View Full Version : Tell Me Your Stories..

Feb. 19, 2010, 03:50 PM
about hot little mares that grew up to be great! My little Connemara x TB is giving me the blues :( lately and I need some encouragement. :yes: TIA!

Feb. 19, 2010, 10:02 PM
can I ask what she is doing? my mare is driving me crazy right now too!

Feb. 19, 2010, 10:11 PM
I just keep plugging on!! My conn/TB GELDING is giving me fits right now, he can't seem to do a right lead canter and training level test a is nothing but right lead canter!!! The good news is that the jumping is awesome, so I guess you need to find the positive things she does and think on those to help overcome the things that are driving you mad and remember, in a month or a year it will all change!!!

Feb. 19, 2010, 10:19 PM
My hot little mare grew up to be great, and it was mostly just a matter of finding the right feed. She can still be an idiot sometimes in the winter when I don't ride as much, but she no longer even resembles the scary young thing she once was! It CAN happen!

Feb. 20, 2010, 06:57 AM
My Paint was very hot when she was 4-10 years old (le sigh), but will be 14 this year and the last 4 years or so have just been bliss. She is generally sweet, but has a bit of a loose screw, I had to find what she liked (eventing, she was my cow horse before that), and then had to quiet my riding, find the right tack, and then get out from under trainers who told me she was a "bad horse". And there were a lot.

She CAN be a bit neurotic, but I've accepted those things as part of her personality and upon accepting them, they seem like non-issues now, and she has gone on to be my best friend, maybe so much like me (about the neurotic thing, ha) that I see her as an extension of myself. Riding her is bliss now, and while every couple years now we have a major meltdown moment, our relationship is strong enough that major healing need not take place from it. Minor ones are easily ignored.

Feb. 20, 2010, 09:30 AM
I got my TBxTrak Liver CHESTNUT :eek: mare when I was 14 and she was coming 4!!!! I had very naive parents... but I learned so much from her and made it through. She has alway been SUPER spooky and then she learned how to rear and I had a terrible accident as a result. Without going into details, she got over the rearing, we were very successful on the AA hunter circuit, she went to college with me, foxhunted, learned dressage and then did some low level events. She is 16 now and she is fabulous! She's like a member of the family and I will NEVER be able to sell her due to all that we have been through together. It hasn't always been easy and recent trainers have remarked at how hard she is to ride (she expects you to be perfect before she will try:lol:) but I am used to it and it has made me a very accurate and clear rider. It has ALL been worth it!

Feb. 20, 2010, 10:48 AM
Not sure where to start, but after a few trainers and one telling me to think about another horse, I got help from a "cowboy." I refused to give up and now 2 years later am really glad I didn't. I recently finished a jumping lesson and my trainer came over to me and said "Know what, this mare is now taking care of YOU!"

It's been a long and winding road, but totally worth it. I feel like the rollercoaster ride is over, although she still has her moments, it's fine because she will never be for sale and I can work through the difficult things.

I've also been through a number of supplements and nothing seems to stop the " temper tantrum moments."

Feb. 20, 2010, 12:51 PM
Sue- Possibly it's not a mare problem but a conn/tb problem;) I own one and although he is a gelding he needs a program to keep his butt in line. It took many years for me to get him on the right track and now he is an awesome mount for less than perfect riders but for a long time every ride was a fight. I have a lot of patience thankfully and we made it past all his antics.

Feb. 20, 2010, 01:32 PM
Once upon a time there was a little chestnut TB mare named Shasta. My MIL owned Shasta and I met Shasta when she was 2 years old. I despised Shasta. You would be riding along in a pasture and she would gallop up to you with her ears pricked, looking very sweet, and then would spin around and try to kick the crap out of the horse you were riding! She was hell on hooves to the other horses, alpha mare to the nth degree, and she was only 2 and barely 15 hands! My husband and I nicknamed her Shasta McNasty after seeing a TV pilot show with the same name. The name fit her like a glove.

Late in her 3 year old year my MIL sent her off to the cowboy trainer she had been using for the last 20 years to break and start all of her babies. This guy wasn't fazed by much and was a man of few words. When my MIL picked Shasta up at the end of 30 days he called Shasta a "belligerent b!tch!" :lol:

When Shasta came back from the cowboy, my MIL asked if I would like to ride her and start showing her. :uhoh: I... agreed! (Probably b/c Shasta had the most beautiful chestnut coat of any horse I have ever seen- you know those Akhal-Teke horses that are metallic looking? Shasta had that kind of coat. The kind that would cause complete strangers at horse shows to come up and comment on throughout her career. So I'm a sucker for "pretty" I suppose!)

