How would you handle this?

noodle_

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Youngster [4] always been very bolshy /tricky... [ had her since a yearling]

Been backed early this year, turned away, brought back into work, going fairly well.

If she dosent want to do something - she wont - simple as.

I have started to use side reins on her as im fed up of her turning in on the lunge - this works, also to help her balance - but again, if she dosent want to do it - she will buck/rear/stand facing me and stamp - nothing phases me on the ground so i will always win that battle.

Riding though is another matter - recently she has been freaking out at everything - spooking - even lunging shes loosing her head [over nothing] this horse was once literally bombproof and i happily took her down a road [and im terrified on roads but trusted her] she was fab...

But now......I wouldnt dare take her out hacking - even off road - she will now spin and flight off.... i have no control over her and this is what bothers me the most...

shes ridden in a snaffle, [full cheek], when she goes - she goes... awful as it sounds i want to use draw reins so i can actually stand a chance of pulling up... she will just spin and go

shes on no feed....hay [double netted] im going to put her on a calmer - shes not fit either - underworked so not like shes a comp horse - shes just a cobby youngster who has a seriously bad attitude.

How would you handle a seriously spooky horse? [[[and shooting isnt an option lol :D ]]]
 

PinkvSantasboots

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Could it be a pain response? I only ask as it seems to have got worse when ridden and it all sounds a bit extreme for just being naughty.

Another thought is she is only 4 maybe its just all a bit much for her, how long has she been backed and how much is she ridden?
 

noodle_

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Could it be a pain response? I only ask as it seems to have got worse when ridden and it all sounds a bit extreme for just being naughty.
Had crossed my mind - dare i suggest eyes?? [purely cause of the spooking?]

shes always spooked - literally a tiny spook... and just side stepped...but shes in the past week gone awful... shes not in season but always been a bit of a cow [some call it character? lol]

I lunged the legs off her the other day to get on her.... she was so spooky she needed it. She ended up soaking with sweat and still off her trolley spooking at absolutely nothing... i got on and back off pretty sharpish as i realised it have been stupid to push her [push her buttons it pisses her off more]



selling/loaning/shooting is currently not options.... for now...
 

Puppy

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I lunged the legs off her the other day to get on her.... she was so spooky she needed it. She ended up soaking with sweat and still off her trolley spooking at absolutely nothing... i got on and back off pretty sharpish as i realised it have been stupid to push her [push her buttons it pisses her off more]
This doesn't sound a very positive introduction to working life for a young horse. :(
 

PinkvSantasboots

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How long as she been backed? Did she have a break afterwards then brought back? Is the she ridden everyday and for how long? Sorry for the questions but it may just be too much too soon for her so it all matters.
 

noodle_

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puppy - i agree but to see her you would understand why - she is a complete idiot... and it was upto her to keep going bucking/galloping round - i wasnt stopping her - she will happily push into someone and kick out - no thanks. id rather she got her stupid behaviour out on the other end of the line and hope she calmed down - she didnt this time.


shes been backed since feb - didnt do much at the breakers yard except walk/trot - very lazy/safe horse [literally put your granny on type]

Got her home - rode 2/3 times a week for 15 mins max - foot perfect - needing schooling but we hacked and didnt do much

she went on loan, no idea how much work she did there - but now the plan was ridden again 2/3 times a week for 15 mins max - as i dont believe in over doing it

shes now being lunged/groundwork 4ish times a week for 10 mins [ long reining/lunging/manners etc]...
 

springtime1331

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It seems like she's not happy and doesn't want to work with you. I'd probably turn away for a bit and let her settle down and then restart with some pro help. I've brought on quite a few but with my current one I have her pro schooled and a lesson with the same guy once a week. It sounds like you could do with a bit of support to get things back on track.
 

noodle_

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It seems like she's not happy and doesn't want to work with you. I'd probably turn away for a bit and let her settle down and then restart with some pro help. I've brought on quite a few but with my current one I have her pro schooled and a lesson with the same guy once a week. It sounds like you could do with a bit of support to get things back on track.

