How do I discipline something that retaliates worse when told off?? Long post!

Pinkvboots

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I confess I wouldn't run ONE stallion with my mares, even if they were all in foal to him. Some people do so - safely enough. Some stallions are smart enough to accept a 'no' from a mare who might be showing in season but not quite ready. Oters are smart enough to figure out the safest approach to a mare who ALWAYS kicks at the stallion beore and/or after he mounts. Some people I have heard also leave foals in the field with the in-foal again mothers AND the stallion. That to my mind carries enormous risk: I once knew a herd of wild donkeys whose owner did that. Young jacks would be chased out of the herd or even killed at the very first sign they were becoming 'interested' in the jennets, and of course the very young jennets were mated by their sire. The Alpha mare is often a bully to other mares over food, I guess they would be just as bossy to the stallion lower down the stallion pecking order.
I wouldn't leave stallions with a mare carrying and definitely not with a new born foal, I have looked after stallions had one myself most are very good but you just never know, we ran colts together so they could play and grow but if one got too aggressive they were separated I can't be watching horses being chased and bullied all day, my own gelding was cut late his an absolute horror with new horses in the field I am very careful who he goes out with.
 

sportsmansB

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We have a mare at the yard who is competing at 3* level. Shes been in a professional yard since a 4yo, and as far as we know hasn't had any challenging situations to lead to her behaviour (went straight from breeder to event yard)
However
She is protective over her personal space and will ears back / look generally grumpy when you enter. If you tried to go in with food and NOT give it to her and try and bash her back she probably would turn her ass to you.
She is picky about what other horses are either side of her
If you try and change her rugs without a headcollar on in the stable she would be snappy
But she very much knows the difference- as soon as a headcollar goes on, its work time. So we handle her with a headcollar on when we need to work around her in the stable. If anything more complicated needs done (worming, wound treatment, bandaging etc) we would take her out of the stable.
Its not really a big deal is it? If they are civil once they recognise their time is over and handling time has started?
She just is that way. We work around her and manage it. She certainly doesn't get beaten for being fed up for being messed around or people faffing around her in her 'quiet space'.
 

LaurenBay

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It doesn't matter if its a mare, gelding, stallion. You should be able to ask a Horse to move back without being lunged at or bitten. You cannot excuse a Horses behaviour based on its gender. There are just as many aggressive geldings as there are mares. So this "tell a gelding, ask a mare" thing is bull!

Horses need time to settle. You have had the Horse a month. If she is happy to be handled in a head collar, then stick the head collar. It takes 1 minute to put on, it will be less stressful and safer for you both. Set her up for success and not put her in a situation she does not like. Start your partnership on the best note possible and give her the time and patience to get to know you and her new home.
 

Mudfukkle

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OP, just another note.

A friend of mine had a mare (many, many years ago) that reacted in a similar fashion with the stable behaviour. It turned out that she had been battered in the stable to the point that she felt she had no other option than to fight. The handlers at her previous home used to arm themselves with a broom before they went in - I'm sure it goes without saying, but DO NOT do this.

She took a long while to 'come good'. She was never calm and happy about you going into the stable, but she did eventually tolerate it. On their part it took months of calm, confident and consistent handling. They worked WITH the mare to find what worked for her, and that is the most important thing with cases like this.
This is what I thought too - Defensive fear
 

Dave's Mam

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Just a thought. I used to work for the police, in the control room & on a night shift, the Dog Man would often stop by for a break. a coffee & to let the dogs stretch their legs & do a bit of training round the office.
Initially they come in as normal dogs, happy to see everyone, cuddles, kisses, BUT the moment the harness goes on, they are working. Focus changes. They look at their handler and ask what is the job.
Treat your horse like this. If she behaves in her headcollar, use it.
 

