The kicking at your leg when you put it on sounds to me like it could be a cycling issue. With days getting longer, mares are going through their first cycles and vets have always told me that can be painful for them. Imagine if you were having bad cramps and someone was poking you in the ow spot!
I'd certainly explore some hormone ideas with your vet.
Thank you, everybody! I really do appreciate each reply. :)
I think that my plan is going to give the repo stuff a shot, and see what we come up with. If I can rule that stuff out (or discover that that is the issue!), and she's still a beeotch after she settles in KY then I think that I'll be okay cutting my losses. I do understand that it's okay to walk away if it's not the right fit, I have done it before for various reasons, there is just something about this mare that has me not quite ready to do that yet.
The more I look at the situation, the more her signs are pointing to repo issues and/or boredom. One of the mares in her pasture came in peeing all over the place, so it's safe to assume that hormones are flying.
She was actually really good tonight, I worked her pretty hard in side reins (since she came in breathing fire) and then hopped on bareback to cool her out. She was happy to wander around on the buckle and cool out. No 'tude at all.
Thank you again, for all of the wonderful advice! I do love the COTH community!
I have been struggling with my young horse this winter too. He slipped and hurt himself back in November and had much of Dec off which didn't help, but it seems I've gotten nothing but attitude to any aids when riding since then. He's quite happy to go, lifting his back, stretching for the bit, etc and then I nudge with my leg and he flings his head at me. I've tried a number of different things to change his attitude without success.
My last two rides have gone well. The difference was free longeing him first. Two days ago he cantered for almost five minutes non stop before he was ready to settle. Best ride in months. Yesterday he wouldn't canter more than halfway around the arena, but was happy to trot around and go faster, slower, walk, halt, etc as I directed for the 4-5 minutes. And then I had another good ride.
It's cold here right now. Maybe he needs a chance to warm up a bit before I get on. Maybe he needs to wiggle around with the saddle on first. I don't know, but I'm going to keep longeing for a couple of minutes first and see if our rides stay good. (He too was good in the summer.)
Sometimes with mares like this you just aren't 'their person'. I'm a huge fan of mares but only if you are on their side. Sometimes that's a choice they make, not you. These are the horses that will jump through fire for the right person. It sounds like you have given it time to see if it would work, I would walk away. Life is too short to be greeted with pinned ears! :-)
I just wanted to offer my sympathy - I know how miserable it is to feel that it's constantly one step forward, two steps back. Also, sympathy for the bleeding money r.e. vet stuff. It's hard enough when you have a diagnosed issue, let alone when you're not even sure if it's behavioral or physical. It's really great that you're willing to give her the thorough going over. To add to the list of things suggested, Lyme or tick borne illnesses? I know they can make people's moods really weird.
Also, winter just plain sucks, and February in my opinion is the worst of the worst, for horses and humans trying to ride them!
If she can be happy, then she can be unhappy.
Sometimes I wonder if some of us would be better suited to motorcycles. They don't care so much about the length of the day, or turnout, or the chill in the air.
It's not always all about you, rider. How does the horse feel? If they are unhappy, anxious, grumpy- is your reaction to wonder, or to fret?
There's a time to meet an unhappy camper with a strap. And there's a time to say hey, wuddup? The aware horseman notices, and tries to make the best choice, and is open to the notion they are wrong .
Worth investigating the repro stuff if you haven't already.
Definitely look at your feed-- my mare is easy going, sweet, sane... but she reacts to some feeds like they are rocket fuel.
Also, if the indoor is small, that could just be compounding the issue.... some horses just hate going in circles (like the one I rehomed last year, who is a superb trail horse but despises ring work to this day.)
Anyway good luck.... it's never an easy choice, though sometimes, it is ok to wave the white flag. Each person's situation/skill set/tolerance is different.
I agree with checking into reproductive issues and EPSM in general. HOWEVER, I also have a horse that is seasonally grumpy.... and I know a few others. One theory that I do believe in is that they can be affected by the decreased sunlight just as we can be. The shorter days lead to less production of serotonin. I have seen success with my horse with the use of hormones, I know 2 others that are cured by serotonin supplement. I have not done it myself, but I have heard that you can have your horse tested for a serotonin deficiency in the saliva.
A different job
maybe she just wants to have a different job than the one she has. My mare is unhappy doing a lot of flatwork, so what makes her happy is jumping. We warm her up a bit, then jump some then go back and work on the flat a bit. If she even THINKS she's aiming at a jump she gets alert and her ears perk forward. She also likes to hack out. She is well balanced and will make up into a cracker jack foxhunter.
I just had to make this decision with my draft mare. I love her to pieces, but it's obvious that she's not happy with what we're asking, and we're miserable asking it. After sitting down and having a heart to heart with our trainer, we've agreed that the best thing for everyone involved is moving on. There were tears shed, but ultimately I feel a huge sense of relief. Bottom line is this: This hobby is too expensive to NOT enjoy the horses you own. It should be fun. Don't pay to make yourself unhappy. Loving a horse and being happy with them are two different things.
I had a horse with a lot of the same problems. I dealt with it for three years and lost enthusiasm for going out to the barn. He could be great at times and I would be hopeful and then the behavior would start again. I traded him to someone in exchange for an older broodmare. It wasn't a good trade financially, but a perfect trade to get a super kind horse that I enjoy.
