Are there things your horse just won't do?

Asha

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agree. Not worried to say cows scare the crap out of me and there’s no way I’d ride or walk through them!
me neither. My mare is always alert when she sees them, i reckon if we went through a field of them id be on the floor and she would be off. We have a fabulous bridlepath just at the end of our road which goes for miles, however the local farmer leaves his cows in there with a bull. Theres no way id risk going in, such a shame really.
The only thing Pip wouldnt do was go in water, but that was a problem i made, a good pro sorted her out for me. It didnt make me feel inadequate, i knew what i did wrong and wont make that mistake again.

I havent found anything she wont do yet.
 

southerncomfort

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Our land is surrounded by cows at the moment. Mostly the girls ignore them, but last year i caught the bigger pony leaning over the fence and licking a calf!

The only thing that disturbs them is when the bulls start bellowing loudly.

I'm another one that would avoid riding through a field of cattle at all costs. I just can't read them and find them unpredictable.

I've worked through quite a few things with my mini shetland since i got her but she can still be deeply suspicious of humans, and the one thing she will not let me do is touch her forelock. I guess she has her reasons, but having such a thick forelock means i can go weeks without seeing her eyes! 😄
 

Crazy_cat_lady

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He is very proud of his facial hair (beard and moustache) and there is absolutely no way he is allowing their removal. Absolutely no way. Fortunately the moustache isn't a huge thick one!

He won't allow his ear hair to be trimmed either. Vet suspects he has been ear twitched at some point

I can't pull the top third of his mane so I scissor that. I also can't tidy his forelock

I've never tried to load him as I sense there's no way its happening. He even gets funny about going into other stables at the yard especially if they're dark or the door is quite narrow

He is very selective about who is allowed to catch him, especially in the field

I've managed to now clip him without sedation however can only safely get half way up his neck, he's also very funny about allowing them on his chest. I wouldn't attempt to clip his legs without sedation. Fortunately most of the time I can trim them with scissors. He let me get most of his neck clipped when I used cotton wool but given he refused to allow the removal of one of the pieces for over a week before it fell out on its own means that is now a no go!
 

Sealine

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My horse is very good in most situations and I can only think of a few situations when he says 'No thanks':

Don't try giving me a wormer - that's ok as he will eat it if I put it in a feed with some sugarbeet to hide the taste
Don't pull my mane - that's not a problem as he's ok with a solo comb
I'd prefer not to have the dentist - that's ok as mild sedation saves him (and the dentist) from any stress
 

paddy555

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Our land is surrounded by cows at the moment. Mostly the girls ignore them, but last year i caught the bigger pony leaning over the fence and licking a calf!
we kept calves years ago and they were a nightmare when the horses got near. They would chew the horse's tails. The horse's loved them and wanted to lick them. I adore cows. I would have them again in an instant but I could only have small numbers and it would be too worrying losing one to TB testing.

Paradise would be a herd of South Devon's, Highlands and Jersey's. Fun is a good horse behind a herd of cattle.
 

scats

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I don’t think I’d ride through a field of cows. We went on a farm ride a few years ago and they had cattle on one field. The Farm ride path bordered the field and all that separated us from the cattle and calves was a very flimsy looking rope. They were all bunched at the fence line and showing a lot of interest in us. Fortunately I was on Diva who I could have ridden into battle on, she was such a rock, but my friends cob was very intimidated. The cattle followed us and a few were trotting along and very, very curious. We were both on coloureds so we did laugh that the cows probably thought they’d found some new mates!

As for saying no. Millie won’t have her mane pulled, so I solo comb it, despite hating how thick that makes it.
Polly won’t be clipped without sedation. Apart from that, they do everything I ask with good grace.
 

Orangehorse

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WE have cows, they are in the field next to the paddock, in the cow sheds in the yard. My mare saw them every day, heard them, smelt them.

She was still terrified if she had to go through a field with cows, in fact it was a factor in my selling her as it was something I had to do to get to gate to get out on the road for a ride.

I think my current horse would bite me if I tried to pull his mane, luckily it is quite thin and I can use a solocomb. He will not tolerate cold water for washing either, warm is just about acceptable. He has kicked a bucket of water for washing across the yard before now.
Other than that he is really, really quiet and well behaved!
 

