My horse (a Quarter mare of 10 years old) is pretty easy to groom while she is in her box. But when I attach her to the barn to groom and saddle, she wants to break loose all the time and someone has to hold her or I don't manage. She has already broken many halters and cords that way. What could be the reason and what can i do?
Pet's Gender: Female
Pet's Age: 10
Name of Horse: Sweet
She has always been in a stable, this is the first full year she is with us.
she is in the meadow all day and in her box in the evening. In the manege where she was before, attaching her to about anything was not a problem but here she does not accept it.
Thanks for allowing me to assist you, I am the horse's servant and will do my best to help you with your horse. I have a few questions, are you ever tying her in her box? When in the barn aisle or breezeway, are you crosstying her or straight tying? Whichever way you are using, having her tied is much more convenient than having to hold her. Horses react explosively when they are anxious about their safety, which does not mean she has been harshly treated, just that she has concerns that we as humans do not perceive. I would begin by having a training session in the stall about tying since she is comfortable there. Be sure she can stand tied in her stall with a sturdy halter and a stretchy tie strap. There are several bungee like products for horses that I have had succes with for tricky tying horses. She also needs to feel safe in the area you wish to tie her, so some desensitizing in that area or areas will help greatly. There is an excellent video series by Dr. XXXXX XXXXX "influencing the horses mind" which teaches how to address the equine mind on the ground for reactivity and habituating to different circumstances. Let me know more about her specific tying issues as I mentioned @ the beginning of this post. I will wait for your reply.
Thanks a lot for your quick reply. We have a very small barn in which she cannot enter. There is a paved area at the back where we tie the horses to groom and saddle them. With my husbands' horse (also a quarter horse) this is absolutely no problem but with mine it is. We straight tie her but she is restless and moves her head far up thus breaking the tie. I sometimes think the white wall irritates her or the fact that she cannot look around the corner to see what comes from there. But we made a fence in the meadow and she doesn't want to be tied to that either. I like the idea of tying her in her box and will try this out of course. Not sure I can get the stretchy ties here in the area but I can always try the internet I guess. Thanks a lot so far and I will of click the accept button . Best regards, Maria
POk, thanks for giving additional details. The next step is to identify the triggers that set her off and get her desensitized to that. Another parallel project is to teach her to ground tie, not as an evasion to hard tying but as an added skill for her to have. The key is to control her feet at all times, thus giving you the ability to ask her to stop moving and her the ability to trust your judgement. That is to say if she believes you to be the herd leader and ypu say it is "ok" to be tied, she can relax into the sitiation and stand quietly. At all times, avoid her pulling back and breaking free. I had a young mare that was simply unclipped by her owner each time she was fidgety, so she never would stand tied but happily broke each rope/halter and then just stood there. For that mare the fix was to have her in an unbreakable set of equipment and secured safely. Your horse seems to be insecure in her surroundings which is a different causal factor in a similar behavior. Yours is easier to fix, use good judgement and solid equipment when you do tie her. Work on controlling her feet from the ground, desensitize her to environmental stimuli and be a fair and equitable leader so she learns to trust your judgement. This is a good thing anyway, right? The tying (opr lack thereof) is just a symptom. Having said that, when she breaks free it reinforces the reward of her feeling safer being able to run away. If she feels safer with you, it becomes irrelevant if she is tied or not, she will be able to yield to your wishes even under stress. Good luck and be safe! Remember dr miller and see which other horse professional appeals to you such as Mark Rashid (read his books they are awesome "Considering the horse" is my favorite, and "horses can't lie"), craig cameron, john lyons, etc. Be wary of those who promote themselves as a "certified trainer" unless they come with great references.
30+ years of horse ownership, 15+ years of equine massage therapy, saddle fit, equine biomechanist
Thanks a lot for your very thorough reply. It was my first time to use 'justanswer' and I am not disappointed!