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14 year old mare has attitude


I just got a pair of horses (Paints) and when we first got them they were great as far as temperament but after we had ridden them the mare has decided that after two weeks of being ridden that she doesnt want to be ridden. They are the very first horses I have owned and also the first time i have ridden a horse. The gelding does what i want and is happy to be ridden but the mare has become difficult as she rears when I get one her and will also try to scrape me off on the fence. What can i do to make her behave? She is a beautiful horse and I would really like to ride her and I also would like my 12 year old girl to be able to ride her. I had a trainer check her out and was told she is "herd sour" but she wont let anyone ride her even if someone is on the gelding. The horses have been together for thier entire lives but i am at a loss as to what i need to do.

Please help


Hi Brian,

Well, horses need and want a good, competent leader around all the time. They are like professional dancers who know the dances well and only get novice dancers as partners. It makes them not want to dance any more. Can you blame them? It is impossible to give you the horsemanship lessons you need in an email. Sounds like you need basic horsemanship and riding lessons to boot. The herd bound (sour) behavior of one of your horses is not that hard to overcome, but requires skill, knowledge, consistency and patience over time. The skill you do not have. Can you find a skilled trainer/riding instructor in your area to teach you and your daughter the horsemanship and riding lessons you both need? I sure hope so. You realize you do need help and that is the first step. Be careful, there are a lot of riding instructors who know little of horses. They can teach you to ride but cannot really help you with the herd bound behavior. That is a training issue. Most riding instructors will not admit they know little of training horses. Anyway, it can be hard to find it all in one person. The reason your mare was fine when you first got her and is not now is because of your skill level. She is frustrated by dancing with a poor dance partner over a bit of time. You would be too. Horses need and want skillful, consistent and appropriate dance partners and leaders (both on the ground and in the saddle). When that good partner is not present, they start to fend for themselves which is normal. Do not blame your horses for anything. It is not about them. It is about the humans interacting with them. Perhaps there is interest in your area in effective, gentle horsemanship based on trust and respect. If so, perhaps I could come to you and present a seminar. Let me know if you think there is interest. I can also coach you via the telephone in basic horsemanship. I have clients around the world now that I do this with and it is easy, effective, convenient and cost about as much as a riding lesson per session. If you have interest let me know.

So good luck and get some education and lessons about riding and about horses. You can do it if you want.........

Sincerely, Franklin

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