Bev’s horse problem

Bev has been in touch – thank you for all the posts on her horse biting problem.

I thought I’d make a page for Bev’s reply, because of this line she wrote:

“I didn’t cherish this dream for all these years to say ow that hurt and quit”

God bless you Bev!

Here’s Bev’s reply in full:

“THANKS for everyones advice…but let me explain further. I KNOW why Shasta nipped me and at that time there was NO way to do anything but tuck and roll :razz: I was literally flying through the air…but Shasta isn’t the problem. Her and I are fine. She let’s me groom, look all under her belly, fine. Moka? Different story. I went back out in the pasture, no food, actually there to take pictures and was standing by Shasta and I saw Moka headed straight for me, ears flat on head, mouth open. I turned to her, took a step forward, spread out my arms and said EH,(I watch alot of the dog whisperer :grin: )and she stopped. When she stopped I kept moving forward until I made her leave the immediate area. Actually in the skeem of things Shasta is alfa. I’ve noted quite carefully everything y’all have said and will try all to see what works for us. But it’s winter here and exercising and lung is not happening right now. I do go out daily and talk…tried singing but BOTH let me know I shouldn’t give up my day job.

Moka did not bite me because I hurt pinched or anything…she bit, because those of you who have said she doesn’t respect me, is right.

Humor I got. Sharp elbows too, I’m skinny. But get rid of her? Prove her right that people are not to be trusted? Not happening. I love her and she is going to respect me for being alpha. I just gotta get my act together and do what’s in all of ours best interest.

Again I thank you all dearly and sincerely. Let me get to the spring where I can work her and establish groundwork and I will keep you posted.

One more thing…Moka’s ear are ALWAYS back except when she’s talking asking for treats, food of some sort or just napping. She’s not in pain, she is unhappy and I would be too if I spent the last 10 years or so in a small pasture never being attended to, talked to or ANYTHING for that time, with just a gelding as company and watching him get shot while I was standing there. She was BADLY neglected, not physically abused, although the girl who was getting rid of her for her boyfiend polked her in her face alot, until I asked her to stop. I always blow into their nostrals as a greeting and stoop shoulders and stand sideways when approaching. There’s so much to learn and I’ve seen the movie “Buck” and even recently obtained the phone number of the trainer of Moka. He told the girl who gave her away he remembers her, so now I need to talk to him.

I didn’t cherish this dream for all these years to say ow that hurt and quit. No I do not like being bit, that last one was nasty and 2 weeks later STILL hurts…BUT she’s trying to tell me something and I need to shut up and listen. She’s not a puppy, although having some issues in that area too or I wouldn’t be watching the dog whisperer. :lol:

Many thanks again…Bev”


Don’t forget – Lara’s key ground exercises book is here.

Best

Al

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28 Comments.

  1. Thank you so much for not giving up and throwing her away. You are an amazing person to try and listen,too many people take the easy way out.
    Good luck,
    Mony:)

  2. Candice Wallingford

    Dear Bev, Bravo! The filly that came with my colt was the foal before him & she was put out to pasture for her first year & ahalf with an over bearing, mistreating Hurd… & she learned how to bully. She came without being handled & her hooves were all split from Tip to toe. I could hardly afford the colt & his basic needs & everyone said send her back, no feet. No horse. Plus she was leaping forward as if someone was hitting her in the butt with a beebeegun, every 3 minutes. Lacy was afraid of her own shadow. Now working with a good blacksmith & hoof supplements, I am seeing a gentle, sweet gal that just needed love. I needed her, too. So with faith I keep the charge God has blessed me with & every day I see improvement. Believing InYour commitment, Sincerely, Candice

  3. Bev , so glad you seemed to trully get what we all said . Establishing yourself as alfa (so you can work with Moka(safely) and show her you are to be trusted)will be a great start.I think you will find as long as you are receptive ,most horseman will unselfishly reach out to help. Sounds like you are on track now , keep it up and good luck.

  4. Hi Bev, it’s so nice to hear from someone my age with a love of horses. In October, I got a 3-1/2 year old Saddlebred. She had quite a bit of training under her from her owner/breeder, but was told she was not loved on, just worked with as the owner had a lot of horses to train and little time for that.

