Should I give up? Mentality of horse not good for job?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by buddytink, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. buddytink

    buddytink Senior Member

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    I've mentioned about this horse here and there but I've decided to make one big post about her from start to finish and would like an honest opinion about her. I'm on the fence as to whether I should keep on or just give up with her.

    Got her as a yearling. She was friendly, I could pet her and she was halter broke and leaded fairly decent. Day 2 after owning her I had a 13yr old mare attack her. She grabbed her by the neck and tried pulling her thru the fence. After that she would let us catch her but then after about 5 minutes of leading her she'd just freak out, and flip out. She'd bolt, get lose and then run scared to death and was extremely hard to catch. I started leaving her in the round pen and I messed with her everyday, multiple times a day. Just entering the round pen would cause her to freak out, she'd run and run and one day she jumped the gate and broke it off. I finally got her over this and she has been easy to catch ever since.

    At 2yrs old I was going to break her to ride. Quickly realized she was not mentally mature enough. I worked with her a TON on the ground. She lunges great, moves shoulders, HQ, and side passes. Backs up like a dream, would spin etc etc all on the ground. I'd saddle her and work with her with the saddle, I'd set up obstacles and do them as well.

    At 3 I decided to break her to ride. I started hauling her to barrel races so she could see the sights and sounds. And I'd leave her tied to the trailer with hay. She was doing great, she'd yell out some at the other horses but nothing too bad. When I went to break her to ride I thought it shouldn't be a bid deal since I did so much ground work with her. I was wrong. I got on her and she didn't really buck that bad at all, nothing out of the ordinary and she only did it when I first started loping her. But she did something else. She would try to side swipe everything to try to get the bridle, saddle and me off. One day she did it and my foot got hung in the fence when she side swiped it and then she spooked and I got jerked off the back of her and got hurt pretty bad. She had her teeth done and all to make sure nothing was pain related. Everything was good to go and I finally got her broke.

    At 4 I started trying to ride her at shows, she was broke and riding well at home. She'd get a little rowdy at home from time to time but at the time nothing I thought was to unusual. When I say broke I mean, broke well. Like reining horse broke. I take her to a show and was gonna just ride her around, no competing or anything. Remember I had been hauling her since 3. I saddle her up, she does fine. I get on, she does fine. I ride her on out to to the other horses and she flips the hell out. I ain't ever seen anything like it and I've trained other Colts and I've seen them spook and shy at other horses while being ridden but this was insane. This horse starts bolting, bucking, rearing, biting me in the legs, snorting, and flying backwards. I couldn't get off. And I've come to realize that when she does get this way you have to be really firm with her. I kept hauling her and trying to ride her, same thing kept happening. Decided to try a different approach and started leading her to where all the other horses were riding and working her on the ground. I could tell other riders were irritated by this but I was desperate and willing to try anything. I finally got her to where I could enter the warm up pen. It wasnt pretty, and she was on edge and I knew one little thing would set her off but we made it. I kept doing this and I got to where I could ride her, then i started being able to lope her with the other horses, again wasn't pretty and she was on edge and if one got to close she was ready to bit or kick. I then decided to try to exhibition her on the barrels (we had been trotting them well at home and,was gonna trot thru at a show). Just for exposure purposes, so she'd be by herself in the arena and the others outside the arena. Didn't go to well, didn't listen at all, real reactive and sensitive and when you tried to stop her she'd over exaggerate and stop but kinda jump up and almost hit me in the face with her head (in was spitting hair out lol). She'd shake her head, pull against me and try to bit me. I had to stop hauling her due to school and how dangerous she was, if i got hurt I'd get kicked out of school.