DabDab

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ours have to go through cows or we would never get 10 yards down the road as there are lots of loose cattle wandering around the roads and moorland. There are very few days when we don't have to wind our way through cows and calves. The horses love them. They like playing and driving them.
Our last youngster was the only one scared of cows. It took a while and I penned him in the yard next to the road so he had to watch them wander past the gate. Then I led him in hand to see them but it was when he started to learn to drive them that he really got the idea. He realised he was the boss and had the power to move them.
He was still nervous when he started being ridden so sometimes he is ridden through them but if he is apprehensive I get off and lead so he gains confidence.


One horse was spent his first couple of years living in a field of cows. He had no other company and those cows certainly learnt to move as he trained him self to be a cattle pony. :D when I started taking him out on the roads he would see a group of cattle and they would be off. They didn't hang around for him to get near his authority over them was just so great.
There are cows and then there are cows aren't there. We have a lot of loose cattle wondering around on common land near here and the majority of hacking on my gelding when he was young took us around through and by them. We used to play herding them too, which he very much enjoyed. Tbh, the sheep could be more of an issue to him, purely because sheep do random things like climb into salt bins and stand on bits of dry wall in amongst some trees 😂.

But I definitely wouldn't choose to go through a field of pasture kept cattle. Firstly they are often different breeds, and secondly they have precious little to entertain them, unlike common kept cows, so they find interloping horses very exciting
 

Chianti

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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.

I have a cattle phobic pony. At my last yard we could just about get past cows in a field. At present yard they roam loose over a very large enclosed area. This isn't at all acceptable. Just to add to this I realised today that there's a small hill on our hacking route that we can't canter up at a nice steady pace. Tried today to take some control and pony basically said 'piss off'. We can canter anywhere else calmly in hand but this requires fifth gear.
 

Fools Motto

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My late mare wouldn't tie up. She always pulled back when I tried to 'get her used to it' as a four year old. Tried the usual pressure lunge rope thing, which she was ok with. She just knew when she was actually tied. Soon realised it was a waste of my time, so never attempted it again in the following 16 years of her life. I was so used to her way, that even now, I'm not sure if the 'ordinary horses' that can tie, do indeed tie.... I'd rather hold them! lol
 

tiahatti

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My old cob hated hose pipes, both coiled and hanging up or loose on the ground. He wouldn't go near one.
My mare who eats anything will not eat a pear, never ever!
 

Caol Ila

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There are cows and then there are cows aren't there. We have a lot of loose cattle wondering around on common land near here and the majority of hacking on my gelding when he was young took us around through and by them. We used to play herding them too, which he very much enjoyed. Tbh, the sheep could be more of an issue to him, purely because sheep do random things like climb into salt bins and stand on bits of dry wall in amongst some trees 😂.

But I definitely wouldn't choose to go through a field of pasture kept cattle. Firstly they are often different breeds, and secondly they have precious little to entertain them, unlike common kept cows, so they find interloping horses very exciting
These will be used to all manner of walkers and cyclists going through their field, but I've been told that youngsters are curious about horses and might follow you. Terrifying.

When I first moved to the UK, I had to get her used to sheep as well because she'd never seen one in her life. The places where we lived in the US didn't have a lot of livestock around in general, just equestrian properties and open space with shared-use hiking/mountain biking trails. You might have critters like deer, bears, and mountain lions in the area, and in the case of the latter two, that meant going the other way. Anyway, she quickly got over her wariness of sheep. Maybe because they're relatively small and reliably run away? I don't know. Even riding through free range sheep is no problem. But I couldn't get her over cows.
 

paddy555

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These will be used to all manner of walkers and cyclists going through their field, but I've been told that youngsters are curious about horses and might follow you. Terrifying.
yes we go through enclosed and loose cattle and the youngsters do follow you with the enclosed ones. They lie there kidding you they are fast asleep and then they are messing around behind you and the horse sees them out of the corner of his eye. I usually just turn the horse and ride at t hem a couple of strides, they soon give up. Same with feral foals who are almost worse than the calves as they try and come with us frisking around just at the corner of his eye.

For my youngster the worst was baby sheep. He was quite used to sheep sitting on banks, hiding in the bracken or hedges or having them run around on the road. However then they had lambs. Baby sheep were a totally new species. :eek:


It does amaze me the number of walkers and dogs who go through fields of cows. I would only go through on a horse where I feel safe never wandering in the way they do. Cows don't bother me too much but I would never ride on a bridlepath through a field of horses. That would be way too scary.
 

ohmissbrittany

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Mane pulling and ear trimming.... We just don't even bother anymore. I cut the mane, spend twice the time making it look pulled/thinner, and if I'm self conscious about the ear fluff she has a bonnet and no one can see. :cool:
 
