Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Mare's dangerous behavior

Hi Franklin,

I have a question. My horse, a thoroughbred mare has gotten quite nasty. She went lame because of an absess in April and ever since then she has been psyco. It has gotten progressively worse too. It started with biting in her stall and I would smack her on the nose. It then got better in the summer but ever since it started to get cold again she's even worse. She has started kicking and biting. She'll bite then kick. Before you could walk her by other horses but now she kicks out at them. You can't tack her up in her stall any more but have to use the crossties which she has broken after she tries to bite someone then flips out and backs up until they break. I've read articles about how to fix biting and kicking but not at the same time. My coach said it could be lymes disease. Please help me!

Thanks, Libby


Hi Libby,

The only thing I can suggest is to do a ton of ground schooling/playing with this horse. Forget riding for a few weeks and spend at least an hour a day playing with this horse on the ground. This means you need to step up to the plate as the great leader/dance partner for this horse. Have a vet check for Lymes Disease as well. But many behavioral problems will disappear once leadership on the ground is established. If you do not understand, learn these techniques from a few training DVD's easily available in the backs of all horse magazines. I have several in my shopping corral that would prove very helpful to you. Stop trying to fix individual problems. Rather improve your total relationship with the horse. The behavior you don't want is a symptom of a bigger problem. You need to be able to lead the dance of motion and action on the ground. Most problems such as the kind you are experiencing will disappear (assuming there is nothing organic wrong with the horse like pain) if the handler gets on track by appropriately and consistently leading the dance on the ground. I have turned around many horses with the behavior your horse is exhibiting simply by being very consistent with dancing and playing with the horse on the ground for a while. It is more than simply lungeing the horse. There is real intention here to connect and lead a dance. If the horse can intimidate you, it will. You need the skills and confidence not to be intimidated. Never punish. You can provide the consequence of movement though. Most riding instructor's do not teach what I am speaking of. The only teach riding skills. They will not admit there is anything they do NOT know about horses either. But they will onyl teach what they know (equestrian skills) and they always go to "show the horse who is boss." I am suggesting you need to be the great leader for this horse, not his boss. Firmness is sometimes required. But you not being stubborn, frustrated or angry is required as well. Look for little signs that the horse is
to comply and immediately reward the horse. Do you know what a 'try' looks like? Do you know how to reward your horse for trying? This behavior, if not from pain, is still fear based and should be handled in such as way as to instill confidence and feelings of trust and safety within the horse. Get the knowledge, education and techniques you need easily, cheaply and efficiently by the purchase of a few training DVD's. I can also offer you telephone coaching as well to get you and your horse over these problems. I cannot give you all you need in an email. I promise you, you will thank me if you get the education, knowledge and skills required to get your horse through this. Your abilities as a horse person will rise tremendously..........

Good Luck and Happy Holidays, Franklin

Look for: