Am I too harsh? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By sporthorsegirl
  • 1 Post By Skyseternalangel
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-24-2012, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Am I too harsh?

There's this horse I've been riding a lot lately at the barn I go to. She's only a school horse, but I like her a lot.

I don't think it's wrong to hit a horse as long as it's within reason, i.e. just a light smack with the hand if they are acting rude. This horse has a habit of "dancing" when on cross ties and getting anxious when she knows it's almost time for her to go back in her stall. The only time I would ever hit her is when she starts pawing the air. When she begins to move around a lot, I say "stand" and follow it up with "good girl" when she does. I think she does respect me, and that's all I want because I personally don't like the idea of being pushed around by a 1000+ lb. animal. Mostly when I have her on cross ties and tell her to stand, she calms down and it's almost like she's sleeping, but I have seen her move around consistently and pretend to bite people more when she is handled by others.

Am I wrong to smack a horse, or is it smart?
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-24-2012, 11:12 PM
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Sounds like you're doing fine. However I will say that I have been around quite a few horses that dance in the cross ties and smacking often makes the situation worse. Make the horse move her feet. Get out and lunge her, make her do small circles, etc. Then tie her again. A light smack (sometimes a harder one) is sometimes necessary, but only in certain situations. It also depends on the horse, how confident the handler is, etc. What do you mean by saying she pretends to bite people? Anytime a horse even attempts to bite would get a hard pop in the nose in my book...
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Last edited by sporthorsegirl; 02-24-2012 at 11:20 PM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-24-2012, 11:14 PM
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Sometimes a smack is needed, but I always prefer to make them do something else that makes them choose the right choice.

Like if they dance on the crossties.
I'd make that horse yield the opposite direction from where there was trouble. If they tried again, I'd make that horse turn on the forehand an entire 360 degrees until the horse faced forward again. If they tried to dance again, I'd back them up 40 feet. If they tried it again, I'd make them sidepass down the entire length of the aisle, then backup, then do turns on their forehand so they ended up standing where they were dancing.

Eventually they're going to want to stand because it's more work not to.

But in a dangerous situation, like the horse biting or threatening to kick.. I will wail on them to stop that idea right in its tracks.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-24-2012, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sporthorsegirl View Post
What do you mean by saying she pretends to bite people? Anytime a horse even attempts to bite would get a hard pop in the nose in my book...
She hasn't bitten anyone yet as far as I know, but she will make nasty faces and look like she is about to bite as if she's threatening them. But it normally doesn't happen when I'm handling her unless she's provoked, like people being around her face and petting her face too much. She's an untrusting mare and from what I've seen if you don't make a good first impression on her she seems to hold it against you.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-25-2012, 01:54 AM
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I think you're doing fine, it sounds like the moving isn't anxiety so much as impatience. She just wants to get back to her stall. I like every horse to behave like they have small children around them (whether or not they will). They should stand in the crossties patiently and shouldn't even think about biting anyone ever. I think you're on the right track. Just imagine what would happen if she were dancing around with an 8 year old next to her. I also think a smack is reasonable, it's a loud noise, it immediately addresses the problem, and it is not detrimental to their overall health. I always worry about tight circles and lunging because it can be hard on a horses joints. A smack for correcting misbehavior (like threatening to bite or dancing in the crossties) is something that can easily be enforced by the other people handling her without them having to learn a new skill.

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post #6 of 7 Old 02-25-2012, 02:07 AM
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Horse respond more to physical reprimands then anything else, weather a good pop or working them this is the language they speak and understand.

NEVER forget to reward for the good because if you only reprimand the bad they will never know what is required of them.....physical contact is the best way to get your point across either way in my honest opinion.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-25-2012, 05:12 AM
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I have nothing against smacking a horse to correct bad behavior, but this sounds like an impatient horse, and I've never seen smacking fix that. For an impatient horse, I leave the horse tied and go do some other chores for 10-15 minutes, ignoring the behavior, and repeat until the horse will stand calmly. Sounds corny, but it takes patience to teach a horse patience.
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