• REMINDER

    Any content, information, or advice found on social media platforms and the wider Internet, including forums such as HHO, should NOT be acted upon unless checked against a reliable, authoritative source, and re-checked, particularly where personal health is at stake. Seek professional advice/confirmation before acting on such at all times.

Terrified of your horse/pony, but only in winter?

Gottaloveaginger

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 March 2015
Messages
50
I have a Welsh A mare. In the summer she is an angel! She grows wings and is the most lovely, sweetest pony! In the winter, she is Satan reincarnated, and I'm absolutely terrified of her!
In the summer, we go out for lovely walks in hand, and she is calm and gentle. I cannot do that in winter. It takes all of my guts just to put her in the field and bring her back in again! She will either be a nightmare going to the field, spooking at everything, and rearing. Or she will do the same but at coming in time. Her default reaction to everything, (scared, frightened, excited), is to rear. The mud is so bad that I have a choice of trying to control her or letting her do it just so that I can be safe and get out of the way, because getting out of the way is currently very hard with the mud. I've fallen over already and lost a welly. Her spacial awareness is awful and she will just barge into me.
This is our third winter together. I've tried so much. Overrugging her in case she was cold. Not rugging her. Feeding her hay in the field in case she is hungry. Feeding her before she goes out in case she is hungry. Not feeding her when she comes in, in case shes excited to get in for dinner (this just resulted in her refusing to go into her stable). She gets a small dollop of Emerald Green feeds meadow magic, soaked, with carrots. I'm also giving her some Ostress at the moment in case it's hormonal, plus the oestress has calmer in it!
It is so windy here, and the wind does set her off. It gets to the stage every winter that I'm grateful if it's a horrible day so that I don't have to turn her out! New stables are being built next to the field, and the tarpaulin flapping doesn't help! I'm hoping that when they are ready, she might be better when she is only left on her own for a minute or two, and not 15 minutes. But she doesn't call to her friend when we walk away from the field, nor does she bother when we go out on our summer walks.
Her field is not next to the stable, so she is left in the field on her own for 10 to 15 minutes while I go and get her friend (which involves a walk up a road) Then she is left in the stable on her own for the same time while her bring her friend in again. She is better going out first and coming in first.
If I tell her off (whip, rope, shouting, tugging her nose, etc) she fights back. Ears back, rearing and boxing with her front feet. She is a rescue so I don't know her history, but perhaps someone beat her up once and this is her defence mechanism? She also does this if you try to get her to do something she doesn't want to do (I took her in hand grazing while her friend was on box rest, but she tried to box me with her feet when I said it was time to go back in.) I can't get her friend bought in or taken out at the same time as her because this just gets her too excited and we have the same rearing and bucking problem! They can only go out during daylight hours because of the road, so turnout is limited to 6 or 7 hours at the moment.
I read that mares need constant reassurance, so instead of shouting, I talk calmly and feed her treats, which does work to some extent. But then she mugs my pockets for treats!
She is supposed to be a childs lead rein pony eventually, but I wouldn't trust her! She got broken in the summer and was so good! I also had an intelligent horsemanship trainer out, but the problem was that they wanted to do the whole join up thing, so we had to wait until the field dried up (I don't have a school) and by then it was summer and she was so good that they didn't see what the problem was!
Well done if you've got this far! Any help or advice please! She is so adorable, and a rescue, so I won't give up on her! But having a childs riding pony that can only be ridden in the summer is bonkers! Plus my blood pressure could do with a winter off!
 
Last edited:

SaddlepadHoarder

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 January 2020
Messages
90
Have you had a physio or chiropractor out. Maybe her legs struggle with the mud?

Maybe have a horse behaviourist come out and see if they can help?

If you go down the intelligent/natural horsemanship road maybe try teaching her to respond to commands like bringing her legs down when it is dry and be consistent with it and try it when it gets wet.

If both can go out 24/7 and your field won't get too bare or churned up you could try 24 hour turnout.

Or last idea would be to ask a vet why she might do this and see if they have any solutions.

But good for you that you refuse to give up with her. I wish you best of luck with her.
 

Pearlsasinger

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 February 2009
Messages
27,398
Location
W. Yorks
Does she get carrots in summer? If not stop them now. We had a mare who simply could not tolerate carrots, they affected her behaviour to the point that she was dangerous.
 

skint1

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 February 2010
Messages
4,882
I have only had my newest horse since October, and I can't really leave her out 24/7 but I'd almost guarantee she's going to be a lot better in the spring/summer, as this was the case with my retired horse. From about NOvember onwards he'd get sillier and sillier and by January I'd just think "you know what buddy, let's just leave this til April" That said, in both cases their ground manners are fine apart from the new one keeps trying to bite people, not me, but others.
 

staffylover

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 January 2014
Messages
51
I'm thinking the carrots might be the issue. They are high in sugar which is not good at the best of times. Also echo others who have suggested keep her out 24/7 on just hay in the winter. Good luck.
 