Auslander

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Another one who would suggest leaving her in peace to eat, and putting headcollar on to handle.
I have one here (a gelding!!) who doesn't like his space being invaded, especially while he's eating. He's a nice horse, so he'd never do anything, but his expression/body language scream "Get out!" if I go in the stable when he's eating. His owner lined his stable with heavy duty marine ply before he moved in, as he had kicked holes in previous stables when he heard other horses daring to be alive while he was eating.
I put his feed in before he comes in, shove him in his stable, and leave him alone. He has the furthest stable, so no other horses walk past his stable, and his next door neighbour always goes in first so that he's settled and eating quietly before angry guy comes in. Haven't heard the squeal/grunt/wall kick sequence for months.
 

sollimum

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Just a thought. I used to work for the police, in the control room & on a night shift, the Dog Man would often stop by for a break. a coffee & to let the dogs stretch their legs & do a bit of training round the office.
Initially they come in as normal dogs, happy to see everyone, cuddles, kisses, BUT the moment the harness goes on, they are working. Focus changes. They look at their handler and ask what is the job.
Treat your horse like this. If she behaves in her headcollar, use it.
I agree with this - when we sent our gelding off to be backed, the professional yard told us to always put the headcollar on before we proceeded with any rugs etc. They did this to all the horses - who learnt that when the head collar was to listen to the handler. My cob is the same, once I put the headcollar on he stops eating - I bought him from a professional yard.
 
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I agree with this - when we sent our gelding off to be backed, the professional yard told us to always put the headcollar on before we proceeded with any rugs etc. They did this to all the horses - who learnt that when the head collar was to listen to the handler. My cob is the same, once I put the headcollar on he stops eating - I bought him from a professional yard.
when I was a groom everything had a headcollar on for rugs/skipping out/grooming and any sort of handling -its basic handling safety and it means that each horse knows what to expect from each handler and that each handler can handle a strange horse safely. Likewise always letting a horse know where you are in relation to it etc etc in the stable/field. If you buy an 'established' horse thats they way to do it until you know each other at least. tbh many problems owners have with their horses on the ground could be solved by consistant and fair handling-rather than expecting the horse to know what you're about at any given time and punishing it for not being a mind reader or not overcoming the fact its a flight animal. They can of course be taught in other ways but for most traditionally kept horses its safer and easier to just put a darn headcollar on it.
 

Ambers Echo

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I think the replies were a bit harsh to start with personally. A lot of people learn 'be the boss' or 'be the alpha' and have the idea drilled into them that they must teach the horse 'respect'. The skill of stepping back and looking at the whole picture and trying to figure out WHY a horse is doing what they are doing does not necessarily come naturally.

Essentially all the OP has done is misread what seems obvious to many as defensive behaviour as bargey, ill mannered and potentially dangerous aggression. I could have written things like this a few years ago:

I want to nip these behaviours in the bud especially before they get bigger or more frequent...

The issue is, she doesn’t just respond to being shouted at and be like “oh, I won’t do that then” instead she retaliates and does it more as if she’s basically telling me to F off, don’t you dare tell me off......

I think somebody’s just let her walk all over them before but I don’t want her to be like that, I am the boss
OP please come back and let us know how you are getting on! It is very sad that your lovely new horse is causing you so much worry and with a few tweaks in management and a shift in perspective, it could all be fine.
 

mariew

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She sounds to me in pain, worried or being previously treated badly. My mare never had girthing issues nor was a typical description of a mare.

It just sounds like you need to give her time and quiet and consistent handling and maybe less shouty body language. Personally I don't believe in the "show the horse who's boss" mentality either. It gives me a mental image of not connecting with the horse and pushing it around at any opportunity.

My mare begrudgingly tolerated being told "oy mrs, behave" when she knew she had done something she shouldn't or needed to put a bit more effort in when riding, but if she thought that you were in the wrong she'd let you know. Fortunately the latter hardly ever happened. It was generally a level discussion and we'd come to an agreement about what to do with most things.

