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A mare and her blanket - someone may die....

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    OP no offense but I feel like your use of depo was in lieu of dealing with things that should have been sorted out with training. I am fully aware some mares benefit from it but the fact that you are struggling to blanket your horse tells me that depo was an answer because it’s faster than training.

    My mare has horrible first cycles and gets touchy through them all. She also knows it’s not okay to lift a leg. She can pin her ears, gnash her teeth and express displeasure, but she WILL tolerate what’s happening. With blankets, if she doesn’t? Fine be cold. Next day she’s all about them. My mare is probably a mare most would put on depo. For me, that’s a last resort.


      Is your mare turned out in a big pasture? If not I'd say just ditch the hind leg straps. Unless a horse is really getting crazy playing/bucking /galloping or intentionally trying to get a blanket off I don't think they're necessary and they just tend to get gross and pooped on and sometimes loosen up and are more of a hazard. You can loosen the belly straps so they don't squeeze her at all. If that still bothers her than maybe looking into ovarian cysts or ulcers with your vet is worthwhile.

      Also do other people blanket her and is it possible she may be having a negative experience with that person? My horse went through a phase of being really difficult for the grooms at our barn to blanket which I thought was a fear of men issue but he seemed fine with my husband and another male trainer. We moved barns and he's had zero issues with anyone blanketing here so it seems like he just had a very bad relationship with one or two of the guys at the other barn rather than a general blanketing problem.


        Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
        She can pin her ears, gnash her teeth and express displeasure, but she WILL tolerate what’s happening.
        This. I accept that my lovely, amazing, bitchy, sensitive mare has opinions. However, I remind her that those opinions are advisory at best, and they must be expressed at an appropriate volume.


          I’d be curious what she votes for if you actually ask. Maybe making a picture board will help?


            Originally posted by horse_crazyi View Post
            Thank you for your responses! Hmm - so yes she absolutely must wear a blanket as she is fully clipped. Her blanket fits quite well - no rubs etc - correct sizing. I've checked the straps they fit well. I will say I only blanket her 2-3x a week and a groom blankets the rest of the time - so I can put the training in 3 days a week AND do some ground work with her . I'll talk to the vet about ulcers can't hurt putting her on ulcer guard for a week to see if there is improvement. Her old owner did tell me they put her on regulate and depo as they had a horrible time with her heat cycles and cramping - I'm wondering if she swinging into heat coming off depo making her uncomfortable.
            If the behavior is constant, her cycle is not your problem and Depo wasn't your solution.

            I have a mare who sounds like yours, but the behavior was consistent. Her issue was saddling. I tried everything.

            Three things solved it, in this order (in a sense). I mean these were the things done in order to time, not necessarily importance.

            1. She lives out 24/7. This is a mare who is a tad defensive about her space in a stall anyway. She's also one who really does use her turn out and runs around enough that you can appreciate how hard the stalled life would be for her.

            2. Changed her grain/feeding to grass hay, Redmond salt and alfalfa plus Soy Bean Meal for high protein with a complete set of Amino Acids. There's a vet out there who has a whole philosophy and (simple and cheap) feeding program mean to correct protein deficiency in horses.

            I'll tell you what, this feed program leveled this mare right out. And she had had ulcer treatments, been fed ulcer preventives, lived on Regumate for a while, yada yada. I'll tell you more about the behavior changes if you like, but this feeding program is reputed to produce calmness (at least about food) in lots of horses.

            3. I *taught her* to slow down and relax while I approached her with saddle pads and a saddle. My system was a touch different than what Foxglove wrote, but along the same lines. Kashmere's point about not correcting what you don't want, but teaching her do actively do something you do want is excellent, too.

            The funny thing about this is that once I taught her to relax, I don't have to go through any special rituals now to saddle her. It surprises me, but for as long as she had been ridden, everyone had just muscled her through the bottle neck of saddling her and probably wrote it off as "just her." But once she was taught to do otherwise, that became her new normal.

            BTW (and it was/is part of my way of training horses to accept me doing things to their body), you can/should try that middle spot between her being loose in her stall and her being tied-- halter her and keep the lead rope in your hand. Thing of it this way-- the blanket is "the assaulting world" that is just going to happen to her and which you want her to accept. Your hand is "you/her leader" who controls and/or reassures her. I'll explain fully how I'd correct your mare, along the lines that I taught mine to be saddled, if you want that.

            In any case, I can't tell you how much you can get done with a horse who is very broke on the ground by holding the lead in your hand (even if they are tied) and keeping a connection with them. Now it feels weird to me to put my body so close to a flight animal without that line of communication open.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat


              Originally posted by mvp View Post
              The funny thing about this is that once I taught her to relax, I don't have to go through any special rituals now to saddle her. It surprises me, but for as long as she had been ridden, everyone had just muscled her through the bottle neck of saddling her and probably wrote it off as "just her." But once she was taught to do otherwise, that became her new normal.
              This is really the "magic" of doing this kind of work - both for us as handlers and our horses. We learn to be better about pressure and release, and our horses learn that they can relax, and it actually does become the go-to. A horse who knows that they can come down and relax and has practice doing so is a much, much happier (and therefore easier) horse.

              mvp - I have a brand new one in right now on a long-term rehab/trial and the "muscling through" is exactly it. I describe it as he's just been put on a conveyor belt and come hell or high water he's going to make it to each destination. So long as he gets there it doesn't matter what's happening with him. Until of course, now, when it's reached critical mass and he can't cope and it all goes to hell.

              Grouchy about blankets, pawing on crossties, not being able to stand still, etc. etc. are all signals that something is not well. Might be physical, might be mental. Always always worth investigating. Not with the intention to "fix" a quirk - horses are allowed quirks! - but to understand what is behind a behaviour and whether a "quirk" is actually the steam valve for stress bubbling away unseen.