Shasta grew on me. As evil as she was to other horses, she was an absolute kitten towards people. She was a 1,000 lb Barbie doll and loved to be doted on and would stand still for hours to be groomed and have her mane and tail worked on.

Riding her was a different story... Think of a hot tense little TB mare and that's exactly what Shasta was like. I learned how to be very quiet and how to ride her telepathically- if you, God forbid, used an actual aid like you would on another horse, that was too much. You had to ride her from your brain. And it worked. She would jump anything that you aimed her at and she grew an ego that was as big as a mountain.

However, despite the ego she was probably the most insecure horse I've ever met. At shows she would be a mess. At her first "real" horse trial she refused to go into the dressage arena by laying down. We missed our ride time. The incredibly generous show secretary worked us into a time later in the day, riding "HC." I had to lead Shasta near the entrance, mounted her in front of A, and then galloped into the ring! :lol: I got her in though!

Fast forward a few years... She ended up going preliminary and we did a training 3 day. Our dressage at shows always sucked (at home it actually got quite nice, but she just couldn't handle doing it at shows) but she almost always jumped quadruple clean. She was a blast on xc- quick and adjustable and smart- never got herself into trouble because her brain and feet were so quick. Despite her size we almost always made time- possibly even because of her size! She didn't require any time at all to set up for a fence and you could make tight turns that would have been harder for a bigger horse.

I can safely say that she was my once in a lifetime horse.

I lost her 3 years ago in a freak accident in the barn. I was icing her hock b/c she had jumped out of her stall (a favorite trick of hers) and had hung her back leg on the stall door. She started fussing about the wrap and started kicking, slipped and fell in the washrack and broke her leg. :sad:

Picture of Shasta:

Feb. 20, 2010, 02:19 PM
This is EXACTLY what I was hoping to hear! :D

She is not "BAD" really, just naughty and too smart for her own good. She is 4 going on 5 in March and only 15.1. She lives with an ID mare who is close to 17.2 who is terrified of her. She can be a real bully with other horses. A real Alpha mare.

The problems I am encountering with her are as follows (in order of annoyance):

1.) Can't catch her (She is getting progressively better, but it still appears to be one of her favorite games).

2.) Won't let you mount (from the ground or a block, she can spin around you until the cows come home! :no:) We have been working on this all week (since it finally dried up here a bit. Its an issue she had last year that we resolved, but since being off all winter with little riding (due to weather and work) its back again. On the bright side this week it's only taken maybe 5 - 10 minutes when two weeks ago it took me three (3) hours!!! :eek::mad:

3.) She is the Energizer Bunny under saddle. :lol: Forward will never be an issue for her, its getting her to slow down that is a problem. I realize its probably a combination of her being a sensitive (hot) mare, but I also think its a balance/strength issue. I try to ride her long and low and get her to relax her back, but it takes quite awhile to get her there and I hate to ride her for longer than 40 - 45 minutes (unless we are trail riding). I may start to lunge her a couple of days a week to build up her muscle strength, however I fear if she gets too fit I'll have another problem.

Anyway, that's really about it, let me tell you what I love about her though because she really is going to be a great little mare!

She NEVER says no! She is a bit spooky, but she manages to always overcome her fear and do what I ask of her. The first time I asked her to her to school a few cross country jumps she was afraid of the water, but with a little verbal encouragement went in. She'll jump up and down banks, go through pretty much anything and jumps the moon. So I love her and I just know she is a little diamond in the rough!

Please keep your stories coming and I welcome all suggestions! :winkgrin:

Feb. 20, 2010, 04:41 PM
She sounds like my once in a lifetime hot little mare Bonnie - I remember many frustrating tears before I found a trainer and attitude that worked, then when we were a team, I felt I could face ANYTHING on that mare. (Lost her 3 years ago, and I miss her terribly, sniff)

Anyway, if you can keep the patience & tact at the forefront, I predict you will end up with a mount you wouldn't trade for anyone's! All hail clever tricky mares! :D

For the difficulting mounting, I have found the "Half Tap" to be your friend - it seems to be a controversial technique, but after I looked into it, I found it to be just the tool for some brick wall situations, like the clever horse refusing to allow mounting. Look up Endorphin Tap or "Endospink" in COTH or even just Google for more info.