Gottaloveaginger

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 March 2015
Messages
50
The field will not cope with leaving them out. And I have no field shelter. I wouldn't put one out due the wind here being really bad, I've seen even the most tied down shelters go flying.
I'll stop the carrots tonight! I'll also look at the magnesium thing!
 

buddylove

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 January 2011
Messages
1,489
Location
Shropshire
Leave it out!!! I would say she is not getting enough exercise so she is exploding coming in and out. But to be fair she is a little pony, stick her on the end of a long line and let her do her worst, as long as the feet are out of the way, as she can't do much damage unless you are teeny tiny!!!
 

Orangehorse

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 November 2005
Messages
10,436
The field will not cope with leaving them out. And I have no field shelter. I wouldn't put one out due the wind here being really bad, I've seen even the most tied down shelters go flying.
I'll stop the carrots tonight! I'll also look at the magnesium thing!
I can't leave mine out in the winter as there is no shelter from the prevailing wind, it just blows straight from the west (sometimes north and sometimes east too).
 

splashgirl45

Well-Known Member
Joined
6 March 2010
Messages
8,130
Location
suffolk
my old mare used to go bonkers if given carrots during the winter so its a good idea to stop feeding her anything other than hay, also put a lunge line on her for putting out and getting in, also always wear a hat to keep yourself safe if she is likely to go up.
 

Esmae

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 February 2016
Messages
321
The field will not cope with leaving them out. And I have no field shelter. I wouldn't put one out due the wind here being really bad, I've seen even the most tied down shelters go flying.
I'll stop the carrots tonight! I'll also look at the magnesium thing!
I really wouldn't worry too much about lack of shelter. There isn't much of that on a Welsh hillside. I'd leave her out personally
 

Muddywellies

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 July 2007
Messages
607
I too have probs this time of year. Mine has ongoing ulcers which need managing carefully but after doing a great deal of research, her symptoms are exactly the same as magnesium deficiency. She has no grass at all and lives on hay since about Nov time and I think she is now deficient in magnesium. Started her last night on Magnitude so fingers crossed I'll see an improvement.
 

Ouch05

Well-Known Member
Joined
4 October 2012
Messages
116
My TB only comes in when the weather turns constantly wet, this year it was early November. Around Christmas he starts to play up coming in or turning out. Always the same spot. The last two Christmas has been dry so I before he started it this year I chucked him back out 24/7 he has been out since (apart from this week due to the weather) he does not have a field shelter and is only in a 250 rug.

Much happier boy. He also has magnesium I start it in November and run it through to May.
 

milliepops

Wears headscarf aggressively
Joined
26 July 2008
Messages
17,162
I'd agree that more turnout and less feed is likely to suit this pony but the OP still needs to get over the issue of the pony being dangerous to handle, because they will need to get the pony in sometimes even if it lives out (for checking, grooming, foot care, vet visits, and that's assuming they don't want to ride it as well ...)

I think you need to find a trainer to help you with groundwork, OP. Having a pony that boxes at you and barges you off your feet is no fun at all, but it should be something you can address with good guidance and consistent handling. I wouldn't necessarily go down the IH route in your shoes, maybe let people know where you are and they might be able to suggest someone suitable to come and help you.
 

Flamenco

Active Member
Joined
22 August 2019
Messages
31
Have a look at the Calm Healthy horses website. As others have said it sounds like it may be diet related - changes in the grass. Try their before and after checklist. My horse went from 45 issues to less than 5 and often none.

If this sounds familiar PM me and I'll share my experience and what helps my horse.
 
Joined
1 June 2019
Messages
32
Can you lunge her before turning out? Ideally some constructive lunging with consequences for any behaviour that is 'dangerous' e.g waving front legs around etc. You might have to tolerate some general high jinks initially. By consequences I don't mean a beating or anything but changes of direction, work harder and so on. Depending on your experience you may need to get someone to help you to start off with. Just thinking that getting the sting out of her before you turn out may break the cycle.
 

HashRouge

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 February 2009
Messages
5,750
Location
Manchester
I really wouldn't worry too much about lack of shelter. There isn't much of that on a Welsh hillside. I'd leave her out personally
People say this sort of thing a lot, but horses living wild in the Welsh hills wouldn't spend their entire time on top of a hill in a strong winds. They would move around and head to lower/ more sheltered ground to get out of the wind! I sometimes wonder when people post things like this if they have ever actually been high up somewhere like the Peak District on an exposed hill when it's really windy. I'm talking wind so biting you can't walk face into it as it is impossible to keep your eyes open and you can barely walk in a straight line! You wouldn't leave a horse out in conditions like that with no way to get out of the wind, it's cruel. If the OP's based anywhere like my old yard, she's not talking a bit of wind, but really strong, bitter, relentless winds.
 
Top