bridle! Please do not lead her with the reins! You probably already know all that, but still). Get someone else to lead you and her around. And as they turn, you put gentle pressure on the bit just like you would if you were riding her. She may not know what you are asking for when you are in the saddle, but she might be able to figure out when you bring her to something she knows she is good at (leading), and slowly working up from there.

Just my thoughts! I have never actually trained a horse before lol! So none of that may be helpful, or relevant at all LOL!
 

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Also NOT a trainer, but have worked with a high-anxiety mare. Do you think it's possible she just doesn't understand what you are asking of her? When you say she just "doesn't want to do what she's told", it makes me wonder if you're assuming bad behavior when it's mostly misunderstanding and fear. She is also currently in pain since she has an abscess. A few days is really not a long time to have a horse.

Horses don't just act bratty to annoy people. They react in the way they do because they have learned that somewhere, from someone. Either because it got them out of something they didn't want to do, or as fear/pain avoidance. You now have to re-program her brain to teach her that it doesn't hurt, isn't scary, and that you will calmly and quietly work with her for as long as you need to until she makes some progress. It may just be a little at a time.

I would start by gaining her trust. Spend time with her at liberty. It will be worth the time investment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also NOT a trainer, but have worked with a high-anxiety mare. Do you think it's possible she just doesn't understand what you are asking of her? When you say she just "doesn't want to do what she's told", it makes me wonder if you're assuming bad behavior when it's mostly misunderstanding and fear. She is also currently in pain since she has an abscess. A few days is really not a long time to have a horse.

Horses don't just act bratty to annoy people. They react in the way they do because they have learned that somewhere, from someone. Either because it got them out of something they didn't want to do, or as fear/pain avoidance. You now have to re-program her brain to teach her that it doesn't hurt, isn't scary, and that you will calmly and quietly work with her for as long as you need to until she makes some progress. It may just be a little at a time.

I would start by gaining her trust. Spend time with her at liberty. It will be worth the time investment.
i definley agree with this! yes i would love to start liberty work with her! and to to be able to establish that connection! I want to start ground work with her, and when i was getting the salt my farrier recommended me to get for her abscess i took it out of the bag and i guess the sound of the bag made her freak out. I did calm her down and i told her it was okay. then she started huffing and puffing like snorting like. I gave her some clover and she felt better. I do feell like i need to bond with her and enstablish that connection between us.

What kind of liberty exercises i could try.
 

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I have a new mare, she currently isnt being ridden due to an abcess!
But i do need some help and some advice.
When I first rode this mare to see what she knows, she was very forward pushy and i rode her in a halter, she orginally rides in a snaffle but she bites at the bit to go forward. She will throw her head if i stop her and back her up in the halter. And she will stop moving if i dont take her in the direction she wants to be in.

Its been a few days since ive had her. Ive learned a bit about her
She can be a little brat, but she is very skiddish and i went to treat her abcess and soak it. I got the bandage out of a plastic bag she freaked out, i can tell shes not well desenitized.

she follows my lead so leading her isnt a problem. She just doesnt want to do what shes told.

ANy advice, i think i need to go back to basics and start from the gorund up again.
What are some exercises i can try with her!
I would not be riding the mare until she can lead properly. If she can’t give to pressure properly yet on the ground I don’t think she’s ready to be ridden. I would agree on starting from the ground up again. Sounds like her training may have been rushed. I think first and foremost I would just work on asking her to follow you merely off a click, and I would spend some time asking her to flex her head on the ground in a halter. You can do that by just putting some reins on a halter in some way or other and then ask her to flex her head left and right while standing beside her. Be careful to take into account that she might follow the pressure with her whole body instead of just her head. You can also teach her to turn on the ground, even without ground driving.

Does the head slinging happen in both a bit and halter or just in the bit? If it’s just in the bit I would be checking bit fit and her teeth. If she has wolf teeth, you’ll either need to only ride her bitless or have the wolf teeth removed.

