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All of a sudden my horse is cranky and mean while brushed.


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#1 Foginbrainz

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 04:34 PM

All of a sudden my horse doesn't like being brushed. A few weeks ago I was brushing her stomach and she started swishing her tail, and kicked up towards her stomach. last week while I was brushing her chest she swished her tail, and this week, if I brush her anywhere, she swishes her tail and acts like she is going to bite.

Some background--I have NEVER seen her swish her tail, except at flies, until now. She is the type of horse that loves attention, and that you can normally do anything too. She is wormed regular, fed mostly grass hay and pasture, with a small amount of grain (1-2 cups) and a basic vitamin supplement. I do use a spray stuff for sensitive skin and shiny coat, I never used it before because she had sensitive skin though, but just because I wanted her to have a shiny coat.

The only thing I can think of is the weather--cold and rainy. But, she didn't act like this last winter, so I am at a loss. I thought maybe you guys would have some ideas.

#2 PBR Cowgirl Crew-ask me about it

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 06:37 PM

I saw your post and thought "this sounds like my horse used to be!"
First off: it can't hurt to have a vet check her out to make sure she doesn't have an injury or illness that makes her tender; perhaps the cold weather is doing something to her digestive system. When Lizz colicked in January, she didn't want anyone touching her stomach, but she showed the other signs of colic as well, and it was pretty immediate. She colicked because she hadn't been drinking enough water--it was too cold for her taste! Now the stable manager (I board her) uses bucket heaters and checks her water more frequently to make sure she's drinking enough.

However, when Lizzie really behaved like you describe your mare, it was purely attitude and testing me. I was not being as assertive of a leader as I should have been, so she was confused as to who was in charge in our 'herd.' She was rescued from a neglectful home where they let her feet grow out for 1-2 years, so humans aren't her favorite animals, but by the time she got into her dangerous attitudes, she had been with me for over 3 years, so it's not likely she was acting out of fear. How long has your horse been with you? Have you had her since birth, and if not, do you know her history?
As with Lizz, it's likely your horse is just testing her limits to see how far you'll let her go. Each time I groomed her, she got crankier, so I would try to do it more lightly and quickly, and just skip over parts that didn't compromise her safety. Unfortunately, this just makes the situation worse, and the horse thinks her challenges are scaring you away, so she'll keep getting more aggressive.
Lizzie's never been happy about picking up her feet, but she started to swing her legs while I was holding them, or kick out at me when I asked her to lift a leg or move herself over. Eventually, we got to a point where the mare who once patiently allowed a young child to shove a straw up her nose would charge me and rear up at me when I opened her stall door. I thought she hated me, but in reality, she was doing the only thing she knew how to force me to take charge and be a leader.
With my barn manager's help (for the safety of both of us), I began to undo her aggressiveness. We did some free lunging (similar to joining up); she got to rest and come to me when she lowered her head, kept an ear on me, and chewed the air. Most importantly, she had to quit kicking out and making any aggressive motions toward me; I kept a lunge whip in my hand to encourage her on because I have poor throwing skills and cannot toss a soft rope properly, plus at that point I could throw the whole rope at her and she'd just look back at me and not move a darn step, but it never touched her other than to tap her chest with light flicks if she got too close to me when I didn't ask her to come. Make sure to NEVER use the lunge whip as a weapon or punishment; it should merely be an extension of your hand. If you can use a loose lunge rope or lead line to encourage your horse, I recommend that instead of a whip. We spent time in the 'square pen' (didn't have a round pen, just an arena I moved her around until she got tired of working) until she decided to show me some respect. Once she did, I let her stop working and join my 'herd,' but on one condition: we walked and stopped when I wanted to. If she walked away from me or put her attention on something else, she went back to trotting and not being in the safety of our herd.
Eventually, she started to respond almost immediately, and then I was able to move on to other ground work. I first approached her with my barn manager, Sara (who's just an awesome horsewoman; she taught me most of this), holding Lizz in the middle of the arena with her halter and lead rope. I got the tack box, set it far enough away that we could send Lizzie off without her crashing into it, and approached her with a brush. We let her sniff it and give her approval, then I casually brought it to her shoulder and started brushing. If she made any moves to bite or kick me, my trainer made her walk in a circle. If she did actually snap or kick, she was made to go out and work again (we used a lead short enough that it wouldn't wrap around her legs and trip her). Soon enough she figured out that to be allowed to stand still, she had to be nice and allow me to brush her.
I then worked in the arena alone, lead rope in one hand while grooming with the other, while Sara was within earshot if I needed her help. Lizzie got less aggressive each time (and I started out each new session with a free lunge to refresh her memory of who was now in charge), and we eventually reached a point where I could groom her without a lead rope on her, but I keep it draped across her neck on the offchance something would spook her. We then went back to tying her up as I normally groom her, and if she was agressive, I would make her back away from me by using a firm voice "NO. Back UP," walking into her space (and sometimes her, if she wouldn't move), and poking her with my hand. My index finger into her shoulder didn't hurt her, but it certainly annoyed her, and she understood that I would not tolerate that sort of disrespect from her any more.
When we reached a financial point where I could take riding lessons from Sara, I took those up again to improve my riding and communication skills with Lizzie. Sara also rode Lizzie twice a week to reinforce properly what I did in lessons, so that Lizzie fully understood what she was supposed to do, even when her owner didn't know exactly what she was asking.

