Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/Mardy Arab Mare


Hi Christine

I hope you can help.
After being away from horses for about 15 years i recently bought a 3 and half year old, 16hh Thoroughbred mare. Unfortunately I have had to go back to basics with her and she is not ready to be ridden yet.

I'm not a nervous rider and I love a challenge so a friend of mine suggested that I got my feel for riding back before I tried back my horse and asked me to ride her 5 year old Arab mare.
She told me the last time Millie was ridden was about two months ago, so when i stated to tack her up last weekend I wasn't in the slightest worried about how she would react.

She was quite muddy so as i tried to brush her, she started swinging her back end round as a warning she would kick me if i carried on. No problem putting her tack on, but when I got on her she would not walk forwards, she kept backing up every time i asked her to walk on. She was lead round for a few minutes with me on her back, then we decided to let her go to see what she would soon as my friend let Millie go she started walking backwards and then rearing up. I managed to stay on her back and I eventually regained control through voice commands.

I understand that Arabs are highly intelligent and if they are not trained properly they can be ruined. She doesn't really know me yet, so i understand why she was nervous around me as I was brushing her.

My question is do you think it is going to have to be another back to basic situation with her before I try to ride her again? Lots of lunging and long raining? Or could it just have been because it has been a while since she was ridden last?


Hi Laura

Thanks  for the question and I will try my best to help

Ok first yes Arabs are very intelligent horses, I have three of them and they are all very different characters, two are very laid back in that I  can bring them out of the stable  or field after  a longish layoff and  brush and tack them up and go  and the third one will react  differently every time, soetimes ok and sometimes doing exactly what Millie did!

However, I would question  whether or not Millie  was trying to tell you that  she might have beenuncomfortable with someon   her back, maybe she  has ulled or tweaked som,ething ans she was trying to tell you that , or again it could be a case of 'hang on this isn;t my mum,  lets see how much roipe I get before I  have to behave myself'..................something they are very good at, it trying to bring a confident  rider  down to a nervous wreck...........the fact you rode her through it  seems to suggest she was trying it on with you, the fact  you rode her through it and didn;t give up says a lot for confidence and experience and the other fact you did not resort to  hitting her is something I commend you for, many  riders would have smacked her for that .................

The fact she is only 5   is another factor, she is still a baby, Arabs  do not really come into maturity  until about 7 years of age, I have a 26 year old one who still acts like a two year old most days!    It might be an idea  to try some basic schooling with her, not  right to the beginning  but  just basic  stuff to reinforce things,  I still long rein  mine  from time to time as well, its a break for them to be doing different things.

It might be worth getting her back checked out jsut in case, and spend time with her, just quietly grooming her and  talking to her, mine love the atention.  

Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Christine Dickinson


can answer questions on training and showing, ring craft, english style riding, and dress for the sho ring


been riding since I was 2 years old, qualified as an instructor more years ago than I care to remember and has owned ponies and horses all my life, shown and won extensively

educated to PhD level

©2017 All rights reserved.