This is EXACTLY what I was hoping to hear! :D
2.) Won't let you mount (from the ground or a block, she can spin around you until the cows come home! :no:) We have been working on this all week (since it finally dried up here a bit. Its an issue she had last year that we resolved, but since being off all winter with little riding (due to weather and work) its back again. On the bright side this week it's only taken maybe 5 - 10 minutes when two weeks ago it took me three (3) hours!!! :eek::mad:

Feb. 20, 2010, 05:20 PM
My 6 year old is a 15.2 1/2h, chestnut, TB mare. She has had her moments.... used to throw her head up and charge from three strides out, will occassionally decide that she would rather leap into the air and/or rear instead of doing reinback or turns on the forehand.... in her particular case, tough love did the trick. She is running Training with mid-30s dressage, is very businesslike at shows, and has had one rail and no stops (knock on wood) in the last twelve months....


Feb. 20, 2010, 05:25 PM
Look up Black Points Tilly Go Bragh :-)

Feb. 20, 2010, 05:26 PM
My first horse was a 15.2h trakehner mare.

she was a hottie for sure. she was a bucking pro too.

I had to do my trot work with a XC vest and draw reins in order to maybe make it back to the barn alive.

she is here. Sigal

I had a bit of touble with her SJ and then finally I found a coach that told me to stop listening to what every other coach has told me and go into SJ and rider her like I do on XC.

After that day I won every jumper show I did with her and I began placing in the top 5 consistantly at Training Level HTs.

She eventually started jumping the hard stuff (ditches and triples) and I was actually thinking about moving her to Prelim.
But then she broke.

horses. :no:

Feb. 20, 2010, 07:53 PM
Oh these are so GOOD!! Thank you! :yes:

I've just returned from the barn and I had a really good and productive ride on her. It only took 3 minutes to mount and she pretty much relaxed after about 15 minutes. We worked on a large 20 meter circle in both directions for 5 minutes each way. We did this with intermittent walks of 5 minutes between. I also did some frequent transitions to stop and stand because she HATES to stand still. After about 35 minutes, I dismounted and remounted straight-away and she wasn't very pleased about that, but tolerated it well. I walked her out of the arena and headed her to the big field for a short cool down and she gave me the biggest buck going there to convey her displeasure, but went and behaved brilliantly after that. I just walked over to a small log I like to jump and then walked her back. It was a good ride. :winkgrin:

PurpNurpl - though you aren't exactly "near" me, I've been thinking of contacting you about maybe meeting up with you at a schooling show and getting a lesson. I really admire what you've done with both Scary and Kaboom and would love to get a lesson from you. I don't have a formal trainer and it would be great to find someone Kikki and I can click with. Plus your student Susan Cooper (yes, I'm Susan Cooper too :lol:) says you are a GREAT instructor. I'll have my trailer in a couple of weeks and could meet you anywhere. PM me if you'd be interested.

Again, thanks everyone for the encouragement and suggestions as it clearly made a difference in my riding today! :)

Feb. 21, 2010, 09:24 AM
I love this thread, I feel like I belong to a club now. . .

I would like to add that it's really really important to find the right instructor. All my instructors were great, just not the right one for us. I almost gave up and on a whim decided to email a really BNT about 2 hours from us, I never expected to hear back, but I got the nicest email from his wife and I ended up training with them for 6 months. They went
to Florida for the Winter and I am now with Bonnie Mosser who moved 10 mins away from me.

IMHO I will tell you that training with someone who has tons of experience and I mean tons like Boyd Martin, Bonnie Mosser, Leslie Law, etc , you can get so much farther so much faster. This is especially important when you have a really difficult case.

I hear people telling other riders to not spend the money on a BNT until you reach a certain point and I'm here to say wrong, wrong, wrong. It was actually Lesley Law that was our first permanent instructor and in the first 10 minutes she told me things that were absolutely spot on. She also ignored my fear and made me ride through it. This is not an advertisement for Bonnie or Lesley & Leslie, but I wanted to give you my 2cents on getting the right instructor for this kind of project.

In re reading this I realize you may already have the right instructor and I don't mean that a non BNT can't help you, it's just that if you haven't found the right one, try a BNT.

