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Unruly Filly- Advice?

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  • Unruly Filly- Advice?

    Hello,

    So I got talking to my sister about her 4 y/o coming 5 y/o TB mare and her problems with her, since you all have helped me so much with my filly, I was looking for some advice on what to do and why this could be happening.

    This mare was started u/s at the age of 3 by a professional horse trainer as my sister does not have the confidence she used to since a bad fall several years back.
    The trainer who rides AQHA circuit, (forgive me I am not up to par on the western circuits), used a twisted wire western bit since the mare was quite strong and she had figured this would help.
    (it gets worse....)
    Since the trainer could not get the mare to stop bucking she decided to use tranq's to calm her.
    Needless to say after a visit to the barn and seeing her mare standing lifeless in the stall with a bloody mouth she took her home.
    My sister rode her for 4 months in a plain snaffle and she was great.
    Then one day she decided to have a bucking/ flipping over spree that has lasted nearly 2 years.... (tack fits, vet/farrier out- no problems).

    So now my sister has lost all hope that she will ever be a sucessfull in her works with this mare since she cannot keep her moving forward without having another episode.

    She has tried lunging prior to riding... which does not help what so ever... we have ruled out every known cause.



    What could this be? Her pedigree is impeccable and it does not have any history of bad behavior....

    I have offered to help with the mare as I have always been the go to person for the unruly horses.... any suggestions?
    Take it right back to basics?
    http://dotstreamming.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Right back down to basics. VERY crucial.

    Have it done by a trainer with some actual compassion, who will tailor their program to suit this mare and who will TAKE THEIR TIME to re-start her. Ask your sister to be prepared for said trainer to really take their time - which could mean months off her back, developing her on the ground first and slowly re-introducing saddle work. Really pick a good trainer - check them out prior, see them work their other client horses, see what they look like in the barn and how they react to the trainer, and ask for references from experienced horse people. Then recommend your sister attend her mare's sessions - owners are ALWAYS welcome to watch and participate when I train their horse. The trainer might not be able to re-arrange their schedule to suit your sister every single session, but at least once a week or so they should be able to put aside some time to allow your sister to watch and/or participate. If they have an actual problem with it, RUN. Your sister should see a marked difference in your mare as she is developed - depending on the mare, maybe not immediately, but it should be there. Even the horses that come to me in relatively good form, are further improved and developed, and the owners notice. They notice a calmer, more relaxed, thinking horse who wants to be with people. There should even be a marked difference from the start of each session to the end.

    There is a point where saddle work is important to include of course, but most of the hard work can be done on the ground to prevent such episodes. Reason being - if you develop the horse into a better individual on the ground (ie, less reactive, more confident, more trust in the human, etc), it will follow under-saddle. Even a horse who is not normally reactive on the ground, will likely display reactive tendencies when stressed or faced with challenging situations on the ground. This presents an opportunity for the trainer to turn that reactiveness into a thinking, calm, relaxed horse. This has to be done with care though, with insight into that horse's personality and tendencies and behaviours (ie, mode of operating), and pushing/challenging the horse in progressive steps, without over-challenging the horse and blowing their mind with that activity. The 'deeper' you go and thus the more you develop a horse on the ground, the better prepared they will be for u/s work.

    I am working with one such mare right now (started incorrectly last year and highly explosive u/s) and I am finding all sorts of holes and a lot to work on, on the ground first - developing this mare into a more confident and less reactive individual. She isn't really reactive on the ground if you do all the 'usual' stuff - in fact, she ground ties, half asleep, when groomed, is easy to catch, etc. Seems like the normal horse. But when you ask more challenging things of her on the ground, say to move forward between you and the fence, to move sideways, or to move through different patterns and exercises, she can explode and react easily. She goes from 0 to 10 at warp speed - it's a man-made reactivity built into her because she's expecting repercussion for trying and giving the wrong answer as she learns. So the key is to gently push her and develop her. The more calm and thinking and relaxed she is all-round - including doing all these exercises, the better horse she will be overall. The more we re-inforce she won't be punished for choosing the wrong answer, for trying and getting it wrong in all these exercises, the more trust you can build with her and the less reactive she will become because she realizes she's got the time to figure out what you want (also of course clarity will play a role - she has to be set up correctly so she can learn easily, to start). Work u/s, is another step up, another level of challenge above groundwork, so it only makes sense to really really cement the groundwork and even go above and beyond with this type of horse, re-inforcing relaxation, thinking, and trust. Not sure if this is your sister's mare's exact 'problem', but it seems like it could be similar.

    I've done the same numerous times now and the 'magic trick' was just to strip everything down to the basics and to re-start the horse from the bottom up. The more 'baggage' the horse has, the longer I am on the ground, but it's worth it because the day I swing my leg over, there is little to no reactivity and they are more receptive to learning and are thinking, trusting, calm, and relaxed.