I'm not a professional or expert trainer, and I don't guarantee what I did will work for everyone. I just try to better my knowledge and improve my relationship with my horse every time I go out to the barn. I wanted to learn how to earn my horse's respect, but I also knew my limits and that I would just mess things up worse if I took it on myself, so I asked Sara for help. Lizzie and I now have a much better relationship; she understands that I am the leader while we are working, and since that's a certainty, she can relax and be much happier. She doesn't obey me out of fear, but follows my requests out of respect, and in turn, I try to better listen to when she's had enough 'boring' (in her opinion) work in the ring and needs some down time to hit the trails, play in the field next door, or graze while I read nearby. Also, while out on the trails, we have a much better time. She's not always pulling for total control of the reins or attempting to make her own paths, and in return I can give her back her head and sometimes let her pick which direction we take (only after she's shown her willingness to go where I ask, of course). I can now walk up to her in her stall and out in the pasture and she either willingly gives me her head or is made to turn in a circle until she decides that giving me her head is what she'd like to do. When I lead her, I hold the lead rope for safety, but we are now at a point where I can lay the rope on her back and she'll still follow me. Neither she nor I are perfect, and we do make mistakes and have to backtrack sometimes (usually my fault), but in general, we are at a MUCH better point than we were and we're both happy and not always fighting with each other.

Aggressive behaviors can be much more difficult, and more dangerous, to correct than fear behaviors, so please be careful and make sure you have adequate assistance to keep both you and your horse safe. I hope this helps you with your mare, and if you have any more questions (lol just in case this post wasn't quite lengthy enough), feel free to message me here or SUPERMARELIZZIE on AIM. Also, I recommend looking up Pat Parelli's "Seven Games" and playing them with your horse. We've started those, and they DO make a difference in the amount of respect and trust I get from my horse.

#3 BreedingStockPaintOwner

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 06:38 PM

Sounds like the problem I have with my yearling filly.Since she has a winter coat now...when you brush her,you have to be much firmer because she has a thick coat,or else you may be tickling her and making her angry...so check that out first.Is she sore in any places?She may be sore,and when you apply pressure to that place,she is showing you it hurts.I found out it is none of that with my horse....so I dont know what has happened..so I discpline her...DO NOT let her bite or kick you,let her know you are the boss,like by smacking the offending leg with a crop,or when she bites,stick your elbow out so when she turns her head to bite,her head hits your elbow,and it hurts her.She then realizes that when she tries to bite,she hits your elbow,so she wont try again.When she kicks,smack her leg with the crop NOT after she is finished,but while she is kicking,and say no or make a firm noise so she knows this is not ok.

#4 Foginbrainz

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 07:11 PM

Thank you for both of your responses.
I have no idea of her history, I have heard several different stories, so who knows what is right. I have had her for a little over a year. I don't THINK it is her trying to be dominant over me, but I will keep that in mind. She does know the 7 games, and we normally do them for 5-10 minutes when I ride. I do free lunge her occasionally as well. I don't know--she has never really "tested" me, so perhaps this is it. Maybe I'll take the brush out with me next time I free lunge her and try what you were suggesting PBR.
I feel "on guard" when brushing now. It used to be relaxing, but now I have to brush with my elbow stuck out so she will "accidentally" run into it. After running into about 5 times, she will settle down for a bit.
One thing, there doesn't seem to be one spot. She is being cranky no matter where I brush her--her back, chest, neck, or belly.