Thanks :]

she was backed in feb, then schooled a little with me [literally walk/trot off the leg] then turned away until may... not long but long enough for her to get nice and fat and start turning feral again

problem is this girl has a brain - and even as a youngster - to do nothing but brush her - she is an absolute cow. lunge/long rein her even for 30 seconds shes happy as larry - but start pushing more shes 'erm no thanks'...

i think the bottom line is shes incredibly strong willed...and so am i... [not a great mix i admit...]... i dont give up easily which generally results in me being injured - which currently with my job i cannot afford to get decked...
 

*hic*

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It's not usually my first go to, but she WILL have changed shape at her age between now and February so does lunging her with or without her saddle make a difference?

I'm also a big fan of turning away, having gone back to a stage where she is entirely confident and the whole session is praise. Chuck her out on a good note and see how she comes back in, possibly working with whoever had her at their yard.
 

PinkvSantasboots

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Sounds like something may have happened at the loaners, what made you get her backed then loan her? It was quite alot to be sent off for backing then off to someone else new might have been enough for her to say no thanks.

Have you done all the checks like teeth, saddle and back checks recently worth going down this route first just to rule them out?
 

noodle_

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It's not usually my first go to, but she WILL have changed shape at her age between now and February so does lunging her with or without her saddle make a difference?

I'm also a big fan of turning away, having gone back to a stage where she is entirely confident and the whole session is praise. Chuck her out on a good note and see how she comes back in, possibly working with whoever had her at their yard.

saddle was fitted 2 weeks ago by a saddler :]

makes no odds lunging her with or without a saddle - shes naughtier without side reins though as she will run into the middle.

She used to be worse - i could try push her out of the middle and spend the next 30 minutes fighting her rearing and kicking out as she just didnt want to move.... and i didnt want to give up - but as soon as she went out, circled - she got tons of praise and we finished - so she knew that she behaved - we stop.
 

springtime1331

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You might also find if she's bright that she's got bored. Could you try and challenge her mentally creating spook busting courses - cones to walk round, tarpaulins etc. have you done any pole work, that might get her interest.
If she turns in on the lunge, have you tried long reining?
 

cobgoblin

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Is there anything else that makes you think it might be her eyes? What's she like in the field, does she stay close to another horse? Does she spook when you go to catch her?
I would say eyes or pain as this does seem too extreme for mere naughtiness.
 

PinkvSantasboots

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I would turn her away for a good few months then re start her really slowly, at 4 years old they are still babies really some horses will happily go out and compete but some are just not ready to even do basic riding, especially if they have been rushed or had a few bad experiences which she may have had when she was on loan.
 

TigerTail

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Sorry but horses aren't 'cows' for no reason. She might be exceedingly sensitive and therefore hates brushing, have one of those myself. I can only use a soft rubber curry and a fine goats hair brush on her and even then I don't over do, no point in doing things that makes them miserable.

The bucking and flying about is all indicative of pain - horses don't waste energy they're flight animals so there is a reason. Id suspect ulcers personally but also possible mineral imbalances, Malcolm at equifeast has been exceedingly helpful with my reactive mare, but I sorted her gut out first.

I personally would want an Intelligent Horsemanship RA out of to assess her, as the owner you are too biased in your opinions to do so objectively, and go from there. No point continuing as you are and wrecking her.
 

noodle_

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Trying to answer any questions/give more background so generally;

She is FEARLESS. i mean this genuinly nothing scares her - shes walked over tarp, i threw shavings bags at her as a baby - rugs etc - so shes grown up having things thrown at her - she will pick up bags, stomp on things - if shes unsure of anything she will try to murder it rather than run away

e.g dogs - she was run at by three german sheperds [different times]... the last one that ran at her she tried to kill not run away..[stomped it] i was mortified but the dog owner had let his dog run at us [dog was fine thank god]

The field - she is independent, she has one mare buddy [shes out with mares atm herd of 9]... gets on with them all but knows her place - but quite happy to be alone

Catching - she has started to run away - shes never always just brought in for work - shes too clever, i bring her in to feed/pat and throw out - or just bring in and leave in - or bring in -worked and lobbed back out etc...[depends on my work schedule]...

