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Update to Forum Rules: Criminal Allegations

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Mare Owners- please comment

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  • Mare Owners- please comment

    I have not had a mare since 1991. (and she was not mine, she belonged to my evil boyfriend.) She was amazing, but since then i have not had any luck with mares, and have stayed with geldings. My 26 yr old gelding recently had to be put to rest, and a day later this amazing mare came up for sale. I was not even planning to look for another horse, as I still have another gelding. Went to see her and bought her that day. She was great under saddle but has been stubborn being led around and has given me a hard time with certain issues. ( a door she doesn't like, or dragging me around). Her owner previous to me was a girl about 12 yrs old. I am wondering if she got away with things bc of the kid not being able to handle her, or if she is just being a mare. Things i can do with my geldings to convince them to listen to me, don't really work with her. Today i spent time with cookies and her on a leadline, getting her to use the entrance she hates.

    I guess i am wondering, how do you convince your mare to do something she doesn't want to do? Do you force her? do you give her time to figure things out? Do you bribe her? With my geldings i tell them once and then i get after them to do it. She is new to me and i don't want to break any trust we are forming, so not sure what works best with mares.

  • #2
    There is no one answer for mares, they are all a bit different...

    My mare? She she tests and she is pushy, and I let her off with far to much, trying to ‘bond with her’

    I’ve owned her 2 1/2 years and we got to the point she tolerated me...a couple of weeks ago we did a ground work session with the trainer at the barn...very very basic, but stopped every obnoxious thing that she tried. That mare has turned right around, I can’t believe it, she’ll walk up to me to be caught, rested her head on my chest for a hug today....unheard of for her. Seems she wanted someone who was a worthy leader, both on the ground and under saddle, now she is happy.
    "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

    Practicing Member of the Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine Clique

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    • #3
      I think they are all individuals. My mare is an angel and extremely cooperative.

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      • #4
        Mares are the best IMO.

        Your situation just sounds like a training issue - I can see a 12 year old getting pushed around easily enough. I'd approach it the same way I do with any horse - not with force but with calm persistance.

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        • #5
          I agree it sounds like a training issue. I would work on it away from what she is afraid of. Work on basic leading skills: she should lead forward promptly from pressure forward on the halter, and halt or back from pressure back on the halter. This basic leading skill needs to be worked on so this skill over shadows what she is afraid of and she learns to just listen. using a treat to reinforce a correct response is fine, but don't make the mistake of accidentally giving her a treat as reinforcement for her spooking as you can teach her to be a spooky horse easily enough.

          Now, if her behaviour changes depending on her heat cycle, then I would consider hormones to be an issue and talk to a vet.
          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by -Buckshot- View Post
            Your situation just sounds like a training issue - I can see a 12 year old getting pushed around easily enough. I'd approach it the same way I do with any horse - not with force but with calm persistance.
            This. Just insist calmly that she follow your lead. If it's something she's frightened of, try easing into it. For instance, my mare hates puddles. (To quote a SmartPak video, "It ate Tony!") So we walk calmly next to the puddle, then turn so she has to get one or two feet in at a time. After several times around, we walk through the puddle with all four feet. Rinse and repeat. Finally, we halt in the middle of the puddle, and she gets a good scratch. Amazingly, by that point, she's forgotten the puddle is there. The next time we come to a puddle, she'll still balk some, but it gets a little easier. She will probably never LIKE puddles or want to play in them like some horses do, but at least the absolute terror is gone.

            Congratulations on your new girl!

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            • #7
              I will say the times when I tried forcing things it just led to her giving me the middle finger and winning and me being super frustrated. Not by plan, I did a lot of groundwork in the very beginning of me owning my mare. I didn’t have a riding instructor, was new to owning a greenie and didn’t want to ruin her by training/riding her poorly. This helped us get to know each other and built a solid foundation. I’d say start there. My mare loves positive reinforcement (“good girl,” scratches, etc.) so it also helps get through stubborn moments. She keeps me sharp and I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

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              • #8
                I would say it is a training issue, not a mare issue. That being said, you can't expect her to behave like your geldings yet because she doen't know or trust you. Start small and enlarge your repertoire, always end on a positive note!

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                • #9
                  My mares require discussion. Not force. Not being told. It is far more of a "let me convince you to see it my way" than "you need to do this because I say so." As a rule, they cannot be bullied. They require tact. Some more than others, but still....kid gloves work so well.

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                  • #10
                    If you get in a fight with my mare you might get her to do the thing that day. But the next day she will remember the fight and she will start gearing up for it in advance.

                    Despite being really opinionated and pushy, she really really wants to know you approve of what she's doing and that she can please you and can be a good girl in your eyes.

                    Figure out how to communicate that to your mare.

                    I honestly don't think geldings care as much.

                    I would do lots of little things that are easy for her and reward so you have a vocabulary in place for the more difficult bits.