    The first time (when I was at the owner’s barn) I got on her back I had three horsewomen directing me. Well, long story short, I got bumped off. Not an actual buck but a step to the side that put me off balance and I down I went. Needed 5 stitches in my finger. :( I also have had set backs with my saddle. It needed to be altered.. I am 4’11, so it needed to have the stirrups made shorter and now I’m told I need new billet straps too. Found a Simco saddle online and love the way it looks. I had a saddle fitter come out and she said the saddle fit just fine, but needs new billet straps. So no saddle to work with yet. I’ve been going out every other day and lunging her and doing ground work exercises. What I need is confidence. The other night I went out and Ruby seemed nervous. She was not in the mood for ground work and seemed a little goosey about her back end when I noticed what looked like either a bite or just wet from other horses picking on her. I believe she may have been in heat. I put her in her stall and tried to groom her but she started swishing her tail and dancing around. I didn’t want to get hurt so I closed the stall door and left (without giving her the treats I had brought from home). Being the alpha is my problem also. I did get a lot of advice through your questions Bev, but if anyone has any other words of wisdom they sure would be appreciated. I love this site! :grin: Lea

  5. Patricia Preston

    G’day Bev, it is sad for you to know your horse is so sad – I suspect that when you are able to get working with her and establish your self as the alph – especially once she chooses you – I was the one who wrote about the round yard exercise and how she will choose to be with you rather than be chased away and made to work – then she will feel more secure and hopefully that will lead her to being a happier horse. It may even turn out that she does not like being the alpha but feels she has no choice – when she accepts you as the leader she may feel part of the herd and be happier in herself. I hope so. Trish

  6. What said yesterday stands, but I am happy to hear you are able to stand your ground to her. Hope all goes well for you.

  7. :razz: GOOD ON YOU. I TOO HAVE A HORSE CHILD THAT WAS LEFT FOR DEAD AND SHE NOW AT THE STAGE OF BEING RIDDEN AND ENJOYING LIFE IN HER MID 20S. FOLLOW YOUR HART.

  8. Bev, like you, I waited until I was a Sr.(62) to begin a life with my own horse. Grew up around them, rode everything that would let me on it’s back growing up. But life, raising kids put my dream of owning my own horse on hold until this last summer. I have been looking for 7 years, planned on getting an older gal, like me, but as luck would have it, I fell into a beautiful little 4.5 yr old quarter horse mare. She had been broke 3 yrs ago and left sit and ignored. Love at first sight, I took her home and we began a long hard journey. I remembered everything I had learned from my granddad, but had no idea what she remembered from her training so we started at the beginning. She was scared, I was bluffing my way through it. Never ever feared her, but fully respected her power and ability to be the Alpha if she decided to be. First 6 wks was a dream, then it suddenly changed. I was bitten and kicked within a 2 wk time period, both with logical explinations. Hubby asked if I was ready to get rid of her. No, just starting. Found a college girl who is an absolute angel to work with Luna while recovered from my thigh kick injury. ( And she still comes 3x’s a week just to ride) I went right out and worked with her as much as I was physically able. On the 2nd day, my college girl says ” I am getting on her and seeing what she knows”. I swallowed hard and said Ok. Luna recalled every bit of her training, she loves working, being ridden, groomed. Since September she has gone from a totally green animal, non trusting, to a beautiful, proud, loving companion. She recognises the difference in the abilities of whoever is on her back and respects it, she is always asking ( respectfully) for hugs and nose kisses. Has never offered another bite or kick. We have figured out by observing her that she was hit in the past with a whip, bossed around by an older mare and rather neglected and left to her own devices. The lady I got her from said that even after all that money she put in for training, she got on and the horse wouldn’t move for her, and her kids were afraid of her so no one ever rode her. That sounds like owner created issues to me, not issues with the horse. Even my farrier who went with us to pick her up asked me a couple weeks ago if she was the same horse we had picked up. Everything about her has changed, appearence, attitude, temperment, behavior, trust, you name it. She can be ridden western, english, bareback, with a bit or just the halter and reins. It is mid winter here in Wisconsin and sub zero right now so our interaction is walking, a quick bareback ride and talking with an occassional treat, but she is everything I ever dreamed of having in a horse. As my college girl puts it ” she is just about as perfect a horse as you can get” and she has worked with $100 thousand horses. Only thing she hasn’t done is barrel racing and she is threatening to try Luna this spring. It is amazing what a lot of love and a little bit of loving, consistant behavior correction can do for a horse. Luna knows she is well loved, respected and respects and loves us. It makes all of the difference in the world. I wouldn’t trade my plain little brown horse for anything in the world. I’m not giving up, Bev, and don’t you either. Just keep trying things and you will find what clicks with her. Once you do, she will do anything you want her to out of love and respect.