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We had a Fell pony who absolutely hated motor bikes . She was totally bombproof in every other way and with all other vehicles from bicycles to roaring , back firing sportscars to combine harvesters passing within a hairs breadth , but she couldn't stand motorbikes . Fortunately my OH was the proud owner of an enormous Harley Davidson V Rod so one summer we took it upon ourselves to desensitise her once and for all . It took hours and hours of work over many months before I could finally ride her around the field whilst Mr Farside rode alongside on Pearl ( his motor bike - another long story ) . He could weave around her , revving the engine , and we even had a pillion passenger feeding her treats .
Success ? No . What I discovered on my return to the roads was that she still went bonkers at the sound of an approaching motor bike - unless it was a V Rod , in which case she would pull my arms out in her desperation to follow it .
 

Caol Ila

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That's a difficult phobia. At least you can predict where cows are going to be. But your story is hilarious. Just shows how specific horses can be when they process information. I knew a horse who was terrified of men in hats. Not hatless men, and not women in hats. Just men. Wearing hats.
 

DabDab

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These will be used to all manner of walkers and cyclists going through their field, but I've been told that youngsters are curious about horses and might follow you. Terrifying.

When I first moved to the UK, I had to get her used to sheep as well because she'd never seen one in her life. The places where we lived in the US didn't have a lot of livestock around in general, just equestrian properties and open space with shared-use hiking/mountain biking trails. You might have critters like deer, bears, and mountain lions in the area, and in the case of the latter two, that meant going the other way. Anyway, she quickly got over her wariness of sheep. Maybe because they're relatively small and reliably run away? I don't know. Even riding through free range sheep is no problem. But I couldn't get her over cows.
Ah the common sheep round here don't really run away - even when you drive up to them and beep the horn. You have to get out and pretty much carry them off the road at times!
 

catwithclaws

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My old ISH mare would NOT go through/over a ditch. Nope, never, nada. You could have beaten her black and blue (obviously I never did) and she still wouldn’t have gone. We tried groundwork, following another horse, everything but nope. Ditches just weren’t a thing, shame as she’d jump everything else XC but ditches are kind of part and parcel of the whole thing. Good job she was super in just about every other respect, I could get over the ditch phobia
 

Gloi

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My young lad is very obliging, he's not totally said no to anything yet.
My old ISH mare would NOT go through/over a ditch. Nope, never, nada. You could have beaten her black and blue (obviously I never did) and she still wouldn’t have gone. We tried groundwork, following another horse, everything but nope. Ditches just weren’t a thing, shame as she’d jump everything else XC but ditches are kind of part and parcel of the whole thing. Good job she was super in just about every other respect, I could get over the ditch phobia
That's a bit like my oldie who would do anything except go down a drop into water. There was a river crossing we came to one time and we had to use my friend's horse to shove him in so we could carry on the ride. :) Rivers he could wade into were no problem.
 
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sportsmansB

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Mine's pretty good with cows but with a fence between. I wouldn't go in with them
He was pretty sticky to hack at the bginning having hacked only around a farm for a long time before I got him, and hes pretty great now except for the alpacas. He just hates them and their funny wee furry heads.
Oh and a braying donkey (silent donks are OK)
 

Caol Ila

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When I was visiting my brother in Zimbabwe, his friend told me you could hire a horse to ride into Zambezi National Park and get close to lions, elephants, and all the wildlife without being in the confines of a car. I know a ridden safari is a thing throughout Africa, but it sounds terrifying. Most horses spook at imagined lions in lion-free places like the UK. I'm not sure I fancy riding near *actual* lions. Or elephants. Most horses I know would be off like a rocket at the sight of an elephant. Those horses must be amazing. But I prefer watching African wildlife from the confines of a car! You can still get close to stuff. P7200545.JPG
 

BBP

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When I was visiting my brother in Zimbabwe, his friend told me you could hire a horse to ride into Zambezi National Park and get close to lions, elephants, and all the wildlife without being in the confines of a car. I know a ridden safari is a thing throughout Africa, but it sounds terrifying. Most horses spook at imagined lions in lion-free places like the UK. I'm not sure I fancy riding near *actual* lions. Or elephants. Most horses I know would be off like a rocket at the sight of an elephant. Those horses must be amazing. But I prefer watching African wildlife from the confines of a car! You can still get close to stuff. View attachment 51814
My partner and I did a riding safari in South Africa and both of our horses tripped and fell at the canter within 20mins of each other. Made me very glad there were no lions about!!
 

oldie48

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Mine's pretty good with cows but with a fence between. I wouldn't go in with them
He was pretty sticky to hack at the bginning having hacked only around a farm for a long time before I got him, and hes pretty great now except for the alpacas. He just hates them and their funny wee furry heads.
Oh and a braying donkey (silent donks are OK)
I used to keep my horses on a yard that had a llama. Our horses got used to him pretty quickly but there was a regular lawn meet there. Parking was difficult so the field used to ride along a narrow lane to the meet. The llama was in a field adjacent to the lane and took great delight in suddenly popping up from behind the hedge to spit at the horses going by. Needless to say most riders had a fairly interesting ride before they even got to the meet. It was a bit mean of the owner but it was a favourite place for foot followers to congregate, can't think why!
 
