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[RC] [RC] Horse bonding and bad manners - Deanna German

Anything like Quietex or Rescue Remedy is banned under AERC's "no drug"
policy.

I have a mare who will bond to other horses at a ride. I finally figured out
that the horses she bonded to were all geldings. I've noticed that I don't
have this problem if I keep company with other mare owners and if I pair up
with someone on trail, I try to make sure they are riding a mare. If I ride
with a gelding or if we end up leapfrogging the same gelding again and
again, she'll get bonded. The worst bonding situation happens if I camp with
a friend with a gelding. If that happens, tying her so she can't touch him
is a big help.

However, this is not a good nor is it a permanant solution. To that end, I
practice at home, riding with her favorite gelding, purposely turning her in
directions opposite from him, letting him run on ahead (attempting to make
her maintain her gait and speed, HA! I can only imagine the heart rate since
I don't use a monitor -- much like the "spook aerobics" she does) or making
her leave him. From the time she was a two year old, I'd tie her away from
the herd and let her be frantic.

Early on, I took her camping with her favorite gelding and he left her tied
to the trailer for the trail. (It's truly amazing how much they can move at
the end of a lead rope.) She still gets pretty wound up if her buddy leaves
her or I ask her to leave her buddy, but she's manageable and not a danger
to herself or others. She knows the progression from voice reprimand to stud
chain across the nose and I've been consistent throughout her life. Now, she
and I agree that she can rev all she wants unless I'm attached to either
reins or a lead rope. Which means she can rev when she's tied to something
immoveable. And not if I come up and put a hand on her (I just lay a hand on
her withers or her neck, but I don't vocally reassure her! No praise for
being bad) which is the same as asking her to "stand" in my book.

This mare also has a tendency to rear, and thus the chain over the nose
instead of under the chin. She's never reared at an event. (Some "near
rears" with me in the saddle, particlalrly at the start, but nothing
dangerous to me or bystanders.)

Look at the positive -- bonding can be a help! >g< It messes up a CRI and
pulses, but it can also make the trot out look more lively if the buddy is
walking away at the same time the horse is being trotted! There was one CTR
I did that I couldn't dismount at the sponging tubs until my friend brought
my mare's camping buddy over (he had gotten pulled at the halfway). That was
only her third ride. Now that I've recognized the gender issue, I've been
able to manage her better. I think time and practice has helped her settle
into the ride routine. Having my own truck and trailer so I can camp by
myself has helped. Learning who else rides mares has helped! Hating to ride
a buddy bonded horse has helped because it's made me determined to modify
this behavior.

Just keep at it, be consistent with corrections, devise ways to train for
this at home and maybe decide on a compromise solution with your horse that
doesn't present a danger to anyone.

Good luck! 

If anyone has a solution for pawing that works, I'm all eyes! I hate it, but
haven't found a way to extinguish that one.

Deanna

------------------------------------------------

Can anyone give me some advice as to how to manage a horse that has bonded
with the horse that it came with?  The vet checks are a real problem
because my mare doesn't want to stand still unless her horsey friend is
standing right next to her.  I have tried a stud shank (she has reared up)
and a lesson in good manners with my trainer prior to attending the event.
Does anyone use a product like Quietex or Rescue Remedy to calm their
horse?

Thanks for any help that you can give me.  Chris D.


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