Mares have hormones, good days and bad days, some more obviously reactive than others. On the bad days you just have to write it off as a bad day and start again tomorow. The horse i am sharing at the moment is more hormonal than my girl was, and she's amazing most days, and then there are the odd days when her brain is somewhere on a different planet and you literally just just give her a lunge and call it a day, or just not bother and turn her out.
 

SEL

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Funnily I was always taught the opposite to do te rug up front to back and undo back to front as it means the hair lies properly and it is less likely to slip so even that has changed in 50 years
And me

Putting on - do up front to back
Taking off - undo back to front.

Which always means chest strap is the only one done up at a point in the process.
 

Pearlsasinger

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And me

Putting on - do up front to back
Taking off - undo back to front.

Which always means chest strap is the only one done up at a point in the process.

I think that is in the stable/tied up. When you are dealing with rugs in the field, you really don't want the chest straps being the only ones fastened, in case the hrose moves off.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I think the replies were a bit harsh to start with personally. A lot of people learn 'be the boss' or 'be the alpha' and have the idea drilled into them that they must teach the horse 'respect'. The skill of stepping back and looking at the whole picture and trying to figure out WHY a horse is doing what they are doing does not necessarily come naturally.

Essentially all the OP has done is misread what seems obvious to many as defensive behaviour as bargey, ill mannered and potentially dangerous aggression. I could have written things like this a few years ago:



OP please come back and let us know how you are getting on! It is very sad that your lovely new horse is causing you so much worry and with a few tweaks in management and a shift in perspective, it could all be fine.

I think what made people cross was the fact that OP said that the mare is fine if you put a headcollar on. Any-one with even an ounce of common sense, never mind 'horse sense' would surely be able to see that the answer is to put the headcollar on. We do all live and learn though. That is the best thing about horses, we never know everything about them and should be always learning.
 

milliepops

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And me

Putting on - do up front to back
Taking off - undo back to front.

Which always means chest strap is the only one done up at a point in the process.
yup I'm still with you, I think if you have to undo any straps if the horse has got in a pickle, the chest strap is easier and safer to be dealing with than anything stuck round the hindlegs ;) impossible to hold onto a leadrope and be faffing around at the back of the horse. Opposite of what I was taught for exams. my rugs tend to stay the right way up if unfastened - but would slip backwards without the chest straps done up.
things can go wrong whichever way though.o_O
 

ycbm

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And me

Putting on - do up front to back
Taking off - undo back to front.

Which always means chest strap is the only one done up at a point in the process.

Not safe unless the horse is tied up and never ever ever ever ever in an open field.
 

milliepops

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Not safe unless the horse is tied up and never ever ever ever ever in an open field.
I do appreciate that we all do things differently, but how on earth do surcingles +/- leg straps help to keep a rug in a safe position without the chest straps done up, if the horse bogs off? my rugs with shiny linings would slip backwards dangerously, and that has been my experience when trying to do things the BHS way.
 

Tiddlypom

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Tbf, we all know that it’s a risky shortcut to put a rug on/take a rug off a loose horse in a field, though many of us do it with known horses (me included). We should at least pop a headcollar on first.

I’m with SEL and MP. If the horse takes off part way through, it’s safer if the breast buckle is the one left done up - if it’s the belly straps, the rug will slip back and the belly straps will act as a bucking strap.
 
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ycbm

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I do appreciate that we all do things differently, but how on earth do surcingles +/- leg straps help to keep a rug in a safe position without the chest straps done up, if the horse bogs off? my rugs with shiny linings would slip backwards dangerously, and that has been my experience when trying to do things the BHS way.
They don't. The whole point is that in that situation, the safest option when the horse has broken loose and is running around is for the rug to fall off.



Tbf, we all know that it’s a risky shortcut to put a rug on/take a rug off a loose horse in a field, though many of us do it with known horses (me included). We should at least pop a headcollar on first.

I’m with SEL and MP. If the horse takes off part way through, it’s safer if the breast buckle is the one left done up - if it’s the belly straps, the rug will slip back and the belly straps will act as a bucking strap.