  9. Yes, good on you..Keep it simple, show her loads of love but dont put up with any of her naughtiness. I use “aaaaahhh” for a cue if any of my horses are about to do anything unacceptable, then if they proceed not to listen to my command..
    Give them a GOOD whack, if they are smart they will soon learn!
    Believe me I dont have a couple of horses to deal with…i have about 46! All that I love & respect and they return it. All the best!

  10. Stay smart, Stay safe, Stay Strong.
    Always let the horse know you are in charge. You don’t have to be mean, just assertive. Body language helps.

  11. Good for you ! One day soon, it will all come together !
    Love, Finola.

  12. Good for you Bev! hope your mares bounce back from what they’ve been through!

  13. I love to hear the stories others tell of their horses. I have a mare that use to be a bit of a stubborn, cranky girl. When I first got her she tried me in every way possible…and nipping me was one of them. I spoke with my neighbor whom does training and has been with as well as on horses since she was three years old. When I asked her how to end the nipping that she was doing she replied…Bite her back. Well I must have had the stupidest look on my face because she laughed and said “I don’t mean bite her as in with your mouth, but take your finger tips and bite her with them when she nips you.” She told me that I needed to watch her horses behavior in the field when they are out together paying close attention to their body language. I watched and boy did I learn alot. I came home with my knowledge of what I had observed and wow….what a difference in the relationship I now have with my mare. I only bit her twice on the neck with my fingertips when she nipped me and now her nipping is a thing of the past. I walk out in the field now not saying a word to her and we communicate through body language quite well…she has become my dream girl. :???:

  14. Has anyone else ever read John Lyons books?? He talks about how biting is the only thing that he will hit his horse for… and he has 3 sec. but if the horse bit and ran away then thats that… i’m not putting this as good as its put in the book but i agree with John.

    • I have read Jphn Lyons book and attended his training back in the day. I agree.

      Horses like puppies need to learn not to hurt their owners. Sometimes a smack with the flat of our hand is the only thing that gains their attention or respect. Sort of like the rule, the only time to spank your child is when they run into the street. They go to learn, quick.

      We are not talking abuse here. AND I am not advocating hitting them repeatedly on the head over and over for mugging treats and thereby making them head shy.

      Twice I have smacked horsed for biting, neither of them did it again. Once was an old farm / plow horse that my riding student boarded out for awhile. She was trying to feed him carrots, he took her thumb between his teeth and held on. Good thing she had thick winter gloves on. I looked at her and asked, are you going to punch him or am I? She was so shocked that he had her thumb between his teeth she could only nod. I gave him a good punch, in the side of his mouth, and he let go. Believe me when I say, I didn’t hurt this guy. He had the constitution of a tank.

      The other time, I already explained in the previous thread. My mare was frustrated with the “no treat” rule at the county fair and took ahold of my cheek. I smacked her with the flat of my hand. Just to let her know, HEY that HURT!

      Both of these situations were people mistakes. Unfortunately, horses are BIG and need to know they can HURT us. To fully respect us, horses need reminding once in awhile of that. Watching alphas establish dominance will display that there is a lot of physicality in that. The human challenge is to find a way to combind the establishment of pack leader with trust, loyalty, and mutual respect.

      The “Buck” movie demonstrates that all horses CAN NOT be rescued. Some are so damaged they can not be safe. The choice has to be made by the person, when safety is paramount to saving a horse. I had this happen once with one horse in 48 years. The horse was terribly spoiled, brat. No boundaries had ever been established from her birth. She was allowed to do whatever she wanted, including coming to the porch door and demanding treats. Cute when they are 4 weeks old, NOT cute when they are a 4 year old bitchy mare. At 4 she was sold as a child’s mount, for a riding student of mine. I was asked to train the horse and the rider. She attacked me every time I went into the pasture to collect other mounts. Even when I didn’t approach her she would run across the open are if she saw anyone come into the pasture. She attacked other people trying to get their horses. I took to carrying an axe handle out in the pasture.

      So, I refused to work with her. She wasn’t safe for the child and I wasn’t being paid enough to risk injury. There is always a cost / benefit that must be taken into consideration when keeping / working with horses. Cost sometimes is the risk of injury. Some horses are worth it in the long run, some are not.