Exposing her to new things in a controlled environment is always a good idea, but keep in mind that it is not the desensitizing that is as important as helping her gain confidence. A lot of people get too caught up in the “sacking out” and push too much on their horse too fast until it blows up and that’s detrimental to their confidence. I’m not saying you would do that, of course, it’s just important to remember— building her up and not breaking her down.

She sounds like a good girl who hasn’t had a lot of work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would not be riding the mare until she can lead properly. If she can’t give to pressure properly yet on the ground I don’t think she’s ready to be ridden. I would agree on starting from the ground up again. Sounds like her training may have been rushed. I think first and foremost I would just work on asking her to follow you merely off a click, and I would spend some time asking her to flex her head on the ground in a halter. You can do that by just putting some reins on a halter in some way or other and then ask her to flex her head left and right while standing beside her. Be careful to take into account that she might follow the pressure with her whole body instead of just her head.

Does the head slinging happen in both a bit and halter or just in the bit? If it’s just in the bit I would be checking bit fit and her teeth. If she has wolf teeth, you’ll either need to only ride her bitless or have the wolf teeth removed.

Exposing her to new things in a controlled environment is always a good idea, but keep in mind that it is not the desensitizing that is as important as helping her gain confidence. A lot of people get too caught up in the “sacking out” and push too much on their horse too fast until it blows up and that’s detrimental to their confidence. I’m not saying you would do that, of course, it’s just important to remember— building her up and not breaking her down.

She sounds like a good girl who hasn’t had a lot of work.
its both the halter and the bit! she rides in a o ring snaffle and during this ride i didnt know what to expect so i rode her in the halter to see what she knowsand needs work on. Im thinking i could try liberty to connect more with her as a partner not like a threat. Should i like take her around like dofferent places in the yard and lead her around
 

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i definley agree with this! yes i would love to start liberty work with her! and to to be able to establish that connection! I want to start ground work with her, and when i was getting the salt my farrier recommended me to get for her abscess i took it out of the bag and i guess the sound of the bag made her freak out. I did calm her down and i told her it was okay. then she started huffing and puffing like snorting like. I gave her some clover and she felt better. I do feell like i need to bond with her and enstablish that connection between us.

What kind of liberty exercises i could try.
What do you think of when you think of liberty work? To me, I focus on things that I will find helpful in their everyday lives at liberty, but a lot other folks are more interested in tricks. I like to teach yielding the hindquarters, backing up, following, and “stay/stand” at liberty, because those are what I find most useful. Teaching to yield the hindquarters helped me teach following because I could use that to get their attention back if they wandered off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What do you think of when you think of liberty work? To me, I focus on things that I will find helpful in their everyday lives at liberty, but a lot other folks are more interested in tricks. I like to teach yielding the hindquarters, backing up, following, and “stay/stand” at liberty, because those are what I find most useful. Teaching to yield the hindquarters helped me teach following because I could use that to get their attention back if they wandered off.
well i think liberty as establiishing a connection with my horse and having that connection she can trust me as a safe place and she will know that she doesnt have to be afraid.
 

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its both the halter and the bit! she rides in a o ring snaffle and during this ride i didnt know what to expect so i rode her in the halter to see what she knowsand needs work on. Im thinking i could try liberty to connect more with her as a partner not like a threat. Should i like take her around like dofferent places in the yard and lead her around
Interesting, in that case she may just not be used to that backwards pressure. Maybe when you are leading her in her halter, pull back her lead rope when you stop with her in a similar manner to how you would pull the reins. That may help later in the saddle. You could probably honestly just work through that in the saddle if head tossing is all that comes out of it if you want/prefer.

I agree with the decision to do some liberty stuff. Anything you can ask a horse to do at liberty on the ground you can ask them to do in a halter or bridle on the ground. And once she’s ready for riding at liberty, anything you can do riding at liberty,you can do in a bridle or halter while riding.