Please, please, don't tell people to leave chest straps done up with no other straps fastened.

It's not safer if the horse breaks free.

A rug on a loose galloping horse with a chest strap done up swings forward and wraps the front legs, creating more panic or tripping the horse up. A rug without a chest strap done up slides off the back end as the horse runs forward, as is their natural reaction. It's far better for them to buck and kick their way out of the belly and leg straps than it is to have the whole rug turn into a bib in front of them.

I've seen what happens to a horse that breaks free with a chest strap done up. Massive vets bills and huge scarring of the legs. It's lucky she wasnt killed, she eventually ran through a fence to try to get away from the monster clinging round her neck. Mine have broken free several times and always run/bucked their way out of the front of the rug in two or three strides, leaving me to wonder why I thought it had been a good idea to try to manage rugs out in the field in the first place 🤔🤔🤔


Don't do it folks. Bring them in. But if you must, ALWAYS chest straps first undone and last done up.
 
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I do appreciate that we all do things differently, but how on earth do surcingles +/- leg straps help to keep a rug in a safe position without the chest straps done up, if the horse bogs off? my rugs with shiny linings would slip backwards dangerously, and that has been my experience when trying to do things the BHS way.
the horse tends to run through the rug and the rug falls off if the chest strap is undone. chest strap done up leads to horse doing somersault when they tread on it. but really, just say no and bring them in :D
 

Leandy

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I agree this sounds like defensive rather than aggressive behaviour. So the answer is easy, don't put your mare in a position where she feels she needs to behave like this. Always put her head collar on and, if necessary, tie her up before doing anything with her, then be kind and gentle with her in your interactions. That doesn't mean you have to put up with bad behaviour, you need to be very clear as to what is and is not acceptable behaviour from her, and reward her profusely for her gentle friendly behaviour, but primarily don't let her get into a situation where she becomes defensive. If you do that consistently, likely the behaviour will wear off in time as she comes to trust you
 

9tails

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I do appreciate that we all do things differently, but how on earth do surcingles +/- leg straps help to keep a rug in a safe position without the chest straps done up, if the horse bogs off? my rugs with shiny linings would slip backwards dangerously, and that has been my experience when trying to do things the BHS way.
The rug will slip off the back if the chest isn't buckled up. No way do you want a semi fastened rug to stay attached to your galloping horse! Leg straps will break a lot easier than the rug itself.
 

milliepops

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The rug will slip off the back if the chest isn't buckled up. No way do you want a semi fastened rug to stay attached to your galloping horse! Leg straps will break a lot easier than the rug itself.
I'm glad that has been other people's experiences, mine was that the horse got terribly tangled and panicked, and then no one could get near the back legs safely to release it. That's why i feel that the front straps are easier to undo in an emergency, that, and IMO it depends on the construction of your rugs as to whether they break, slip sideways etc some seem more prone to it than others. Another heated rugging debate it seems! :eek: fancy that, on HHO o_O
 

JillA

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I'm glad that has been other people's experiences, mine was that the horse got terribly tangled and panicked, and then no one could get near the back legs safely to release it. That's why i feel that the front straps are easier to undo in an emergency, that, and IMO it depends on the construction of your rugs as to whether they break, slip sideways etc some seem more prone to it than others. Another heated rugging debate it seems! :eek: fancy that, on HHO o_O
And a bit off topic - no wonder the OP doesn't bother to reply. I keep checking back in and getting bored with all the rugging nonsense. Can someone please start a thread on rugging in the field and leave this one for positive suggestions for her maybe?
 

milliepops

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And a bit off topic - no wonder the OP doesn't bother to reply. I keep checking back in and getting bored with all the rugging nonsense. Can someone please start a thread on rugging in the field and leave this one for positive suggestions for her maybe?
we've already got another antsy rugging thread going on, one is enough at any time :rolleyes:
 
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