Im a Thoroughbred owner & breeder & have been trying to do my part the past two years & help with the increasing amount of unwanted Thoroughbreds that are retired from racing off the track. I have been a foster MOM to 3 mares, two are retired broodmares & the younger mare is now 7 years old, and has a very sweet disposition, loves people & easy to handle with exception of getting a halter back on her if she somehow gets it off. We have all come to the conclusion that she obviously had some trauma to the head or face as she had been with a trainer at the track who was known for terrible mistreatment of horses & has since had his trainers license revoked in several states. My Vet's, staff & I have tried every "safe" method to get a halter back on this mare with no success. It's impossible to try to tranq her with any injections & we are trying not to cause additional stress & fear for her. I care for her at my farm for a local "equine retirement non-profit organization" & they recently were able to get a larger farm & now have room to take these three mares to their own farm. After trying to get a halter or even a neck band on this mare in a manner that does not endanger the two older mares with her in their small pasture & discussed this issue with area horse farm managers & several Vet's, as well as a couple of trainers, we are still trying to seek ideas & information from other equine professionals. A horse handler also tried a tranq gun with Xylazine of dosage advised by an equine Vet to the hip area. Attempts were made on two seperate days with the tranq dart appearing to have successfully injected the Xylazine & this really had no effect on her at all. The dosage was actually increased for the second tranq. This mare has not been a problem at all since she came to my farm nearly a year ago. She is easy to handle, has a kind demeanor & behaves extremely well with other mares. She also behaves well with the farrier & Vet's, etc. The only issue is trying to get a halter back on her in a way that is safe for everyone involved. I was absolutely horrified when this equine retirement organization sent some of their own staff to my farm & tried to lasso her,...shes about 1300 lbs, & she was so terrified she ran & jumped the gate breaking it off the hinges she hit it so hard & was running loose all over my farm where I have highly valuable Thoroughbred mares & foals & yearlings. I had no idea this was their plan to try & get a halter on this mare as it was stupid & extremely dangerous to everyone involved. The terrified mare finally ran into an empty paddock & luckily did not wind up with fractured legs nor injuring other horses. I was deeply saddened that people who run a well know retirement farm could be so ignorant & go onto someones private property & try a dangerous stunt like that!!! We need to get a halter back on this mare but in a safe manner for horse & handlers. I would very much appreciate your suggestions & ideas. Thank you so much! Anne
Thanks for allowing me to assist you, I am the horse's servant and will do my best to help you with your horse. It sounds as though you have exhausted all normal routes to handle this horse. It is troubling to hear that even last resort methods of tranquilizer gun and lasso have been of no use. Atthis stage in the game, your mare needs an experienced behaviorist such as Ryan Gingrich or Buck Brannaman to aid in her retraining. I do not know what monetary value this horse has, but it sounds as though you are very dedicated to equine well being. For this I commend you. In reality it is likely going to be very expensive to have her retrained, and if done haphazzardly, could result in her death or injury either to herself, a person or one of your valuable horses. I am saddened to hear of her plight, the trauma must have been terrible for this horse to react in this way. Every attempt that has failed ups the ante for her and will escalate her behavior as you have seen. I recommend seeking an established behavioral trainer that can evaluate her and decide the best course of action for her and you. I am not one to throw up my hands in failure, in this case I believe the horses interest must be served as it is some persons actions that have turned her like this. If no resolution can come of this, she is a candidate for "halterless" living, with no restraint at all as in a refuge (not a rescue where they are handled) or euthanasia to prevent further torture. She believes she is fighting for her life, so keep that in mind that this truly sweet horse has a trigger that may ultimately lead to her death or death of those around her. Is it worth it? You will need to decide. I do not envy your position, and my heart goes out to you and your mare. I am so saddened by this situation, this is what we as responsible horse keepers seek to avoid. Have you seen or read any material on Ray Hunt, buck Brannaman, Ryan Gingrich, or other horse trainer that uses horse psychology rather than force or stress to get through to a horse? It may help you make the decision that you can live with, whatever that may be. I wish you and your troubled mare the best. Good luck.