Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/behavior question in mare


I have had this qtr horse mare for a couple years. The past 2 days she started blowing super hard from her nostrils. First when I go to feed her and give kisses she wants nothing to do with me she started stepping away from me. I make her run and won't let her stop running until she stands for me and lets me halter her. This is not usual for her. Then she pitches her tail like an Arabian would, runs like shes excited then circles around at the other end of the pasture and raises her head and neck super high and blows hard while she has my direct attention but I am quite a distance away from her. Her ears are forward but she seems tense, possibly aggressive, playful I am not sure. I have never seen a horse blow that hard before. I was not sure if she was going to charge me or what. She has never been aggressive in the years I have had her. She is a loving very sensitive horse. I am completely stumped. I searched online for horse behavior but came up with multiple different behaviors. I'm not sure if she is scared, aggressive or playful perhaps. The weather has turned colder didn't know if that would affect her breathing after she ran hard or not. I have had to run her before when she would not let me catch her but that was when she was pastured with another horse. I waited until she stopped and was ready to halter, but she has never blew at me that way before or pitched her head or tail that high before. Thank you in advance for any answers you may have. Vanessa

More than likely the weather turning off colder is causing this, flagging, cutting up are all something horses will do when it gets cooler.  Even aged horses will act the fool like this.

She may run towards you, but that is not charging per se, as much as it is just being more energetic.  That said, you can still get run over, so wouldn't encourage her deciding to play as if you are another horse, as one thing that can happen is horse wheels and kicks up.  Not much fun for human in the way.

Is there more activity around her pasture, and is she pastured at home?  It may be you have people going through your pasture that is getting her more wound up, or around it.  People walking through woods, or worse trying to catch her in the pasture, or just running her.  It is something to also consider along with the weather.  Might be a good idea to check the perimeter to see if you can see where people have been around it.

As for breathing hard, the blowing would go along with being more excited, and could be she just is out of shape too. Depending on how old she is, that also makes a difference in her fitness level if not worked daily.  

I would also be checking to see if new people have moved into the area, and if there is anyone coming near your property or her.  Sadly, you never know what people are up to.  If you have game cameras that you can mount, that might be a good idea also.

Hope this helps.


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Melanie Rowley


Questions relating to first time, or inexperienced horse owners. Other questions as needed. Questions on American Saddlebreds. Old fashioned training advice, riding advice for beginners, and general care questions. Behavior problems, with emphasis on thinking through aspects of problems that might not seem an issue at first.


About to turn 55. My father was a Saddlebred trainer, and I grew up around horses. I have also worked as a Master Saddlebred Show Horse Groom, working with Dale Pugh, Art Simmons, Sonny Sutton, and others. I also have worked with Quarter Horses, and Thoroughbreds on a mare and foal operation in Alabama. I have owned for years, and currently have two teenaged geldings. I also for many years have taught riding lessons, to adults and children, working with beginners just learning, and older adults who have lost their confidence, or wanted to get "back in the saddle." I was lucky to be around many of the best horsemen in MO, and AL and learn from them, and strive always to think through a situation and work to keep riders and horses safe. Those also include the many talented grooms, and farriers I met along the way.

Some college. General studies towards a nursing degree, which derailed due to divorce. Horse skills learned through over 50 years of watching, learning, doing and absorbing as I grew.

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