aggression towards other horses - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 22 Old 02-07-2011, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 52
• Horses: 0
Exclamation aggression towards other horses

I have a 7 year old Canadian mare that I have had since she was 3 month old. She has lives all year around with an old gelding and 2 mini donkeys for a very long time. When a new gelding came she was extremely aggressive towards him. She was biting and kicking. Also, I went for a trail ride with a friend of mine and my mare was alright towards my friends horse during the ride. Later, the two horses were grazing in-hand when their heads got a little closer (about 4 feet-ish). My mare pinned her ears back , swung around, and kicked my friends mare.

What do you think this is about? how do I fix it? should I punish her for being aggressive or is it just natural?
MarleyandEllie is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 22 Old 02-08-2011, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,854
• Horses: 0
Unfortunately, it sounds like your old gelding did not do his job of instilling herd skills and manners in your mare when she was little. Adding a single horse to the mix is always going to be problematic as your mare can single him out and run him into the ground. If you need to change her herd skills, remove her from the situation where she's the dominant horse and put her out with a band of established mares (putting her in a mixed herd will complicate the issue). It will have defined structure, be pretty peaceful and rarely if ever result in injury. She will be isolated and held away from the herd for a period of time until she is contrite and accepts their terms. She will work up the ladder with some time but in the process she'll develop skills to make her a better leader.

If that's not a road you can go down, at the very least under saddle and in the presence of another horse, she can't even be allowed to make a face at this point. You have to be ready for her to misbehave and reprimand her before it escalates into a kicking match. What if she'd connected with your friend? What if she'd broke the other mare's leg? There are warning signs that we must pay attention to. If you have a friend with a solid, unflappable horse I'd set her up to misbehave. Spend a ride having your friend invade her space as as soon as she thinks about making a face, WHACK. Just once. Have the other horse come back into her space, face?, WHACK. She'll pick it up that it's not the place and time when she's with you.

It is "normal" when they're turned out. Someone wants and needs to be in charge. Unforunately I think it all comes down to who has herd skills and who does not. The ones that lack in skills are the ones who are the bullies.
Left Hand Percherons is offline  
post #3 of 22 Old 02-10-2011, 07:14 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,444
• Horses: 1
Left-Hand Percherons has great advice. Just the caveat I want to add is that the established band of mares-solution *might* work for a horse who is aggressive, but doesn't really want to be alpha and who's horse-aggression hasn't become a completely ingrained habit.

The mare I have owned for over 11 years has horrendous equine social skills and really cannot be turned out safely with other horses. She's never quite grasped that one can be dominant and move another horse with fairly subtle body language -- rather, she charges other horses, chases them, and then whirls around and tries to double-barrel them. Sometimes she's been able to go out with one (extremely submissive) horse she likes and been okay, although she'll have days where she chases the horse around. You can't increase the herd number to two or more other horses, as she'll select one as "her" horse and be dangerously aggressive about driving the others away. Putting a horse like this with an established herd with a strong but fair alpha mare just makes her act even nuttier and more aggressive, as the alpha mare is unlikely to back down and run from her.

However, when she's being ridden or handled by people, she's a perfect angel. Provided something else doesn't provoke her by trying to kick or bite first, she wouldn't dare make a face or lift a leg. That's the best you can do, in my experience, with a horse-aggressive horse. Train them that they cannot behave that way when humans are around. Horse-aggression when you are in the way is about as serious a NO as it gets, just short of being aggressive towards you. My horse has always been sweetness and light towards people but when she threatened another horse while I was in the position to get caught in the cross-fire, I went batsh*t crazy at her, yelling, jumping up and down, chasing her into a corner of a stall, thwacking her with a lead rope, basically making her think she was going to die. She never did that again.

Last edited by thesilverspear; 02-10-2011 at 07:19 AM.
thesilverspear is offline  
post #4 of 22 Old 02-10-2011, 07:32 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: australia
Posts: 2,510
• Horses: 3
I agree with the two previous posts. I have a gelding who is almost exactly like what thesilverspear describes he simply can't be in the same paddock as other horses because he is so aggressive (especially towards geldings). He is also the sort to pick one horse and not let anyone else near it and that is not helpful when there are three horses. So he can still see and touch other horses over the fence but he can not share a paddock with them. But he rarely behaves that badly when someone is handling him and another horse gets to close and when he does play up he gets in trouble. Whereas I have seen other horses that simply needed a more dominant horse to show them the rules of behaviour.

My two horse Apache and Sammy are my world
along with our dogs Patch and Bear.
But I will always love you Jimmy R.I.P
apachewhitesox is offline  
post #5 of 22 Old 02-10-2011, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ft. Hood, TX
Posts: 272
• Horses: 3
Agreed. My 2 year old mare is starting to get mean to other horses. I am doing my best to WHACK when I see the face or the feet (lol)
SissyGoBob is offline  
post #6 of 22 Old 07-08-2015, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 10
• Horses: 0
Okay, so I have a big 14 year old percheron gelding. He is VERY aggressive especially towards my other gelding, I think it may because I show him a lot of affection, but I show them all affection. The only horse he does not be aggressive towards is my top horse who refuses to let my percheron push him around, but even my top horse is no where near as aggressive as my percheron. I currently moved my percheron away from my other horses, but I hate to do that. I have been looking for some suggestions, does anyone have any?
dakotahawk is offline  
post #7 of 22 Old 07-08-2015, 01:16 PM
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 245
• Horses: 0
How long were they together before you decided to separate them? Were there any chunks of fur missing or injuries suffered while together?
ducky123 is offline  
post #8 of 22 Old 07-08-2015, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 10
• Horses: 0
They have been together for about a year or so now and yes he leaves marks on my mares and other geldings all the time I have separated him before then put him back and he was okay for a lil while then went really aggressive again. My other horses just started kicking back at him not to long ago but that doesn't stop him at all, just gives them a minute to run away from him.
dakotahawk is offline  
post #9 of 22 Old 07-09-2015, 08:18 PM
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 245
• Horses: 0
You did what I would have tried. Cannot offer any other advice.
ducky123 is offline  
post #10 of 22 Old 07-09-2015, 08:25 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 647
• Horses: 0
I can't believe I'm suggesting this because I've never tried it on my own horses, and not sure what results you'd get, but maybe a "shock collar" that you can control from a distance. Whenever you notice him even think about being aggressive, shock him . . .
I have heard of other people who use shock collars for dog and horse training, and it allows the person to discipline without the animal starting to fear the person . . .
I'd ask to see what the experience has been for others.
Sometimes, when horses don't feel well, they get grumpy. (ulcers) Is he ever aggressive or grumpy with you?

hollysjubilee is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Stall aggression justsambam08 Horse Training 38 05-13-2010 07:44 PM
Gelding with aggression issues dw9501 Horse Training 11 05-12-2010 12:51 PM
food aggression yorkshirelass Horse Talk 5 03-02-2010 11:28 AM
Paddock Aggression! HowClever Natural Horsemanship 13 02-23-2010 01:04 AM
Feeding Aggression bsdhorse Horse Training 10 06-30-2009 05:46 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome