Equine Behavior Questions and Answers

The Question: How do I deal with my mare who is aggressive with anyone not in my immediate family?

Hi. I am contacting you because I have a problem with my mare. I have owned this horse since she was a foal, so I know her background. She has always been handled well by humans and was easy to back. My problem is that when strangers come to touch her she grows in height and then strikes out with her foreleg and squeals. Then she tries to turn and kick. I could manage this at first, but now she does this with the farrier and vet. Yet with me and immediate family she is fine. I would apppreciate any help you could offer.

The Answer


Your mare has developed a very dangerous habit and you need to get it corrected before someone gets hurt.

It sounds like your mare began by intimidating someone who didn't know her, and once she learned she could intidmiate people by striking, kicking, biting, etc., she's gotten worse and worse about it.

Normally, I advocate owners working through behavioral problems with their own horses, but this behavior is dangerous and seems to be getting worse (since she used to allow the farrier and vet to touch her and now they can't). You need to find a professional trainer who is willing to work with your mare to help her overcome her problem and then who will teach you how to work with her so she doesn't revert once she returns home.

I wish I had an easier solution for you, but I hope you'll get your mare some professional help and help her become a great horse once again.

The Equine Behaviorist

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