If you are taking her outside the fence you will want a halter on just in case, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it. Once you’ve established leading her at liberty you can just hold the lead rope while you lead her and never actually use the halter unless she spooks and you need it. As for leading her in the yard, I’m not sure if this qualifies as inside or outside her fence but either way, sure, just that if it’s outside you’ll want a halter on. If you’re wanting to do that for bonding reasons... Let her eat some grass and such on occasion while you’re doing it, even take her out and hand graze her if you’re both comfortable enough to do so, or even just go visit her out in her pasture and hang out with her. The more you do stuff like that the more used to you she will be and the more she’ll know she can trust you, IMO. Some people don’t put stock in that kind of thing but I do. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

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She can be a little brat, but she is very skiddish and i went to treat her abcess and soak it. I got the bandage out of a plastic bag she freaked out, i can tell shes not well desenitized.

she follows my lead so leading her isnt a problem. She just doesnt want to do what shes told.
Hi,

First & foremost, quit thinking of her as a 'brat'! She is not and that attitude towards her doesn't help anything.

As for 'doing what she's told', why should she? She has known you for a couple of days by the sounds, and she is green too, so hasn't been conditioned to just 'sit down & shut up' like many horses are. What reasons have you given her, that would make it worth her while to do as you tell her? Have you ensured she actually understands what you're asking first?

Sounds like she is being a normal, little educated horse, so she needs a good start, and sounds like you don't know how to train her. Therefore I'd strongly advise finding a trainer to come work with her and give you some lessons too.
 

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i definley agree with this! yes i would love to start liberty work with her! and to to be able to establish that connection! I want to start ground work with her, and when i was getting the salt my farrier recommended me to get for her abscess i took it out of the bag and i guess the sound of the bag made her freak out. I did calm her down and i told her it was okay. then she started huffing and puffing like snorting like. I gave her some clover and she felt better. I do feell like i need to bond with her and enstablish that connection between us.

What kind of liberty exercises i could try.
I did a liberty course through Horsefulness training, and the first thing the instructor recommends is to just spend two weeks hanging out with your horse. Get a chair, read a book, sit in the pasture, whatever, for 20 minutes a day. Don't look for interaction, just be part of her "herd". The next two weeks you begin to approach the horse at liberty. Look for body language to find out when you begin to enter her personal space. She may raise her head, turn towards you. Stop and wait for another signal (twitch of the ear, stretching towards you, etc.) then move towards her, let her smell your hand, then retreat back to your chair or whatever. Waiting for her to signal that you are entering her space tells her that you are listening, and that she can communicate with you.

The next two weeks you add a bit of grooming - scratch her withers, her neck, whatever. Keep it short - best for her to remember this experience as wanting more rather than getting annoyed with you because you stayed too long. Then you play "my spot, your spot". Your connection should be good by now. This game is a little more tricky, but really important. You will need to drive her away from her spot like a dominant horse would if he wanted to graze where she's grazing. You come up behind her, slightly to the side, wave your arms, use a driving whip if you need to, and ask her to move away from you. When she does, you stand where she was, lower your arms, and release the pressure in this way. Do that a couple of times, then go back to reconnecting with her by letting her sniff your hand again, and scratching her. At this point, she may begin to follow you spontaneously. One thing about the first attempts at liberty leading is that you will tend to want to stay with her. Don't. If she follows you, but then starts to drift, move in the opposite direction. This goes against what we want to do instinctively, but it worked great on my anxious mare who realized she needed to pay attention and stay with me. Once you drive them away from you, they tend to want to be with you even more, strangely.

If this sounds painfully slow - it is. But you have to put in the time to really build that connection. It doesn't happen overnight, especially for horses that are not trusting of people. And remember that the idea of liberty is that the horse can say no. You can't force it.

One really fun game, once your horse understands the idea of following you at liberty, is the carrot game. You have a bunch of containers like buckets in an area, and lead the horse at liberty to the ones that contain carrots (some of them don't so the horse has to rely on you to know which ones do). Practice having them stop when you stop, take a step back when you do, etc. until they are right in front of the "carrot" bucket.
 
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