Gate Sour heifer help!

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justme

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Jan 29, 2007
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Missouri
We have a heifer that has been out 3 times now.  The last two times she was about to go into the ring she tucked her head and ran.  After hubby stopped her my daughter was able to show her like nothing happened.  She almost acts like a barrel horse that doesn't want to go into the arena.  Once she goes in she's fine.  Heck she was even licking my daughter after the fit.

We practiced going thru gates at home and she was alright.  She's a dead dog broke heifer (my 6 year old can catch her and lead her out of pasture), just cann't get that initial hissy fit to stop and don't want my daughter or husband hurt.

I'm thinking we need to take her in and out of that ring before the show if possible.  Any other suggestions? 
 

shortyjock89

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Mar 6, 2007
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Location
IL
I would definitely take her in and our of the ring at all the shows that you could beforehand.  Take her with another heifer and have some one "show" it.  We've had calves do similar stunts, and sometimes the practice before helped, sometimes it really didn't.  maybe set up like a show ring with panels at home? I know that you said you practiced at home, but I wouldn't know what else to do.  The main part is making sure that no one gets hurt..just a pain when you know that the heifer is better behaved than that!
 

CAB

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Mar 5, 2007
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Corning,Iowa
  Gidget, watch real close next time if possible, it sounds like maybe someone or something is catching her attention and scaring her. There is some ring help that can be more trouble than help, if you watch them, you know what I mean. Good luck, Brent
 

Bawndoh

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Dec 17, 2007
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720
If you can, like everyone else said, lead her through the gate at the show beforehand.  Even better, pause every step or so (through the gate entrance) and get her calm, scratch her, etc.  Let her know that it is a "safe" place.  Eventually she will have two feet inside the arena, and her back two feet on the outside.  Work on getting her relaxed in that position.  Do this with several types of gates if possible.  Like trailer-sour horses, you have to make them feel like they are in total and complete care, love, and safety when they are in those situations.  The thing that nobody wants to happen is for the heifer to feel like she has to run through the gate opening, and then plough over your child and others. 
Good Luck  (cow)
 

knabe

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Feb 7, 2007
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13,640
Location
Hollister, CA
one approach would be to investigate just what it is that is encouraging her to bolt at the gate.  if you have them held close, typical of leading them, it can be pretty impossible to ascertain what is going on.  what i used to do in a case like this is simply have about 5 feet of slack in the lead and walk in circles closer and closer to the gate or whatever turns out to be causing her problems.  with a loose lead, you will see earlier and earlier what is causing the issue.  perhaps it is the uncertainty of the gate's travel.  at home, she knows how it opens and swings, but at a show, she has to study it.  what you can do is walk next to the gate with it closed and have someone all of a sudden open it.  what this might show is that once she knows you wait for her to see how the gait opens that everything is ok.  sometimes for them to do this they kind of cock their head (as they don't have eyes in the front of their head for 3-d projection), and everything is fine.  rush through this and their protection mechanism takes over a little bit.  one could also be ready letting her watch the gate in a previous class and watching her response to this.  sometimes everyone is rushing just at this spot, when all one needs to do is take a breath and look around.

could be something totally different, but let her tell you rather than trying to figure it out.

this method works on studs around other horses in an arena.  circling closer and closer under control.  get a little sniffy and the circles get further away from the sniffee.  this game is really fun if you do it with ears and eyes of the stud and then start watching the other horse's eyes and ears and stance and bending.  one can start to melt away into being an animal real quick.
 
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