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"My horse is terrified of your spawn, please remove them immediately."

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  • "My horse is terrified of your spawn, please remove them immediately."

    Alright, I need help.

    My mare is afraid of children. It's something we've been working on for years, and now she can at least be in the same aisleway with them if they don't move or make any noise whatsoever..

    But how do I tell people, who seem to think it's okay to let their offspring come bounding up to my horse (who at this point I'm peeling out of the rafters), that my mare is TERRIFIED of their kids, and please don't let them near her?

    You'd think my mare snorting and popping out eyeballs and quivering in her boots would clue these folks in, but the one or two times I have mentioned something, the people look at me like I'm crazy. (EDIT: I was very nice about it, too, and still got dirty looks.)

    I know, it's a bit of an odd fear for a horse. She's got good reason, though. Bad bad bad experiences with littleuns in her past, and it's just something I don't know if she'll EVER get over completely.

    Until that day that she decides all humans under the height of 5" are not going to maim her, how can I tell people, "Please back off, your 40 lb kid is scaring my 1200lb horse."?

    I don't wanna offend people, especially when the rare occasion the kid is being good and not actually provoking the mare. But it doesn't matter, even model-children are scary.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

  • #2
    I would just politely say that the mare had bad experiences with kids before and for their child's safety they need to give your horse a lot of room. If they have ever been around horses they should understand. I know I would. I always ask the owner before I or any of my little ones pet the horse. I wouldn't find it offensive at all.

    I think all horses need their own psychiatrist... every horse has a little something that gets under their skin it seems.
    ___._/> I don't suffer from insanity.. I enjoy every
    ____/ minute of it! Member stick horse art lovers
    ';;;;;;; clique
    //__\\<-- Don't feed the llama!

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by horse-loverz View Post
      I would just politely say that the mare had bad experiences with kids before and for their child's safety they need to give your horse a lot of room. If they have ever been around horses they should understand. I know I would. I always ask the owner before I or any of my little ones pet the horse. I wouldn't find it offensive at all.

      I think all horses need their own psychiatrist... every horse has a little something that gets under their skin it seems.
      Oh my mare doesn't need a psychiatrist...








      ...she'd need to be institutionalized!
      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm afraid full immersion is the only solution for your mare. Invite all the neighbor kids over for a pasture party, give them balloons, set up a bouncey ball house thing, hire a mariachi band, feed the kids a bunch of sugary cake, ice cream and candy. Then a rousing game of pin the tail on that mare in the pasture! Or point to her as a living pinata and give the lunatic spawn each a carrot stick

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Lambie Boat View Post
          I'm afraid full immersion is the only solution for your mare. Invite all the neighbor kids over for a pasture party, give them balloons, set up a bouncey ball house thing, hire a mariachi band, feed the kids a bunch of sugary cake, ice cream and candy. Then a rousing game of pin the tail on that mare in the pasture! Or point to her as a living pinata and give the lunatic spawn each a carrot stick
          Oh goodness... my mare would be put away for the murder of 30 children.. and a mariachi band.
          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

          Comment


          • #6
            When you see a child approach, immediately call over to the parents, urgently, that "She kicks/bites/etc.!" People, particularly children, are so naturally and powerfully drawn to animals that they will tend to continue approaching if you try to talk to them (ie, explain the horse's fear). An explanation doesn't register as urgent; a direct, worried declaration of "She kicks!" will get their attention. You can explain more after they stop.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
              When you see a child approach, immediately call over to the parents, urgently, that "She kicks/bites/etc.!" People, particularly children, are so naturally and powerfully drawn to animals that they will tend to continue approaching if you try to talk to them (ie, explain the horse's fear). An explanation doesn't register as urgent; a direct, worried declaration of "She kicks!" will get their attention. You can explain more after they stop.
              That's a good idea. She's a sweet mare, but I'd bet a million dollars she'd double barrel a child running up behind her.
              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, I have the same bug eyed reaction when I'm forced to be around obnoxious kids It doesn't seem all that strange to me!

                Seriously, I don't know what to tell you about other people's reactions to nice requests, cuz I've had similar experiences.

