Just don't let it get to you- everyone on here means well, but everyone has their own opinion and their own way of sharing it. :) It's the price paid for being on the internet, lol. I'm glad I could help you, have a blessed day!
I think its interesting but also sad that the majority of posts on this issue recommended muscling up to this horse and getting more aggressive or using more force through nose chains, whips etc. Almost no one asked if the horse might have been in pain, tired or confused about why it kept getting chased no matter what it did.
Most people just assumed that the horse should damn well do whatever a human says irrespective of how confusing, tiring, scary or annoying that human might have been.
Horses generally resort to aggressive behaviours when WE ingore their signs of submission or avoidance. In fact, most of us probably can't recognise them because they are very subtle and they don't involve licking and chewing. For all our going on and on about making a horse move its feet to make it respect us (huh?) horses never chase each other round and round like we do if they are in a big enough space and the less dominant horse can get out of the space of the more dominant one. They never demand that the submissive horse faces up, does haunch turns, roll backs etc. All horses want is either for the other horses to get out of their way or the space to get out of the way. Horses don't voluntarily approach either predators or more dominant horses because they get hurt if they do.
The ability to access and keep hold of a food resource (kicking and biting other horses) has no correlation with how trainable or other a horse might be. I've had very food dominant horses who were nervous when ridden, lazy when ridden, were easy to install cues on, hard to install cues on. All a bossy horse in the field tells you is it is the most motivated to get food and the most successful at keeping it. In the wild horses almost never fight over food so the aggression we see when large numbers are kept in small spaces and only offered food at certain times of the day is the product of learning. We shouldn't be blaming horses for simply being horses or expect that they have any insight to their behaviour or moral standards. They are after all simply horses.
I used to run the horse program at a day camp, and we leased our horses for the summer as well. They were leased from a guy who was in the business of leasing horses to camps, some were better than others (I had 32 to deal with, not 4!) and luckily I had 3 pastures at my disposal for herd disputes.
I would never, ever allow what you did to that horse to happen at my barn. For one, our program was large and the horses were ridden 2-3 times a day, when they weren't be ridden they were usually at least saddled for most of the day, 5 days a week. Not an idea scenario, but I made sure they were happy, comfortable, well-fed and did my very best with keeping them sound, saddles fitting, correct bits, bridles, etc. They do their jobs and do them well, like I said, some better than others.
We had a few we needed to handle with "kid gloves" and being sent back usually did not fare well for these guys, although sometimes it was the only option. Some were likely abused, when I worked there (between 95-01) the majority of the horses were from Mexico, before the horse market crashed it was cheaper to go to Mexico and buy a whole herd of horses and ship them up to MN, than it was to go to auctions and buy horses. Usually by the time we got them, they were old, branded on every shoulder and hip (many owners) sometimes scared, sometimes jerks (who wouldn't be after that?) but broke to the nines.
About the kid gloves, we had one who could be classified as being dominant, whatever, he was a small red pony that could kick and bite you at the same time if he wanted to. He was ear shy and afraid of adults, they used to go at him with several people to saddle, bridle and get him out and going with a staff member, but when I started to work with him we took it slow and patient and I made sure everything was comfortable for him, it turned out he was thin-skinned and the synthetic girth irritated him and made him cinchy, so I went out to Fleet Farm and got him a fleece/felt one, and he was fine about saddling after that. He had been ear-twitched before and didn't trust people around his ears. For weeks I would unbuckle his bridle and just loop it over his head and buckle it back up, rather than pulling it over his ears, but he eventually got to the point we could do that too. He ended up being great with the kids (as long as they weren't saddling/bridling, and our younger kids didn't) and enjoyed his work there, we kept him until he passed away from old age.
Another one that stands out was a black gelding who would rear and strike at people on the ground, and rear under saddle. I kept him well away from the kids and other staff, worked with him some, but found him to just be very sore throughout his body, I would guess something like lyme, but will never know. He had a few good weeks when the weather was warm that I used him as my guide horse in my English saddle (which fit him better than the western saddles) but he never became one for the kids or one I even really trusted, we did eventually send him back, and I hope he found peace.
What I'm saying is... it's not an easy life, he probably hasn't had an easy life. Working as a camp horse is hard, if not physically, then mentally. Imagine yourself babysitting all the time, being hot and uncomfortable and speaking a different language than everyone around you. I would never work an already hard-working horse more than necessary, especially with the intent of "teaching him a lesson" what exactly, where you expecting from him?
What could you have done differently? Check your ego at the door. Appreciate him for what he is, send him back if you can't, but what you did do was damaging. You may have broken him further, and he probably was already. I had to quit working at camp because every single autumn when I had spent all summer nurturing these sweet saints of horses, my heart broke in a thousand pieces because I could not guarentee that would continue for them. I almost felt bad gaining the trust of some, only to have someone like you come along in a few months shatter it. You had an excellent learning opportunity with this horse, and you blew it.
Some of my babies: (excuse quality, picture of pictures that were taken by a disposable camera likely)
Mission Impossible "Mission" older Mexican cowpony, likely rodeo horse/pickup horse. Yes, he was loose, when there were no campers I let him hang out and graze because he was afraid of eating hay at the hitching post with his lead rope touching his neck when he moved.
Jedi, my favorite guide horse. When he came up from Mexico, people had actually carved patterns into his back and rump with a knife, and his ears had no hair on them from being singed off. He loved trail riding and working with the young kids, hated white lead ropes or white brushes.