Feb. 21, 2010, 09:43 AM
IMHO I will tell you that training with someone who has tons of experience and I mean tons like Boyd Martin, Bonnie Mosser, Leslie Law, etc , you can get so much farther so much faster.
Boyd has a whole string of home-bred mares (including Shatzi & Fair Fiona) that are up and coming and her dotes on them like they are daddy's little girls! He get them. It's very cute.

I had a trainer who I think said it best: "The trouble that mares out us through is worth it because when they are 'on' they are unbeatable!"

Feb. 21, 2010, 09:51 AM
I've had 2 - one of them never really chilled - she was as hot at 20 as she was at 4. Well, maybe a little bit more predictable, but still hot and GO GO GO. She was always looking for the start box. Morgan/TB, born chestnut but turned that lovely silverwhite. Jumped whatever you put in front of her but her dressage was simply something to endure for 2 minutes (fortunately she was so quick most dressage tests lasted about half the normal time).
She just took a lot of patience.

Then there's Star, about whom I've posted before. My homebred.

One day on the lunge of her 4 year old year she discovered she could buck. I stood at the end of the line thinking "what have I done" as she got more and more air, began grunting and squealing with a glint in her eye that said "yee ha, this is fun, look at me go"

When she finally stopped she snorted at me, shook her head and took off to do another circle or two.

In addition to the athletic bucking she spooked at everything, noises, movements, you name it, she took issue with it - spooking entailed a 180 spin, 2 bucks, a 20-30 foot bolt, and another 180 spin to stare down what she's spooked at. At least she was consistent. I came off about once a week when she was 4.

When she was 5, she'd toned it down to 1 buck and a 10' bolt. I only came off every 2 weeks.

Last year, when she was 9, was the first year I stayed on for every ride. Now the spooks are reduced to a cutting horse-like duck and spin to the side.

She couldn't cope with warm up arenas - she was terrified of other horses moving fast around her. We warmed up in the parking lot.

She did not tolerate the use of a dressage whip until she was 8 - At the least she would kick out and at the worst she'd unload me. Nice. Finally I had to specifically train her to accept it.

Clippers took a month of introduction. Shots were impossible without sedation- again, until I did a daily desensitization program (6 weeks). Now she's merely a pill.

She spooked at the fence judges, the spectators, that rock over there, that Prelim fence - totally distracted on XC because she had to supervise everything.

She's at Training now, despite still having difficutly concentrating for a full XC course - if there is an insignificant fence on the course she will spook at it and try to stop - I ride harder at a 2'6" fence than at the biggest table. She did the Training 3-day last summer and finally at the last event of the season seemed to click - I have figured out how to ride her (she's very particular about where I sit) and she has stepped up to do her job.

She loves to be fussed over, but hates other horses. She's very pretty and she's an easy keeper with good feet.

She has taught me to be patient.

Feb. 21, 2010, 09:55 AM
I will agree with getting the right kind of help. I have to treat my conn/tb much differently because he has a stubborn streak a mile long. When he was in his bad phase I learned that giving him a good butt whacking really wasn't all that productive because then it became a battle of who could hang on better. What worked was patience and repetition. His issue was ditches and on a bad day we spent 1.5 hr but I just patiently worked around and around until he figured out I was going to just keep going so he better get it over with.

I don't know about yours but mine is very hot and needs a program even more so than my ottb's. If you miss a few days it is like going back to square one. If you keep him in work he is wonderful. My guy's brain is always working at full speed so I have to be very pro active about keeping him engaged in work so he is thinking. You can't force them the connemara pony comes out and that is not the pleasant side:lol:

I will tell you than when I got it right with my guy he was the ultimate ride and he has mellowed out a ton as he has gotten older. Now my husband and other people ride him and love him. Never thought I would see the day where he turned into a schoolmaster but if you stay out of his way and let him do his job he is awesome.

I think mares are very similar to riding my horse. They want to be asked not told and if you can work with them you get a horse that trusts you and will do anything. If you fight them they can and will win.

Feb. 21, 2010, 09:57 AM
The only BNT I know of in Area V is Mike Huber. (* Please note that I don't know much, as I am coming from a hunter background) Anyone ever ridden with him? I've already reserved my spot in a Lucinda Green clinic in June at Greenwood Farm. I think Mary Darcy is here frequently though.

Here is a question, don't people in clinics of BNT get annoyed with someone who comes to a "clinic setting" with a very young green horse? Wouldn't it cause the Clinician to have to perhaps focus too much on this horse and not as equally on others who's horses are more advanced and ready for such a setting? That's why I am trying to get her to a respectable level before taking her to anything.

