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Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/I don't know what is wrong with my mare


I have a 15.2hh registered paint mare that I have been having problems with. I think it is trust issues but am not sure and thought I would ask an expert. I paid a thousand for her and it took me a very long time to save up to this so I really want to her to work out. I was told that she has had six weeks of professional training, she neck rains, and is a very stout mare. I thought about entering her in some halter classes at local shows to see what she would do. When I went to look at her, the only problem that I could see was that she was pretty bad at being buddy sour. I know this can easily be fixed so I ignored the problem. I rode her around and she did really good. She has an amazing trot and quickly won my heart. When I got her home, I led her around to get accustomed to the new surroundings and she seemed to be fine. She whinnied to the other horses a lot but I ignored that. I have been keeping her in the barn that has an attached outside paddock so she can go out if she wants to. The first problem was when a friend of mine tried to get on her bareback. She started to shake and acted like she would either buck or take off. I could tell that she wasn't being rude and I could tell that she seemed really scared. A good trained horse should not do this because we have some that are four hundred dollar horses that are complete deadheads and don't mind what you do to them. The second problem was when we were desensitizing her and we were taking a rope and tying it around her belly like a latigo would. We could tell that she was extremely cinchy. I am afraid that she will bite me. We moved it toward the flank where a back cinch would be and she turned into a bucking maniac. No kidding. We haven't tried to put a saddle on her and am afraid to do so. I have been taking riding lessons since August but am still not an intermediate rider. Also, when I go in the barn, she will come to me but when I pet her and start rubbing her all over she will leave like she's a little weary of me. What is wrong with my mare? Is it trust issues?

Also, thanks for taking the time to read this. I know it's long but am worried about my mare.

Thanks for the question and sorry about the delay in responding.

Regarding your mare, you will need to undertake some basic training with her.  You did not mention how  old she is  but I am assuming 3 or more years old due to her size.  It would be great if she had 6 weeks of good training, but even this would need to be continued.  It sounds like a nervous horse, however, the prescription for treating the problem is going to be the same whether nervous of just mean.  Just due to their size, a nervous horse can hurt  you just as easily as a mean horse.  The goal is to create a very solid foundation which addresses both of these issues.  I am going to refer you to the free resources on my website regarding  Phase 1 & 2 training.  go to and click on 'horsetrix' and then 'faq' and you will be able to download information and watch videos on the basics.  If you are a novice with horses, you may want to get someone with knowledge to help you with this.  There is no magic in this - you need to put in the time, get the basics down solid and then you should have an enjoyable and easy road from there if you stick with it.  I would caution you on riding her until you have some more control on the ground.  Also, regarding the cinchy issue you describe - you never want to put a rope, cinch, or  anything of that  sort towards their flank area (in front of  the  back legs).  This is what they do on rodeos to make a horse  buck and that  is exactly what you seemed to do.  Be careful and do not get hurt!  Keep me posted on how things proceed.  I hope this  info helps you.
Heidi Herriott

Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training

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Heidi Herriott


I can provide specialized advice to questions regarding: +General/fundamental training methods +Behavior issues +Specialize in trick horse training +Pulling a sulky/cart, +Care and feeding +Traveling with horses +Mobile set up +Freestyle choregraphy and development +Animal Welfare issues. I am not well versed in competitive showing with judges and such.


I am a professional horse trainer and presenter with Thirty Five (35) years of horse training, riding and performing. Have expertise with miniature horses, ponies, mules, saddle and drafts. Ability to provide specialized advice to questions regarding various training methods to include trick training, training to pull a sulky/cart, care and feeding, as well as traveling with horses. Has entertained hundreds of thousands of people across the USA as well as performed and educated individuals on national television. I also host a website which provides Online Trick Horse Training through videos and printable manuals.

International Association of Fairs and Expositions; Outdoor Amusement Business Association; Florida Federation of Fairs; Showfolks of Sarasota

Publications;; USDA - Animal Care guidelines; MORE magazine; Showtime Magazine; Orlando Sentinel; West Orange Times; Fairs & Expos magazine;; Circus Report;; Animal Welfare & Education Campaign; The Faircracker

CREDENTIALS: +35 years of hands on working with all types of animals, specializing in variety of breeds of horses (i.e.: miniatures, ponies, standard and draft); +Animal expert interviewed on national TV programs to include: TODAY show, O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, Fox, and Good Morning America

Awards and Honors
Animal Planet’s “Pet Star” Winner with a miniature trick horse; Nickelodeon Figure It Out - winner with mini mule and trick horse; Silver and Bronze medals at the Sarasota International Circus Festival; Guest Master of Ceremonies – John & Mable Ringling Museum of the Circus; PTSA Volunteer of the Year

Past/Present Clients
Past/Present Clients, Employers and Partners----- Walt Disney World, Ringling Bros. Circus, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, DownUnderHorsemanship, Mississippi/Florida/Missouri state fairs, NC State Championship Horse show, Six Flags, Arabian Nights, International Andalusian Alliance, Women Luv Horses, Southwick’s Zoo, Richard Petty Farewell, Ringling Museum of Art, Texas A & M University, Land of Little Horses, Orange Co. Govt. TV, and more!

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