                My old mare loffs children....and foals....and puppies, basically young things of any species. You can practically see her thinking "OMG, it's a baaaaby!" Ordinarily, she welcomes petting from kids and newbie adults. But no one, horse or human, is a saint and we all have our off days. One time we were dealing with a hoof abcess, dr's orders of no turnout because everything was quicksand-like mud, and Missy was a tad cranky. Enter fellow boarder with her two undisciplined kids. I know my mare and I knew she wasn't in the mood. Yep, nicely explaining that my horse has been on stall rest, is not a happy camper and so please don't bother her got me the death stare. Some people just think that the world is supposed to be a free-range playground for their kids

                Edit: I just saw the suggestion of an urgent "she bites/kicks!" There's your solution. Though there are always those Darwin Award candidates that say "oh, she's fine, my daughter gets along great with animals!" about 10 seconds before the kid goes splatto.....
                BES
                Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
                Crayola Posse: sea green
                Mighty Rehabbers Clique

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by BlueEyedSorrel View Post
                  Well, I have the same bug eyed reaction when I'm forced to be around obnoxious kids It doesn't seem all that strange to me!

                  Seriously, I don't know what to tell you about other people's reactions to nice requests, cuz I've had similar experiences.

                  My old mare loffs children....and foals....and puppies, basically young things of any species. You can practically see her thinking "OMG, it's a baaaaby!" Ordinarily, she welcomes petting from kids and newbie adults. But no one, horse or human, is a saint and we all have our off days. One time we were dealing with a hoof abcess, dr's orders of no turnout because everything was quicksand-like mud, and Missy was a tad cranky. Enter fellow boarder with her two undisciplined kids. I know my mare and I knew she wasn't in the mood. Yep, nicely explaining that my horse has been on stall rest, is not a happy camper and so please don't bother her got me the death stare. Some people just think that the world is supposed to be a free-range playground for their kids

                  BES
                  Exactly! It doesn't matter how nice you are, if you tell the anklebiters "no" to ANYTHING, the parents act like you just beat the child with a club.

                  These are all horse people parents too, that SHOULD KNOW that it's a GIGANTIC safety issue letting their kidlets romp around my mare.
                  Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is cracking me up!!!

                    I do want to know though - do any of you who's horses don't like kids have kids of your own? It would make an interesting situation if you had kids and your horse didn't like them!!

                    My two horses couldn't be more different. When my 2+ year old nephew came to visit, he wanted to ride the poneez!!! So I managed to make a helmet stay on his head, and looped the reins over my arm and tried to lift him into the saddle. My dear old mare bolted! She hit the end of the reins and was backing up with her eyes rolled back. OMG. So we let him ride the tractor instead.

                    Now fast forward three years, and I am out hacking with a group and we stop by a friend's house. Her little three year old wants to ride the poneez! All of them! I am thinking uh, oh, this isn't a good idea as my friend strolls over, plops junior on the SAME mare's saddle, and leads her around the yard. No problemo.

                    ETA: I forgot to add, my OTHER mare, the Amish-trained Morgan, has been nothing but gentle and friendly with kids since day one. The mare in the two stories above is my half-Hanoverian somewhat mareish and opinionated horsey.

                    I wonder if my technique was at fault in scenario #1??? I found the little guy a real wiggly handful, and maybe my feelings were telegraphed to the horse?

                    Thus my first question about whether you have kids yourself (you all). I don't, and I'm not much of a kid person.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had to laugh at BES' response!!

                      I don't have kids. But I can say that Ted is very wary of girls between the ages of 9-13. Not boys, not young children, not older girls. So obviously something happened somewhere along the line. And kids who are nervous, but want to pet, and dart out a hand and then snake it back...he is just not the kind of guy where I can hand a brush to a 10 year old girl and say, "Sure, knock yourself out grooming him!"

                      Unless it's a 10 year old girl whose mother has deemed the child a spawn of Satan...that would be a different scenario, I guess...
                      www.specialhorses.org
                      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by twofatponies View Post
                        This is cracking me up!!!

                        I do want to know though - do any of you who's horses don't like kids have kids of your own? It would make an interesting situation if you had kids and your horse didn't like them!!

                        My two horses couldn't be more different. When my 2+ year old nephew came to visit, he wanted to ride the poneez!!! So I managed to make a helmet stay on his head, and looped the reins over my arm and tried to lift him into the saddle. My dear old mare bolted! She hit the end of the reins and was backing up with her eyes rolled back. OMG. So we let him ride the tractor instead.

                        Now fast forward three years, and I am out hacking with a group and we stop by a friend's house. Her little three year old wants to ride the poneez! All of them! I am thinking uh, oh, this isn't a good idea as my friend strolls over, plops junior on the SAME mare's saddle, and leads her around the yard. No problemo.

