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Do you think that physically disciplining horses with your body is ok ?

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        01-14-2013, 08:00 AM
      #11
    Trained
    1 - Horses do absolutely understand when they have done something wrong, if they have been trained first about what is right. A horse that has been trained to stand still knows full well that by moving around, he is challenging you.

    2 - Horses naturally believe in dominance. Watch a group of horses. They will display dominance, even to the point of bullying at times. Dominance is a language they understand. They don't always TRUST the dominant horse, but they UNDERSTAND who is dominant - and they care about it. It is more complex than just who hits hardest, but the willingness to kick or bite is one of the factors they respond to among themselves.

    3 - Those who believe a punch in the shoulder makes a horse fearful need to stay away from my horses. They haven't gotten the memo, and I don't want them to learn that idea.

    4 - As Kayty suggests, at least I don't leave bite marks on my horses. My mare does, regularly. Yet when there is trouble, the 2 geldings run to her and wait for her decision. She is harsh, but she is also consistent, proportional, and fair. My goal is to communicate the same to my horses, and to her. I try to treat her the way she treats the geldings. And so far, she seems to understand that just fine.

    5 - As best I can tell, horses understand righteous anger. They don't understand temper tantrums, but they fully understand a person getting angry for a reason. They get angry among themselves as well. Anger is OK, provided it is based on an action and it is proportional to the offense.

    Yes, I punish my horses. I don't drag them to a round pen and run them ragged, and if a horse is genuinely fearful on a trail, I try to help them past that fear...but I will punish for infractions of the rules. And if I respond when the violations are small, they don't become big ones.

    If Trooper tries to bully Cowboy in the corral, I can shout "Trooper!" from 200 feet away and Trooper will spin around. He knows that if he doesn't listen to my voice, things will escalate. That, in return, provides safety for the horses and for me. I wouldn't want to walk into their corral when they are hungry, carrying food, if they didn't believe the fork carrying the hay could be put to other uses.

    In times of high stress, I don't think horses trust wimpy 'leaders'. When my spooky mare gets fearful, it isn't enough for her to feel good about me. She needs to believe I'm bigger, tougher, and smarter than her fears. Otherwise, she'll bolt. Been there, done those, and don't want to go back to those days...
         
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        01-14-2013, 10:06 AM
      #12
    Green Broke
    My old schoolmaster came to me with an awful biting habit. He put me in a corner of his box, and bit my side, and wouldn't let go. I grabbed a broom, and boy did I whack him a good one with that. Did he ever have a fear of brooms? No. Did he ever bite me again? No.

    You have to measure up what is 'enough'. If you are hormonal, and irritable you may make a wrong judgement, and go too far. I have seen a young man beat his horse with a whip, and it took two full grown men to pull him away from the horse, who was double tied and freaking the heck out (as I imagine most would).

    However, I am a firm believer, as Kayty said, in herd dynamics. When my horse gets double barrled in the chest by the lead mare, or the lead gelding, he will think twice. A swat from me will make him notice, but it's hardly going to damage him for life.

    You have to take the horse in to consideration- is it a cheeky youngster, or a nervous, middle aged wreck?
    You have to take WHERE in to consideration- I would never hit a horse on the face. Neck, chest, trunk.. behind I tend to avoid incase they try and plant one back ;)

    A couple of weeks ago, I was grooming my youngster, who was fidgeting everywhere. He pushed straight in to me with his hind, so I took my grooming brush and gave him a whack on the butt.. firstly to move it, and secondly to get his darn attention.
    Another owner pulled me back and said how dare I hit my horse.. whilst he wife was being dragged down the indoor lines by his horse.

    Respect, not fear. You just have to know the balance.
    BigGreyHorse, OliviaMyee and LisaG like this.
         
        01-14-2013, 02:17 PM
      #13
    Weanling
    I think that whatever method you use, you need to have very good timing, and it can't be personal. Hitting, or making a horse work in a round pen, several seconds after something has happened will have no effect. The horse won't connect the punishment to the initial deed.

    It also has to be proportional and fair.