#5 MHJLittlefield

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 07:12 PM

Since the only thing you've recently changed is the skin spray, stop using it for a month and see if she improves. Just because the product is advertised as being good for skin and coat doesn't mean your mare appreciates it. She may just be having a low-level reaction that is aggravated by the feel of brushing.

(As an example, one of my TBs gets hives when I use a natural fly spray on him!)

#6 PBR Cowgirl Crew-ask me about it

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 07:30 PM

I had the same feelings. Tail swishes mean "I'm unhappy about something: I'm either in pain, or uncomfortable, or I just do NOT like what you are doing," so I was already tense when I started grooming, expecting her to start tail swishing and stomping, and so of course that's what she did. Try approaching your horse with a casual, calm attitude, like you had before she started reacting this way. (You can be nervous, but you'll just have to fake it and portray a calm image to your horse, and soon both of you will start to believe that you're calm!) If you're on edge, your mare will pick up those vibes and start to get tense as well.
I've had times where I just grin, pat Lizzie's neck firmly, ruffle her forelock and tell her what a "sweet, angelic horse" she is when she pins her ears and sticks her head out at me. In reality I'm afraid she's going to bite me if I get any closer, but I don't let her intimitate me, and she realizes her bluffing doesn't work and stops acting up. (I only recommend this with a horse you know well; a strange horse might wonder who the heck you think you are and lay one on you. Project confidence around all horses, but also be cautious; I know Lizzie is not likely hurt me because she's never actually made contact with her bites and kicks, but it's hard to do that with a horse you've just met.)
Very few horses actually want to hurt their riders, especially when they know them well; they just want to see if their scare tactics will work with you. Ever seen two stallions, especially wild or feral ones, fight? It's very noisy and looks like they'll fight to the death, but in reality, they rarely even get into physical combat, much less serious injuries. It's all about who can project a more confident, "you can't bother me" image.

#7 Foginbrainz

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 07:37 PM

The sentence I wrote about the skin spray came out wrong, I have actually been using it for quite a while,(since Juneish) but I was just using it for a shiny coat. I don't think that is the culprit since I have been using it for almost 6 months, but it wouldn't hurt to quit using it and see what happens. I only use it about once a week anyway.

It very well could be aggression. Even though she doesn't "seem" like that type of horse--she is still a horse!

The only place she likes brushed now is her head. She loves that! [Wink]

Edited to add-my husband said maybe she is taking out her horse "dominance" on me, since her herd mate left, and she was dominant over her herd mate. [Confused] Not to bad of an idea for a non-horse husband eh?

[ 11-25-2005, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: Foginbrainz ]

#8 Horse Racer

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 08:48 PM

Yeah, not bad for a non-horsey husband lol. [Big Grin] When I first read this, there were three things that popped into my head specifically. 1: Maybe she is getting rain rot. It can make some horses very sensitive, and is hard to detect under that thick winter coat. Just about the only sign I got was the dandruff looking stuff on my horses. They get very sensitive when they get rain rot. 2: Are you brushing your horse the wrong way? As in, are you accidentally brushing up against the fur? When that winter fur is all fluffed up it's hard to tell what way you're actually brushing, and it can get very aggravating! 3: Look at your brush. Do an honest assesment. Do you need a new one? I used the same brush for a couple of years and noticed it became extremely frayed and just flat out shouldn't be used. Those were the first things that popped into my head, because yes she is more aggressive and that is a problem, but it can't be fixed until someone figures out what is causing it. Good luck! [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

#9 Chantilly

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 09:32 PM

Could pain be an issue?

#10 Foginbrainz

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 10:29 PM

Pain COULD be an issue, but I wouldn't know what/where the pain is...?

Yeah, I think I will try getting a new brush. We have several that are pretty new, but I also have my favorite, and I think I need a new one anyway...as that is the only one I like to use.

Rain rot was my first thought too, since this is, after all, Washington--but I just don't see any signs of it.

I don't know...maybe I'll try giving her a bath. It is pretty rainy, but we do have warm water going to one of our hoses, and I could put her in the barn until she is dry..

#11 babesmom

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 10:00 AM

She could have an ovarian cyst. Mares get pretty painful with that. Have a vet check her for this before you start correcting her.