    Eta: this is of course barring ANY physical issue Sometimes I get carried away on these boards and carry on from a training and behavioural perspective without considering physical issues aloud. Definitely make sure you're absolutely certain nothing physical could be the issue, from tack fit to chiro/massage, to teeth or feet or what.
    Last edited by naturalequus; Jun. 8, 2011, 09:47 PM.
    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

    Comment


    • #3
      The first thing I would suggest is getting her teeth looked at again. Maybe by someone different that specializes in equine dentistry. We had a mare who had had her teeth floated by the previous owner (had all her paper work showing it had been done less than a month before we bought her). I brought her home and started her ground work. She was awesome. Then one day out of the blue she started rearing and flipped over with me (actually knock me out) I had the vet out right away and nothing we couldn't figure it out. We soon discovered that the dentist that had removed her wolf teeth and left a peice of one and it got infected and absessed. From now on I always have my dentist out to check them before I ever put a bit in their mouth. I was lucky I wasn't really hurt. Have her checked again. Good luck.
      Worth A Shot Farm
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      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Her teeth were fine last year but it might be valuable to have them checked by an actual equine dentist.

        Thank you for the exercises equus! Ill let her know this and have her start working more with her.

        As you said about the mare you are working with, she is a pleasure to handle but a pain when she sees a saddle.
        http://dotstreamming.blogspot.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Then one day she decided to have a bucking/ flipping over spree that has lasted nearly 2 years
          Has she had the mare X-rayed to rule out broken withers or kissing spine?
          I realize this may require a road trip if her local vets don't have the equipment to do spinal Xrays.

          Is your sister certain that she wants to continue with this mare (rather than giving her away etc with full disclosure) - if your sister had confidence issues before the last 2 years of mare flipping/bucking, I can't imagine that her state of mind has improved.
          I suspect mare will rehab more successfully with an impartial trainer & rider OR at least if your sister is able to work closely with such a trainer.

          She's a TB so I'd treat for ulcers (or at least have the vet do a scope) for the full 28-34 days, before restarting her training.

          Personally I'd try giving the mare some time off just to be a horse ie turned out with other horses on the back 40 for several months, or as close an approximation to such a life as possible.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by alliekat View Post
            The first thing I would suggest is getting her teeth looked at again. Maybe by someone different that specializes in equine dentistry. We had a mare who had had her teeth floated by the previous owner (had all her paper work showing it had been done less than a month before we bought her). I brought her home and started her ground work. She was awesome. Then one day out of the blue she started rearing and flipped over with me (actually knock me out) I had the vet out right away and nothing we couldn't figure it out. We soon discovered that the dentist that had removed her wolf teeth and left a peice of one and it got infected and absessed. From now on I always have my dentist out to check them before I ever put a bit in their mouth. I was lucky I wasn't really hurt. Have her checked again. Good luck.
            This, and glad to hear someone else is so fanatical about it. I learned that lesson the same way.
            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
            ---
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes we had a lovely gelding we had bought as a two year old, started him as a three year old and he was ALWAYS perfect. Then when he was in his four year old year, and we were starting to jump a little and market him seriously he suddenly changed DRAMATICALY, trying to buck, generally being very difficult in his "face/mouth" etc. We changed bits many times and nothign was working. Had vet out and he has some SERIOUS mouth ulcers from sharp points. Once we addressed those in a week he was back to his wonderful self! Not saying that perhaps there are not other underlying "holes" in training, but its a first palce to look.
              www.shawneeacres.net

              Comment


              • #8
                A friend's daughter had a horse that bucked under saddle rather consistently. They had a vet examine the horse and the vet couldn't find anything wrong. They sold or donated the horse, and several years later got the horse back after someone discovered that the horse had two impacted teeth! I would recommend that an equine dentist examine the horse first to determine if his teeth are causing a problem.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had my homebred gelding suddendly start flipping his head a few months into training after I gave him some time off...I knew this horse and didn't think it was his personality, so even though he had recently done his teeth, the vet agreed to x-ray his head...he had blind wolf teeth that you couldn't feel, but that obviously bugged him.

                  With this mare though, it sounds like she was systematically abused in a way she could not fight; the tranq dulled her ability to respond, but not her ability to feel pain. She was likely in a state of learned helplessness until one day she snapped and is now responding irrationally to the past transgressions. There are likely hormonal imbalances going on that are increasing her responses and her aggitation.

                  I agree that starting her back at square one and taking it very slowly and thoroughly with her training may be the best course. You may also want to make some key changes that will reduce the likelyhood of triggering her reponse such as training without a bit, in a different kind of saddle, or some other changes in the routine.

