Problems with my new mare - should I keep her?

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4 March 2021
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So I've got my new mare on trial for a month. The first few times I went to see her she was very gentle and non-marish, I groomed her, rode her and lead her and she was perfect.
However, about two days into the trial period she's started pulling faces and trying to bite me when grooming her, and she seems to get worse daily even though I correct her and she's more aggressive, not less the next time.
Sometimes she just doesn't want me to stand anywhere near her.
The vet has passed her on vetting and I'm using all her usual brushes etc as she's still on her normal livery yard in her normal routine. I'm not riding her at the moment either and see her twice a day.
I'm a very quiet person and treat her gently so I don't know why she's doing this.
She is still respectful of me though and does what I tell her to do.
I've never had a problem with any other horse I've owner or loaned so now I'm wondering if she really just doesn't like me or if she's testing me and I should persevere?
I only have a month to decide though. What do you think?
 

Skib

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My old share was a biter. But she was a lesson horse. I learned how to deal with her, just as one earns to deal with dozens of horses as a RS rider. But as an RS I know too that there are some horses with whim one just clicks and if I were buying a horse to be my own and long term I would go with gut feeling.
I would need the link.
But on a more serious note. A horse that changes in behaviour after two days on a new yard - I would suspect she may have been drugged before you tried her? I knew a dealing yard where that was done.
 

Pinkvboots

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Have you spoken to her owners about it? I would show them what is happening they can then advise you on what to do.

one of my horses doesn't like to be constantly touched groomed for hours and generally get pulled around so I don't, his happier and I don't have to deal with a grumpy horse, he doesn't particularly like strange people so all horses have there ways.
 
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What are you doing to 'correct' her? Sounds like she's in a cycle of not being happy about something > trying to communicate that > being told off > even more unhappy.
She turns around to bite me with flat ears, so I just gently push her face away and say no, I also let her see the brush etc and she sniffs it and her ears come forward again but when I try brush her again or even act as though I'll groom her again she does it again but worse.
 
Joined
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My old share was a biter. But she was a lesson horse. I learned how to deal with her, just as one earns to deal with dozens of horses as a RS rider. But as an RS I know too that there are some horses with whim one just clicks and if I were buying a horse to be my own and long term I would go with gut feeling.
I would need the link.
But on a more serious note. A horse that changes in behaviour after two days on a new yard - I would suspect she may have been drugged before you tried her? I knew a dealing yard where that was done.
Well she's on her same yard, and I kept her routine as normal as possible. I'm sure she wasn't drugged because I am not paying for her as such, it's more a rehome as her owner is too elderly to care for her anymore. She has only ever had this lady as an owner (apart from when she bought her as a yearling) so wondering if she's just acting up because she isn't used to dealing with anyone else?
 
Joined
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Have you spoken to her owners about it? I would show them what is happening they can then advise you on what to do.

one of my horses doesn't like to be constantly touched groomed for hours and generally get pulled around so I don't, his happier and I don't have to deal with a grumpy horse, he doesn't particularly like strange people so all horses have there ways.
Not yet but I will when I see them. I try to keep grooming to a minimum but she's absolutely filthy when I get her in because she's un-rugged and hairy.
 

zandp

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One of my mares does this, never actually bites but really likes to voice her opinion, it could be a mare thing / it could be she's not used to you if she's only been handled by her owner so far. I think you need to give her more time. Is she in season as mine is erm interesting to handle when she is.
 
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One of my mares does this, never actually bites but really likes to voice her opinion, it could be a mare thing / it could be she's not used to you if she's only been handled by her owner so far. I think you need to give her more time. Is she in season as mine is erm interesting to handle when she is.
Yeah I'm hoping it's because she just doesn't know me yet. She hasn't displayed any obvious 'in season' signs but the thought did cross my mind that it could be the case. The owner said she's never noticed a change in her behaviour when in season but she also does have the attitude that the mare can do no wrong, so it is a possibility. I guess my main concern is that she has a underlying issue that will make her become more dangerous as time goes on. She hasn't been in work for ages so when she does return to work this may turn into a serious problem.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Not yet but I will when I see them. I try to keep grooming to a minimum but she's absolutely filthy when I get her in because she's un-rugged and hairy.
Unless you are going to ride her and need her to be clean, can I suggest that you don't brush her, keep grooming to the bare minimum of checking her over and picking out feet? I wonder if her owner hasn't brushed her much recently. Has her feed changed at all, does she get plenty of forage? She sounds rather like a horse with ulcers, which could be because of her diet.
 