#12 luv them paints

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 12:03 PM

I know this may sound crazy, but are you using a rubber curry or wearing cotton gloves ? They other day I was brushing my mare using a rubber curry and it was creating static electricity and shocking her, I couldn't feel it because I was wearing gloves. It really made her mad, she turned that head real quick and gave me THE look [Mad] . I didn't know why at first, but figured it out when i kept brushing her and heard it "pop" and got the look again. I changed to a metal curry took the gloves off and had no more problems. Just a thought.

#13 ej

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 09:57 AM

If the horse does more than walk around the pasture eating grass, he is at risk for ulcers.
Ulcers arent just for horses with high stress jobs, foals often have ulcers too.
When should the responsible horse owner suspect ulcers?
*Observing appetite for the fist signs of ulcers. If the horse doesnt eat the bottom out of the bucket, somthing may be wrong. He might eat then go stand. Or he may exhibit a scruffy coat and lose weight.
*Tell tell attitude changes might show up as ears pinned back, him trying to bite, or basically going from being a nice horse to beig crabby. He could be generally dull.
Stomach, or gastric ulcers in horses have recently emerged as one of the most insidious health problems. The symptoms are so many and so varied that misdiagnosis has been the norm.
Other sings:
*Back pain, reluctance to go forward under saddle.
*Crabbiness when being groomed or tacked up
*General bad temper
*Restlessness
*Stall walking
*Poor appitite
*Difficulty maintaining weight
*Poor coat
*Unspecific hind end lamenss
*Cronic coli.
All are possible symptoms of ulcers
Alfalfa-a dietary antacid, resulting in a higher stomach pH, shows it lowers acidity for five hours after feeding. The stomach is very acidic and hay gives it a base, which neutralizes the acid. Alfalfa also contains calcium, which may decrease acid secretion, as when people take TUMS.
If the horse isnt working hard racing, polo, endurance, eventing or hard at keeping weight, stop the grains.
Research shows grains to cause colic, founder, tying up, ulcers, and other health problems.
There are other energy feeds avl. Beet pulp and fats and you can also talk to your feed dealer to get in touch with an equine nutritionist or your state extension office.
You can have your vet use a endoscope to see if your horse has stomach ulcers.

#14 Foginbrainz

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 12:50 PM

I think it was the brush/static electricity!

Yesterday and today I brushed her with a metal shedding brush (the kind that is round) and she was totally fine. Didn't even bat an eye at me.

Weird!

Thanks for the ideas.

#15 Foginbrainz

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 04:34 PM

All of a sudden my horse doesn't like being brushed. A few weeks ago I was brushing her stomach and she started swishing her tail, and kicked up towards her stomach. last week while I was brushing her chest she swished her tail, and this week, if I brush her anywhere, she swishes her tail and acts like she is going to bite.

Some background--I have NEVER seen her swish her tail, except at flies, until now. She is the type of horse that loves attention, and that you can normally do anything too. She is wormed regular, fed mostly grass hay and pasture, with a small amount of grain (1-2 cups) and a basic vitamin supplement. I do use a spray stuff for sensitive skin and shiny coat, I never used it before because she had sensitive skin though, but just because I wanted her to have a shiny coat.

The only thing I can think of is the weather--cold and rainy. But, she didn't act like this last winter, so I am at a loss. I thought maybe you guys would have some ideas.

#16 PBR Cowgirl Crew-ask me about it

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 06:37 PM

I saw your post and thought "this sounds like my horse used to be!"
First off: it can't hurt to have a vet check her out to make sure she doesn't have an injury or illness that makes her tender; perhaps the cold weather is doing something to her digestive system. When Lizz colicked in January, she didn't want anyone touching her stomach, but she showed the other signs of colic as well, and it was pretty immediate. She colicked because she hadn't been drinking enough water--it was too cold for her taste! Now the stable manager (I board her) uses bucket heaters and checks her water more frequently to make sure she's drinking enough.

