Obnoxious mare !

brightmount

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We have a 5 year old Irish Sports Horse whose behaviour in her box is getting more than a little ridiculous. She is on the end of the row, so on one side there is only the feed store. On the other side is a gelding she hates with a passion. The partition is half-bars but we have boarded it to try and help the situation, with rugs on her side for padding.

Her behaviour usually starts when there is some kind of food involved. When she is given her feed bucket, she takes a mouthful then lunges violently at the partition, spitting her food everywhere! But she is also like it when I tie up her haynets or give her a snack-a-ball. To be honest, the gelding is a typical cheeky fellow that loves to wind her up (I know a few men just like him!). He will delight in poking his nose over the top of the boards or the slightest gap, and stretching round to eat from her haynet from the front of the stable, although I have put boards round that as well now.

She is so obnoxious, that one of the owners actually said, "How's grumpy today?" I'm a bit upset about this as she is lovely with people, it's just other horses she doesn't care for. She is a loner in the field.

Any ideas, either supplements or behaviour techniques? Moving her isn't an option as the yard is full, and she will be obnoxious to whichever horse she is next to. When she first moved on the yard she was in a fully enclosed stable and still pulled violent faces at her neighbour, which was a mare. I also think it can't be hormonal as we are in the middle of the dormant season.
 

TequilaMist

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Must admit thats what I thought til a week ago!!My mare is a prize moo in a stable (and was only slightly better out of it- bites and kicks you if in wrong mood ,would be worse in stable)Got her scanned by vet(after help from peeps on here) and turned out she was ovulating(did not show any other apparent signs)oh and food was a big trigger for aggression ,even through sedation she narked at vet over the hay!!!!Is now on Regumate and after a week behaviour is improving(touch wood).Not saying this is your mares problem.
I had tried calmers with no effect but each is different.
Sorry couldn't be more help.
 

Sparklet

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Probably not much help but I'm on my forth mare and they have all behaved exactly as you have described. As long as she doesnt injure herself I would not worry too much.

I have put stock board up on the wall between my horse and her neighbour to protect the wooden panels.

Mares just are more expressive.
 

evsj

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lynwood, your mare sounds spookily like mine in the stable too. i switched her onto simple systems feeds to try and aliviate the feed time aggression and it definately helped, although i think that cutting molasses from her diet was the biggest contributary factor.

in the summer i moved her to a new yard where a gelding in the box backing onto her's insisted on sticking his nose over the partition when she was eating. one evening she actually kicked the partition to the extent that it was about to collapse into his stable! the YO resoved this by increasing the height of the partition which stopped him reaching over.

I have tried various 'mare' supplements to help her but i can honestly say none of them really made much difference at feeding times. probably best solution is to try and make your mare stable as private as possible for her - keep those bars covered and perhaps try and add height to the partition. i moved mine to a different box with only one horse next to hers and she has been fine since then (although sometimes still chucks feed at me if i have the audacity to walk in on her feeding!)

it is alarming at first but i have had my girl over five years now and i have learned to live with it - everyone on the yard knows her as a grumpy sod but she is still admired by them! when she is working, she is one of the nicest horses I've ridden so i can allow her to be a bit quirky in the stable. don't waste money on supplements unless there is a physiological reason for her aggression. supplements don't really work on attitude.

Besides, as a moody mare myself, I can fully understand how irritating it is to have some male watching me eat!!
 

brightmount

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LOL!!!!

Oh well, it's strangely reassuring to know there are other equally disagreeable mares out there - equine ones I hasten to add!

The biggest concern is she may damage her teeth, hence the rugs. Her stable is quite like a padded cell


Thanks for the tips on supplements, I'll save my money for now, and smile sweetly next time her behaviour provokes any negative comments!
 

Sparklet

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My mare and my daughter are stabled next to each other in those barn type stalls (which horses are supposed to like
) and they quite frequently clang their teeth repeately at the bars - sounding like a couple of crazy bell ringers.
 

Amymay

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[ QUOTE ]
My mare and my daughter are stabled next to each other in those barn type stalls

[/ QUOTE ]
Poor Kid, hope you let her home for a good meal and a bath ocassionaly
 

evsj

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[ QUOTE ]
LOL!!!!

Oh well, it's strangely reassuring to know there are other equally disagreeable mares out there - equine ones I hasten to add!

The biggest concern is she may damage her teeth, hence the rugs. Her stable is quite like a padded cell


Thanks for the tips on supplements, I'll save my money for now, and smile sweetly next time her behaviour provokes any negative comments!