Feb. 21, 2010, 10:43 AM
Jleegriffith & Yellowbritches - I've been following both of you and your Connemaras for a couple of years and I have to say you're both an inspiration!

Feb. 21, 2010, 10:48 AM
Sue- Possibly it's not a mare problem but a conn/tb problem;) I own one and although he is a gelding he needs a program to keep his butt in line. It took many years for me to get him on the right track and now he is an awesome mount for less than perfect riders but for a long time every ride was a fight. I have a lot of patience thankfully and we made it past all his antics.

This. They get better the more and harder that you work them. :) They're like border collies- huge drive to be busy.

Feb. 21, 2010, 11:20 AM
Lucinda was terrific with my mare (who is 15.2, btw)- she's great at figuring out what the horse/rider are doing - separately and together - that cause issues, and helping the rider then do what is necessary to make things better.

Early on, it was telling me that Star needed to be reprimanded, and hard, for the bucking snits. She was just being naughty and had been getting away with it. (and told me what to do).

A few years later she figured out that Star was trying to examine the very base of every fence and was putting her head down and pulling me forward onto her shoulders right before a fence which meant 1, it was harder for her to jump/balance, and 2, I was in no place to ride effectively - talk about an ah- ha moment for me. Changed rider, happy horse.

She's got a really good eye for what the horses are doing and why. Naughty vs. scared, rider induced vs. horse being difficult on their own.

As long as you're not getting hurt and you're OK with going on her timetable, you'll be fine. My regular instructor reminded me more than once that I have PLENTY of time to get to X goal.

Feb. 21, 2010, 11:38 AM
Well mine broke my leg but went on to take me to The Hague WEG

Feb. 21, 2010, 12:19 PM
It really helps if you have had a difficult youngster before and lived to talk about it. ;) I had a gelding who I battled wills with from age 4 to 6. He turned out to be a completely safe guy and although he was never the bravest on x-c, I could trail ride him alone, good traveler, he ended up going up to 3rd level in dressage. He also won me the USEA Area 8 Sr Novice Rider of the year. I sold him to a Jr. who adores him (and qualified for the Young Riders championships in dressage on him).

That being said, if I had to do it over again--I would have used the help of more professionals. At the time, I didn't have access to anyone willing to help me with him. Having someone good, who can get on them occasionally and/or take them in training for a while can work through baby issues much more effectively.

Now I have a 3 y.o. (will be 4 in May). I have a trainer at my barn who works with us on dressage and another eventing trainer who helps me with jumping. So far, she seems to be a very sensible mare, however, when she gets tense, she can get very quick in her tempo. And, she likes to curl behind the bit sometimes which means you don't have anything to manage in your hands. I found that when I ask her to leg yield (both sideways, or down the long side of a wall, head to wall, tail to wall) she gets less focused on going 90 mph and has to slow down and THINK. With those forward going types--sometimes they need to learn that the leg can mean sideways or bend, not just "go". Ground poles arranged in various patterns also make them focus and s-l-o-w down their Type A brains. Good luck--it IS a journey.

Feb. 21, 2010, 12:27 PM
I bought mine for dirt cheap and his sales ad basically said experienced handlers only and that he was crazy. He is so far from crazy instead I would call him crazy smart. His sire was a conn/tb who was owned by Lana Wright. Very nice stallion who had done prelim eventing, advanced driving and even endurance. I think mine got his hotness from his chestnut tb mother who was said to be really tough. Most of the offspring of Thor of Greystone are good driving horses but also said to be tough. I love reading about Thor's Toytruck who is driven by Robin Groves. He is also out of Thor of Greystone and they talk about how tough he was a youngster but is really good!

I have found that it is all about boundaries or at least with my guy. Give him an inch and he takes a mile. I was the only one to ride and handle him for a few years because he was just such a pain to deal with. He was always pretty good to ride and super brave. On the ground he just did some really stupid stuff like jumping out of the side door of the trailer and he has insane attachment issues that drive me nuts. Now when I am riding him he could care less if I took him away from his buddies but if he is on the trailer and his buddies leave then all hell breaks loose. I have learned that he just isn't going to get over his quirks so I just have to deal with them.