However, when Lizzie really behaved like you describe your mare, it was purely attitude and testing me. I was not being as assertive of a leader as I should have been, so she was confused as to who was in charge in our 'herd.' She was rescued from a neglectful home where they let her feet grow out for 1-2 years, so humans aren't her favorite animals, but by the time she got into her dangerous attitudes, she had been with me for over 3 years, so it's not likely she was acting out of fear. How long has your horse been with you? Have you had her since birth, and if not, do you know her history?
As with Lizz, it's likely your horse is just testing her limits to see how far you'll let her go. Each time I groomed her, she got crankier, so I would try to do it more lightly and quickly, and just skip over parts that didn't compromise her safety. Unfortunately, this just makes the situation worse, and the horse thinks her challenges are scaring you away, so she'll keep getting more aggressive.
Lizzie's never been happy about picking up her feet, but she started to swing her legs while I was holding them, or kick out at me when I asked her to lift a leg or move herself over. Eventually, we got to a point where the mare who once patiently allowed a young child to shove a straw up her nose would charge me and rear up at me when I opened her stall door. I thought she hated me, but in reality, she was doing the only thing she knew how to force me to take charge and be a leader.
With my barn manager's help (for the safety of both of us), I began to undo her aggressiveness. We did some free lunging (similar to joining up); she got to rest and come to me when she lowered her head, kept an ear on me, and chewed the air. Most importantly, she had to quit kicking out and making any aggressive motions toward me; I kept a lunge whip in my hand to encourage her on because I have poor throwing skills and cannot toss a soft rope properly, plus at that point I could throw the whole rope at her and she'd just look back at me and not move a darn step, but it never touched her other than to tap her chest with light flicks if she got too close to me when I didn't ask her to come. Make sure to NEVER use the lunge whip as a weapon or punishment; it should merely be an extension of your hand. If you can use a loose lunge rope or lead line to encourage your horse, I recommend that instead of a whip. We spent time in the 'square pen' (didn't have a round pen, just an arena I moved her around until she got tired of working) until she decided to show me some respect. Once she did, I let her stop working and join my 'herd,' but on one condition: we walked and stopped when I wanted to. If she walked away from me or put her attention on something else, she went back to trotting and not being in the safety of our herd.
Eventually, she started to respond almost immediately, and then I was able to move on to other ground work. I first approached her with my barn manager, Sara (who's just an awesome horsewoman; she taught me most of this), holding Lizz in the middle of the arena with her halter and lead rope. I got the tack box, set it far enough away that we could send Lizzie off without her crashing into it, and approached her with a brush. We let her sniff it and give her approval, then I casually brought it to her shoulder and started brushing. If she made any moves to bite or kick me, my trainer made her walk in a circle. If she did actually snap or kick, she was made to go out and work again (we used a lead short enough that it wouldn't wrap around her legs and trip her). Soon enough she figured out that to be allowed to stand still, she had to be nice and allow me to brush her.
I then worked in the arena alone, lead rope in one hand while grooming with the other, while Sara was within earshot if I needed her help. Lizzie got less aggressive each time (and I started out each new session with a free lunge to refresh her memory of who was now in charge), and we eventually reached a point where I could groom her without a lead rope on her, but I keep it draped across her neck on the offchance something would spook her. We then went back to tying her up as I normally groom her, and if she was agressive, I would make her back away from me by using a firm voice "NO. Back UP," walking into her space (and sometimes her, if she wouldn't move), and poking her with my hand. My index finger into her shoulder didn't hurt her, but it certainly annoyed her, and she understood that I would not tolerate that sort of disrespect from her any more.
When we reached a financial point where I could take riding lessons from Sara, I took those up again to improve my riding and communication skills with Lizzie. Sara also rode Lizzie twice a week to reinforce properly what I did in lessons, so that Lizzie fully understood what she was supposed to do, even when her owner didn't know exactly what she was asking.

I'm not a professional or expert trainer, and I don't guarantee what I did will work for everyone. I just try to better my knowledge and improve my relationship with my horse every time I go out to the barn. I wanted to learn how to earn my horse's respect, but I also knew my limits and that I would just mess things up worse if I took it on myself, so I asked Sara for help. Lizzie and I now have a much better relationship; she understands that I am the leader while we are working, and since that's a certainty, she can relax and be much happier. She doesn't obey me out of fear, but follows my requests out of respect, and in turn, I try to better listen to when she's had enough 'boring' (in her opinion) work in the ring and needs some down time to hit the trails, play in the field next door, or graze while I read nearby. Also, while out on the trails, we have a much better time. She's not always pulling for total control of the reins or attempting to make her own paths, and in return I can give her back her head and sometimes let her pick which direction we take (only after she's shown her willingness to go where I ask, of course). I can now walk up to her in her stall and out in the pasture and she either willingly gives me her head or is made to turn in a circle until she decides that giving me her head is what she'd like to do. When I lead her, I hold the lead rope for safety, but we are now at a point where I can lay the rope on her back and she'll still follow me. Neither she nor I are perfect, and we do make mistakes and have to backtrack sometimes (usually my fault), but in general, we are at a MUCH better point than we were and we're both happy and not always fighting with each other.