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When I was visiting my brother in Zimbabwe, his friend told me you could hire a horse to ride into Zambezi National Park and get close to lions, elephants, and all the wildlife without being in the confines of a car. I know a ridden safari is a thing throughout Africa, but it sounds terrifying. Most horses spook at imagined lions in lion-free places like the UK. I'm not sure I fancy riding near *actual* lions. Or elephants. Most horses I know would be off like a rocket at the sight of an elephant. Those horses must be amazing. But I prefer watching African wildlife from the confines of a car! You can still get close to stuff.
My friend went on a 10 day riding safari . One time they were heading back home along a trail after a long days ride , everyone was hot and tired and looking forward to a cool shower and a good meal . They were within a kilometre or so of home when suddenly the guides horse stopped dead and spun round to face the way they had come .
' Sorry folks ' said the guide ' We're going to have to take the long way home .'
One of the riding party was a rather bossy , no nonsense ' had horses all my life ' type of lady who promptly launched into a lecture on how to deal with a nappy horse and offered to give the guide and his disobedient horse a lead if he couldn't manage to sort it out himself .
The guide listened politely and thanked her for her advice but insisted that they were still going to have to backtrack . The lady was just about to launch into another argument when a few hundred yards further up the trail , a lioness slunk out of the long grass , crossed the path and disappeared into the undergrowth on the other side .
The guide said ' When my horse tells me there's a lion around , I don't argue with her.'
They took the long way home .
 

Keith_Beef

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I don't have my own horse, but of the dozens I've ridden, I have met:
  • one who would not walk through a puddle even 1/8" deep, or a trickly of water over tarmack...
  • one who would not carry my instructor through a wide and high tunnel under a road unless I went ahead...
  • one (a Normandy cob) who would not lift his feet for me to clean his hooves unless I took almost a quarter of his weight on my shoulder to steady him...
None of the horses I have met would do any of the following:
  • pick stones out of the welts of my boots
  • go and get in a round
 

Caol Ila

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My friend went on a 10 day riding safari . One time they were heading back home along a trail after a long days ride , everyone was hot and tired and looking forward to a cool shower and a good meal . They were within a kilometre or so of home when suddenly the guides horse stopped dead and spun round to face the way they had come .
' Sorry folks ' said the guide ' We're going to have to take the long way home .'
One of the riding party was a rather bossy , no nonsense ' had horses all my life ' type of lady who promptly launched into a lecture on how to deal with a nappy horse and offered to give the guide and his disobedient horse a lead if he couldn't manage to sort it out himself .
The guide listened politely and thanked her for her advice but insisted that they were still going to have to backtrack . The lady was just about to launch into another argument when a few hundred yards further up the trail , a lioness slunk out of the long grass , crossed the path and disappeared into the undergrowth on the other side .
The guide said ' When my horse tells me there's a lion around , I don't argue with her.'
They took the long way home .
We wild camped (car camping, but not on an established campsite... in Africa, proper campsites have a fence around them). About half a kilometre from a pride of lions. My brother and his friend thought this was awesome because they do this all the time, apparently. I was bricking it. Never been so terrified to crawl out of the tent in the middle of the night for a pee in my life.

Bears. And cougars: when I had a stud farm in the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado I learned to listen to my horses about those; that was the only time they said "no" and meant it.
Where in the foothills of the Rockies, Cortez?

Mine did the same. And there were no cows, so it definitely wasn't that. I was riding her up a trail outside of Boulder we'd been up a million times, and she threw on the brakes, hard. I tried pushing her forward but she wasn't having it. I wondered if she had a good reason, turned around, and went out on another trail on the other side of the barn and had a lovely ride. A day later, I learned a mountain lion had been spotted up the trail I'd been trying to ride. Another time, she did a flying spook out of nowhere across the track, and my first thought was, "WTF was that about?" My second thought was, "Oh, hello, little rattlesnake."
 
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