I do think that sometimes the best horses have quirks so I began to accept him for what he was and that made life much easier. If you think you can get through the simple stuff on your own without spending a lot of money on trainers then do it. I know with my guy I sought out help on the big issues but even the best trainers weren't that helpful early on in his training. I KNEW what had to be done it just took a lot of time to get him working with me instead of against me. I remember him running around with his head up in the air and being so frustrated because I damn well knew how to ride dressage:mad: He was just tough and I needed to be more patient. I had to figure out other ways to get the job done where I didn't piss him off. I spent a lot of time trail riding which he loved and that got him stronger and voila our canter was fixed and I didn't have to piss him off.

The hardest part about riding hot horses or horses that think they know it all is getting them to accept your aids. My horse is very hot off the leg so he can convince you to take your leg off which is NOT the right thing to do. I spent months getting him to accept the leg and the contact. Making him quiet and relaxed was the hardest thing I had ever had to learn because instead of riding him forward I was making him go slower and engage his hind end and deal with me putting my leg on. His answer was to run but instead he had to learn to deal.

That is where finding a really good trainer does wonders because sometimes even when you are experienced you are just missing a key component. I had always ridden my guy long and low because he has the typical short neck but I struggle with him taking short and quick steps. New trainer really showed me how to ride him more uphill and slower. I am talking almost half steps in the trot to get him to engage and truly accept the leg. It was a revolution in our training and made a world of difference in his connection and jumping.

He hurt himself being stupid in the trailer and I was told he wasn't going to come back but he suprised us all (actually as tough as they are I was not that surprised) and has stayed really sound. He learned to foxhunt this year and again I learned that he is hot and 2nd field is not a fun ride;) Let him go 1st and move along and he is much more pleasant.

My guy can be a total pain but he never had a rail, never refused a stadium jump, goes anywhere and everywhere I ask him to on the trails and is just fun. I always felt like we had a great partnership and he never wanted to hurt me even when he was being a total butthead. I think he could have easily went prelim if he hadn't gotten hurt. I had just gotten the ditch issue worked out when he got hurt..go figure:no:

Find a trainer who likes and rides hotter types of horses and they can help you get on the right track. I learned early on that some trainers just weren't right for my horse and what methods weren't going to work.

I will also say that I learned some amazing tools in certain clinics. Like Hilary, I had a great experience in a Lucinda Green clinic. My guy picked that particular weekend to pull out all stops in his bad behavior. He was in a real snit and spent the first day in stadium bucking over everything. She had me really gallop him forward every time he got behind the leg and just keep going. Don't punish him just gallop him. Yep, he got tired of that and started to behave. Day 2 of the clinic for x-c he was spot on until the ditch. This is where I then learned a really key tool. He was perfect over the smaller ditch not even giving it a glance. Of course I knew about sitting back and keeping my eyes up but on a few occassions he had gotten right to the ditch and started to go and then violently dropped his head to stare in the ditch and run backwards leaving me over the shoulder.

The 1st ditch went so well she said just canter down to the prelim ditch. Mmm..Okay I was not sure about it but you don't question Lucinda. I come cantering down and was sitting just right but he acted like he was going front feet left the ground and the boom he slammed his head down and pulled me right out of the tack leaving me in the ditch. I was fine and Lucinda was nice and said she didn't think she could have stayed on that. She suggested that I really let him have a lot more rein. I might get a run out but I also am not going to get jerked over the head. That made a world of difference to me and was the last time I fell off over a ditch. I learned to slip the reins a bit and sit back.

For the most part I don't ride in many clinics because they are so expensive but auditing clinics can give you some good tools. I was taking my horse to every x-c course with a ditch and getting lessons with instructors nearby. I learned so many different ways to tackle the same issue which was great. Then I just had to figure out what worked best for my horse.

That was a lot of rambling but keep going it really does get better!

Feb. 21, 2010, 03:47 PM
i have a coming six year old 16 hh Hannovarian x tb/connemara mare.

I call her my sports car. she can be quick..but has a full season in hunting first flight now and that was a huge education for her because she has learned to conserve her energy instead on being on the GO GO GO.

funny thing, on the ground she is so laid back. when i call her to come in from the field..if all the horses are galloping up..she just mosies in. she has always been that way.

