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Strange behavior in my young mare

Hi Franklin,

Here is a really strange one. I have a two year old mare that I got a couple of months ago. When I got her, she was very pushy and no sense of personal space. The ladies I got her from were nice, but clueless, and at the core, I think, afraid of horses. They claim they had done nothing other than haltering her (which I am inclined to disbelieve. She came with saddle issues, and some of the comments the lady made lead me to believe that there had been "issues". I wish they would have been more transparent so I would know what to expect...oh well, what can you do?)

She learned to be a bit overbearing/passive aggressive, in turns. She has made remarkable progress, and seems to be uncommonly smart. Like freakishly smart. She figures things out quicker than any horse I have ever been around. For me, she has been very responsive, is neck reigning and taking leg cues. I am riding her every day, and it is for the most part it is going very well.

Now, here is the problem. Whenever my boyfriend rides her, she pulls some rodeo action. Bucking, laying herself down, bolting etc... this is all pretty common stuff, and I think it is her pushing him, because he isn't the most experienced rider (but very game!). Here is the weirdness. Tonight when he was riding her out in the large field, she started bucking/bolting/rodeoing, so he wisely decided to go back to the round pen with her to tone it down. She didn't throw him, which I think frustrated her. When they got back into the round pen, her new tactic was to go totally limp and drop like a sack of cement to the ground. He got clear of her, and waited until she started to get back up, he jumped back on the saddle, and this scenario played out over and over about ten times. He finally got her to move forward after she stood, rode her for a short while, and got off on his own terms, which is good, but the whole thing is very unsettling. I don't know if she will try this behavior with me, because like I said, she is very responsive, and other than some mild head tossing, and a bi of crow hopping the first few times I brought her up to a canter, it has been all good. But, I don't want to be the only person she behaves for, and now I am wondering if I have just been lucky so far.

Have you ever dealt with the stop and drop before? Any advice for how to counter act it if this continues? Should I avoid having him get on her until she is much more dialed in? And what if it continues that she is great for me, but does this with him?

Any input would be appreciated.

P.S. Attached are a couple of pics. Her name is Misty (she came with, I am referring to her as "missile" after her last couple of performances with him! Also, she is in love with my pot bellied pig. Funniest ever!

Hi Sara,

Sorry it has taken so long to respond but I have been on the road. This behavior is not all that uncommon. First off, most horses need consistency in the abilities and skills of the rider/handler. This explains why the horse is fine for you but not your boyfriend. Its like being a dancer and dancing fine with an experienced partner and not wanting to dance at all with an inexperienced one. The horse has figured out various tactics to avoid having to deal with your boyfriend who may be too heavy handed, out of balance, using legs and hands inappropriately, on and on. So, this may not be a great horse for your boyfriend to mess with (at least not for a few years util the horse is older). This is a young horse and should only be ridden and handled by an experienced rider/handler. Cut the horse some slack and only you ride and school this horse. It needs a lot of education and skillful schooling. It does not want or need and should have inexperienced and novice humans messing with it. Thats the truth.

Good Luck. Sincerely, Franklin

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