FRUSTRATED WITH MY MARE!!! After 2 year she still hasn’t gotten the memo - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by thecolorcoal View Post
Yes I know 🙂 Iím always reflecting and finding ways to do better next time.

The way the trainer ďbrokeĒ her of this before is to pull her head up and beat her with the dressage whip. I donít want to do that. I want to help her see we are as much of a herd of 2 as 4. I canít ride her with others because this is what she does. Alone she is perfect, but as soon as more people and horses are added into the group she cares more about what they are doing than me.
Just because you don't want to do what the trainer did doesn't mean you have to keep doing something else that doesn't work either.

There are humane practical techniques that teach horses that they must stop when asked. You need to learn them. Otherwise you are stuck with an extremely limited horse.

The best thing anyone can do for a horse is to teach it the kind of manners that will enable it to be useful and safe with another owner. Nothing will safeguard the future of your mare more than that.
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post #12 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by thecolorcoal View Post
I consider a bolt a blind gallop forward. This is a canter. It might be a bolt considering as an ottb you canít pull back directly with two reins or she leans. Otherwise i... donít know what to categorize it as.

Normally I can turn her nose and get her at least to slow down but what do you do on a straight path with two walls on either side?
I'd class it as a bolt too, just not a blind panic one. And while in blind panic you may well be in bigger trouble trying to 'one rein stop' if you need force to achieve it (which is not how it should be) or don't have room to turn, but if it's not blind panic, then I would indeed turn the horse into the wall if she won't stop straight - she isn't likely to run herself into a wall if she has her wits about her.

If the 100's you spent on training was with the abusive guy who tried to just shut her down, 'break' her, then I'm afraid this probably exacerbated her attitude & if you can't/don't want to use those methods it was all for naught.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]
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post #13 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:13 PM
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You had a frustrating moment. I totally get it -- REALLY. If anyone gets it, it's me. Tonight, as the sun was setting, I thought about how nice it would be to do a trail ride around my property. Just a quick loop. But then I thought about the flies that drive my mare insane. And the fact that I'd be riding alone right at dusk when there are a lot of animals around that might spook her. And how it's unlikely to be a relaxing ride anyway because I'll be stressed the whole time. So I didn't ride. But I did go out, do some ground work, and lead her around the trail. Turns out it was a big sloppy, muddy mess because of some heavy rain we got today so it's a good thing I didn't ride. It was hard enough for my mare and I to walk uphill in it.

I feel your discouragement on a regular basis. I often wish I just had an easy, quiet horse I could hop on bareback and ride. But I don't.

As much as your ride was frustrating and discouraging for you, I'd encourage you to think of it as a very minor setback. You know about extinction of behaviors right? When you want to get rid of an unwanted behavior, it will get worse before it gets better. Then you will see the odd flare-up after you think the problem is gone. But those will be fewer and further between. You stayed on. It was not a buck meant to unseat you. You got past the thing. Maybe next time there will be no reaction. And it will get better and better. But you're allowed to feel frustrated and discouraged. Tomorrow's a new day. Keep at it. I like @gottatrot 's comment. Maybe you just both need lots of time in the saddle. So do Kodak and I.
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post #14 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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I have said she isn’t being sold under any circumstances. Worst case scenario, and this is If she were unrideable for whatever reason, she will be put out to pasture. You may disagree with this but if it’s her or a rideable sound horse, id pick her.

I am looking for solutions from people who have had horses with these problems. Horses who have extreme self preservation or are competitive and have a one track mind: live/win or else. Is there anything I can do to LESSEN her knee jerk reactions to stimuli she doesn’t like or is it a matter of me learning how to manage and sit these situations as this is just the way the horse is? From people who have been through this before.... which is it?
@Acadianartist , thanks so much ❤️ I could expect this behavior from a 5 year old just started under saddle, but an 8 year old with almost three years of training? I Have had her the longest out of any of her owners. At this point the issues are beyond unreasonable. The only pain thing I can think of is she is in heat and gets sore along her back and croup. While she is worse behaved during these times she has done this behavior out of season too.

It took her over a year for her to trust me in the arena. Now we have that covered. It feels like we are starting all over from her first days home when we are out on the trail. But she is stronger and more athletic than she was as an 850lb starved skinny tb. That adds an extra element of danger and concern.
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post #15 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by thecolorcoal View Post
Yes I know 🙂 Iím always reflecting and finding ways to do better next time.

The way the trainer ďbrokeĒ her of this before is to pull her head up and beat her with the dressage whip. I donít want to do that. I want to help her see we are as much of a herd of 2 as 4. I canít ride her with others because this is what she does. Alone she is perfect, but as soon as more people and horses are added into the group she cares more about what they are doing than me.
This thread brought 2 things to my mind. #1, don't go out on the trail in a group until YOU have the one rein stop down solid. That's a safety issue that you have to deal with. Start teaching her to stop without a huge 1 rein panic stop by using your seat bones and pumping 1 rein (say the left rein) and then closing your elbow and giving her half halts until she slows down to the gait you want her in. You can do all of that in the arena.

#2 Play what I call "conveyor belt" with her and the other horses/riders when you go back out on trail. Everyone rides single file, I'd suggest you start at the front so she doesn't hit her "OH NO GOT TO CATCH UP" button right away. Ride up there for about a minute, then peel off and go to the back. The next horse peels off and goes to the back and the next and the next and so on,m and pretty soon you're back at the front of the line. This will help her to learn to ride in any position. At first you can stay pretty close if you have horses that won't object to her being right on their heels. As time goes on and she gets used to this idea, you can start creating a little more space between the horses, getting her used to being separated by a foot at a time.

#3 When she's on the trail keep her mind busy. Practice your half halts. Stop and back up 3-5 paces. Practice your serpentines, turns on the haunches, turn on the forehand, sidepass down the trail, shoulder in, leg yield, shoulder out and anything else you can think of to keep her brain engaged and on you where it belongs. This mare is extremely anxious and is NEVER going to get the memo about looking to you until you show her definitively that you can and will keep her occupied, busy, and safe.

You say "I donít like not having 4 walls...", this is the root of all your troubles out on the trail. Until YOU get past wanting to ride in 4 walls, the horse will read your nervousness and act on it.

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post #16 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:35 PM
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You might want to have the pulley rein as a tool in your back pocket for when you can't do a one-rein stop. It's not pretty but neither is being run away with. It also isn't an even steady pressure on both reins, and they can't lean into it the same way.

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post #17 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:51 PM
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You got the wrong horse for your personality.

"Tyra felt we were moving too slow and had to keep up." Ė It's what she was trained to do. She was a race horse.

"So she needs to trust me and understand" Ė No, she most definitely does not. Trust (as well as respect) are earned, not demanded. And who's the apex predator in this relationship anyway?

"'Taking off' ie slow canter with really no stop." Ė She's the wrong horse for you.

I have some experience trail riding with a total of four OTTBs; two mares, two geldings; ages 6-32. My recent project is at the beginning of his after-track training, so he needs to do some arena stuff, and then I take him out on the trails to allow him to let his hair down. Seriously, if he wants to speed up, I do some transitions to trick him into thinking that it's my idea, but then he can go as fast as he wants for however long the stretch in front of us is safe-ish.) I have always enjoyed riding them solo more than with others exactly because they are trained to not allow themselves to be left behind. Some are bigger knuckleheads about it than others. It's a real problem if they try to stick to a kicker's ***. In any case, if you're concerned about "a slow canter with really no stop", what are you going to do if you ever get into a gallop - and realize you probably won't stop? (Hint: You gotta ride it until you figure it out, which means that if the brakes are shot, the steering better works.)

I still don't understand whether we are talking about a "junk induced bolt" or a "keeping up with the horse in front" issue. In any case, it didn't sound like you got into a situation that should cause you to freeze. And if you're not confident that it's safe to stop, why should the horse be?

If she's this antsy about being left behind, have you considered swapping lead every now and so often, so she gets to be left behind for a little bit, but gets to go in front before she gets upset about it?
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post #18 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
Trust between horse and rider really comes only from the miles spent in the saddle. Once you've learned all of her reactions to all kinds of things, and she understands you are trustworthy to communicate in a way she understands if she does a little hop or speeds up temporarily, she'll settle more and trust you more.

You can ride a horse and train a horse for endless hours in an arena, but horse and rider also have to spend a lot of time riding together out on the trails to build trust in that different environment.

In general, I've found that I needed to ride a horse out regularly for about three months to get a start on both of us trusting each others' reactions. After about six months, you start to feel pretty comfortable. After a year, you can start feeling like a real team, but it can take even longer with some horses.

On another thread we were discussing how sensitive horses are to us. They read each individual extremely well. Trust from the horse and the response you want will have to come from your communication with the horse; you can't just get it from things a trainer has done with a horse.
You can't program a horse through a trainer to respond a certain way to things because the horse will respond differently with each rider on her back.

If you can respond in a way similar to how the trainer got good results, the horse will soon learn to respond to you in a way similar to how she responded to the trainer. If you respond differently, then the horse will only learn a new way to respond based on your riding. I hope this makes sense.

Many people have their horses trained but never learn to communicate with the horse themselves, so essentially what they get from training is a horse that goes well for the trainer. I can hop on a lot of the horses at my barn and take them for a great ride, but that does their owners no good. The owners have to learn to ride the horse also.
I just feel this post merits repeating.

It's nothing to do with the horse's age and how long you've spent with her. It's that if you want a horse to go well on trails, you need to ride it on trails consistently and for many months before you become a real trails team - no matter how good an arena team you already are.

If you're not comfortable riding on trails, that adds to the situation, as a horse will often pick up and amplify on any lack of ease on the part of the rider (which is often anxiety about what the horse will do). Catch-22? The good news is, as you both ride more trails, you'll both get more comfortable. "Conveyor belt" is an excellent prescription for your situation as well.

What happens when you're riding with a horse whose paces match yours? A lot of highly strung horses get antsy riding with plodders, so riding with a more matched horse at first would be helpful in settling her down and giving both of you confidence. It's removing one of the variables that are making things uneasy. You can re-introduce the "riding with slow company" variable later on, when you've dealt with a few other ones.

Best wishes, persist, and enjoy your trails!

SueC is time travelling.
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post #19 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
You say "I donít like not having 4 walls...", this is the root of all your troubles out on the trail. Until YOU get past wanting to ride in 4 walls, the horse will read your nervousness and act on it.
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post #20 of 202 Old 08-05-2018, 09:59 PM
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Is she of the track? Remember her job is to not get left behind. Practice one rein stops.Introduce quiet, experienced horses with riders who are aware of your problem. Let her lead on your rides. Put her in front and work thru problem areas to build her confidence and yours. It's hard to find someone who's willing to do this but that's what you need to do at this point with her. Your thinking all that race stuff should be gone and it never does. My sister bought a ott gelding turned out to be a great trail until we did a parade and once he heard the announcer it was game on. She was freaking out, ready to bale, I said soften your hands and relax your seat and we got it thru. The point is it had been years since he'd been on the track but there it was again, remember that. I agree with you that force isn't the way to get her better or build her confidence in you as her leader. Take a step back and start again. Good luck
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