Are there things your horse just won't do?

Caol Ila

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And does it make you an inadequate horseman/woman?

I feel like I am a disapointment to my hacking buddies because there are a few trails that go through fields with free range cattle, and I refuse to ride those trails unless 110% certain that the cows are not there. My horse gets hysterical around cows. She spins, rears, bucks, and does 100mph half-passes. If you're unlucky enough to come across some, all you can do is hold on for dear life and try to get her past that field, often at speed. And that's when there's a fence between us. Free range ones? That I've heard might follow you because they're young and curious? Oh, God. F(&*ck that. Over the last 20 years, I've tried to address this a wee bit when I've had a place to spin and buck that wasn't the middle of a public road (so, not often). Never got anywhere. Mostly gave up because I didn't fancy falling off, and the horse was having a meltdown, and it's not like you can train an animal that's in full flight-or-fight adrenaline mode. For the most part, I've accepted that cows are a Thing, and I avoid them, which luckily I can, and she's fine with deer, pigs, sheep, all manner of motorized vehicles, construction, bikes, chickens, dogs, drunk teenagers, a guy with a hawk on his wrist, screaming children, mobility scooters, etc. etc. Don't know how she'd feel about rheas, but there don't seem to be many of those.

There are plenty of trails around my yard where you don't see any bovines, but it's unfortunate that the free range cow fields also have the best canter tracks, so people want to go there. And they probably think I'm crazy and neurotic, because they've only ever seen my horse being a super brave, sensible trail horse, which she is about everything else, and they've not witnessed the scary Gypsum meltdown.

Mark Rashid could probably get her quiet and calm about cows. Maybe. But I'm not Mark Rashid.
 

poiuytrewq

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I had one for 12 years and never managed to wash his head. Most race horses that come into my work are not keen at first but we get there after a while with perseverance. Not mine though. He’d just run backwards and there was little I could ever do about it.
 

Rosietaz

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Mine absolutely will not let me bath him up to his ears or wash his face. He even objects to a damp sponge around the mouth after a ride. Hates it. He will stretch as tall as he can and shake his head about, and would most definitely push me off of a step if I tried! Same with fly gel on a sponge. It’s a case of me having to sneak up whilst he’s distracted, and then he looks at me like I’ve just tried to butcher him.
 

TPO

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Having grown up on my grandparent's farm with beef cattle, worked on cattle stations mustering, tailing and yarding cattle and having a fairly decent handle on how to read and work them I have no idea why anyone chooses to hack, walk or dog walk through a field of them. People appear to be completely unaware of how dangerous cattle can be and how sharp and aggressive certain breeds are never mind cows with calves. I also feel for farmers having people and horses traipsing through their fields, right to roam or not.

If the cattle thing was a real issue that you wanted to address there are cattle classes in the borders (Cumbria/Newcastleton) with Kirsty Whitfield and with Guy Robertson further south (Goole?).

Doesn't answer your actual question sorry!
 

scruffyponies

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Most of mine came with a list as long as your arm. One by one we knock them down. However, Sam will not allow his tail to be brushed. I figure he has learned to ride, drive, load and go through water - huge developments for him. Normally I'd push on and insist (I can dodge flying hooves fairly well. lol.) but it really, really bothers him, so we have agreed that his tail will remain un-brushed.
 

poiuytrewq

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Having grown up on my grandparent's farm with beef cattle, worked on cattle stations mustering, tailing and yarding cattle and having a fairly decent handle on how to read and work them I have no idea why anyone chooses to hack, walk or dog walk through a field of them. People appear to be completely unaware of how dangerous cattle can be and how sharp and aggressive certain breeds are never mind cows with calves. I also feel for farmers having people and horses traipsing through their fields, right to roam or not.

If the cattle thing was a real issue that you wanted to address there are cattle classes in the borders (Cumbria/Newcastleton) with Kirsty Whitfield and with Guy Robertson further south (Goole?).

Doesn't answer your actual question sorry!
agree. Not worried to say cows scare the crap out of me and there’s no way I’d ride or walk through them!
 

ycbm

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Current pair, nothing I know of. .... yet 😁

Previously, there was no way on earth my last TB was going to let anyone touch his ears.
.
 

9tails

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Solocombing her mane. As soon as I even hint at back combing, she shakes her head and neck around to dislodge me. Same with trying to plait. I have a hippy warmblood, I scissor it and can brush it if I use tons of mane and tail but that's the limit on permissions.
 

DirectorFury

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Mine is fine(ish) with cows but I'm absolutely terrified of the things so we avoid them for my sake.

I can't tie M up and walk out of sight for longer than a minute or two, she ends up freaking out and breaking everything she has to to get free. It's annoying as hell and I've tried to work on it multiple times but it's almost as though she has a genuine panic attack that she's been left there. YO has half-jokingly suggested a telegraph pole but I'm pretty sure she'd break her neck!
 

JFTDWS

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Can't get decent flying changes in the arena with Fergus for love nor money. Yes, it's my fault - I screwed up training them and have never managed to unpick it.

Mine are all fine with cattle, but I wouldn't choose to ride through an open field with them. I used to do it when we had a nice local track through part of a massive cattle field and never had an issue, but it was usually pretty easy to zip across while they were at the other end of the field. Actually riding through the cattle on a hack wouldn't be my first choice of route!
 

Dyllymoo

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Edited as I realise I sound like a 10 year old child....

Ummmm not that we have come across as yet ridden wise, clippers aren't his friend at the minute (legs mainly) but that is it.

TBF I don't think I would want to ride through a field with cows in it, they can be very big close up!
 

Caol Ila

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Having grown up on my grandparent's farm with beef cattle, worked on cattle stations mustering, tailing and yarding cattle and having a fairly decent handle on how to read and work them I have no idea why anyone chooses to hack, walk or dog walk through a field of them. People appear to be completely unaware of how dangerous cattle can be and how sharp and aggressive certain breeds are never mind cows with calves. I also feel for farmers having people and horses traipsing through their fields, right to roam or not.

If the cattle thing was a real issue that you wanted to address there are cattle classes in the borders (Cumbria/Newcastleton) with Kirsty Whitfield and with Guy Robertson further south (Goole?).

Doesn't answer your actual question sorry!
The cows in question are in a section of Mugdock Country Park with designated trails. We're not just crossing random farmer's fields because Scottish access laws say we can. But horse's issues aside, I personally dislike walking through herds of cattle, even on foot. In the Highlands, they really are free range and you might find a herd of Highland cows while hiking up a mountain. I'm not a fan.

If she was younger and I had transport, I might investigate the trainer in Newcastleton. To be honest, I did a cow clinic in Colorado with a western natural horsemanship trainer about 19 years ago. I spent most of the clinic going sideways. It didn't make much difference in her attitude about the things.
 

SpeedyPony

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Mine won't stable. Walks in fine, will jump out as soon as you leave him alone in there. Since he doesn't need to be stabled and it's much cheaper to keep him out 24/7/365, I've never thought it was fair to insist and risk an injury.
He's had a few things he didn't like, if it's going to be inconvenient I insist he gets used to it. For instance, he also wasn't keen on cows (although less extreme in his reactions!), but since we are surrounded by dairy farms he's just had to get over it.
I wouldn't like to ride through a field with cows in, but they are loose on the headland where I ride and that doesn't bother me too much, because you can see them way off and pick your route to avoid getting close.
Tbh I think it all depends on what the individual handler is willing to put up with, what one person will barely notice will infuriate another!
 

Caol Ila

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Mugdock is awesome. I love having it on my doorstep. And it has dozens of cow-free trails.

I went through the bit with the cows on my bike a couple weeks ago, and they were hanging out around the trail. Unfortunately, the way the geography is, there's no way of knowing where they are until you're on top of them.
 

oldie48

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I have no idea if Rose would tolerate cows but she won't be asked to as I am extremely wary of them and will avoid them at all cost. Apart from that Rose is fairly accommodating although she sometimes likes to have a bit of an opinion before doing as she's asked!
 

J&S

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I hate cows and i think my coloured horse felt my fear! Big horse will not allow his ears to be touched with scissors or clippers, even when sedated. Believe me, the owners have tried. Some thing bad happened in his Irish youth we think as he is a saint for every thing else.
 

MagicMelon

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One of my horses (retired veteran now) went mental one day out hacking past some cows, he bolted straight through a barbed wire fence getting it caught in his legs and broncing until I finally managed to jump off. The next time we came across cows on a hack, he started to blow up like he was about to go again so I panicked and jumped off, but he spun so fast he got loose and galloped off down the road. Thankfully no cars came and someone caught him about a mile down the road. But I felt it was too dangerous to try again. I stopped hacking him alone at that point and only ever went out in company after that (very rarely as kept privately at home). He was a very sensitive lusitano x competition horse who would tank round XC's like they were nothing - the lack of hacking really didnt bother either of us in the end. He was so good in all other ways, it didnt seem to matter.
 

Pippity

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Stand quietly for the farrier.