She dosent seem to spook when catching - just walks off [dosent run] she always gets food when shes back in her stable [never in the field as she was food aggresive a long time ago]... but as a treat she gets one when she is caught.

and yes - we long rein too - im planning more of that for her confidence with spooking.

ets - not in season - she was but its finished -


she loves being brushed, touched and groomed - she happily will lock me between her neck and shoulder so she grooms my back which means she wants a scratch....

I am aware she sees me as more of a team mate rather than a leader....i am firm with her - but even a few people who know her are aware how incredibly strong willed she is

im not prepared to fully turn her away - she is ten times worse as she gets bored... i am prepared not to ride but it just puts the problem on hold - i know from experience.
 
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southerncomfort

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Horses are all different and youngsters especially so. Many youngsters would cope just fine with being backed, sent out on loan and then moving back home again to be ridden away.

However, I suspect your young mare just isn't coping and she is trying to tell you in the only way she can. The more she tries to tell you, the more you push her and fight with her. That isn't a criticism by the way...sometimes we just get caught up in a cycle and can't see what's happening.

Perhaps she just isn't ready for ridden work...some aren't at that age.

If she were mine I'd give her a week in the field and then start bringing her in for gentle groundwork and give her some things to do to keep her challenged enough without pushing her too far outside of her comfort zone. Take your time and rebuild the relationship. Then when you feel she's ready to reintroduce ridden work perhaps get a trusted professional in for support.
 

Brightbay

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Something is bothering her. With all animals, stress/anxiety is cumulative. We can deal with a variety of stressors up to a point... so looking OK but maybe a bit edgier. However, there's a threshold, and once it's crossed the animal goes in a completely different state (can be flight - horses bolt, can be fight - horse resists violently). Whatever it is, the key thing to remember is that you may think the horse is spooking stupidly at a leaf - in fact, the leaf is simply the final thing that has taken the horse over threshold on top of a whole bunch of other things. One of the key things that bumps the horse up to just under threshold is dealing with (invisible to us) low level pain or discomfort. This makes horses much more reactive.

The horse will be fine provided the "thing" that causes the issue is not happening - so may be fine led, may be fine in the field (where they've learned to deal with the issue), but may start to resist when asked to "work", and will then start spooking/reacting.

You sound as though you don't like this horse very much - maybe this is one to pass on to someone who will take a more empathetic approach to finding out what's triggering the horse's reaction?

In the meantime - hope this link works ;) - here's an explanation of the phenomenon, it's called "trigger stacking" (video mainly deals with dogs, but it is exactly the same brain response in horses (and humans). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFGIRPAWcSM&feature=youtu.be
 

Zero00000

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Turn her away. bring her back in a couple of months, Have a saddle fitted to her, and start her again, between now and then have all relevant checks done.
If it is not a pain reaction, then sounds like her young mind is shot, moving, being worked ect.
 

noodle_

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thank you bright bay and southerncomfort

i do like her - shes just very frustrating. We have a brilliant bond, most of the time - i think as im very strong willed and so is she - we both find it easier to fight.. rather than me going ''ok, mabey not....let's go back''

im planning on long reining her today and for the next week around the hacking trails [off road] so if she does freak out then she will have to trust me and deal with it - in the past shes a pro at long reining - so mabey i will have to push her a little - watch the trigger and start writing things down - so i know exactly whats upsetting her

I think my plan of action is a couple of weeks of long reining/lunging gently - everything nice and easy for her - no fighting... lots of handling and ground work - more than normal.... and then if shes still freaking out i will get the vet out to give her a full once over... - this sound like a positive idea?
 

