biting and aggressive mare

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I own a 5 year old mare who has a 2 month old filly who is getting more and more aggressive. She was somewhat aggressive before she had the foal and before she was pregnant but really only when you go to put hay in her feeder she is in her stall at the time. I did not own this mare originally but bought her when she was 3. So she came with these traits and they have been manageable but seem to be getting increasingly worse right now. She definately is a pig for food but gets lots so she has no reason to be aggressive unless something happened with her previous owners and I have no way of knowing that. But now I am left to figure out what to do because she has bitten me when my back was turned and has revently tried to kick me and she is not a tiny miniature like my others(36"). She is a beautiful blue roan and has had a beautiful red and white pinto with blue eyes on her first attempt at motherhood so I really need to get her under control. I just wondered if she is worried about her food or if someone has seen this behaviour before and knows how I might stop it without too much aggression. We have a lot of people visit our miniatures and I cannot trust her with any people at this time. Thank you and I look forward to any suggestions anyone can give me. Needing help in Nova Scotia.
 

chandab

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I don't have any direct advice, as I've never had a horse that would look to bite or kick someone on purpose. However, a few things to rule out...

Is she having any pain, anywhere? [Perhaps a visit to the vet to rule out a medical reason.]

Is she like this around people and animals alike?

You might just have to get serious with her, biting and kicking aren't to be taken lightly, as even a miniature can hurt you pretty seriously, they are still horses.

You might have to establish a strict routine with her, so she can get comfortable in her surroundings; I know it seems a little odd, but some are more sensitive than others and need a clear routine.
 

Genie

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We live in Ontario Canada and I recently purchased a training halter from Liz Waples, (wife of Randy Waples the sulky driver)who is a distributor for the maker who is somewhere in the U.S. A.

I have one mare that has been very nervous since we bought her and while she isn't mean, she is skittish and will kick back quite badly and also when being led, she was practically uncontrollable.

The halter was 200.00 canadian.

It has a metal nose piece wrapped in leather and the halter itself looks like a bosal.

Anyway, 15 minutes in the round pen with the halter on and she was a "new girl"

They provide a video when you buy the halter and basically the nose piece will touch the nerves on top of the nose when you pull the lead rope down at the time when the behaviour is not good.

You have to be careful not to pull the lead rope when there is good stuff going on as it will confuse the horse so you only use the corrective pull on the lead rope when the horse does something that they should not.

When she tried rearing or pulling away I would say "no" and give a pull down on the lead rope and carry on walking around the round pen. There were only a few occassions where a tug was required and I would say "no", so she soon found out that "no" mean't stop doing something and you didn't even have to give the rope a tug.

Hard to explain but it works, and after 15 minutes I brought her out on the lawn and my husband came out to see how she acted and she was like a lamb. The lead rope was dangling and if she went to move away I said "no" and she stopped in her tracks.

p.m. me if you want the info on the halter or Liz's phone number.
 

disneyhorse

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Well any horse is dangerous, no matter the size, so I would not take the issue lightly! I cannot STAND an aggressive horse. I don't even like it that my colt pins his ears at me when I feed, he's done it since i got him as a weanling but I make SURE that's as far as he takes it and he doesn't get fed until I see "happy ears"
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I would definitely go in her stall to feed ONLY if you carry a long crop or dressage whip with you. You need her to know that YOU are the boss, and SHE does not eat until you LET her eat. This is the way it would be in a herd. The boss mare decides what horses eat, and when. When the boss mare is done eating, she lets the next horse eat (who then does not let the horse below them eat). If the other horses don't get her initial warning (in your case an aggressive posture such as facing or making an intimidating movement towards her and a sharp word) the boss mare kicks and bites at them (you will smack her with the whip).

It may take a LOT of initial force to have her "get it" and back off. Eventually she should back off immediately until YOU back away from the food and give her a cue to go eat (maybe a nice voice "go ahead" command). If she gets pushy, get MORE pushy back and make her back away.

ALWAYS carry the crop and be CONSISTENT, TIMELY, and FAIR.

Another option, that I try with my colt, is to take her out of her stall before feeding time and tie her up elsewhere. Then put the food in her stall. Then lead her back to the stall, use a stud chain if she is very pushy about being led at that time. You will then have a bit more control than having her loose in the stall. This may be also less traumatic for the foal, who will need to NOT learn bad habits from its mom anyway!

Andrea
 
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Calekio

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There is 2 ways this could go..... is she behaving like this due to fear or pain? Or is she just being food agressive?

We have a gelding here who as a yearling was extremely food agressive... to the point that enter the stable with a feed bucket would have him charging, kicking, biting..... very scary...