Per your horse, have you ever thought of just calling her in for other things besides work? Treats only, or a groom. I have found that if my horses don't want to come in, I'll go and just bring them in for other reasons than work. Keeps them guessing and they are aways happy to get a treat. (just a thought)

Now, under saddle, she can be quick. she might spook at something but then i don't make an issue of it and she forgets about it. as I said, the hunt taught her not to get so wound up. she ended up really tired at first and realize that when I ask for a slow down, etc there's a reason.

when working dressage (aka flat work too) when she would start getting fast, i would do a 10 mtr circle. Last year, i swear it felt like alot of circles, but she realized that meant to slow down and got tired of doing them. so i might only need to do on occassionally now if she gets too up. She figured it out too. even jumping...i had to learn not to use so much leg and she learned running as fast as possible to the fence WAS NOT FUN..aka Stop, stand and trot over fence.

She realized that it was so much more work to stop/turn etc and now has slowed down. even if she is a bit wound up, about 5 minutes of NO, Slow and stretch down helps.

I forgot to mention, work stretchy walk and stretchy trot. She really has slowed down when i asked her to stretch down. it is her happy place, and if we have an issue, i get her to put her nose on the ground and she relaxes....

but don't worry. it will work out!

Feb. 21, 2010, 10:45 PM
I have a hot red pony mare (that fits every bad stereotype for each adjective!) Kicked me in the face as a 3 year old (with the concussion that resulted, I don't have a good memory of the incident, so I'm not really sure how malicious it was). Pins her ears at everything in the whole world (except food and jumps). Refuses to be caught in the field under any circumstance (and has been left out alone all night because she wouldn't let anyone near her). Stall guard houdini (has been known to run around the VA horse park for an hour). Will do a backflip rather than work round doing dressage if she doesn't feel like it. Can smell wormer and needles from a mile away and react faster than you can shut a stall door. Can get into the feed room and eat a ENTIRE bag of sweet feed by ripping it open with her teeth (without a hint of colic or laminitis afterwards).

Also, she ping-pongs me around intermediate. She loves jumping so much that its the only thing she's never rebelled against or complained about. She will jump anything.

I wouldn't trade her for 10 horses.

Feb. 22, 2010, 08:43 AM
These are really great and inspiring stories, thanks so much! :yes:

Jleegriffith - my mare sounds like a clone of your gelding!! Your stories read exactly like her (haven't tried a ditch yet with her though).

For anyone interested here is her breeding:
Denny's stallion Caro is her grandsire.

Again, thanks and I'll keep you updated on our progress.:D

Feb. 22, 2010, 09:03 AM
This is my guy

I documented his training with pictures and whenever I get mad at him I look back and realize how far we have come. His early pictures are pretty funny. He was sort of ugly as a 3yr-4yr but grew into himself. When he is fit he looks like a TB but he can blow up overnight and when he is fat you would have no trouble identifying him as a connemara. http://pets.webshots.com/album/273466561zRpeCD

The lucinda clinic was so funny because we all went around and introduced ourselves and she said how much she loved conn/tb's and then later she said mine was making her change her mind:lol: 2 yrs later I took him down to Camp Denny when I had just been back in the saddle for 2wks after breaking my wrist and he packed me around the training level fence like he had been doing it forever. I was so weak all I could so was steer. He sure turned into a good boy with time. I was out trail riding him yesterday thinking about how much fun he has become. No matter what I ask him to do he will try it and I love that about him.

We need some pics of your girl. Her face looks a lot like my guy!

I bet purpnurpl can give you some good help with your mare. Is she food driven? I think mine would do anything for food so maybe use some treats to deal with the catching and mounting issues.

Feb. 22, 2010, 09:43 AM
Count me and my little mare into the club! She is a 15.2 paint, with some TB, and often mistaken for connemara. She has a bit of a reputation locally for being the baby that no one could break and ended up with some cowboys. The story goes that the cowboys called her only "gray mare" and had to go to some wild :eek: lengths to get her going. She was then used as a roping and barrel horse.

I found her about a year and a half ago when I was first getting back to riding after taking about five years off with my daughter. She was living in a field. She is very pretty and sweet... and generally so mellow on the ground that she looks like she could fall asleep but no one wanted to ride her because she was "crazy." ...I needed a project. The first few times I sat on her we basically did nothing but run around in circles. I leased her from the owner anyway:lol: then bought her a few months later for basically nothing.

I kept working with her and she started to come around. She turned out to be a smart and atheletic girl. I was also fortunate enough to find a wonderful trainer who has been tremendously helpful. Last summer we went to some mini trials and she did great!

