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14-year-old child and a 3-year-old mare with very difficult behavior

Hi Franklin,

I have read through some of your achieves, and I wanted to see if I could get your help. A little 14 year old girl, whose grandmother brought her a 3 year old Dash for Cash mare to learn barrels on, is having major issues with the horse. The horse was broke and ran around barrels and sold to this green rider as a barrel horse. The horse has almost no riding time, so I have agreed to take the horse and trail ride it and put time on the horse. The horse in the course of the last month, has started bucking, rearing, biting and just being nasty. I believe the horse needs to be restarted. Can you offer some suggestions on how to make this horse stand for brushing, and getting her feet done, without rearing and biting? Do you think it is because the horse knows she can control this little girl? I have this bloodline, and I have never had this kind of problem. I have a stallion and he is just as mild manned as they come, and was broke with no problem, but then I didn't push him either. I would really appreciate any help you may can give me. I really enjoyed reading your advise to others.

Sincerely, Sheila

Hi Sheila,

You are exactly correct. This horse needs a total 'makeover.' Restarting the mare is really the way to go. From basic ground manners (standing for grooming, feet handling, establishing boundries, etc.) to introducing the saddle and bridle and riding, go way back to the beginning and do it right. There is no short cut to use here. Good, solid, knowledgeable training and time is what is required. Also, I would begin to put the horse to work in a round pen as well to burn off some of its top end steam. Once it wants to slow in the round pen is when you can begin to ask for things. This is a young horse and if it is not getting enough exercise it will be very difficult to keep its attention. Do not feed it grain as that will make the job harder (makes the horse hotter) until it begins to settle somewhat. You really do have to go back to training for basic ground manners to accomplish what you want. No big mystery here or exotic training. Simple basics are what is needed and this basic training needs to be totally completed. Then a lot of miles needs to be put on the mare. This could take a month or more for the basics and a year for the miles. Patience, consistency, skill and knowledge will be called for. Do you think you have the knowledge, skills and time to implement the training? Will the owners pay for this after thinking they bought a well trained horse? Important quesitons to ask, I think.

It is true the horse knows it can intimidate the child and it will continue to do this until it gets trained. This could be a good opportunity to get some equine knowledge for the young girl by having her watch and participate in the horse's training. I always suggest the owners get involved in the training fo their horses, especially youngsters as their initial experiences with horses are all about riding them and not about learning the psychology and language of the horse. Whoever sold the grandmother this horse for the child did a dangerous dis-service. The horse will be green until it is about 6 years old. Why not suggest they move this horse on to a more experienced human and get a more mature and 'dead-broke' barrel horse for the girl to compete on? Getting a horse this young for a child is never really a good idea. Thank you for your question. Let me know how it goes.

Sincerely, Franklin

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