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Striking (PLEASE HELP!)

Hi Franklin,

We have a four year old mare who at first seemed to have no problems what so ever, but then one day while she was cross tied she started pulling back as hard as she could. then she reared up and one of the ties broke so she fell on her back. A few months later while we were out on the trail ride and we stopped, we tied all our horses to trees with neck rope ( it wasn't her first time doing this). As I was walking away she started pulling back so hard that the neck rope actually tightened which really scared her, she ended up running around the tree until she was out of rope and just kept pulling, my stepfather cut the rope after he did that she reared up and started striking at him he tried keep a hold of her but she started chasing him and striking. Then once again when we were in a round pen trying to clip her, I was holding her on a lead rope while my step father tried to clip her she pulled back, reared up and started striking at him.

Please help, I really need to know if there is a way to stop this behavior because I want to prove to my step father we can fix her problem so that I can possibly show her, because he said we have to sell her and I really do not want to do that.

Best regards, Franklin
Thanks, Katrina

Hi Katrina,

Your horse has been traumatized and is now very fearful to the point of terror. Have great compassion for this horse. The good news is that he can be retrained. The process for doing this is to go back to the beginnings of good, solid basic training and go through re-starting the horse. He should be treated as a young horse and go all he way back through the process again beginning with a lot of ground play and on the ground schooling. Having a round pen handy would prove a valuable tool. This process goes beyond any riding abilities. It has nothing to do with the human riding a horse. It goes more to the actual horse itself. Unfortunately, when teachers give riding lessons they give little or no information about horses beyond maintenance.

In my archives I have described several processes to help a horse learn not to pull back. Use the search engine feature. I have written on that quite a bit. This process requires skills and sensitivity you may not have yet. These are training issues. The techniques are wonderful, fairly simple if you have had some experience with horses and also make perfect sense. They are difficult describe in an email. It a little like trying to learn ballroom dancing from a book. Its great to be able to see the dance. One thing is to note that a horse cannot rear or strike when being pulled or bent to a side. This is a way to ask a horse to do a hind-quarter yield from the ground. By getting good at that with a horse, it can be used as a consequence if there is behavior I do not want. I can always stand to the side of a horse and bend his head to me. If I face backwards, look at his butt and stay by his hip, I can give little tugs on the leadrop nad bend him in a way that he pivots on his front feet and crosses over his hind feet to move (yield) his butt away from me. If I can provide a consequence or make that thing I do not hard to do, the horse teaches himself that what I ask are the easy things to do.

I can offer you some very effective telephone coaching through this as well. You can sign up through the help center or shopping corral. You might be able to find a good, gentle trainer in your area as well. Be careful for there are many out there who say they are trainers being certified by this one or that. But they eventally go to abuse when they quickly cannot solve a problem. Abuse and coersion are never an option. Patience and skill are what is required. I also travel a lot to train and teach. Perhaps there is a way to come to your area. As you can see by my website, I present and train horses in many places. Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Best regards, Franklin

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