New horse at a new home developing new habits?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  southern nh 3 years, 1 month ago.

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  • marimarie_morrison Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 0

    About 3 weeks ago I purchased a 15h grade paint mare. I went and rode her twice before buying her. She was very well behaved, mildly sensitive (I could not kick just voice commands and lite squeezes and if you did bump her she would shoot out in front of you) but none-the-less very knowledgable and responsive. She was the exact same when I rode her the second time, framed up in the bridle well, whoa, back, turn ect with no problems but still very sensitive to my leg. Upon moving her to my farm she settled in well for 3 days, didn’t seem out of the ordinary nervous or anything and then I tacked her up for a ride on the 4th day. Her previous rider was always in her mouth trying to get her to frame and I wanted her to relax and stretch so we walked and trotted on the buckle for 5 minutes or so. Upon me asking her to frame up she got very irritated with me and gave me some mild tail swishes and ear pinning. I continued riding forward and asking for the acceptance of the bit and she suddenly planted her front feet and began cow kicking in place. This is her new thing. I will get on, the ride will be going well for a minute or so and then she will stop and kick out. I’ve tried different saddles, bareback, felt for back soreness and anything in between. Her previous owner said she had never done such with them but did say her previous previous owners said she was “spur shy” Do you all believe that this a relapse of her issue with spurs or a new issue? I do not have on spurs while riding her. If I fuss at her and send her forward without my leg she will come out of the cow-kicking spell but falls back into it after about one full round of an arena. She also does this on trails as well.

    Any ideas on how to fix the problem?

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    You are new to each other, and she may be testing you, to see not just what she can get away with, but also to see if you are going to be on her mouth. Can you ride her with a bitless bridle and also without leg cues? That is, just using the words? Both a new place and a new person can be unsettling – I would give her time and go gently, but not accept undesirable behavior. Whatever else you do try, don’t stop after she has been wrong – get her to do it correctly, and then stop. You may have some short rides in the beginning, but you can lengthen the amount of time you ride her gradually so long as she is behaving. This has worked for me with some horses (not all, of course) and I hope it will for you as well. Does she carry herself correctly when you longe her?

    It is never the horse's fault

    Lay-Z Loper Lay-Z Loper
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    Interested in the answers you get, good luck and keep us posted!

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 31

    Marimarie – – I’m curious to hear how things have been going with your mare. Have you been able to find something that was truly bothering her or was she was just putting you through initiation?

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Joe-Joe makes some good points – it’s not at all unusual for a horse to need a lot of time to adjust to a new home and person. My farrier once said “You won’t know what you have for a year”; point well taken. I would also suggest daily ground work, making sure you don’t let her get away with disrespect on the ground, even with little things like moving slightly into your space or not stepping out of your way when asked. Just be firm but gentle, and she’ll get the message eventually. This will carry over to riding respect. I love mares; there’s nothing better once you bond with them. Give her time, and you couldn’t ask for a more loyal partner.

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    There was a similar thread–on bits, I think–but I would say that going back to the basics is always a good idea. As Jeanne wrote, “daily ground work,” starting with her on a lead rope and reinforcing voice cues, mainly “walk,” “whoa,” and “back.” At the “whoa,” stop moving and let her walk into the halter. When she will do all that reliably, move farther and farther away from her, still holding the line. Then switch to a longe line. I love mares too, but they will all test you–even the geldings. I was so proud of my mare, keeping her head when we encountered a stallion on the trail. Especially since I’ve only had her a few months. Stick with her and she will stop testing you and trust you forever.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Hi – Sorry to hear about your problems. I’d like to suggest a few things: first, if you find yourself getting scared, nervous or worried about riding, get help before you get intimidated. Its very easy to find yourself on a path where your worries about a behavior take over, which the horse senses. Remember in a herd (even if its only two – you and her) one of you has to be the boss. If you are going to be the boss, you have to be boss all the time, be steady and consistent, and fair, and its your job to make her feel safe. Since all is new, I’d have to agree that its a kind of “new horse (of you – test) to see if you are going to fill the leader/safety boss role.

    The other thing I would like to suggest is that since she may have had a problem before that perhaps you could get someone to check out her ribs on the off chance that one is or was broken. I had a mare who was very dominant (and who taught me how to be the leader! – I was a slow learner but life for all of us improved dramatically once I “got it.”) but horrible to tighten the girth on – after a long, long time, we finally realized that at some point she had taken a real blow to the ribs, probably in a field “King of the Hill” game, and as a consequence it had healed well but was always a bit “off” and she was always sensitive there. Might be worth a bit of exploration and testing to see – is she equally sensitive on both sides, is she more sensitive when she is in season (think “monthly pain” – some mare do have it!), is there a particular spot (far back, not so far back, etc). If you can isolate the triggers you can then either fix it, desensitize her or find a way to ride her that allows you both to be comfortable but she still does what you want. Remember – they learn the cues from you – so if you teach her a different/new cue to get what you want it will not matter to her once she understands that means she should do X or Y………Good Luck!

    southern nh
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    any update on this? I have found that most horses are simply reacting to pain with behaviours like this or other resistance, or they are reacting to previous treatment by riders that caused pain. they are not trying to test you really. I think you need to take your time, which by now you should have a better idea what is going on. Maybe the style of girth/cinch you use is bothering her. maybe she has dental issues. have someone check your riding position, you may be leaning back or to one side. she needs to learn she can trust you; don’t use spurs or a crop, just very light leg pressure.

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