I really hate to see you go to the expense of moving her to Kentucky and then decide that you can't deal with her. If I remember correctly she's always been rather ill tempered. Remember when you didn't want to handle her or clean her stall with her in it? And then there was the time she bit Anna so badly when Anna was braiding her mane. Another time she bit Anna in the stomach also pretty badly. Both bites caused swelling and huge dark bruises. Will your BO take her back? She may be tough to sell, especially in the very depressed horse market we have now.
OK ... I am having a thought here ... and I am no expert. I'm just thinking ...
And anything I say here is kindly meant so please don't let the way I may say it offend you; I don't mean it to ...
I sympathize with you because your post reminds me of listening to a brand new parent. I wonder if maybe you are trying so hard to find what is bothering your girl that it is stressing you out and making you tense all the time.
I know you know she is going to pick up on that.
Are you maybe getting so stressed out over it that every time you even head for the barn you get all tensed up? It is like you dread so much having to deal with her that it is literally making you, physically, brittle and wound up terribly tight?
I do like the suggestion made of 24/7 turnout.
Can you try 24/7 turnout yourself? Just sort of send your mindset into a mental or emotional pasture? Maybe spend some of this mental turnout time physically out in the pasture with her? Just hang out together?
Just some thoughts ... well-meant ...
I can tell you love her ... care so much for her ... take care of yourself too ... relax and let go a little, maybe. Maybe a little "looser love" ?
Not to throw a monkey wrench in the works but look what's in Kentucky: http://www.horseadoption.com/horsepr...ree-to-choose/ for a whole lot less than shipping from Vermont to Kentucky.
Or this one. http://www.horseadoption.com/horsepr...oin-my-best-2/ Stop me now, please.
Thanks, again everybody!
Wellspotted, I think that you are dead on. I'm so anxious to find a solution that I think I won't let myself relax. I'm taking the next two weeks before I leave to just have fun. Hack, play in the arena, chill out and stop drilling things. I think that I'm making that huge mistake of not balancing fun and work (as a few COTHers have pointed out). I think I need to stop being so emotional about the situation, so that I can look at it objectively.
A good friend also pointed out that since she's not out 24/7, she's getting double the grain that she did this summer. She maintains so well outside, that it was only necessary to grain her once (in the AM). Double the grain = double the rocket fuel.
Ptowne- Great points. I remember that she did get really nasty, but she had had a hard delivery, colic surgery, and her filly was the most enthusiastic nurser that I've seen and irritated the incision site with her constant head bopping. She was a maiden mare as well, and very protective. Being a mommy was not the job for her! I haven't had much of a problem with her since, up until now. She still is not vicious, just cranky. If she were vicious, then she'd have been down the line long ago.
I was actually just looking at him! He's lovely!
Thanks again, everybody. COTH is a great place. :)
I'd feed her as if she's PSSM, it's not hard to do and will tell you a lot. If you do still want to cut losses when you get here, I'd love to come take a look. Otherwise we can have a mini moms group and commiserate. My solid riding horse broke his pelvis two weeks ago, so he's the grumpiest horse alive. Just FYI, Woodford Equine Hospital here compounds ranitidine omeprazole paste for a third of the cost of GG, and I've never been so impressed with anything. It's working miracles in the stall bound bute laden geriatric horse who has never had a good attitude for anything.
I have had 2 mares with similar personalities. Both were diagnosed with ovarian problems. One horse I sold. I gave the other one a hysterectomy for her birthday. ;) Ohhhhhh, what a difference that made. I guess she had had hormones flooding through her system to the point that she was in a constant state of PMS (this is the Cliff Notes version -- and not the technical diagnosis :lol: )I am not sure why your vet, especially one who does repro work, would not have suggested ovaries as a potential issue, but it was a revelation to me when the one mare was finally relieved from the raging hormones and pain in her reproductive tract.
It sounds to me like you've done everything to figure out if it's a pain issue. Sure check her ovaries and turn her out 24/7 as a last ditch effort but there are two mottos I live by with horses.
1. There are so many GOOD horses out there.......
2. If they don't want to get with the program then they need to get out of the program.
When I'm not sure about a horse I think of these two things and that helps to clarify in my mind if it's time to end the relationship.
This horse might be the perfect match for someone else so if she's not the perfect match for you, don't sweat it, just sell her.
I know so many people who have finally sold the horse that was causing them grief and have found soul horses since that have allowed them to do more than they could have imagined.
I haven't read all of the replies on this thread, but have you tried Regumate? I am a mare person, on my 4th one now. I had one who was HORRIBLE, I tried the marbles, but the problem with them is there was no way to know when she expelled them, which they do do. I also tried the time release pellets that were injected under the skin, neither made a difference. Oh and my one vet reccommended putting surgical staples in the acupuncture points in her ears, that made her INSANE and I took them out the next day with pliers! I put her on Regumate and she was a changed horse, able to focus more and wasn't moody. I have my new mare on Regumate because it helps her to focus a little more and not be so interested in the sexy gelding that just came in the ring ;).
I wish I had tried Regumate from the start with my old mare instead of wasting time and money on the other remedies.
Maybe someone recommended this already, but take Look at the other threads on animal communications and call one that some here recommends.... Get your answers from the horse's month