Katie :)

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I had a pony (arabX) who was similar to that a while ago. I just went for it and got him new shoes, a dentist check up, saddle check and a specialist came and gave him a back check and full body therapy...like a massage ^_^ ...and although it cost, my pony was a totally changed character the following week, still had some minor issues, but he was so much more controlled and relaxed :) I alsofound he built up confidence riding out more with others (hacking and schooling). I suggest getting her back checked by a specialist, I do it with my horse every season. The best thing you can do in the short term is try and stay relaxed whenever you are riding her or around her. Your action plan sounds good :)
Hope you find a solution soon :)
 
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Jojoeena

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I would agree with the turn her away for while, if you are certain that all the necessary checks have been done regarding back, teeth and tack. When bringing her back in I would do lots of close groundwork with her, not just the lunging and long reining but getting her to move away from you and respecting your space, get her feet moving and some respect in place as it sounds like she has no respect for you - this in turn means she is feeling that she has to cope with things all by herself rather than looking to you for guidance and it's all got a bit much for her.
Good luck and hope it all sorts itself out soon :)
 

Tern

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Shove her in the field for a month or so and let her be a baby - don't bother fussing over her every day (obviously go check) Her brain might be fried - If you do too much work with my 8yo then her brain fries and she get's stressed, heady and generally idiotic so she has to have a couple of weeks off. :)
 

tinap

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The bucking and flying about is all indicative of pain - horses don't waste energy they're flight animals so there is a reason. Id suspect ulcers personally but also possible mineral imbalances, Malcolm at equifeast has been exceedingly helpful with my reactive mare, but I sorted her gut out first.
Having just had one diagnosed with ulcers I have to agree with this. With ours the more work she did, the more of a cow she became. You could never tire her out first, she would just get more fast & more naughty x
 

noodle_

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my last horse i lost from having incurable ulcers and in all honest my current mare isnt the same except the spooking.

I will bear it in mind over the next 2 weeks, but i will take her back to baby basics[ i wont turn her away utterly as she is ten time worse] and focus on getting her out of my space

she does know now to not put her back/legs in my space as she will get told off - she used to be horrible for this -

she does have an attitude problem - but she ALWAYS has.... thats nothing new.
 

noodle_

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what was her loan home like and what did they do with her? (sorry if I missed it)
Lovely. the girl adored her....i dont actually know what was done ridden wise... she was 45 mins from me...i did visit but didnt see her ridden - just in the field looking fab

so afraid my answer is havent a clue.
 

SpringArising

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I'm going to go against the grain and say work through this stage and then see how she's doing in six month's time. I think her behaviour is possibly being amplified by how you are reacting/feeling around her. Dressing your post down, she's being a monkey on the lunge and is spooky (by your standards. No offence intended, but some people are terrified and some people don't even notice).

I once owned a Welsh gelding who I'd bought as a four year old.

On the ground he kicked out, bit when you tried to brush him, reared up/leaned on you when picking out his feet and would start jogging on the spot and bunny hopping if he saw a horse in the distance.

To ride he napped, spun, bucked like there was no tomorrow, was as strong as an ox and put in the occasional half-hearted rear if I wouldn't let him sod off with me. He had all the checks done and he was physically fine; some horses are just very anxious and show it through wacky behaviour.

I spent over six months not riding and going down twice (sometimes three) times a day working on his manners, doing really simple things like touching his legs and brushing him until he was calm. Once he realised that a) I wasn't scared of him and b) I wasn't going to hurt him, he changed dramatically.

I think realistically, you need to get a confident rider in. She's going to get away with murder if you're a bag of nerves riding her. She doesn't need someone to sit there and beat her, she just needs someone who isn't going to be bothered by her behaviour and to tell her to get on with things quietly and confidently.

Where abouts are you?

(All of the above is obviously if she doesn't have some sort of underlying issue).
 
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Kikke

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I would make sure it isn't pain related and after that decide for myself how far I would want to take it.
She may need alot more schooling and sending away for that if she is to much of a hand full as she is still young.
Most of all be hounest with your self can you handle what she is trowing at you, if not are you willing to spend the money for someone else to sort her out.
If that is not an option sell her on, she deserves the best out of live but most of all so do you and you need to be able to enjoy her.
 
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