View Full Version : Please Help Stubborn & Dangerous
5th Nov 2007, 09:53 AM
Bramble has always been quite an independent mare, she is normally really sensible over where to put her feet etc and how to get out of tight jams, however on our drive two weeks ago we hit a problem and it has reoccured this weekend and I could do with some advice as it is making her dangerous to drive in these situations.
Two weeks ago on a group drive we all had to go down a narrow muddy track that was steep into a small river about 1ft deep so not about to drown us.
Bramble was set up to go down quite happily taking a lead from the horse in front when she planted and then dived to the right almost jacknifing the cart, she then refused to even look in the direction of the path we were meant to follow and pushed her was through bushes and shrubs to get into a field that ran alongside.
As the groom when she refused I did get off the backstep and go to her head to attempt to encourage her to settle and do her job, when we were in the field we attempted to settle her, then came out of the field and headed back to the path we should have taken, she refused again, and then climbed a steep bank to get to another route across that avoided the path we were going to take. This actually made the route a lot more dangerous.
Yesterday we were out, we had to go through a gap in some wooden posts and she did exactly the same thing, she had someone of the ground to encourage her forward and yet she decided to shoot to the right and up a verticle bank almost tipping the cart, we managed to get her down and through the first part of the gap then she did it again on the second. The route was clear and visible yet Bramble refused to follow what she was told and made a very dangerous decision.
If you whip her while she's in that state she just becomes more determined to take the route she planned and does it even quicker, she refuses to take encouragement from the ground and is not frightened. I swear she's cross bred with a mule.
Does anyone have any ideas how to get her out of this dangerous habit before she really injures herself or us?
Bramble rides very similarly recently but you can bully using your leg and whip if necessary. She used to be very opinionated on the ground as well but this is much better now.
5th Nov 2007, 10:00 AM
What I would do is do some back to basics training with her..
I would longrein her through these same situations..repeating and repeating until shes more confident before taking her with the carriage again.. If Ive ever had problems with kai..I have always gone back a step and long reined until he gets it again!
Like you say need to nip this one in the bud as she will think she can duck out of anything she dosent fancy the look of.. which could result in a nasty accidentxx
5th Nov 2007, 10:03 AM
The problem we have is that we have nothing like this near us at all, so practice is almost impossible. She longreins with the manners of a saint :rolleyes: little git! I swear she just gets into what I call git mode when Bramble decides what's best and all else in her mind fails.
5th Nov 2007, 10:10 AM
Do you think it would be worth taking her out somewhere?
does she do this when following another horse/carriage..
5th Nov 2007, 10:13 AM
Forgot to add to my first post, Bramble was also very dangerous last night, on being ready to unload her she starts walking backwards the moment the trailer door is open, she walked backwards and ignored her handler so much she broke her twine and ripped the rope through his hands, once she was off the trailer she walked up to me calm as anything, everything she does is done this calmly.
Denbenj she seems to do it when on the group drives as we don't come across these things at home, if she can see them or if she can't she's just as bad.
5th Nov 2007, 10:17 AM
Ohh sounds like shes being a real minx then! :rolleyes:
5th Nov 2007, 10:21 AM
That's certainly one word for it, just wish I knew how to solve it? :confused:
5th Nov 2007, 10:31 AM
Can you set up artificial difficult situations at home? I realise you can't import as river :D but can you build some hazards or is she fine with stuff like that?
Could you ride her on a club drive?
Oh and I would suggest groom has her on a lunge line so that they can hold her before reaching her head, like you would with a youngster, might just give you a headstart.
Other than that I can't suggest anything but what has been said, and sympathise as I have been there, not repeatedly thankfully, but it is scary when they behave like that, especially on a group drive.
5th Nov 2007, 10:35 AM
Building some hazards would be a possibility, would you lay them out on the local drives we do so we just happen upon them like on group drives?
I could ride her on group drives, but i'm worried i'm nowhere near fit enough to trot for 40miles with only a 30min break :o I am getting older after all :o
5th Nov 2007, 11:05 AM
I didn't realise you were talking long distance drives! I was thinking 7 mile BDS picnic drive...I appreciate that riding might not be an option - plus of course if she doesn't normally ride that distance she probably isn't riding fit enough either.
I would stay off road for safety, if you have that option then yes out on the drive would be ideal and take all precautions you can and see what she does. I suspect you might find excitement plays a part in her reactions so you might not get the same reaction at home!
Do you have a local driving trials club? If so try to get along to an obstacle training day with them that would probably do her a lot of good, just warn the organisers she is new to it and make sure you have someone at her head if needed - you don't want to cause mayhem!
5th Nov 2007, 11:07 AM
Just re-read your first post and she has just started behaving like this. Has anything altered that you can identify? Has she had a scare or was she in season? Anything like that to spark it off?
5th Nov 2007, 11:22 AM
She has been affected by Ex OH and I splitting up, she was moved from her home and put on livery for 2 months she has now gone back home. Also her driving has increased to every weekend out with the group, although we have decided due to costs to make it every other weekend and work on her at home too.
There is an indoor driving trials club, don't know of any outdoor ones but I will definatly look into it if you think it may help?
Bramble has always been a bolshy pony and very very strong minded, I think her attitude may have become worse because I was such a mess until recently, she has been my solace but it could well be i've spoiled her and made her more bolshy, she also is very attention seeking with me when she never used to be before. Before she moved she was suffering from depression and anxiety of being on her own, to the point she lost about 1/3 of her bodyweight she has now recovered physically from that.
5th Nov 2007, 12:49 PM
Poor soul I didn't realise it had affected her that much. I think I would keep steady and consistant with her but think of it as a reaction to stress and that with some consistancy and routine she will improve. I would go back a stage and be slow and gentle.
