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Best way to deal with these troublemakers / escape artists? - help please!
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Pollypocket2012 · 09/06/2013 13:29

The horse I share has two field mates who are causing me trouble. When I go to bring my horse in, the other two mares bite her, jump all over her and try to get out the field. Normally I am successful at getting just my horse out, but things seem to be getting worse.

When I turned my horse back out this morning, the other two came cantering down the field to the gate when they saw us coming then barged me out the way and escaped out the field. I managed to get them back in so no harm was done.

I had only opened the gate part way (just enough to get my horse in without her bashing herself on the gate) but when the other horses barged me I lost my grip on the gate and it flew wide open and they escaped.

Anyone got any tips on how to deal with this as clearly it is less than ideal. My horse has shared fields in the past but her previous field mates were well behaved and did not try to escape so this is new to me.

Thanks

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burberryqueen · 09/06/2013 13:34

it sounds potentially dangerous and I think you should take someone else with you to assist.

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Pollypocket2012 · 09/06/2013 14:22

Yes I will try and take someone with me next time. I am already taking precautions (wearing gloves and riding hat) when I go to catch / turn out.

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Booboostoo · 09/06/2013 17:01

I agree with burberryqueen this is potentially very dangerous for you as they may push you down and even trample you.

Can you create a little pen out of electric tape on the inside of the gate? That way you can let your horse go ahead of you into the pen, while you shoo the other horses out of the way and similarly on the way in. This will only work however if the horses respect the electric fence.

Is there a reason these horses are so desperate to come me (bad weather, flies, lack of food?)? Maybe if you can fix the reason they will be more settled.

How do they respond to you telling them off and asking them to move away? Some gentle souls react to a growl while others ignore a waving stick! Have you tried carrying a stick or small lunge whip (not to hit them with but to try to create a safety zone around you)?

At the end of the day if this doesn't work out at all you may need to speak to the YM about alternative turn out arrangements.

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SilverSky · 09/06/2013 20:47

I'd be speaking to whoever is in charge to sort a field change as this is unacceptable and potentially hugely dangerous for you and the horse.

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mrslaughan · 09/06/2013 21:13

I have similar problems occasionally in the field my share is in. If it had continued I would be taking one of the girls from the yard up with me.

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Pixel · 09/06/2013 21:32

I was going to suggest some kind of holding pen. It really is easier to just let your horse through if you haven't got to worry about hanging on to her, and if another barges through at least you haven't lost it. We use this method for the pony ds borrows on saturdays. Her companion is an accomplished escape artist but he now knows he isn't going to get out and is actually getting quite patient. Waving the handle of the electric gateway helps with respect as well if you 'accidently' catch them with it a couple of times as well Wink.
I certainly wouldn't be willing to carry on with the situation you describe, it will end in tears.

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Pixel · 09/06/2013 21:33

Too many 'as well's there!

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Pollypocket2012 · 09/06/2013 21:45

Thanks for all the replies.

One of the two troublesome horses has only just moved into the field so I think has not really settled in yet. I am hoping once it settles in a bit more it might stop the problem. The other mare has been in the field for ages and used to be fine - I think maybe the other newer horse is winding her up?

Yes I am quite worried by it as the field is quite far from the yard so I am worried that if anything happened it might be quite some time before anyone realised. It is out of sight of the yard too. I will try and take someone with me but I am quite new to the yard and don't really know many people but I will try and twist someone's arm into taking the (long) walk up to my horse's field with me. Otherwise DP (who is not horsey at all) will have to come. My horse is very well behaved and easy to handle so I just really need someone to lead her out while I fend of the escape artists.

Also my horse is wary of the electric fencing / gate herself so I have to be very careful getting her in and out of the field anyway and making sure she does not catch herself on the gate, let alone having the other escape artists to worry about! Yes I definitely need a second pair of hands.

I am only a novice and not the most confident person either so I need to sort the problem out before it starts to eat away at my confidence. If it does not improve I will see about a field move.

I will carry a stick too.

Thanks for all the tips.

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mrslaughan · 10/06/2013 07:43

I am not sure what the insurance situation is here, but I would have thought for insurance reasons livery yards would be wanting to help prevent accidents.
When I was have trouble with the mare in my shares field, the livery staff were very much - never hesitate to get us to help if you need it, they may just be being nice, but also thought it was about preventing accidents.

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Booboostoo · 10/06/2013 09:58

Talk to the YM, he/she should be able to help. It sounds like the new horse is stressed from being too far away from the yard, you may find things settled if all three are moved to a field much closer to the yard, or the new horse is put in with a different herd.

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SilverSky · 10/06/2013 13:20

My old yard used to have a small section taped off in front of the gate so you could get your horse out of the field into the sectioned area and then not be hassled by others at the actual gate. Worked a treat.

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chocolatecakeystuff · 11/06/2013 22:43

Just for the record... if you waved a stick at ANY of the horses on our yard... esp the mares, not only would the owners go mad at you, you'd be liable to be booted by them. Mares arent very forgiving & won't forget being threatened in a hurry. I strongly advise against it.

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burberryqueen · 12/06/2013 10:39

agree with mrs cake, i dont think carrying a stick will help

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sleeton · 13/06/2013 15:49

I agree with the idea of a pen inside the gateway, but wouldn't be keen on making it out of electric tape.

A good permanent solution is having a four sided gateway (is great for reducing muddy gateways too). The field gate is one side and, inside the field, you put in gateposts forming a square or rectangle and another three gates (secondhand, maybe Smile ).

It gives you a very secure holding pen for bringing in/out; a good place just to stand a field horse while you check it over, change a rug, etc; an option of three gates into the field which reduces a lot of the danger and stress; and it really preserves the gateway.

Downside, of course, is that it is initially more expensive, but maybe the livery owner and the owners of the other horses would be interested in all chipping in.

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