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Unless you are going to ride her and need her to be clean, can I suggest that you don't brush her, keep grooming to the bare minimum of checking her over and picking out feet? I wonder if her owner hasn't brushed her much recently. Has her feed changed at all, does she get plenty of forage? She sounds rather like a horse with ulcers, which could be because of her diet.
Ok, I'll try not grooming her tonight and see if her behaviour improves. Her feed is exactly the same, at the same time because I just took over the owners pattern and food supplies. She gets turned out a 7am, bought in around 4pm. I had her out til 6pm the one day but when there are no other horses in the field she stresses and sweats herself silly so I bring in when they do now. From April she usually goes out 24/7. There's only one other mare with her in a huge field.
 

be positive

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As nothing has in changed with her generally was the owner not riding at all? it may be that her saddle no longer fits properly and has made her sore simply because she was ridden a few times, it sounds to me more of a pain reaction than one of her trying it on and would tie in with her becoming worse for no obvious reason, worth getting someone experienced to take a look or get the vet out to check if no one is on the yard who knows enough to do so, there are always experts on a yard so you need to choose carefully if you do this before the vet.
 
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I would speak to the owner about it. She may be coming into season, which can make them a bit grouchy or out of sorts.
The owner is keen to come on Saturday and have a chat about how she's doing so will bring it up with her, and hopefully demonstrate it if she's still doing it.
As nothing has in changed with her generally was the owner not riding at all? it may be that her saddle no longer fits properly and has made her sore simply because she was ridden a few times, it sounds to me more of a pain reaction than one of her trying it on and would tie in with her becoming worse for no obvious reason, worth getting someone experienced to take a look or get the vet out to check if no one is on the yard who knows enough to do so, there are always experts on a yard so you need to choose carefully if you do this before the vet.
Yeah the owner hasn't ridden her in 5-6 years, so I very cautiously got on her after some lunging for about 10 minutes to see what she'd do. She's ridden bitless and remembered her commands and seemed enthusiastic to work, tried one other time doing roughly the same but in a bigger space to gauge her reaction, once again she was quiet. The saddle absolutely does not fit which is why I'm not riding her at the moment. I basically need to restart her, so if I keep her I'll get her fitted for a new saddle. I had the vet out to check her just two days before she started this, he said she was comfortable in her back which is why this is so weird. My loan horse mare is very quirky and also does the 'fake mare bites' when I do something she doesn't like, but this one seems to have so much malice behind it compared to my loan horse. I agree it resembles a pain reaction but she doesn't do it consistently so I'm finding it very confusing to figure her out.
 

Elno

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I think you also should consider that it is spring. Could she be akward because of hormons and being in season? Mine who's usually very gentle and nice has been like a different animal these last couple of weeks. Back hooves flying and sneaky bites given when she's fed up with you bossing her around. She's on a high dose of Oestress but it only takes the edge off, she's still a total b**** 🤭
 

Fern007

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Could you tie her up so she cant turn to you, perhaps give her a haynet. Their coats are also changing which can make some grumpy!
 

Julie Ole Girl

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My 20 YO mare can be as sweet as pie when being groomed but come 6pm when she's been in her stable since 4pm she can be a bitch if I touch her so I've just worked out she's tired and I'm intruding into her bedroom.
 

Winters100

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What is your arrangement with the current owner? Could you speak to her and ask to extend the trial period so you can be sure? If she is giving you the horse for free she might be satisfied with this as long as you are covering costs.

As others have said it may be that she is in season, or she may just not like being groomed. My saint of a mare is wonderful, but for some reason she hates me feeling under her rug to check her temperature. Always pulls a face and looks as if she wants to bite, but never actually bites.

Good luck!
 
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What is your arrangement with the current owner? Could you speak to her and ask to extend the trial period so you can be sure? If she is giving you the horse for free she might be satisfied with this as long as you are covering costs.

As others have said it may be that she is in season, or she may just not like being groomed. My saint of a mare is wonderful, but for some reason she hates me feeling under her rug to check her temperature. Always pulls a face and looks as if she wants to bite, but never actually bites.

Good luck!

Yeah that might be an option. I'll see how she gets on, she was better this morning. My sister pointed out from videos I took that when people approach her she does give a lot of 'calming cues' so I'm putting it down to nerves for now as she is highly strung and very sensitive and more likely to look away from you with her ears flat then she is to lunge at you. I'll do some trust building groundwork with her tomorrow and see if she improves any.
 
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My 20 YO mare can be as sweet as pie when being groomed but come 6pm when she's been in her stable since 4pm she can be a bitch if I touch her so I've just worked out she's tired and I'm intruding into her bedroom.
Haha that's funny, she is actually worse at night so this is interesting.
 
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I think you also should consider that it is spring. Could she be akward because of hormons and being in season? Mine who's usually very gentle and nice has been like a different animal these last couple of weeks. Back hooves flying and sneaky bites given when she's fed up with you bossing her around. She's on a high dose of Oestress but it only takes the edge off, she's still a total b**** 🤭
It's definitely possible, I just don't have much experience of her normal baseline behaviour to know so I'm going to try a few different approaches and see if there's any positive response from her. I've worked with all sorts of mare personalities before, but hers seems strange and definitely a mystery to me.
 
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