The Witch Mare

Penny the Witch Mare


My leased horse, Trooper, lives in Patti’s barn with her Witch Mare, Penny.

The Witch Mare can have her sweet moments, but usually, she’s pretty much Alpha mare. She bullies Trooper unmercifully. Trooper takes it because he’s..well, a trooper.  And a gelding. She teases him when she is in heat, and it aggravates and frustrates the hell out of him. There’s nothing he can do. Nothing, other than remember what it was to be a colt.

 Penny has tried to dominate me. I won’t put up with it. I outrank any animal, particularly a mare. 

The other day I found Penny had pinned Trooper in HER outdoor paddock and wouldn’t let him out. He had bites and kick marks on him from where he’d tried. I chased her away with a couple well deserved curses and coaxed him out. He wasn’t cowering, but…as Patti has said, he gets pretty tired of Penny, but Penny, for all her bullying, is bonded to him. He couldn’t give a damn about her.

When I did manage to get him out of her pen, he looked at me and gave a huge sigh of relief. No horse could have said, “Thanks” any clearer.

 We humans…well, at least this human, has a highly elevated sense of right and wrong, what is fair and unfair. I don’t think of it as a fault, but it makes life difficult, for instance, when cheaters, bullies, and liars get away with their crimes.

But I understand it in horses. It is normal behavior in horses.

 Even so, Penny seems to be on some highly carbonated hormones. I cannot say I’ve ridden many mares, but I’ve known several, some pretty well. Without a question, Penny is the most aggravating of them all. 

Tuesday night, Patti and I rode in the arena. The rain was just pouring down, making a racket on the metal roof. Plus it was dark as the inside of a pig outside the open arena. Both horses were high as kites, as they’d not had a bit of work in over a week. I lounged Trooper, but still, he spooked five times. I was bareback and sat them all out. I’m getting pretty good!

 Patti lounged Penny. I didn’t watch too much, as it does no good to ignore the horse under you for a different one. And Tulla, on lovely Donali, entered the arena. In her soft Scandinavian tinted voice, she asked me to ride with her. Donali, for all his size, is timid around strangers. He knew me, but not my horse, nor Patti’s.

But I could see that Penny was in full fireworks mode. Even after lounging, she was giving Patti a work out.

Then the girl on her western dun mare came in. Again, I was distracted. The girl merely wanted to work her horse, tune her up for barrel racing. She minded her own business and stayed in the center of the arena. 

Penny, though, had different ideas. Up until then, her issues had been with Patti. She ignored us human women, and the boys we were riding.

But when Dun entered the arena, her witch really came out. She lunged for the dun mare at every chance. She even tried to run away with Patti, in the arena, ears pinned, absolutely determined to kick the dun’s ass.

 This is not the first time I’ve seen this mare act as if the human on her back was completely subordinate to her. When we did the obstacle course, she did her best to run to the Percheron stallion who yelled at every mare there. Patti asked me to put Trooper in between Penny and the stallion, who was quite a ways away. Penny was peeved at that, she kept forging ahead, lagging behind, stretching her neck up, anything to get an eye on that nice looking stud. 

Last week, I babysat for the horses, the cats, and all the chickens while Patti and her husband Layne were out of town.

 Every day, I had an argument with her. As I noted in the beginning, she bullied Trooper. When I would enter her stall to put her grain in, I told her to ‘back’. She merely stared at me, eye to eye, blandly refusing to submit to me. She said, plain as day, “Make me.” 

I told her back again. This time I said it in a furious tone of voice and glared at her. She turned her head, but the feet never moved. I ‘pushed’ her, not touching her, but bullied her right back. Then she would back, but never with the submission I was looking for. Once she refused to back, and I gave her a clout in the ribs. THEN she moved. 

And all of this was while she was NOT in heat. When she’s in heat, she’s hot as a nuclear meltdown. 

I don’t know if it’s her, or her breeding (Arab/Hungarian) but I’ve never met a more hard headed horse in my life. Patti doesn’t know it, but she is subordinate to Penny. Penny is trying to make me kowtow, too, and I won’t do it. Won’t. No ma’am.

There are times I think a good hard baseball bat between her ears would make her a little more respectful.

But I know that doesn’t work. 

I mentioned again to Patti that perhaps spaying Penny would make her a little more manageable. 

I got no answer. That is all the answer I need.



About subodai213

Retired U.N.C.L.E agent. Living in Laurasia.
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2 Responses to The Witch Mare

  1. rontuaru says:

    As someone who has owned horses most of my life and had a few mares that were quite strong in personality, I’d highly suggest anyone who is going to have to work with this mare do some reading and maybe even watch some DVDs (I can suggest some of either) or attend a clinic on gaining respect on the ground. (And no, that doesn’t mean just longing the “stink” out of a horse!) I’d also quit with the cookies, carrots and treats. This mare has no respect for humans. None. And plying her with treats or trying to shove her around will only make things worse. Once you have her respect you will find she’s a totally different animal … around the humans she respects. She will still be a horse and a mare around other horses, but there are solutions to that too. Here, I don’t allow a pushy mare to have access to lower ranking horses if they’re picking on them. You have to remember that in the wild a lower ranking horse can always get away and stay out of the reach of a higher ranking horse, but when humans interfere and pen them together … well, we’re the ones who create the bullying situation. The horses are just doing what horses naturally do, it’s the penning them in close quarters that sets the stage for problems. I’d suggest a good strong fence between the two horses. That way they can still be companions, but without all the knocks and bruises. This mare is the ruler of the roost and she knows it. Change that from the top down and you’ll have a much different relationship with her. Just sayin’ … 🙂

    • ptigris213 says:

      Thank you for your comment! You are absolutely correct and I agree with you. Were she my horse, Penny would have had her comeuppance a long time ago. I don’t believe in abusing a horse, but there are ways around this dominance, alpha thing. Humans must always be alpha. Horses look for a leader and if you aren’t one, they’re going to step into the vacuum.

      I must say that in the last few weeks she’s improved, but only around me. I’ve learned that a hard glare and a no you aren’t going to do that tone of voice goes a long way in establishing one’s rank in a horse’s mind. And things have changed around the barn, there’s a new gelding. We will see how things go.

      Thanks again for your comment!

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