    5 yrs old till now at 8 yrs old I've rode her off and on at home and I plan to ride her a lot more now with my new job. I was hoping she'd grow up mentally and be ready to try hauling and really riding again. But to be honest I don't think she has. She's still reactive to other horses at home, I tried trail riding her with her pasture mate and she was even scared of her a little and acted like she wanted to kick her and shy from her (even tho they've live together since she was a yearling). Then yesterday I was riding and she got set off by a culvert. She has a culvert in her own field . Anyway she sees this one, starts humping up, trying to bit me, trying to bolt, and hops up. After trying to ride her thru it and she just kept getting worse about it I finally I had to get off and work her from the ground and then she got to where it wouldn't bother her. The whole time she's zoning in on the neighbor horses so I had to get her attention constantly, then again I had to get pretty firm with her. Finally she started thinking and then did what I was asking. When trying to do barrels with her at home she's always easily distracted by the neighbor horses and she so sensitive when I start to go around the barrels I have to watch my legs constantly cause if not she'll get ticked off and reach around and try to bit my legs. One day she grabbed my pants and almost pulled me off. (She only does this stuff when shes irritated and wanting to focus on the other horses and when im not letting her focus on them). I've tried kicking her numerous times in the mouth when she does it, but she still does it.
    As far as riding I have no problems with her at all. If there are absolutely no distractions she rides like a dream. Finger tip control, will spin a hole in the ground and do anything you ask.
    I've wondered if this was a hormone thing related to her being a mare and maybe some kind of imbalance. But now I'm kind of wondering if this is just a thing with her. Like mentally, quirky, and just something she'll always be like regardless of how much I ride or haul her. I see how things set her off and it makes me wonder "how is this horse mentally going to be able to handle running barrels?" "What if a kid is running behind the fence at the second barrel?" I've wondered many things. I also sometimes feel like she's the type that will drag you if you did go to fall off and get hung up. She has been my dream to run barrels on because she's so quick and athletic, but I'm wondering if I'm wasting my time. Been wondering this a lot lately. I thought about selling her just because I would have no use for her if she couldn't run barrels really. I mean I can't pony Colts off her, I tried breeding (vet said it would calm her down) lost the baby twice, can't really trail ride cause I don't wanna go by myself and get hurt and no one be around to help me and at the same time it doesn't look like I can ride with other people. I love her to death, and I fear she'd go to the slaughter because of these quirks. But at the same time my dad keeps telling me to sell her because I'm wasting my time and no need to feed her for 30 yrs when I already have 2 more that I'm feeding till the day they die. I mean if i kept keeping them all before long I wouldn't be able to get another one to ride and I wouldn't have anything to run barrels on. If that makes sense. I've thought about spaying, marbles, regumate, and other supplements and I've thought about just continuing to work with her and trying to haul her but at the same time I don't want to waste my time if she'll just mentally never be a barrel horse. And the horse is like the energizer bunny, she never gets tired. The other day I'm riding at home, my neighbors horses run up to the fence, she gets antsy and focuses on them. I start working her, circles, figure 8s, roll backs, etc, the whole time she's doing it, it's not pretty cause she rushes and loses her form, and she's trying to bit me the whole time, gets very sensitive, starts getting over reactive to everything.
    Oh and here's another example, I get done riding one day and I'm walking back to my house, my neighbor is about 500 to 1000 feet away (a 5 acre field separates us) she leads her horse to the round pen. Keep in mind I'm leading mine, we're doing great. Next thing I know, my horse bolts, almost knocks me down, and starts snorting at the neighbor horse who's a good ways away, I don't even know how she saw the horse. So I started working her from the ground, all the way back to the house, again she was on edge, and very reactive.

    It gets discouraging when I think about how much time I've put into her and I see other people with 2 and 3 yrs olds haul for the first time and ride everywhere, and in no time they're doing flawless exhibitions. And I still can't ride comfortably with other horses at 8 yrs old. I tried ponying her off another horse at home to see if that'd help, she bit and kicked me.... I tried riding another horse in the field with her while she was turned lose, she ran and ran, and she'd shy away when I got close, or try to bit/kick me. I was afraid to keep on because I was afraid she'd hurt my other horse if she got one good kick in.
    Oh, I should mention this horse NEVER bites or kicks, sweetest horse in the world. She only does this when something sets her off and you're riding her. She will not bit or kick from the ground when shes in this mood, only does it when ridden.

    Kudos for anyone who read this and made sense of it all.
     
  2. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    It's really hard to say anything without some video because there's nothing in this that tells me how you're riding her. For instance, how is she managing to continually get close enough to things to try to scrape you off? And how can she continually reach your leg while riding to bite it? I know nothing about your skill level in training or riding but those things jump out at me.

    It sounds from your description that she's the one leading here. Example -

    This is a horse you know is reactive and you know gets kooky when distracted by other horses. So just waiting until she goes off to do something is counter-productive. Horses give signs if you know how to read them. It sounds like you're missing a lot of signals and then reacting to the fallout rather than nipping it off before it happens.

    It sounds to me like there are a lot of holes in her training and you're not experienced enough to fill them. It makes no sense to keep pushing her into situations where she's going to explode. This isn't a horse that should be barrel racing - it's a horse that should be working consistently with someone who can read her well and keep her focused.