[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah, mine frequently 'attacks' the concrete pillar outside her stable and has also done the same to steel girders! I worry about her teeth a bit too but she has not yet inflicted any damage on herself. Maybe replace the rugs with some wooden sheeting or 5 ml thick rubber (if YO allows)? Would save your rugs and protect her teefy-pegs? Don't let negative comments bother you - sounds like she has got a bit of feistiness
which you can channel into positive performance as you bring her on.
 

annie02

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You are not alone.

I had to put up a rubber mat on the wall that is beside the other horse because she was kicking at him so much. The vet actually suggested it ...she said that it would muffle the sound, which is why they kick mainly to make a fuss. She still kicks but at least 1/2 if not less than what she did before.

As for the teeth, she runs her teeth up and down the bars, there is no paint left on the bars anymore! She slams her teeth into the wall at the other horse as well....

Its just a typical "alpha mare" thing. I wouldnt trade her for the world. I love mares, they may test you more but their best day would beat a geldings best day in a heart beat (not all but most geldings). They have so much more will and heart and a mare will do anything for their mom's....I love my gelding too but my mare is my #1
 

Hornby

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This supports my experience on livery yards that boxes where horses can see or touch each other through the bars often result in fights!
 

CBFan

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[ QUOTE ]
This supports my experience on livery yards that boxes where horses can see or touch each other through the bars often result in fights!

[/ QUOTE ]

Agree totally! Most horses are funny about feed - look at how they behave if you feed hay to a group in a field - even the most genteel horse will herd others around just because their pile looks tastier than the others!
 

evsj

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I think it is down to some horses (mares, in this case) being defensive over their food and maybe stems from the fact that if they were fed in a herd as youngsters, they may have been bullied out of the way by more dominant horse in the group.

my mare is/was pretty aggressive in the stable over her food but I have watched her in the field simply allow a more dominant mare take her hay. therefore, I reckon horses like this need complete privacy to reassure them that no other horse is threatening to take their grub.
 

annie02

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My mare is by far the top dog out in the field too. If she moves to a new pile of feed its like the sea is parting, eveyone gets out of her way. She is just as dominant inside as out, I think it is simply her character.

I do agree that stalls place horses unnaturaly close together for eating and sleeping. Our stalls are board right to the top, cant see over at all. The front are bars though so they can see through into the alley. They cant stick their heads out until b/w 6-7pm when everyone is done eating, then their doors are opened again.

I think she would fuss no matter if she could or couldnt see another horse, she could "sense" it was there!
 

Macha

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I have read somewhere that a horses personal space is about 14ft so when stabled they are always "in each others faces" so to speak very off putting at meal times!
 

Doublethyme

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My mare is like this, has kicked holes right through stable walls before now, plus she extends her behaviour towards humans/dogs/cats - anything that comes into her space.

I know you say you can't move her, but if the opportunity comes up in the future, try to move her next to something smaller that is less in her face, as you say the gelding winds her up, which I think is very unfair and a different neighbour may make all the difference to her. I have found my mare is better with mares and/or smaller horses/ponies who don't fill the space so much. Something that is going to ignore her behaviour will make a difference.

Different companions or stables can make a huge difference to this type of horse.

My mare's behaviour improved dramatically in her stable when I moved her to my current yard. Previously she had only ever had standard 12x12 boxes, but I was lucky to be offered an end corner box for her in the new yard, which is 12 x 16. She has never looked back, she's still grumpy at the door if people are stupid enough to stand in her space, but is so much happier in the box.

This is a mare that used to go for anything, people included, if they dared get in what she thought of as her space (which was a pretty big area!!). She still can be a bit unpredictable, but is fine with me who she accepts in her space and now she has a bigger box, anyone else can stay out of her "zone" and as long as she feels she has that space around her she is fine.
 
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Hi

My mare was exactly the same in a barn where there were bars (even with boards or blankets covering the bars) until i moved her to a stable, she still pulled faces if anyone got too near her but her attitude changed completely, she likes her own space and not to be intimidated by others at the side of her.

She is now in a huge stable only with another pony next to her and where not too many people pass her door and her outlook and attitude is fantastic.

She has also lived out when she was a youngster and i never had a problem, it all started when i moved her into an intergral barn to be in at nights and she took an instant dislike to her neighbours and because people had to walk passed her also took an instant dislike to them too. She even became aggressive in her stable and was not very popular with the people who used to muck her out in the week. The moment i changed her stable she changed.
 

mostfunintown

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I love this one, Reading all these comments puts tears of laughter in my eyes. I love my mares, so much more character then the geldings (sorry gelding fans) I had a mare who in six months kicked and bit her way through her standard wooden built stable wall eight times. Eventually the cost of repair got to me, (and the gelding next door was a shivering wreck) so now now lives out. In her own private paddock I must add! LOL Still love the adorable angry b@*#h
She has soooo much compassion to work that she is such a pleasure to ride
 
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