                  I am not sure if there are any anti-anxiety or anti-depressant drugs that could help her make the transition. I am also not sure if it is worth risking someone's well being to retrain a horse that flips. Sad for the horse, but I could not put someone on the back of a horse known for flipping.
                  Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    difficult horse

                    I would send this horse to a equine hospital and have a complete work up.....start with a bone scan.
                    We had a horse here about 2 years ago (he was 4 then) suddenly stop and rear up...I mean several rears in a row and very high! He was not going forward with weight on his back for nothing.

                    Turns out he had a torn ligament on the top of his back! This was not evident nor could it be diagnosed by a traveling Vet. He didn't even palpate sore.

                    If your horse is genuinly sweet and good natured then find her PAIN!!!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by naturalequus View Post
                      Right back down to basics. VERY crucial.

                      Have it done by a trainer with some actual compassion, who will tailor their program to suit this mare and who will TAKE THEIR TIME to re-start her. Ask your sister to be prepared for said trainer to really take their time - which could mean months off her back, developing her on the ground first and slowly re-introducing saddle work. Really pick a good trainer - check them out prior, see them work their other client horses, see what they look like in the barn and how they react to the trainer, and ask for references from experienced horse people. Then recommend your sister attend her mare's sessions - owners are ALWAYS welcome to watch and participate when I train their horse. The trainer might not be able to re-arrange their schedule to suit your sister every single session, but at least once a week or so they should be able to put aside some time to allow your sister to watch and/or participate. If they have an actual problem with it, RUN. Your sister should see a marked difference in your mare as she is developed - depending on the mare, maybe not immediately, but it should be there. Even the horses that come to me in relatively good form, are further improved and developed, and the owners notice. They notice a calmer, more relaxed, thinking horse who wants to be with people. There should even be a marked difference from the start of each session to the end.

                      There is a point where saddle work is important to include of course, but most of the hard work can be done on the ground to prevent such episodes. Reason being - if you develop the horse into a better individual on the ground (ie, less reactive, more confident, more trust in the human, etc), it will follow under-saddle. Even a horse who is not normally reactive on the ground, will likely display reactive tendencies when stressed or faced with challenging situations on the ground. This presents an opportunity for the trainer to turn that reactiveness into a thinking, calm, relaxed horse. This has to be done with care though, with insight into that horse's personality and tendencies and behaviours (ie, mode of operating), and pushing/challenging the horse in progressive steps, without over-challenging the horse and blowing their mind with that activity. The 'deeper' you go and thus the more you develop a horse on the ground, the better prepared they will be for u/s work.

                      I am working with one such mare right now (started incorrectly last year and highly explosive u/s) and I am finding all sorts of holes and a lot to work on, on the ground first - developing this mare into a more confident and less reactive individual. She isn't really reactive on the ground if you do all the 'usual' stuff - in fact, she ground ties, half asleep, when groomed, is easy to catch, etc. Seems like the normal horse. But when you ask more challenging things of her on the ground, say to move forward between you and the fence, to move sideways, or to move through different patterns and exercises, she can explode and react easily. She goes from 0 to 10 at warp speed - it's a man-made reactivity built into her because she's expecting repercussion for trying and giving the wrong answer as she learns. So the key is to gently push her and develop her. The more calm and thinking and relaxed she is all-round - including doing all these exercises, the better horse she will be overall. The more we re-inforce she won't be punished for choosing the wrong answer, for trying and getting it wrong in all these exercises, the more trust you can build with her and the less reactive she will become because she realizes she's got the time to figure out what you want (also of course clarity will play a role - she has to be set up correctly so she can learn easily, to start). Work u/s, is another step up, another level of challenge above groundwork, so it only makes sense to really really cement the groundwork and even go above and beyond with this type of horse, re-inforcing relaxation, thinking, and trust. Not sure if this is your sister's mare's exact 'problem', but it seems like it could be similar.

                      I've done the same numerous times now and the 'magic trick' was just to strip everything down to the basics and to re-start the horse from the bottom up. The more 'baggage' the horse has, the longer I am on the ground, but it's worth it because the day I swing my leg over, there is little to no reactivity and they are more receptive to learning and are thinking, trusting, calm, and relaxed.

                      Eta: this is of course barring ANY physical issue Sometimes I get carried away on these boards and carry on from a training and behavioural perspective without considering physical issues aloud. Definitely make sure you're absolutely certain nothing physical could be the issue, from tack fit to chiro/massage, to teeth or feet or what.
                      ^^^ THIS. Because I could not word it any better myself.

                      naturalequus, I love you.

                      Good luck with your horse, OP!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        only other thing I may be able to add is ring sour...

                        but back to VERY basics is key once you've ruled all else out.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Right on NaturalEquus!

                          Well said Natural Equus...

                          Barring any physical problems - This is a training issue. The four year old year is when they get sassy and you have to stick to your guns. Since she has already gotten away with a lot of bad behavior and has been roughly treated by the "trainer," then go back to the basics

                          Good Luck
                          ALP
                          "The Prince" aka Front Row
                          Cavalier Manor

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