I do think some a training day with an outdoor club might help, but not until she has settled in herself - I think another change at this stage is the last thing she wants now I know a bit more of her circumstances
5th Nov 2007, 12:53 PM
It's really wierd as she never seemed bothered by moving really until a month later and then she went downhill so fast it was horrible.
Thankyou for your advice, she turns into git I think when she's unsure and not very trusting. I'll use the time it takes for her to settle a bit to search an outdoor club and see if I can get her more confident in me and her driver. :)
7th Nov 2007, 08:44 AM
I'd say you are right about Bramble being affected by your recent troubles. As you'll be aware, horses are very sensitive to our feelings.
You have also been obviously been badly affected too, which will have put you at a disadvantage when dealing with Bramble, resulting perhaps in her assuming the role of leader in your relationship.
You must be consistently firm in all your dealings with her from now on.
Separate the two things if you can. Your personal circumstances cannot be allowed to encroach on your working partnership with her.
If you don't feel up to it at times, you may do well to leave her till you have the strength to make the commitment to whatever you need to do with her.
I suggest you both make a fresh start, work out a short programme of retraining which, hopefully, you will both find therapeutic.
Call on all the friends you've got to keep you on the up.
7th Nov 2007, 09:06 AM
:) I'm pretty good at the moment, but I know when everything else went **** up I just went for the easy life with Bramble and now am a lot happier and better can see the problems it has caused.
Her driver and I were talking about everything that has been suggested and he agrees i'm not firm enough so is supporting me in this and also making sure he is firm but fair when handling her, we also had it suggested to us that Bramble is claustrophobic, which when we look back into her history could well be true (she was penned and borded before I owned her) and was recently cast which may have renewed her wariness of tight spaces, hopefully we can get somewhere. :)
7th Nov 2007, 09:31 AM
ohh thats interesting.. Could well be soe breakthrough information for you to work on!
Hope your horse overcomes it fears...and things progress well for you x
7th Nov 2007, 12:29 PM
I've been back and read your original post. Several things occured to me, and I've been thinking about them.
When your mare planted herself at the top of the track down to the stream, then whipped out to the right, and then chose her own route all suggest to me that the whip (driver) had actually lost control of her. Your description of the next attempts and her reactions would make me think that she is putting in a big evasion, and very little is being done to (first) avoid this, and (second) to take control. It may be that the whip cannot get control at these times, in which case you are right, your mare is dangerous.
If a horse is known to dive to the side (as yours is now), the whip would be better to have a rein in each hand , as coachman style will impede his ability to correct the evasion. If, as when a young horse is being long-reined, the horse spins around, the handler needs to be sharp and immediately take a firm hold (without pulling) on the outside rein. He must hold firm, in effect allowing the horse to feel the bit resisting her as she tries to turn. If the handler does not pull, the horse will have no choice but to correct herself. It is important to maintain a contact on the inside rein also, so that when the horse does come round she can be sent forward on a good contact immediately.
As your mare approaches a situation where she may try an evasion, a firm contact on the bit and a touch on the neck or shoulder with the driving whip may become enough to dissuade her in the future.
The other thing I noticed was that you said you can bully her if she offers to nap when ridden. With respect, given that the horse understands what it is expected to do, you should ask it, sometimes repeatedly, to comply, bullying makes them sour.
Be firm but be fair.
7th Nov 2007, 01:03 PM
Bramble is driven two handed anyway but I will ask him about the kind of rein contact he has with her. Unfortunatly I know that as a groom when I have jumped out and gone to her head due to her lack of repect of me she has ignored my enouragements and gone ahead with her evasion.
Regarding the riding it was poorly phrased, you can bully Bramble through those situations with whip and whatever else, however I don't I tend to gently encourage her to go my way, I also ride without a whip or any gadgets, sorry my poor explanation :o
18th Nov 2007, 09:11 PM
Any improvement on this problem, shandy84?
19th Nov 2007, 08:29 AM
ditto, hows she coming along now?
19th Nov 2007, 09:11 AM
We have had some improvement, she's been taken out longreining and in the cart, we're aiming to work her blinkerless soon as we feel she may benefit from being able to see more. She's not had any silly moments and I actually managed to drive her :D first time properly since she was broken to drive and it was great fun.
We found some great tracks around us that we didn't know about which is great, so been whizzing about them a bit :) we're on a long road building Bramble's confidence up but we've started well going to begin some bombproof training with her soon too which should hopefully help :)
19th Nov 2007, 09:51 PM
[QUOTE=shandy84;1468488]We have had some improvement, she's been taken out longreining and in the cart, we're aiming to work her blinkerless soon as we feel she may benefit from being able to see more. She's not had any silly moments and I actually managed to drive her :D first time properly since she was broken to drive and it was great fun.
We found some great tracks around us that we didn't know about which is great, so been whizzing about them a bit :) we're on a long road building Bramble's confidence up but we've started well going to begin some
excellent news!... onwards and upwards huh! :D
26th Nov 2007, 11:43 AM
26th Nov 2007, 12:04 PM
I drove Bramble on Saturday and had a brilliant time, she's become tonnes lighter in the hand, feel we can get her back onto the milder liverpool setting and she's enjoying things again, we even managed to get her going through puddles without thinking and they were pretty deep :D I have changed her driving bridle to a bigger one and so far she is a lot happier in it, it allows her to see more and isn't as tight, also she's been clipped and seems happier as she's not sweaty and uncomfortable so has manners again when asked to stand etc :)
26th Nov 2007, 12:15 PM
Fantastic - hopefully you are back to normal again now!
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