I instantly didn't want this behaviour and had to quickly nip it in the bud! I started by feeding him in one spot... i'd go in with a schooling whip and he would be made to get back.... if that ment touching him with the whip then that is what it took.... i'd put his food down and make him stay back... at the other end of the stall.... only when he stood quietly would i walk away and let him go and eat.

Once we'd establed this routine the next step was allow me to walk up and touch him whilst he was eating... by relaxing my posture, dropping the whip and keep my eyes on the floor i could walk up and stroke him whilst he ate... any sign of agression and he was sent away from 'my' bucket and we started all over again.

5yrs on i have a very well mannered gelding who when i approuch with a bucket will back off and wait till i put the bucket down, i can easily go up and just with body posture move him away from the bucket and can stroke him while he is eating. As a point i don't play with him whilst he is eating... that is his time and so i leave him alone in peace.

On the other scale i have a mare who can be agressive to certainly people. She has been abused in her past and is known to be extremely foal proud.. .with her first foal it was impossible for me to even get near baby for 2 months without teeth or hooves flying at me...

With this foal we used clicker training to a lot of success... we know her agressive behaviour is down to fear... and doesn't pass down to her foals as we handle her in a way that she is calm with us.
 

bevann

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I have a mare who acts the same way regarding food.My mare came from a herd situation where the mares were fed in long troughs.The most agressive ones got food-the ones who were timid and hung back didn't get much food or none.She had to learn to be agressive for survival.My mare is also very possessive when she has a foal.She has become somewhat better after 6 foals, but anything living still has to be on guard around her.good luck with your mare.I don't have any suggestions except to keep visitors away from her so they don't get hurt. I think it is very hard to undo bad habits like this.She may become better in time as she learns to trust you more.
 

Reijel's Mom

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Has she had any training at all? Like does she lead ok on a lead rope, stay within her own space, etc? It sounds to me like she thinks she is 100% in charge. Once you can teach her that she isn't, you might have much better dealings with her.
 

~Dan

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I have a mare that is just like that but she is very protective of her baby and very dominent, all I can say is try to work with them and not against them best of luck also this may just be her personality thats what is the problem with my mare best fo luck my friend ...
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- Blue Moon Miniatures
 

h2t99

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I am curious, is she registered? I had a blue roan mare that after she was bred she became more and more aggressive and I got rid of her when she bit me in the neck when I bent down to pick up a water bucket!!
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I will not have a aggressive horse on my property, no matter how much I like them!! My kids are to involved with the horses and to young to be able to handle a bad situation!! I would maybe get her hormone levels checked and make sure she has no health issues! Definately aways have a whip in your hand when dealing with her. Please be safe they can still hurt you at that small size!
 
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I am curious, is she registered? I had a blue roan mare that after she was bred she became more and more aggressive and I got rid of her when she bit me in the neck when I bent down to pick up a water bucket!!
default_no.gif
I will not have a aggressive horse on my property, no matter how much I like them!! My kids are to involved with the horses and to young to be able to handle a bad situation!! I would maybe get her hormone levels checked and make sure she has no health issues! Definately aways have a whip in your hand when dealing with her. Please be safe they can still hurt you at that small size!
Hi,

Thank you for your reply. Bria really hasn't become more aggressive since she was bred but I think it is just a food thing. As far as her registration, I bought her unregistered and had to hunt down her papers but have them now and am in the process of sending them off. Her sire's name was Voedoe Light Vant Huttenest and her dam was FF's Painted Annie. I think the whip in the hand is a good idea! Thanks again.
 
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Well any horse is dangerous, no matter the size, so I would not take the issue lightly! I cannot STAND an aggressive horse. I don't even like it that my colt pins his ears at me when I feed, he's done it since i got him as a weanling but I make SURE that's as far as he takes it and he doesn't get fed until I see "happy ears"
default_smile.png
I would definitely go in her stall to feed ONLY if you carry a long crop or dressage whip with you. You need her to know that YOU are the boss, and SHE does not eat until you LET her eat. This is the way it would be in a herd. The boss mare decides what horses eat, and when. When the boss mare is done eating, she lets the next horse eat (who then does not let the horse below them eat). If the other horses don't get her initial warning (in your case an aggressive posture such as facing or making an intimidating movement towards her and a sharp word) the boss mare kicks and bites at them (you will smack her with the whip).

It may take a LOT of initial force to have her "get it" and back off. Eventually she should back off immediately until YOU back away from the food and give her a cue to go eat (maybe a nice voice "go ahead" command). If she gets pushy, get MORE pushy back and make her back away.

ALWAYS carry the crop and be CONSISTENT, TIMELY, and FAIR.