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                    • #11
                      My lease horse is a mare much like KBC's. When I first started riding her she tested every. little. thing. and I was losing a lot of those fights because I wasn't confident in how to handle them. Now that I've done some groundwork lessons and gotten consistent about my expectations for her, she is so much sweeter! Also to be honest, she probably just learned I am a softer touch with the cookies when she goes along with my dumb ideas.
                      I do think a lot of her testing behavior when I started riding her was checking if I am worth listening to. She isn't the alpha mare in her herd of three, but she is second in command, and when the alpha mare is gone she definitely takes on the role. Now that I make it a habit to ask her to listen to me more often she is much easier to work with.
                      I often have her do a small ask before a big one. This spring she was getting a little testy about having her feet picked up, so I started having her take a step back or over before asking her to pick up her feet. I think an easy request first puts her in a more compliant mindframe and reminds her that she is ceding responsibility to the puny human.

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                      • #12
                        I agree. She’s testing and is use to getting away with it. My mare is a prefect angel for me but when we were at a boarding barn there was a worker who she just didn’t like and it was always a struggle, multiple other horses didn’t like the man and he was kind of creepy so BO was ok with her acting up with him.
                        Mat the same time it could be a trust issue and she just takes time to get to know you. When I first got my mare she would never walk into the wash stall at all. End of story. I never forced her and would hose her outside or back her in. After about a year she’s go in perfectly. Now after spending over half her life with me she’ll follow my around everywhere with no lead rope, walk around while the neighbors use a bulldozer, go into dark spaces and so on. Trust just takes time.

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                        • #13
                          It's training. I have mainly had mares - including the absolute saint of a mare that taught me to ride when I was a child. (Yes, she may have decided the pace but she would look after you - and don't ask for a trot! It was a gait she just didn't do. Full Stop! Don't ask.) (By the way, she wasn't a saint - but the devil incarnate - if you were an "adult".)

                          At the moment, I have two mares of my own, they live with two other mares and a gelding - plus a colt foal who is due to get gelded very soon! (I saw him making flirty eyes at one of the mares and he is only 5 months old!!!!!) Two mares we have had from birth - and owned the mum of one. Another is a wild-caught Kaimanawa (think NZ mustang - with less handling) and one is a recently purchased ClydeX. Although there is definitely a hierarchy there, I can lead all 6 horses together when moving them - although, I can just grab the lead mare and they all follow.

                          When riding, you need to remember that mares are entire.
                          Still Working_on_it - one day I will get it!

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                          • #14
                            Coming up on a almost a year with my very first mare (always had agreeable geldings). My mare is as agreeable as a gelding, so I can't help you out. In fact she is more agreeable than her brother, lol. Case in point, I did a super stupid thing Saturday tacking up for my lesson - got the right ring of her loose ring bit buckled in to the nose band. She put up with it and mostly was just really stiff on that side and kept putting her head up in the air (and that's her good side). Finally figured it out, fixed it and she was her usual agreeable self. Her brother probably would have reared in protest and then refused to move, lol.
                            ~* Be kind to one another *~

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                            • #15
                              It sounds like a training issue, not a gender issue. Trust is key.
                              Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley

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                              • #16
                                It sounds like a training issue to me as well moreso than a sex issue. Although in general mares vs geldings vs stallions tend to have certain traits due to their sex hormones, they also vary as individuals.

                                I prefer mares, but my current one is extremely mellow and easy going compared to my last one, who was more pushy and opinionated.

                                I’d just treat your gal like any horse with holes in its training that's been allowed to push around a young kid and start with consistent boundaries and handling.
                                My mare wonders about all this fuss about birth control when she's only seen a handful of testicles in her entire life. Living with an intact male of my species, I feel differently! WAYSIDE

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                                • #17
                                  Agree with the training issue vs. mare. I love mares, all the personality and not a pastel/sepia (gelding) in the mix. I much prefer a horse with a full palette of personality.

                                  I have a fjord mare, she adores people, very friendly and she's a confidence builder/confidante for a friend's autistic daughter...she's also an absolute thug in the field and so the alpha mare it's amazing. Mare's know they're cute, geldings I keep waiting for a, "huh, what, me? What was the question?"
                                  "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                    My mares require discussion. Not force. Not being told. It is far more of a "let me convince you to see it my way" than "you need to do this because I say so." As a rule, they cannot be bullied. They require tact. Some more than others, but still....kid gloves work so well.
                                    ^^^^ This! All my mares have been like this. Taking a hard line on an issue (unless it's biting or kicking) has way more downside than using a cooperative approach. And once you have their trust and respect, they'll do anything for you.

                                    Geldings are generally much easier to push around (figuratively, not literally) so that they do exactly what you tell them, when you tell them.
                                    "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I don't think it has anything to do with being a mare vrs stallion/gelding. It's a just a training issue. The "oh it's a mare thing" is a total hot button for me. Treat an individual horse as an individual horse. If you don't expect and therefore allow "mareish" behavior, it generally doesn't happen. Can there be hormone issues, yes, of course but that should be addressed separately from training issues. And for everyone who says well you can't force a mare- um, you probably shouldn't be trying to force any horse if you actually want constructive training
                                      "You'll never see yourself in the mirror with your eyes closed"

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                                      • #20
                                        Mares are so much more in tune with body language than geldings. Observe single-sex herds and the dynamics. You never see mares playing like the boys do.

                                        Mares demand leadership (boys do too, but that's not the topic). Not in a forceful way, just thoughtful and consistent. All the mares I've ever had, have only wanted to be told "good girl." That's how they are. Once you get their respect, they'll lay down their life for you.

                                        There's a reason the Bedouins rode mares into battle.

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