Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:49 am Post subject: Leading....
I am new in this forum, and first ofall would like to say that all the subjects Galadriel has commented on have been extremely education for a new horse owner like myself...glad to have found this!
And so.. LEADING... First I have 2 mares, who I just bought in April, one for me and my daughter.... so we can eventually ride together. Anyway... these two mares are quite close as the younger (4) one now thinks the older (9) mare is her mother....or least this is how she grew up thinking...they are so aatached, that it's quite annoying that we cannot seperate the two without a loud boast of whinny echoing through the barn!
Then, when we do lead them, whomever is in the back, or even being lead a little behind the other gets really rushy! The walkways at the barn are not very wide..because of trees on the side..it's very tight.hence walking side by side is an issue...I am having trouble when my older mare get's antsy and give me this feeling of wanting to run off..she circles about or litterally just will not listen...
I am dreading taking her out because I am new at this.. I am still quite intimidated by instances when they are uncooperative. My younger mare ...zigzags about while lead..and simply zones out that my daughter is even leading her... like she is walking aimlessly..and Ooops! Oh yeah... someone's leading me!! My daughter and I are so frustrated that on top of really learning ourselves...our horses are a nightmare to be lead less they are really tired and could care less....
They are both great girls, however... leading seems to be a task at the moment... the 5 minute walk to the pasture seems like 5 hours! HELP PLEASE!
In your personal opinion, are these types of bonds hard to break?? My main concern is when they do not see each other with a certain radius...they have their whinny attacks! But for the most part...they will go on trails together...so it won't be too difficult...but anytime one is away... OH BOY!
It can be difficult. The horses are so focused on each other that they simply don't realize you're there. This makes it difficult to get their attention to handle them; frankly, it's dangerous. Horses MUST be more attentive to their handlers than to other horses or other environmental aspects.
So making a pair bond safe to handle means getting the horses to realize that you're there. Then you must convince each horse that YOU (or the other handler) make a reasonable companion while they're separated from the buddy. They can get a little wild or panicked when truly separated from each other--which is when they can hurt people unintentionally, or even intentionally--which is why I recommend doing exercises in an arena/round pen and staying a good distance from them until they are attentive to you.
Being tight buddies with each other doesn't make them *bad* horses, nor malicious. They're just herd animals who need to be part of a herd. But as long as they're so attached that they can't focus when separated, they can hurt you accidentally just from ignoring your presence. It's very important to get them to pay attention to you (and your daughter), so it's something that should be addressed until they're safe for you. It may take many sessions, although with a lot of horses they start to get the idea with just 2 or 3.
Today, we went to see them and actually worked them each, one at a time in the round pen. Ofcourse...they both whined and whinnied away once they saw one was being lead away.
Both were surprisingly responsive in the round pen, and actually paid very close attention...and even walked up to us in the center once they focused in on us and just stood there...waiting for us and our next cue! I was shocked that it went well....but I am also quite relieved it did.
Do you suggest individual sessions like that works better than them being worked in an arena together??
As for lesson, my daughter and I have lessons with 2 different instructors at 2 seperate arena next to each other...the two mares see each other..so they pay no attention to being that seperated for lesson, so long as they have a good view of each other. But I really do think that we need to get them more focused as possible, like you said.
Thanks again for the suggestiona and helpful insight in the matter!