Aggressive behaviors can be much more difficult, and more dangerous, to correct than fear behaviors, so please be careful and make sure you have adequate assistance to keep both you and your horse safe. I hope this helps you with your mare, and if you have any more questions (lol just in case this post wasn't quite lengthy enough), feel free to message me here or SUPERMARELIZZIE on AIM. Also, I recommend looking up Pat Parelli's "Seven Games" and playing them with your horse. We've started those, and they DO make a difference in the amount of respect and trust I get from my horse.

#17 BreedingStockPaintOwner

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 06:38 PM

Sounds like the problem I have with my yearling filly.Since she has a winter coat now...when you brush her,you have to be much firmer because she has a thick coat,or else you may be tickling her and making her angry...so check that out first.Is she sore in any places?She may be sore,and when you apply pressure to that place,she is showing you it hurts.I found out it is none of that with my horse....so I dont know what has happened..so I discpline her...DO NOT let her bite or kick you,let her know you are the boss,like by smacking the offending leg with a crop,or when she bites,stick your elbow out so when she turns her head to bite,her head hits your elbow,and it hurts her.She then realizes that when she tries to bite,she hits your elbow,so she wont try again.When she kicks,smack her leg with the crop NOT after she is finished,but while she is kicking,and say no or make a firm noise so she knows this is not ok.

#18 Foginbrainz

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 07:11 PM

Thank you for both of your responses.
I have no idea of her history, I have heard several different stories, so who knows what is right. I have had her for a little over a year. I don't THINK it is her trying to be dominant over me, but I will keep that in mind. She does know the 7 games, and we normally do them for 5-10 minutes when I ride. I do free lunge her occasionally as well. I don't know--she has never really "tested" me, so perhaps this is it. Maybe I'll take the brush out with me next time I free lunge her and try what you were suggesting PBR.
I feel "on guard" when brushing now. It used to be relaxing, but now I have to brush with my elbow stuck out so she will "accidentally" run into it. After running into about 5 times, she will settle down for a bit.
One thing, there doesn't seem to be one spot. She is being cranky no matter where I brush her--her back, chest, neck, or belly.

#19 MHJLittlefield

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 07:12 PM

Since the only thing you've recently changed is the skin spray, stop using it for a month and see if she improves. Just because the product is advertised as being good for skin and coat doesn't mean your mare appreciates it. She may just be having a low-level reaction that is aggravated by the feel of brushing.

(As an example, one of my TBs gets hives when I use a natural fly spray on him!)

#20 PBR Cowgirl Crew-ask me about it

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 07:30 PM

I had the same feelings. Tail swishes mean "I'm unhappy about something: I'm either in pain, or uncomfortable, or I just do NOT like what you are doing," so I was already tense when I started grooming, expecting her to start tail swishing and stomping, and so of course that's what she did. Try approaching your horse with a casual, calm attitude, like you had before she started reacting this way. (You can be nervous, but you'll just have to fake it and portray a calm image to your horse, and soon both of you will start to believe that you're calm!) If you're on edge, your mare will pick up those vibes and start to get tense as well.
I've had times where I just grin, pat Lizzie's neck firmly, ruffle her forelock and tell her what a "sweet, angelic horse" she is when she pins her ears and sticks her head out at me. In reality I'm afraid she's going to bite me if I get any closer, but I don't let her intimitate me, and she realizes her bluffing doesn't work and stops acting up. (I only recommend this with a horse you know well; a strange horse might wonder who the heck you think you are and lay one on you. Project confidence around all horses, but also be cautious; I know Lizzie is not likely hurt me because she's never actually made contact with her bites and kicks, but it's hard to do that with a horse you've just met.)
Very few horses actually want to hurt their riders, especially when they know them well; they just want to see if their scare tactics will work with you. Ever seen two stallions, especially wild or feral ones, fight? It's very noisy and looks like they'll fight to the death, but in reality, they rarely even get into physical combat, much less serious injuries. It's all about who can project a more confident, "you can't bother me" image.

#21 Foginbrainz

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 07:37 PM

The sentence I wrote about the skin spray came out wrong, I have actually been using it for quite a while,(since Juneish) but I was just using it for a shiny coat. I don't think that is the culprit since I have been using it for almost 6 months, but it wouldn't hurt to quit using it and see what happens. I only use it about once a week anyway.

It very well could be aggression. Even though she doesn't "seem" like that type of horse--she is still a horse!