We continue to experience many of the set backs you all are writting. I have to stay confident, sit in the right place, teach her to accept my leg, hope she doesn't spook at the jumps. Dressage is kinda unpredictable. Some days it can be quite good and others it just isn't happening. Ditto for loading onto the trailer and catching in the field!

Anyway, we are not great yet but we're trying to make the journey and have come a long way. Most importantly, we're having a blast, and learning alot from eachother!

In a few weeks we will be making our recognized debut at BN so wish us luck :)

Feb. 22, 2010, 04:12 PM
I bet purpnurpl can give you some good help with your mare. Is she food driven? I think mine would do anything for food so maybe use some treats to deal with the catching and mounting issues.

:lol: Is the Pope Catholic, grass green? :D Well you get the picture! Yes,she food driven! Its the only way to get anywhere (on the same day) with her! LOL!!

Because I am expecting to have a new trailer for her in the next couple of weeks I decided to work on her loading. Inside the trailer I had made her a treat I call "Trailer Hash". Its oats, bran, molasses, carrots, apple sauce and horse cookies all mixed up. When she finally loaded she found herself this treat. She was quite pleased. :yes: She loaded fairly easily after unloading and reloading again!

There are lots of pictures of her on my Chronicle of My Horse page (see link below). Yes, I hope to hear something from Purplnurpl soon too, I think she's my best bet for someone to work with. Thanks!

Feb. 23, 2010, 11:00 AM
Connies are like wine - they take ages to mature ;-)
Wait a little and don't despair.
Our old connie mare was a superstar and competed at the royal show in Dublin, but not till she was 15!! and those 1st 10 years!! Dear lord! She's in her 20's now and still impossible to catch (too clever with an over-developed sense of humour - thats the problem or the greatness of all connies)
Best of luck with her

Feb. 25, 2010, 02:19 AM
I love this thread! It gives me such hope. :) I, too, am the (usually proud, occasionally driven to the brink of madness) owner of a very alpha, very self-important, way too athletic, chestnut mare (nicknamed Princess Queen Chestnut Lovely Fairy by my boyfriend). Although we have not yet achieved greatness, I know she has it in her. Really I do.

I bought her as a 3 year old, and after a whopping 2 days of owning her, she kicked me and put me in the hospital for 10 days with a tube in my lung. To give her credit, I do have to say that I think the kick was 75% my stupid fault. However, the other 25% was definitely due to her abominable Princess Godzilla Complex.

So, had "cowboy" come work with her (ironically, he was actually a dressage rider). TOTALLY turned her around. She learned to become a princess in the good way, rather than the kicking-because-she-doesn't-want-her-blanket-on way. After that, we had a year of completely amazing riding (very basic starting stuff, but I could tell the future star was there). Aced her mare inspections. Acted like an old pro at the few little shows we went to. I'm now thinking, "Whoo! Best horse EVER!"

Unfortunately then, moved to about a million different barns, I couldn't ride as much what with lack of indoor arenas and finishing college, and (in a nutshell), behold! Good Princess has relapsed into Godzilla Princess. Every time I think I'm getting her turned around again, horrible behavior worse than before. A lot of emotional ups and downs for months. Exhausting. Gets to the point where I don't even feel like I can bring her in safely from the pasture. I'm back to thinking "Argh! Worst horse ever!" After lots and lots and LOTS of frustration, back to square one. But even though my mom's saying "Just sell her already!" I refuse, maybe a little masochistically, to give up on her. I love her. And I know we can do it. Even if it takes me a hundred years.

She is now coming 7 and I have definitely learned the meaning of PATIENCE. Finally now we are getting our heads on straight again. The biggest thing I've learned is that, as alpha as she is, she really needs me to be a firm leader to her (much more than I have to be with my okey-dokey gelding). You'd think that would be obvious, but...you know. When I am not a good enough leader, she takes matters into her own hooves and is then the Big Red Scary Monster.

So here's hoping my mare, and all of your mares (and geldings, and stallions) can overcome the poopy issues and achieve the greatness (to whatever degree that may be) that we know is in there. Like the cowboy said to me, "It will take time to get this mare on your side. But when you have her, she will do anything for you. And she will be unbeatable."

Good luck all! :)

Feb. 25, 2010, 03:34 PM
SueCoo2, all you gotta do is click on the link to my blog to get a serious earful about the ridiculous things amazing mares do :D I'm glad to read all these stories, it gives me inspiration for my own quirky beast!

Feb. 25, 2010, 04:03 PM
read post 46 in "Its my Birthday" thread.