  15. Dear Bev,

    You are doing all the right things. You will gain Moca’s trust and will have a lot of fun times with her. Sometimes I sit down nursing a trodden on foot, or wrenched finger and sometimes a cracked rib and wonder why I do it. The answer is because I love my horse. It’s been freezing cold here in England and the horses are getting winter fatigue. So am I, so we all sympathize with each other. My Arab cross is out 24/7 all year and won’t wear a rug or go in the stable, despite me pleading with her to get comfy. Friends of mine with thoroughbreds have them rugged up and in the stables, where they can groom and wash tails etc. and make them look really pretty ready for hunting. Meanwhile my “Monument to Mud” is perfectly happy mucking about in the field. But come Spring she will be stunning. She’s a mare too. But like you I won’t give up.

    Best wishes.

  16. :grin: Great to hear that you are prepared to work with Moka, although you will get so much so called “advice”, go with your heart and gut feeling. Stay safe and aware but peserverence will pay off in the end.
    I wish you all the best.
    Aussie girl, Cheryl

  17. Dear Bev,
    Watching the movie Buck is a great start and you might even want to look into the Parelli Natural Horsemanship method. I’ve been practicing PNH since 2005 and I know for a fact, it works. I have had amazing results and get respect as leader without ever having to touch my horse. No halter, no lead, just at Liberty in pasture.

  18. I think we all need to keep it in perspective when we read this story. Bev has only had this horse for 1 month. That is not enough time to let this horse know she is safe and that Bev will take care of her. 10 years is a lot of time to undo, this horse will come around if she is given the space to do so. I think Bev is on the right track! Keep up the good work!

    Steph

  19. I too have a horse (a 10 year old gelding) who liked to bite. I always tried to spend a lot of time with him as he was very lonely not having a human companion for 4 or 5 years. My sister bought him for her adopted son and he never spent any time with him (an no one else did either) He was like a lawn gnome. When I came along everyone told me to never turn my back on him. Well I didn’t listen. I walked around in the pastures and would talk to him whether he was beside me or not. I think he became interested in trying to figure out why I was there and started to follow. He developed a really bad fetlock issue and would lay down a lot due to the pain. I did everything the Vet instructed me to do but went a step further and would lay with him for hours everyday. He would put his head on me and I would talk to him and rub his nose with mine. When he was recovered I still walked around the pastures and he followed me around like a puppy. I have been very ill since April and have been through numerous surgeries and procedures and have not been there for him. I have been really worried that he wouldn’t want anything to do with me thinking I abandoned him. I went out yesterday as painful as it was to be with him as he received his yearly shots. I couldn’t believe how affectionate he was to me giving me hugs and kisses. I love this horse and I know he loves me. I can’t wait to be well enough to get a saddle on him and get him out of the pasture. I think horses are soul mates with hooves. I want to thank you for your post. I was very inspired by it.

    • Its so wonderful to hear your story. YES, we do have horses that are our soul mates. You found yours, I had mine three times, and now I own someone else’s. I am not sure how many human / horse soul mates there are out there, but I hope to find another one to spend some more of the rest of my life with.

  20. Good on you for not giving up on your biter! I didn’t give up on my little mare either and have had her now for 7 years. I am her forever home! She was mistreated and neglected when i got her. The prickly brushes worked to stop her biting with me being passively assertive. Body language and love have done the rest. She is now my carriage pony and we have clocked up several thousand miles together and won competitions. She always comes when I call her and she is also my therapist and I am hers! Never give up on an animal, they’re not born mean, just made mean by humans! Best of luck!