The only place she likes brushed now is her head. She loves that! [Wink]

Edited to add-my husband said maybe she is taking out her horse "dominance" on me, since her herd mate left, and she was dominant over her herd mate. [Confused] Not to bad of an idea for a non-horse husband eh?

[ 11-25-2005, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: Foginbrainz ]

#22 Horse Racer

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 08:48 PM

Yeah, not bad for a non-horsey husband lol. [Big Grin] When I first read this, there were three things that popped into my head specifically. 1: Maybe she is getting rain rot. It can make some horses very sensitive, and is hard to detect under that thick winter coat. Just about the only sign I got was the dandruff looking stuff on my horses. They get very sensitive when they get rain rot. 2: Are you brushing your horse the wrong way? As in, are you accidentally brushing up against the fur? When that winter fur is all fluffed up it's hard to tell what way you're actually brushing, and it can get very aggravating! 3: Look at your brush. Do an honest assesment. Do you need a new one? I used the same brush for a couple of years and noticed it became extremely frayed and just flat out shouldn't be used. Those were the first things that popped into my head, because yes she is more aggressive and that is a problem, but it can't be fixed until someone figures out what is causing it. Good luck! [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

#23 Chantilly

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 09:32 PM

Could pain be an issue?

#24 Foginbrainz

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 10:29 PM

Pain COULD be an issue, but I wouldn't know what/where the pain is...?

Yeah, I think I will try getting a new brush. We have several that are pretty new, but I also have my favorite, and I think I need a new one anyway...as that is the only one I like to use.

Rain rot was my first thought too, since this is, after all, Washington--but I just don't see any signs of it.

I don't know...maybe I'll try giving her a bath. It is pretty rainy, but we do have warm water going to one of our hoses, and I could put her in the barn until she is dry..

#25 babesmom

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 10:00 AM

She could have an ovarian cyst. Mares get pretty painful with that. Have a vet check her for this before you start correcting her.

#26 luv them paints

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 12:03 PM

I know this may sound crazy, but are you using a rubber curry or wearing cotton gloves ? They other day I was brushing my mare using a rubber curry and it was creating static electricity and shocking her, I couldn't feel it because I was wearing gloves. It really made her mad, she turned that head real quick and gave me THE look [Mad] . I didn't know why at first, but figured it out when i kept brushing her and heard it "pop" and got the look again. I changed to a metal curry took the gloves off and had no more problems. Just a thought.

#27 ej

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 09:57 AM

If the horse does more than walk around the pasture eating grass, he is at risk for ulcers.
Ulcers arent just for horses with high stress jobs, foals often have ulcers too.
When should the responsible horse owner suspect ulcers?
*Observing appetite for the fist signs of ulcers. If the horse doesnt eat the bottom out of the bucket, somthing may be wrong. He might eat then go stand. Or he may exhibit a scruffy coat and lose weight.
*Tell tell attitude changes might show up as ears pinned back, him trying to bite, or basically going from being a nice horse to beig crabby. He could be generally dull.
Stomach, or gastric ulcers in horses have recently emerged as one of the most insidious health problems. The symptoms are so many and so varied that misdiagnosis has been the norm.
Other sings:
*Back pain, reluctance to go forward under saddle.
*Crabbiness when being groomed or tacked up
*General bad temper
*Restlessness
*Stall walking
*Poor appitite
*Difficulty maintaining weight
*Poor coat
*Unspecific hind end lamenss
*Cronic coli.
All are possible symptoms of ulcers
Alfalfa-a dietary antacid, resulting in a higher stomach pH, shows it lowers acidity for five hours after feeding. The stomach is very acidic and hay gives it a base, which neutralizes the acid. Alfalfa also contains calcium, which may decrease acid secretion, as when people take TUMS.
If the horse isnt working hard racing, polo, endurance, eventing or hard at keeping weight, stop the grains.
Research shows grains to cause colic, founder, tying up, ulcers, and other health problems.
There are other energy feeds avl. Beet pulp and fats and you can also talk to your feed dealer to get in touch with an equine nutritionist or your state extension office.
You can have your vet use a endoscope to see if your horse has stomach ulcers.

#28 Foginbrainz

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 12:50 PM

I think it was the brush/static electricity!

Yesterday and today I brushed her with a metal shedding brush (the kind that is round) and she was totally fine. Didn't even bat an eye at me.

Weird!

Thanks for the ideas.