Another option, that I try with my colt, is to take her out of her stall before feeding time and tie her up elsewhere. Then put the food in her stall. Then lead her back to the stall, use a stud chain if she is very pushy about being led at that time. You will then have a bit more control than having her loose in the stall. This may be also less traumatic for the foal, who will need to NOT learn bad habits from its mom anyway!

Andrea
Hi Andrea,

Thank you so much for your helpful advice. I am going to do what you said and I feel confident that it will change Bria's behaviour. Her filly is really beautiful and sweet (I am having trouble putting a picture on because we are on dial up out here in the country!) and I don't want her to start behaving like Bria. Plus all of my other minis are wonderful and have no other aggressive behaviours like that at all. They are wonderful around children and I have never seen any aggression in any of them except Bria. But again, I did not have Bria until she was 3 and she came with these behaviours. Hopefully this will work - I will definately do my best. Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it.

Lynn
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There is 2 ways this could go..... is she behaving like this due to fear or pain? Or is she just being food agressive?
We have a gelding here who as a yearling was extremely food agressive... to the point that enter the stable with a feed bucket would have him charging, kicking, biting..... very scary...

I instantly didn't want this behaviour and had to quickly nip it in the bud! I started by feeding him in one spot... i'd go in with a schooling whip and he would be made to get back.... if that ment touching him with the whip then that is what it took.... i'd put his food down and make him stay back... at the other end of the stall.... only when he stood quietly would i walk away and let him go and eat.

Once we'd establed this routine the next step was allow me to walk up and touch him whilst he was eating... by relaxing my posture, dropping the whip and keep my eyes on the floor i could walk up and stroke him whilst he ate... any sign of agression and he was sent away from 'my' bucket and we started all over again.

5yrs on i have a very well mannered gelding who when i approuch with a bucket will back off and wait till i put the bucket down, i can easily go up and just with body posture move him away from the bucket and can stroke him while he is eating. As a point i don't play with him whilst he is eating... that is his time and so i leave him alone in peace.

On the other scale i have a mare who can be agressive to certainly people. She has been abused in her past and is known to be extremely foal proud.. .with her first foal it was impossible for me to even get near baby for 2 months without teeth or hooves flying at me...

With this foal we used clicker training to a lot of success... we know her agressive behaviour is down to fear... and doesn't pass down to her foals as we handle her in a way that she is calm with us.
Hi,

Thank you for all your information and help. Sounds like you did a lot of work with your horse. Good for you -he is a lucky horse to have you! You gave me some great advice too and I really appreciate it. I will use it and hopefully I can get Bria over this food aggression. I think she also has some of this aggression to only certain people too because she is wonderful to everyone and then all of a sudden she will be nasty right out of the blue! She usually lets everyone near her filly and then one person will come along and no way will she let them neat her. So I respect that and I get the person away but it is weird. She actually knocked somone on thier butt. Anyway, thank you for all your suggestions. I will use them to the best of my ability. Thank you again.

Lynn
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We live in Ontario Canada and I recently purchased a training halter from Liz Waples, (wife of Randy Waples the sulky driver)who is a distributor for the maker who is somewhere in the U.S. A.
I have one mare that has been very nervous since we bought her and while she isn't mean, she is skittish and will kick back quite badly and also when being led, she was practically uncontrollable.

The halter was 200.00 canadian.

It has a metal nose piece wrapped in leather and the halter itself looks like a bosal.

Anyway, 15 minutes in the round pen with the halter on and she was a "new girl"

They provide a video when you buy the halter and basically the nose piece will touch the nerves on top of the nose when you pull the lead rope down at the time when the behaviour is not good.

You have to be careful not to pull the lead rope when there is good stuff going on as it will confuse the horse so you only use the corrective pull on the lead rope when the horse does something that they should not.

When she tried rearing or pulling away I would say "no" and give a pull down on the lead rope and carry on walking around the round pen. There were only a few occassions where a tug was required and I would say "no", so she soon found out that "no" mean't stop doing something and you didn't even have to give the rope a tug.

Hard to explain but it works, and after 15 minutes I brought her out on the lawn and my husband came out to see how she acted and she was like a lamb. The lead rope was dangling and if she went to move away I said "no" and she stopped in her tracks.

p.m. me if you want the info on the halter or Liz's phone number.
Hi,

Thanks. I already know about these halters as my vet is a distributor. I am sure that they do work and i might try them one of these days. thank you very much.

Lynn
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WLS

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Could be hormones!! I have had a couple of what we call "nasty witches", and they are worse when they have foals and down right dangerous when they are in heat. Even the stallions don't like them. One was even aggressive with her own foals if they did not cooperate with her (like taking off on her). But interestingly, when we retired this nasty broodmare from breeding, she became the sweetest thing on earth. !!! Discipline and patience is the answer. But yes, be careful not to get hurt. Best of Luck.
 

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