                        ETA: I forgot to add, my OTHER mare, the Amish-trained Morgan, has been nothing but gentle and friendly with kids since day one. The mare in the two stories above is my half-Hanoverian somewhat mareish and opinionated horsey.

                        I wonder if my technique was at fault in scenario #1??? I found the little guy a real wiggly handful, and maybe my feelings were telegraphed to the horse?

                        Thus my first question about whether you have kids yourself (you all). I don't, and I'm not much of a kid person.
                        Don't have any myself, and may never have any. Really not a big fan of the littleuns.

                        My mare's child-phobia was already present before I bought her, though.
                        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You're gonna have to survive the dirty looks. Don't make it about their kids, just say "this horse is not safe around children, please keep them back" and if they don't get it say "if your child comes any closer, one of us is going to get hurt."

                          No, many parents don't "get" that most horses are nothing like the ones at the pony rides, that unlike dogs, horses aren't required to be safe around kids or go to the pound, or that unlike a dog, an attack by an angry horse is going to require more than a few stitches. Let them glare.

                          By the way, I have kids.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Ambrey View Post
                            You're gonna have to survive the dirty looks. Don't make it about their kids, just say "this horse is not safe around children, please keep them back" and if they don't get it say "if your child comes any closer, one of us is going to get hurt."

                            No, many parents don't "get" that most horses are nothing like the ones at the pony rides, that unlike dogs, horses aren't required to be safe around kids or go to the pound, or that unlike a dog, an attack by an angry horse is going to require more than a few stitches. Let them glare.

                            By the way, I have kids.
                            I never mention their kids specifically, the few times I've said something I just said something like, "My mare is afraid of little ones, be careful".
                            Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Maybe mentioning that she's just not safe around kids would help? I don't know, some people seem really oblivious. I had to tell one mom 3 times to not let her toddler stand right next to the rail of the turn-out when my 1400 lb beast was running around like a lunatic.... you'd think THAT would have been obvious!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Maybe it might behove you to assure your mare and indicate to her bad things will happen if she behaves badly towards small humans. If you can't do this, then pay some trainer to show you how to do this, so your mare learns. It is a public safety issue. Any trainer worth their salt should be able to teach both you and your mare. You to learn how to inform your mare when her behaviour is unappropriate, and your mare to learn to listen to you. It doesn't really matter where you are located in the world, because somewhere, sometime a small person is likely to venture into her range without you being able to issue voice commands to restrain them in her presence.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Hoofprince in Mud View Post
                                  Maybe it might behove you to assure your mare and indicate to her bad things will happen if she behaves badly towards small humans. If you can't do this, then pay some trainer to show you how to do this, so your mare learns. It is a public safety issue. Any trainer worth their salt should be able to teach both you and your mare. You to learn how to inform your mare when her behaviour is unappropriate, and your mare to learn to listen to you. It doesn't really matter where you are located in the world, because somewhere, sometime a small person is likely to venture into her range without you being able to issue voice commands to restrain them in her presence.
                                  I'm not going to correct or discipline a terrified horse.

                                  If some unsupervised child wanders up and scares her, it's the parent's fault for letting the kid run wild, not my mare's.
                                  Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Hoofprince in Mud View Post
                                    Maybe it might behove you to assure your mare and indicate to her bad things will happen if she behaves badly towards small humans. If you can't do this, then pay some trainer to show you how to do this, so your mare learns. It is a public safety issue. Any trainer worth their salt should be able to teach both you and your mare. You to learn how to inform your mare when her behaviour is unappropriate, and your mare to learn to listen to you. It doesn't really matter where you are located in the world, because somewhere, sometime a small person is likely to venture into her range without you being able to issue voice commands to restrain them in her presence.
                                    I suppose maybe you could deal with it the same as a fear of plastic bags - "sack them out" (I'm imagining waving the baby around the horse, rubbing it all over them...) so they get used to them?? Only half-kidding, though. Has anyone "taught" their horse to deal with kids better than they used to?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      What training method are you using? Because what ever it is after all these years it's not working. I would switch to a new plan. Unless you prefer your mare to behave that way
                                      "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

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                                      • #20
                                        Have an open day and invite a whole school round and have her in the stable so they can all pet her.

                                        Get them to be as noisy as possible and just have great fun.

                                        You might want to take a plank or two out low down so little heads and hands can peep through too.

                                        I'm not joking, it's what I do!

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