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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Mare Behavior

You have said that mares are moody but you haven't said what to do about it as far as correcting pinned back ears and wanting to bite. My two year old mare is very well trained but she gets grouchy when I go in the stall to pick it and she doesn't like me to pet or groom her. I tried to correct her and she turned her butt to me as if to
kick. I also have a 5 year old mare who when you correct her will kick out from the
back. I don't know how severe I should be dealing with a mare. I certainly don't want them getting away with this behavior. I can correct my geldings with no problem but I know mares will 'hold a grudge'. Please help!

Carla Smith


Hi Carla,

There are several ways I like to 'correct' a pushy or aggressive horse. One is to have the horse in a halter and lead rope and to snake the rope under the horses chin and at the same time tell her to "BACK" and have her back up. I do this a bit aggressively. There is no hitting, smacking or abuse. The horse merely gives way to me and quickly. I will have them back all the way around an arena if I need to. Believe me you will gain the horses respect by doing this. Do not push so hard that the horse leaves you or wants to strike out at you or rear. So there is a balance to this of not too much and not too little pressure. Be assertive but not abusive. If a horse pins it's ears or attempts to nip, another thing to do is to have the horse do circles around you in both directions 5 or 6 times. Then give her a chance for some peace with a "WHOA". You can combine this with backing the horse up before you give her the WHOA. This way the horse goes to work when she does what you don't want. Do this as many times as it takes for the horse to comply with your requests. Correcting a horse lose in a stall is another matter and you put yourself at risk by doing it. I strongly do not recommend trying to correct a lose horse in a stall. You can easily get hurt. The space is too small. You must do your correction when the horse is on a line and you have room around you. Correcting a lose horse in a stall leaves you very vulnerable. The horse will try to protect itself aggressively. Horses are very claustrophobic. Please keep this in mind. You can gain the horses respect in a proper training session that you have set up safely. The horse will retain the lessons learned. If you must, tie the horse in the stall before you attempt to do anything. BE CAREFUL! As far as horses holding a grudge, I have found they only hold grudges when there is abuse rather than appropriate, strong leadership. You may not believe you are being nasty or mean to your mares. But there is something wrong. Please do some introspection on your attitude when correcting your mares. Are you being the great leader and parent or something else (such as the disciplinarian)? Put yourself in their place receiving whatever you are dishing out. What do you do when you "correct" a horse? I am curious to know.

I hope I have helped keep you safe and addressed the problem with some good suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Aloha, Franklin

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