  21. I didn’t read all the replies – sorry – I hope I do not repeat advice. With my Stud I never acted shy or small – like the dog whisperer I walked tall and with purpose. If I wanted him – I walked straight to him – he didn’t have to guess what I wanted. Next I took advice from my sister and put him in a small round pen, there I made him go at each pace “I” wanted and would turn him often. I used lead to make sure when asked to turn he could ONLY turn head towards me – rump is disrespectful. Then I turned him loose and had him go – fast with no let off – when I did remove the pressure I asked him to face me and move towards me – just a step or two. I would then go over to him and stroke him. If he moved away – back to running we went with his first step away from me. I mean run, if he even started to turn away I let him know to keep going and I ment he better move it! After not long at all he understood and was happy to walk closer towards me to make sure I understood he knew what I wanted. In a few days he would follow me. Ears up and listening to me. Oh which reminds me – I talked to him the whole time – looking good – keep it up – get with me – good boy – ah (wrong) – get away from me – move it – what ever fit what he was doing – and what ever it was I wanted. So he heard my voice and at the end was listening to here the good boy, get with me :) Since him I have done the same with all my horses. I am now doing it with my Filly and at this point she does not respect me at all ! Always turning her rump to me. Good luck – oh it will work in a stall even – just as long as there is room for him to move around you not over you. Added that since you said it was winter there. Just no running – horses like to be lazy and if you take that away they are more likely to listen. I have the reverse here – our summers are too hot to work a horse hard unless inside. Good luck and keep calm and have fun – teaching should be fun – so don’t stress. Now if you have no barn or stall – as you go out to feed or just see him take a treat – wait til he looks at you with ears forward then ask if he wants it – let him come to you.Then reach out stroke him with one hand as you give it to him. Then when you thaw out you can use the round pen – oh just in case you have no round pen – I didn’t with my guy so I got help – I would be on one side of field her on the other so between the two of us we could keep him going. We did get a work out too – but it was well worth it.
    I see this is a new horse that had a bad start with people … very sad … but you being alfa will make her feel safer. Enjoy each moment and only plan to enjoy your time together. If what you do doesn’t seem to be working it’s ok don’t stress just move on and do something else. You two WILL get it and become best of friends <3 Please keep us informed :)

  22. I didn’t read all the replies – sorry – I hope I do not repeat advice. With my Stud I never acted shy or small – like the dog whisperer I walked tall and with purpose. If I wanted him – I walked straight to him – he didn’t have to guess what I wanted. Next I took advice from my sister and put him in a pen, there I made him go at each pace “I” wanted and would turn him often. I used lead to make sure when asked to turn he could ONLY turn head towards me – rump is disrespectful. Then I turned him loose and had him go – fast with no let off – when I did remove the pressure I asked him to face me and move towards me – just a step or two. I would then go over to him and stroke him. If he moved away – back to running we went with his first step away from me. I mean run, if he even started to turn away I let him know to keep going and I ment he better move it! After not long at all he understood and was happy to walk closer towards me to make sure I understood he knew what I wanted. In a few days he would follow me. Ears up and listening to me. Oh which reminds me – I talked to him the whole time – looking good – keep it up – get with me – good boy – ah (wrong) – get away from me – move it – what ever fit what he was doing – and what ever it was I wanted. So he heard my voice and at the end was listening to here the good boy, get with me :) Since him I have done the same with all my horses. I am now doing it with my Filly and at this point she does not respect me at all ! Always turning her rump to me. Good luck – oh it will work in a stall even – just as long as there is room for him to move around you not over you. Added that since you said it was winter there. Just no running – horses like to be lazy and if you take that away they are more likely to listen. I have the reverse here – our summers are too hot to work a horse hard unless inside. Good luck and keep calm and have fun – teaching should be fun – so don’t stress. Now if you have no barn or stall – as you go out to feed or just see him take a treat – wait til he looks at you with ears forward then ask if he wants it – let him come to you.Then reach out stroke him with one hand as you give it to him. Then when you thaw out you can use the round pen – oh just in case you have no round pen – I didn’t with my guy so I got help – I would be on one side of field her on the other so between the two of us we could keep him going. We did get a work out too – but it was well worth it.
    I see this is a new horse that had a bad start with people … very sad … but you being alfa will make her feel safer. Enjoy each moment and only plan to enjoy your time together. If what you do doesn’t seem to be working it’s ok don’t stress just move on and do something else. You two WILL get it and become best of friends <3 Please keep us informed :)

  23. All the very best to you and your babies. Thanks for treating them like the individuals they are, and for not throwing them away. We need more people out there who are willing to view their relationship with horses as exactly that: A relationship. And horses bring with them their own “stuff,” just as we do. Kudos to you for stepping up to the plate and doing the work, with all of your heart!

  24. Hi Bev, what a wonderful person you are and Moka is very lucky to have you. It makes me cry when you hear about the neglect horses go through and how these people get away with it. I wish you all the best.

    Noeline. xx

  25. Good for you Bev, hold on to your dream. Wish you were closer, we could go for rides together. What area are you from?

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