Cows... My mare will not walk past them...

Whizza

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Any advice, or miracles gladly accepted.
Took my mare out this evening for a hack, it's a route we have used a few times now (only had her 4 weeks) and in one of the fields there are now cows... She would not go past for love nor carrots. I was riding the first time we tried, she was backing up,spinning round, head in the air, tail swishing, very tense. Not at all happy. I got off any tried to walk her past in hand. And still no joy. So we went a different way instead and once she had calmed down was a saint (still in hand as I can't get back on from the ground)
I'm not the most experienced person around horses and with her messing about I was tense myself which I'm sure didn't help matters...

Would anyone please give me some advice, encouragement, tips, tricks anything please!? I'm feeling very deflated with myself :(

Thank you for taking the time to read :) xx
 

AdorableAlice

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If you can find somewhere to allow you to turn her out with cows or alongside them she would have to get over herself.

Maybe a stronger rider in board and return to the scene tomorrow ?
 

Whizza

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I'm new to the area so don't know many other people at the moment. The lady that usually rides out with me, her horse has just been diagnosed with laminitis. I will definitely be returning to the scene tomorrow either riding or in hand. We need to get over this as its one of the main hacking routes we use. Have spoken to my horses old owner and she said she isn't that familiar with cows. We had such a good day yesterday (going a different way) and today I just feel like it's all gone wrong. Onwards and upwards though!
 

LHIS

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We had a mare on the yard last year that had a massive cow phobia, it wasn't a quick fix but her rider eventually taught her to get past them in a safe manner.
She would see them and freeze, then either start rearing, spin and run, or just bunny hop on the spot. She was really dangerous around cows and over the summer we have cows in the field on the lane we have to walk down to get out on a hack, so no choice.
Her owner walked her out in hand to start with, with her dually halter on and a long line. This didn't really work, the mare did the same thing and nearly had the owners arms out of their sockets trying to hold her. So she went back to riding her, and it was basically the combination of a very determined rider and the company of a unflustered horse that did it. It took ages though and her rider really persisted with it.
 

Whizza

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That's exactly what Gabby did other than rearing. She's a big girl aswel 16.1hh so it was quite a challenge to hold her. But on the plus side she didn't bolt, she was just very scared, I think we may have to wait until our hacking buddy is on the mend because nothing flusters him at all bless him.

Thanks for the replies. Muchly appreciated. X
 

Pearlsasinger

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We bought a bombproof Clydesdale mare from a RS and hacked her home. She was foot perfect with the 40+ cyclists whooping and hollering as they rode past us at mega mp, the emergency abulance with flashing blue light and the milk tanker that passed us in both directios on a very narrow country lane BUT when we got to the field of bullocks we weren't expedcting her reaction. We did get her past, there were 3 of us, but she really wasn't happy. She hated even the smell of cattle and always made her feelings plain when passing the dairy farmyard, then there waas the memorable occasion when she decided that the Mini hurtling towards us on the other side of the road was lesss threatening than the bull standing quietly at the far side of a 6 acre field!
When we moved here and she found that the neighbouring fields were full of cattle, she nearly had a meltdown! Then she reallised that adult6 cows have baby calves and she fell in love with those! IME grazing alongside cows with other horses which are not bothered is the best way to go but hacking with a cattle-proof companion would help.
 

Shay

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Whilst you are waiting you could try concentrating on other "spook busting" stuff at home to build your relationship together. 4 weeks isn't long for a horse - especially a mare - to come to trust you. You are asking her to walk past something her instincts tell her is scary. the you - understandably - become scared too reinforcing to her that it is scary. She needs to be able to look to you and accept your leadership as safe for her. So perhaps some good ground work. Walking over tarpaulins, rustley plastic bags etc? Not to scare her - absolutely. But to build confidence together on the ground.
 

Whizza

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Whilst you are waiting you could try concentrating on other "spook busting" stuff at home to build your relationship together. 4 weeks isn't long for a horse - especially a mare - to come to trust you. You are asking her to walk past something her instincts tell her is scary. the you - understandably - become scared too reinforcing to her that it is scary. She needs to be able to look to you and accept your leadership as safe for her. So perhaps some good ground work. Walking over tarpaulins, rustley plastic bags etc? Not to scare her - absolutely. But to build confidence together on the ground.

That makes perfect sense. It was her reaction to the cows that was making me tense and it makes sense that if she thinks I'm scared of the cows then she should be too! She could smell them far before I even knew that they were there so I was getting frustrated with her before I saw them as I didn't know what she was playing up about. 4 weeks is a very short time, I know and we are working on building out bond. She's already so much better than when she arrived. Your right about the ground work, we have been doing little bits here and there. Maybe I should stop worrying about the Riding her so much and work on all the other stuff like building her trust in me a bit more.
Thank you for your reply. It's certainly made me think abit more. :)
 

Whizza

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Was out on my mare yesterday, we went past the cow feed on the way back home. She lifted her head and looked over the fence put it back down again and didn't bat an eyelid :) happy horse owner here :)
 
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