    Someone asked if punishing/hitting a horse can make it aggressive? Yes, it can, if the horse was treated badly. And then you have a real problem, because fixing an aggressive (or maybe we should say fearful) horse takes more than butterfly kisses and sugar cubes. Not a task I'd want to take on, personally (though my Dad ended up with one that was likely abused at some point in the past, and trust me, he is a huge pain in the arse sometimes).

    My personal guidelines (and these are only my opinion) are that I will only smack a horse for big offenses such as biting or walking all over me. I rarely have to do this with horses I've had for any length of time. I never hit on the head or legs because I think that could cause an injury. I might smack with a rein or the soft end of the lead rope, but that's it.

    I much prefer not having to hit a horse. I will block, if I can, instead, or think about preventing the behaviour.

    I don't mean any of this as a criticism of anyone on this board because I haven't seen you in action. If your horse has good manners without being fearful, you've probably found a good balance.
         
        01-14-2013, 02:58 PM
      #14
    Weanling
    My personal feeling on this matter is you must use the minimum force necessary to stop any bad behavior. You progress up the ladder as you go.

    If you always use maximum force eventually it will either not work anymore or your horse will begin to distrust you.

    Its also my trainers philosophy. If a horse is being stupid and dangerous then we will not hesitate to wallop them if its what is necessary to stop them from being that way. We can little afford any of our horses at the stables acting that way as we teach riding lessons to kids. All that really matters about a horse to us is what is between his ears. If we have a horse that acts stupid enough times he won't be around very long anyways because we have to have horses we can trust in an inexperienced riders hands.

    Luckily its pretty much only my boy and my trainers boy that tend to have stupid moments but we are also both quite prepared for them to happen and can correct them when they do.

    The important thing to remember is that its not okay to punish a horse that doesn't understand what your asking them to do. If your horse knows better then that's one thing but to punish a horse for not understanding you is no way to teach.

    Its why I like natural horsemanship its more about learning to communicate in your horses language and helping you to understand that prey mentality.
    OliviaMyee and LisaG like this.
         
        01-14-2013, 03:00 PM
      #15
    Weanling
    One other thing to throw in there is that like others have said the punishment should be swift and the release and reward just as swift.
    OliviaMyee likes this.
         
        01-14-2013, 03:09 PM
      #16
    Started
    If the timing is right and they did something wrong (biting, kicking etc) then yes, absolutely. I will never be able to hit a horse as hard as he could kick me. But like others have said, you have to know when to let off
    OliviaMyee likes this.
         
        01-14-2013, 03:24 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    My rule of thumb is:
    Its ok to hit a horse correctively, but not ok to hit out of anger or with out reason.

    In other words if a horse kicks, bites, pushes, or hits me with his head or other appendage, heck yes I am going to hit that horse. Once, not physically beating it with in an inch of its life but correctively a smack of maybe even a punch if the moment deems it. Then I move the feets of the horse.

    Story time!
    I put my horse in a stall once and was just watching him eat hay. He kept pressing on the gate to get out and I would turn him around after he would try a couple of times. The next thing I see are teeth flying at me to come and bite me, and you better believe that I punched my horse in the face before he could get his teeth on my face. Havent had a problem since. Then we went out side in the middle of the hurricane and that horses feet went to work. He knows what he did. And its not the first time he's bitten someone either.
    OliviaMyee likes this.
         
        01-14-2013, 03:40 PM
      #18
    Green Broke
    The punishment should fit the crime.

    So if my horse bares his teeth at me or even hints that he is going to try chomping me, he'll get socked in the mouth. Lift a leg and threatening to kick will get you smacked in the leg with whatever is in my hand.

    The only time I would even consider smacking a horse anywhere near it's face is for biting.

    There's plenty of punishments that don't involve physically touching a horse, IE if my horse is trying to blow past me while I am leading him, I'll stop and back him up until he's ready to walk properly and I greatly prefer to not physically strike a horse BUT if a horse is endangering a human, they are going to be experiencing physical pain.

    Best ever was when my dodobrain of a horse decided to charge my trainer (having a very bad day and was not in the slightest bit happy with her), the only thing in her reach was a giant construction cone and she beaned him squarely in the butt with that cone while holding her ground. He's just lucky the giant 3 step mounting block was too far away because she would have happily thrown that at him!
    Sharpie, bsms and OliviaMyee like this.
         

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