It doesnt matter what you do with jarred he has his ears back. Whether he is being brushed or you are straightening his rugs or cleaning his feet or literally absolutely anything, his ears are back. The worst is when we are riding. His ears are almost constantly back and if they do go forward they wont stay there too long. I know with the riding thing that its not pain or poor fitting saddle etc as we have just got him all fixed up and doing well. He had baaaad back problems and couldnt be ridden. But we got all that sorted and he is pretty much a dream to ride apart from his normal attitude now :)
When we first got him I put it down to attitude. We worked on a lot of respect things and he got better but he still has this ears back thing. And biting and kicking.
This leads me to my main question. I have found of late that I am asking more of him in the saddle and he is responding well but he is getting worse on the ground which is hard to understand as we are also doing a lot of work on the ground which usually helps him heaps. The worst of it comes when I need to reprimand him. For example:
- a few weeks ago I was adjusting jarreds rug while he was in his yard. Usually he would ears back at me but this time I was checking all his leg straps and he did a silly little kick at me. It wasnt a full on kick but it was one of those warning type ones. Anyways so cause it was a "warning" kick I gave him "warning" type punishment. So I growl at him and attempted to 'move' him away from me with my arms. Well...i ended up in the corner with jarred kicking lick crazy. Fortunately he was on the wrong angle to actually get me and I did an awkward little roll under the rail and was fine apart from suffering a huge adrenalin rush lol I can think of better ways to get the heart going
- I was brushing his mane the other day. He had his ears back and started pawing the ground and being all cranky so I growled at him a little. That was enough to annoy him and he swung around and bit me quite hard and the arm. I was in the perfect position to give him a sturdy whack on his shoulder within about a second and a half of it happening. He didnt try and bite again but he kept his ears back and snorted at me :roll: I don't often use physical discipline because I am rarely in a good spot eg; shoulder or rump, to give him a quick slap straight away but if it involves biting or kicking if I can do it in time he will get a slap.
There are many more instances but I wont name them all. But any time I try and reprimand him it gets nasty. This means that basically unless I want my head kicked in I can't discipline him. I don't like this. He's a huge horse and im small and I need him listening not challenging me back every time.
Is this a domination thing? Jarred is leader of the pack and doesnt give up that position no matter how much he has to fight another horse off. Im thinking that either he has accepted me into his herd but not as his dominant or he hasnt accepted me. I don't know about this because for the most part we have a reasonable relationship on the ground as long as he isnt in trouble for something :) if we are doing things eg; lunging or anything involving him having to move forward we have issues. This can be in preparation for it as well. If im standing there hanging out he will come up and rest his head on me and have a sook and a cuddle. I think comes from the sugar cube or mint they all get when they finish their dinner lol but even through all this he has his stupid ears back :roll:
I've started tying him up lately to do absolutely anything with him. This seems to be helping somewhat but its still not good. We do have a lot of good moments but id rather have more good ones and less bad ones. I've been battling his cranks for 10 months now and im tired of it lol
I wonder if his ears thing isnt always crankiness. Since his back got fixed apart from him being so obviously green he has been great under saddle. We even went on a trail ride the other day which was unheard of on jarred a few months ago. Yet still everything he does is ears back unless we are looking at a jump and then his ears are forward :) he doesnt react in any other way apart from his ears going back. He can be standing there bottom lip hanging and his ears will still be pinned back lol
So I guess there is a lot of questions in there really. Mainly, whats the deal with the ears and how can I get past this aggression when being disciplined. I've been doing a lot of bonding and respect work on the ground but he really is still a baby. Even though he's 8 he is a wb and wasnt broken in until a couple of years ago and then had no riding after breaking until me so he is more like a baby in mentality while being too smart for his own good. The groundwork seems to help our relationship a little but doesnt seem to do much else at the moment
Any ideas/thoughts/suggestions??? Im sure I've forgotten to mention something but I have written a small novel here as it is ;)