Aggression on the ground - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By tinyliny
  • 1 Post By Palomine
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-30-2012, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Aggression on the ground

I've owned my 7 yr old paint gelding for a little over two years, and while he was an angel the first few months we had him, since then he has progressively gotten worse. It was mostly just a buck here and there, but once he figured out I would come off every time he bucked, it turned into the point where I was unsure about riding him. I almost ended up going to the emergency room from severely bruising my coccyx, ( after coming off once again). That was about a year ago. So we started from the bottom after some advice from a friend to do ground work, and lot of desensitizing. This helped a ton, and we were able to purchase a round pen so I could work him before riding. ( He didn't know how to lunge.) I didn't have almost any issues for a long time. But after he was out of work due to a leg injury, and not getting enough work after he healed, I can't even work him in the round pen without him becoming "herdy" ( Pinning his ears, arching his neck, etc. He looks like a stallion trying to herd his mares, although not quite as threatening.) I used to work him and we'd join up, and there was no aggression, at least none I could see. I have had around four years of experience with horses, only two with him, ( I know, not exactly a lifetime...) and he is the first horse I've owned,( although when we bought him, we bought his friend as well, he just doesn't belong to me. I do ride him as well.) So it was a case of mixing green and green, but when we bought him we thought he had quite a bit more training than he did. Basically I'm just wondering what to do, join up is what I've always done when he would get bossy, but I can't really do that because he acts like he does. I do other ground work with him and he does it fine, so it's just that one area. Because of this I haven't ridden him as I don't think it would end well if he has to much energy and if he doesn't respect me on the ground how is going to respect me when I'm one him? I'm just looking for ideas, anything would be welcome. I've entertained the idea of selling him off and on for the last few months, but I would like to give it at least one more shot, before really thinking about it. But I would like to be able to ride, and if I can't even work him, it's just not worth it. Anything would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-30-2012, 03:42 PM
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Well, if he is just coming off an injury and pins his ears when you ask him to move in the round pen, it could be that he is not as healed as you think.

you say he is ok with "other ground work", but I don't think it's necessarily the type of ground work but rather the level of pressure that is put on him. So, when he is not under much pressure he accepts without sass, but when the pressure is up'd, such as having him run around the round pen, then he is ready ato push back at you. his pinned ears is pushing back at you.

I would very first be sure that there is no pain issue making him want to resist moving faster than a walk. Then, get someone who is very confident to help you break him loose. He is stuck and will need someone who can project more confidence than he can intimidate with his pinned ears and posturing.
You, having had some bad experiences with him, will prbably be unable to do this, and if you arent' 100% certain you WILL do it, then don't , because if you push harder to break him out, and he ups the ante and you give in, then you have simply taught him how strong he can get without having to give to the human.

Usually, when a horse comes to a new property and starts out doing great, was great at the first purchase exam/try out , and then goes downhill from there, it's the rider's fault. (sorry) She isn't keeping his manners sharp in all the small ways, so the horse starts expanding those small ways and getting more and more pushy until it cannot be ignored.
After you get some help with this, find out in what ways you need to be consistently expecting, no, requiring obedience, and then DO them.

Selling the horse is also a possibility. Not every horse is suited to every rider and all, but if you think it might have something to do with your level of leadership, then it may be an issue again, with the next horse. So, consider this an opportunity to expand in that area with a good teacher.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-30-2012, 03:46 PM
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Welcome. It sounds like you have quite the situation on your hands. A feeling like you are in a non-win situation. I would consider having the vet out to make sure he is completely healed. If he gets the all clear its behavioral assessment. Than I would look into finding a trainer to work with. An aggressive horse and an owner/rider who feels threatened is asking for trouble. I would do this before I tried to sell him. You may end up selling him in the end but in this market who wants to buy a horse with behavioral problems?
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-30-2012, 04:12 PM
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It could be a pain issue but I don't think it is. When you do your other ground work, you are showing him leadership so he listens. When I hear someone mention "join up", I think that their main goal is to get the horse to come to them which lacks in leadership. JMO

Another issue could be the round pen itself. How big in diameter is it. Remember that horses are flight or fight animals. If the round pen is too small, they have no where to "escape". Not really escape but move away to from the pressure. That's when the turn to fight instincts and turn "aggressive".
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-01-2012, 04:59 AM
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He isn't acting herdy, he is telling you he is in charge, and showing it with these actions by cresting over and pinning his ears.

Horses will either follow a leader, or be the leader. And this will happen with any horse, if the handler does not know what they are doing. Little things can escalate into major problems, if the horse is pushing things, such as food aggression, forging ahead when being led, rushing into/out of a stall, fidgeting when being tacked. The list is endless as to the ways a docile horse can be turned into a spoiled brat.

And if you are a babier/soother type of handler, that will ruin one faster than anything, as to a horse it shows them you are weaker than them.

That said, if you are scared of this horse, than I don't see this changed, no matter what methods you use, as at the root, is your handling I think. And another horse more than likely will become as this one has.

I strongly suggest finding someone who has good handling skills, and trying to learn from them, as all the written advice/books/DVD's in the world will not teach you what you need to know. Changing your handling of this horse will do more than round penning will.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-01-2012, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all! Tinyliny~ We have worked with a vet various times with him, so I'm pretty sure I can rule out pain, not completely b/c there was more than one issue, but b/c he stopped limping and acting like he was in pain a few months after he was injured, ( if he went faster than a walk he would limp and "bump" his head every time his lame leg had pressure put on it. ) I haven't seen him do that in months, so I am pretty positive he is not in pain. I have tried to contact a friend I could work something out with for training, she really knows what she's doing, and I believe she could really help. But I haven't heard back from her yet, so that's why I'm looking for ideas besides her. Usandpets~ Join up is a very controversial subject ( depending on the people group.) and I won't go into but whenever I've worked with join up, ( it is pushing the horse away and making them work, until they give the signs they are tired, and ready to give in, not just having them come to you...) I've had wonderful results, especially with Thunder, he's always been great with it, and before this the round pen has seemed to be fine in how big it is. ( We have a 50"ft) So I don't think that's his issue. Palomnie~ I am definitely not a babier/soother ( one of my best instructors was a dead set cowgirl) and I do know it's my fault, because earlier on he could get the best of me, but since we bought him I've learned so much that I understand what I couldn't before. Unfortunately you can't undo what you've trained a horse to know.

This has helped though, seeing other people's perspective helps a lot in realizing what I could do to help. So Thank You!
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agression , behavior , gelding , lunging , round-penning

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