I would like to know if anyone has any ideas of how to help a horse that is completely sour on any type of work at all.
That includes both ring work and trail riding.
Three years ago I adopted an abused, rescued mustang from a local resuce group. I did so because after having had horses for
37 years both of my horses died within 11 months and so I was without a horse. I started working for a rescue group and was put in charge of taking care of an abused mustang. She was reclusive and wanted nothing to do with anyone but as I started to spend time with her she started to show me affection and put herself in my way and I started to show her the benefits of letting herself be loved. We both soaked up the love that each of us needed so much and so a deep bond was formed. I had never had any plan to adopt her but as our bond deepened I knew that I could not walk away from her, but I did so against my better judgment as she was then 8 years old and I was 65. I was looking for an experienced older gelding and wound up adopting an inexperienced young mare.
From the beginning I could see that she was stubborn as she would balk when I simply led her and wanted to go for a walk. I had suspicions that she might do this when ridden but when she was started in training by a natural horsemanship trainer she showed no signs of the stubbornness I had seen in her so I did adopt her. When I started to ride her myself she would test me by refusing to go into the arena but when I made her go in she gave up and stopped fighting with me.
I had two hip replacement surgeries during the time I have owner her so my riding her has been constantly interrupted but she has
had intensive ground work with me and has learned a lot. Although she is very lazy she does not fight me on doing what I ask of her.
In March of 2013 I hired a young girl to start taking her out on trails and at first she tested this girl too, refusing to go forward
and fighting with the girl until she was made to do as she was asked. As time went on she did not fight and went out on trails very well with this girl and I rode her in the ring and she did not fight. I started riding her consistently in October of 203 after my
last surgery and she did well for me. She never objected to going into the ring and I would take her on short trail rides, extending
out area each time and she did not object.
Then, in late February she had a meltdown. Each day she became more and more anxious out on the trail until the time that she became completely uncontrollable and I had to get off and lunge her instead. The girl that took her on trails had the same problem and when she tried to ride her on the property the horse would not go anywhere at all. Another day I got on her and she would not go past the mounting block and would spin and become uncontrollable. This was on property that she was ridden on everyday with no problem. I had a certified dressage trainer that I was working with try to take her on trails and she did the same thing to her and would not go anywhere at all without a fight. Another day another woman rode her and she did the same thing. What this told me was that it was not
any kind of fear that I had that was making her react the way she was as she would do it with anyone whether they had fear or not.
I started to look for physical reasons as although she had always been stubborn, she had never been this bad. Back soreness was ruled out, ulcers was ruled out. She did have a uterine infection and I gave her time off while I waited for the results to come in but after two weeks I rode her again and she was fine, and still had not been treated for the infection. Since then she has been treated. Another vet said that it was just because it was
the first heat of the year and so I thought that I had found the reason.
I moved her to another barn and gave her some time off for that and then started to ride her again and she was okay. But the more I rode her the more she started to object to the work even though all we were doing was taking a walk around the property or walking and trotting in the arena. Then she objected to going into the ring. I eventually put her in total training with a trainer on the property and although he was able to ride her through
her objections, even riding her up a mountain, he could not make her stop objecting to the work. The day after he rode her up the mountain she objected more strongly to be ridden. He told me that she would always do this and he could show me how to work through it but that she would never stop. After about 3 weeks he told me that he could not fix the horse in 30 or 60 days but needed at least 6 months to a year. He told me she is not the horse for me and suggested that I get another horse. I could not agree to the 6 months or a year as I knew that she would not be the same horse when I got her back and also I could not afford that much training.
This horse simply seems to have an objection to work, any kind of work. She is lazy on the ground but will work if made too,
but she simply does not want to go either into the arena or out on the trail or even for a short walk around the property.
She is not afraid to go she simply does not want to go. Today she did it in front of her stall. I have been riding her in small areas in front of her stall so she can get used to that and when she settles down I increase the area and that works for a while until she starts to turn around again even though we have not left the very area where she was fine for a while. And then she has days when she doesn’t fight too much and I think I am making progress and then the next time she refuses to go anywhere at all. Because her behavior is erratic and unpredictable I am at my wits end as to what to do with her. I love her so much and I hate the idea of parting with her but
I am now 68 with two artificial hips and can’t afford to have an accident.
To sum up, this horse has had extensive ground work including liberty work and she is okay with that. She does not want to do any kind of work at all. She used to prefer the trail to the ring but now does not want to go in either place. When I walk her on the property that does not entail any real work but yet, she does not want to go anywhere at all, not the ring, not the trail and not on the property. She is not at all mean but she is extremely lazy, stubborn and opinionated.
Does anyone at all have any experience with a horse like this and have any ideas as to how to work with her? I could use any help I can get.