    I've got a mare like that. The key is not to start doing a lot of busy work but to keep calmly riding her in my circle (or whatever I'm doing) with strong leg and seat, insisting that she pay attention to me and get it right. If I started doing a bunch of roll backs and figure 8s, it would just amp her up more.

    Really, it sounds like she's way too much horse for you from your description.
     
  3. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    You take her to a show near other horses and she freaks out. She sounds to me like she's traumatized by being attacked by another horse. She's scared to be around other horses, particularly strange ones that she doesn't know what they might do to her.

    I'd say her brain is fried. That's my diagnosis. :( Sorry.
     
  4. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Sounds like you are over-horsed and she's too sensitive for you.
     
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  5. Faster Horses

    Faster Horses Senior Member

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    I wonder if this has to do with her obsession over other horses as well, like she constantly has to be on the lookout. Could be her aggression towards other horses is being taken out on you?
     
  6. buddytink

    buddytink Senior Member

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    This morning I rode her and tried out some blinders on her. First I rode her in my field that only has 1 other horse by it. The neighbors horse was standing on his fence not doing anything. I ride out to where I do my circles and all, it's the driest most flat spot I have right now. As I'm riding out there she's walking and has her ears up watching the other horses and she's doing ok, walks a little fast but that's just her, real light on her feet. I get out there and we're walking and I start walking in my large circle and when I would get to the side of the circle closest to the neighbor horse she would start trying to pull her head away so that she could see the neighbor horse. Then when I'd make her arch back to her Circle she started trying to jerk her head to look to the outside. She didn't like the blinders. She was starting to get antsy, snorty, but I just kept riding her in my circle at a walk. If she tried to speed up I'd stop, back her up and do a roll back and send her at a walk in the other direction. I did this for a while, then was able to trot then lope doing the same thing. Once in the lope she'll get a little rowdy and try to either speed up or snatched her head away so she, and get snorty trying to see the other horse. But I was finally able to get her to lope some nice circles. Once we were good with this spot I rode her farther out to where my other neighbors horses are. We get over there and there are some trees I always like to trot around and stuff. When we get to the trees which are about 15 to 20 yard off the fence she was doing ok, but she was getting more alert and touchy. I went about my business trying to make her see that it was no big deal. My neighbors horses move and she starts trying to shy and trot off and rushing her circles. I will say tho with the blinders on she did not try to bite me near as bad or as much (guess she couldn't see me good enough and didn't wanna risk biting herself lol) then the neighbor horses started running and playing and mine starts trying to bolt and shy, snorting, over exaggerating every cue I'd ask. If i asked her to stop, she'd stop but shed pull against the bit or sling kind of hop and shake her head in her stop. If i asked her to move her shoulder she'd try to run through the bit while she was moving her shoulders. She just starts over exaggerating everything and get irritated and starts with the whole biting, head slinging, hopping up and a little broncy.
    I was thinking I should have gotten it on video today while I was riding. Im gonna see if my go pro camera will work and try to film her while riding tomorrow. But it'll be frommy view, I'll have to find someone to get a video of us together
     
  7. doublelranch

    doublelranch Senior Member

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    I have to say I agree with Manes on this one. The horse given to me had been attacked not once but twice before I got him. He has pretty bad scars from being run through a fence and a chunk of bone removed from his face from running into a fence. I have had him over two years. The poor horse never relaxes, overreacts when another horse even looks towards his space and squeels and kicks violently. I thought he would settle in, but I am having second thoughts. I have been thinking of rehoming him to a single horse family like where he came from. The poor horse is just never relaxed or happy.
     
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  8. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    DO NOT put blinders randomly on a horse. This horse is already anxious about her surroundings , blinders only aggravates that situation. She's gonna turn her head and fall~!! Some horses get more relaxed in a blinder, your horse is screaming at you: take these off.
     
  9. GotaDunQH

    GotaDunQH Senior Member

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    I also agree with a few of the others.....she has a screw loose and sometimes that screw just can't be tightened no matter what. I owned a mare like that for a year, then sent her down the road. She NEVER changed throughout her life.....had 2 other owners after me. She has since gone to Rainbow Bridge from colic. She was sweet on the ground, but bad minded under saddle in that you would never know when that "screw" was going to loosen even more. You've done what you could.....your mare is just not sound in the mind.
     
  10. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

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    As a last resort, I'd send her to a trainer. It sounds like you've hit a wall. No knock against you, but maybe it's time for a totally different approach.

    Some trainers are honest enough to tell you if she's fried.

    I tend tend to agree with Manes though... Your mare sounds fried . I would not keep a horse like her around.
     

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