When I got her, you couldn't even touch her legs. After a lot of work, she now behaves really well for having her feet picked out, etc. but the farrier still requires vet sedation. Otherwise, those feet are staying DOWN and there's nothing you can do about it. Unfortunately, she needs to be shod all round to be comfortable, so we have to keep on doing it, reducing the sedation slightly each time, and hoping one day it'll click that she doesn't need to worry.

She'll walk past cattle in a field, but I'm pretty sure we'd have a plant-and-reverse if I tried to ride her through them. Sheep, we'd probably have a spin-and-run-away, considering how hard she boggles at walking past a field of them! I half-suspect she was one of those tethered horses on a Dublin housing estate before she was imported, because she doesn't give a toss about any traffic but farm animals are extremely suspicious.
 

HashRouge

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I can't get my share horse through a ford on a bridleway, which is a real shame as it stops us doing some lovely rides. It's not a great spot for training as the crossing point is quite narrow with a wooden footbridge at head height to your right and a relatively steep/ slippy entrance to the ford. I just don't think it is worth the agro of trying to get him through as he's such a panicker, there is every chance he would spin and slip on the approach or spin and knock me out on the wooden footbridge. Sometimes I think you need to pick your battles with horses and accept that not every horse will be okay with everything.
 

PapaverFollis

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I am not allowed to trim The Beast's beard. She likes it and is keeping it thanks. I also was strongly discouraged from brushing or cutting her mane and definitely was not to pull it under any circumstances... so she gets hogged!
 

Archangel

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29 year old horse can't possibly have fly spray applied without thinking he is being murdered. If you even point to the fly spray he is off.
 

Lintel

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I'm glad I'm not alone in the washing his head 😂
Cannot get past the back of the ears with the hose, everything there on gets sponged or baby wiped.

Or go in the sea, but to be fair we have only tried by ourselves. Probably on group ride he would be forget about it.

He hates the sand on the way.. and hates the sea even more!!
 

MiJodsR2BlinkinTite

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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
One of my old boy's would never go in a particular stable; I never knew why, the door of it was a little lower than his normal stable, but on the odd occasions when I did try to get him in there, he just jibbed.

He was a dope-on-a-rope in every other respect.

With my current horse: when she was a baby she just didn't want to stand for the farrier - the biggest tantrums we had was when she was asked to put her foot on the tripod, for some reason she really objected violently to this. I don't want to jinx things, but she hasn't done it for a while....... (shush, don't tell her I said it!!).
 

Pinkvboots

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Mine are ok with cows one is not keen on the alpacas near us though, when I kept my horse at Epping there are loose cattle in the forest hated coming across them, they were the long horn type and look quite scary.
 

Chappie

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Fair play to anyone who can ride through spaces with cattle, but that's a true nightmare scenario to me!

When I first started loaning my cob over 5 years ago there really wasn't much he would let me do. He had kinda been left by the teenager who had him when she lost interest and before that she just used to literally brush and ride. He was about 10 when she got him, I have no idea what happened before then. So he was 14/15 when I started loaning him.

He is suspicious of cows in fields but I've either been lucky they didn't get to the fence as we passed or coaxed him past. In fact he's improved as on our last encounter he insisted in trying to stop and communicate with a bull!

Had to use a glove on a long cane to touch his legs and feet, it was all that basic. Still funny about having feet done, grooming in general (he's like a young boy who doesn't like getting his hair brushed!) he's great at the mounting block and tacking up now, doesn't mind working in the school, sprays, he ties up but must have food or makes a fuss.

Main thing that upsets me is that he won't be bathed. Tried really hard in 2017-18 to bring him on with that but he gets dangerous. I can wash his legs though, with a sponge & bucket, as long as the bucket is far away. The hose is the work of the devil. I worry for him getting an injury that needs cold hosing. He must have food to eat, preferably copious readi grass, but the leg washing is a big plus. He's originally from Ireland and possibly along the way of the first 10 years had an awful experience. Garden hoses/people washing cars provoke him badly.

The inexperienced father of the teenager once tied him up and threw buckets of cold water at his backside as he had a digestive problem and got very dirty in winter. It was in the middle of the yard full of people and ponies and I arrived at the end of it and thought it awful, the poor animal was shaking with fear. He kicked out and caught the father on the shin and exposed bone. But I reckon something bad happened long before that. So I will probably never bath him, pity as he's naturally a grey brown colour so it's hard to see how clean he actually is, and gets scurfy. I use Miracle Groom and wipe him with a damp sponge instead.

I have no idea about things like clipping and boxing as he's never had to have these things done, he's about 19 now so I hope he doesn't have to have the stress involved with them.
 
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