Levi, a playful, mouthy thing he was, I would always insert a brush in his mouth for him to hold while I cleaned his feet or groomed his legs, or he'd bite my butt, he had a major butt affinity, he was more for the advanced riders as he had a lot of go but not a lot of whoa, but he was fun and responsive. He died in my arms from a stroke likely he had in the morning one day when I had just gotten there
Finally, the married couple. The sweetest mare ever on the left, Cookie, and her boyfriend, the red pony mentioned above, Shenanigans (or PD post 2000)
I remember them from spending many days of many summers with them. Some kids it's the first horse they rode, or the only horse they've ridden. Some it was the best summer of their life, or a fleeting memory. I owe them so very, very much.
[QUOTE=corymbia;1553493]For all our going on and on about making a horse move its feet to make it respect us (huh?) horses never chase each other round and round like we do if they are in a big enough space and the less dominant horse can get out of the space of the more dominant one. They never demand that the submissive horse faces up, does haunch turns, roll backs etc. [\QUOTE]
Please feel free to come tell this to my extremely dominant haflinger gelding. Its not unusual to see him running one of his herd mates up and down the fenceline making change their direction back and forth multiple times until they are licking and chewing in submission. If they do get away from him before he is satisfied he will just go after them again until he gets them along another fence line. He does this a lot to the youngest one who is starting to think he can move up in the pecking order and is starting to try to challenge the ones above him. Then when he gets the submission he wants from them he is satisfied and they can go eat together in peace as if nothing happened.
Neuroticmare you hit my guest ranch experiences on the head! Hard working horses that get the best and worst out of life. I worked one old thoroughbred who was skinny. I made a point to feed him separate for a few weeks got him fattened up a bit. Well, by the end of a month that horse would follow me around like a puppy. I would lead ride off him and toss him into the corral he would turn around and stand at my shoulder while we went down the line getting guests off horses. A really sweet horse, soft horse that just did not fit well within a group and was on the verge of being sent back. He did not come back the next year and I don't think he would have overwintered on dry grass in Utah well. The point is, if you do something for camp/ranch horses you have to respect them. If you teach them something don't expect it to stick for more then a season. You are at best transient in their life. They run the gauntlet as far as riders, some good some bad. If the rider jerks on their mouth they are expected to not react. If the rider is loose goose with their mouth they are expected to not react. Then people get upset when they display behaviors that are either the reason they got sent to auction or defense behaviors they picked up from their many handlers. In the end you are not hired to train. At the same time, free lunging a horse can be very dangerous. If you think they are going to hurt you clearly, get out. Its not worth dying over. So, plan for that, have an escape plan. Some horses don't free lunge. I have a mare that was taught that round penning means you kick/strike out and charge the person in the center after 3 months of natural horsemanship training by a "trainer". If you lunge her she is fine, if you just get on her and ride she is fine. If you put a rope halter on her she gets ticked (pinned ears and high head). With her, I don't have a round pen, so its easier to put her in a regular halter and lunge her if I want to ground work her. Its a case of right horse, right situation. Your situation was wrong horse, wrong situation.
I really hate it when folks get all judgemental about something they haven't seen.
Here's my answer to the original question of "Did I do right or wrong in the situation?".
I wasn't there, didn't see his behavior pre or post and I have no experience or history with that particular horse. I have no idea what should have been done with that horse in that moment of time.
A lot of horse training is situational and depends on the horse's level of training, your level of training, his personality (or as the Parelli folks like to say, "Horsonality"), your personality, his transgression, your ability to fix his transgression without anger, his past history with training and your past history with training.
I'm very strict with my horses and any horse who shows signs of agression more than once gets loaded up and sent to the sale. If the horse is otherwise a nice horse and has a bad day, it's one thing. If the horse is a snot and never has a good day it's a whole 'nuther kettle of fish. At 18 I was willing to deal with a whole lot more rank behaviour than I am now, at 55. Then it was all an adventure and how much could I learn, now it's no longer fun to deal with that and I'm not going to get hurt.
A horse with a good heart and a whole lotta try will get all the care, concern and patience I can give him. A horse that has never demonstrated any of that gets sent right down the road. I don't care what the underlying issues are, life is too short to deal with a snot and especially a snot in a camp full of disabled campers. That is a whole level of liability I don't even want to see, let alone open myself up to.
Glad you're no longer at "Camp Runamok", sounds like it wasn't a very good situation.
To the others who responded, I appreciate your taking the time to post such detailed replies. I suppose you didn't see my post about not asking for judgment beyond the two questions I asked. When we start judging others, we stop judging ourselves, and forget how much we have to work on ourselves before we condemn others. Sometimes it is best for everyone to "check their ego at the door" before assuming someone else is/was full of pride.
Hi runslidestop. I agree that sometimes ego gets involve and I am sorry if I offended you. I just have trouble separating the question of what should I do differently or what could I do better when the answer involves the initial decision to enter the arena. Teasing the two apart can be difficult. At the same time, the internet creates a level of us all being anonymous to one another, I don't even know your real name. As a result, sometimes people say things that are easily misconstrued and can be hurtful to feelings. I did not intend to do this. Honestly if we were all standing in a room I would be the one standing in a corner talking to the curtains, because horse people can be really rude and hurtful (curtains not so much). The internet makes us all experts and we never have to back up our ideas or claims. I am sorry. If I did not answer your questions or offended you in any way. I did not mean to. Working horses are just sort of a hot button issue for me and I think I took that out here and possibly on you. That's not my intention. In the end all we can really hope is that we are honest in our actions and intentions as our best horses are in theirs.