Need outside advice!

Best of luck bringing her home, imo definitely sounds like ulcers and probably an additional physical issue going on. After bringing her back, I think you’ll definitely see her behavior start to improve, they’re usually pretty happy to come home!

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If you would like, tell us where you are, and maybe COTH can recommend a more skilled trainer for the future.

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Northwest Missouri!

Another vote to get her out of there asap - tying the head around is NEVER ok. Once she’s home, give her a couple weeks off to decompress. Bring her in and groom on her so she associates you with good things, then toss her back out.

If you have a good vet chiropractor in the area, book an appointment to have your mare evaluated before you started riding again. Good luck!



It’s hard to make a concrete evaluation at a distance, but it seems obvious that your trainer is doing something wrong - be it to do with the horse’s turnout schedule, her specific companions, her new diet, her tack, her physical comfort, or the trainer’s own methods. (And if it was me, I’d be deeply suspicious of those methods at this point.)

It could be a combination of all six.

Whatever it is, I’d get your new horse outta there asap. The fact that your trainer has decided to ignore all the various possibilities, and instead decided to blame the horse, would have me dropping her like a hot brick.


Time to move her immediately and ditch that trainer. That is animal abuse.


OMG. I missed this earlier . . .

YES. THIS IS ABUSE. I’d also bet a year’s salary that this is why your mare is in pain, rearing, ear-pinning and resentful.

Get TF out of there, OP. Please. She’s your horse, and ending the abuse is your responsibility.


Check your saddle fit, too.


Yikes! Tell the trainer to stop all work with this horse immediately! When you get her home, you will need to spend a lot of time letting her be a horse and building trust before you can get back to barrels. Maybe get a saddle fitter to come out and check the saddle too. Will she have a companion animal of some sort? A horse who has been through something like this needs a friend to help her feel safe.

I have worked with animals like this and I am confident that if you focus on loving her and letting her tell you when she’s ready to get back to work, you will have a beautiful horse. The ones that tell you very clearly when they are unhappy also give you everything when they are happy. Good luck!


Also, in my opinion, a horse should never be forced to do anything. Good training is about subtle negotiations. Keep this in mind as you look for trainers in the future. Good luck!


Having been around plenty of incompetent “trainers” who tie horses’ heads around to “teach them to give to the bit and bend,” I agree wholeheartedly with the others…get the mare out of there ASAP and in the meantime, insist that the “trainer” stop any and all work (abuse).

You’ll be able to do a lot to improve her life and state of mind once you get her home (tons of turn-out, free choice grazing and/or hay, low-stress interactions with her that are positive, etc.) But once it’s time for the vet, along with checking for ulcers, I’d also do a general lameness exam and mention to the vet what the “trainer” did (tying around) and the stiffness that was there prior to that method and the behavior that has happened since that method was used. It’s very likely that her neck and/or back have been compromised in some way and she’ll need that addressed. If you have a good DVM chiro in your area, that could help.

I bet she’ll improve significantly just being in your care and able to “be a horse” again. The vet should be able to help her get back to her former self.


I agree with what all the other posters have said but just wanted to add that I have a horse who lives out 24/7. If he’s in a stall overnight (for example, at a show), he is VERY stiff on his right side the next day. I’m always assuming it’s due to how he sleeps in a stall vs out in the sand pit in his pasture. So the (original) source of the stiffness could have been something as minor as sleeping differently.


I agree with the suggestion to get a chiropractor to look at the horse! Good point that forcing her head around may have caused injury.


Hi Everyone! Thanks so much for the comments and advice. My husband and I made the drive last night and got our horse! We do have a 2 year old filly that will be turned out with my mare that I have been talking about in this forum. Now time for some healing mentally/physically! I’m not in a hurry to get her back on the barrels. Like I mentioned, I’ll let her decompress and learn to trust and be a horse. Again I appreciate the comments.


This is wonderful news! I’m sure it was stressful to bring her home before the farm was ready but it must be a relief to have her at home.


Yay! So glad to hear this!

If there were more horse owners like you and your husband, the world would be a much happier place.