Aggressive horse who won't give up - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 33 Old 09-16-2012, 04:37 AM
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How strange that he behaves all right when you ride him but on the ground he's so different. His behavior with the other mares that you described, I wonder if he's a cryptorchid.

Does he behave the same way with other people? If so, do you notice whether he behaves that way with men or not, or with other women or not?

Presuming he does this to everyone, I have what might be a weird idea but if you think it's worth a try...every time he turns round when you're close to him to try to bite, instead of reacting with dominance and aggression in response (I know the usual way is usually appropriate but it sounds like in this case he needs a different tactic), I would have a pocket full of treat weapons ready LOL and if you can be quick and on your toes every time he pulls his nasty tough guy act, move into him with your body right next to his neck and semi-under his head so he can't get at you, stay next to his skin and give him lovin, rubbing his face here and there. In other words, doing the exact opposite of what he's been expecting from you. Throw in an occasional treat, and basically ignore his antics but give him the exact opposite behavior he's trying to instigate with you ;)

Aggression is almost always fear-based, so being next to his skin is horse language for "I am here and you are safe." Move in, not away. Bring yourself close to him, don't push him away or threaten and such.

Watch, it'll confuse him for awhile, and he'll no doubt test you, but if you stay consistent and don't give him what he's learned to expect, I think it'll work. Eventually he may mellow out with the mares too.

I know it sounds entirely crazy, but I've had it work, so hopefully it'll work for you too. You just gotta be quick, always quick, and consistent.

As for any future reprimands, if he gets over the biting and such, it may be best to simply ignore him instead of get cross with him if he regresses at any time.
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post #12 of 33 Old 09-16-2012, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Poco1220 View Post
Another thing to try would be a small umbrella. You
Could mostly tuck it away and when he goes for you open it quickly. A bright umbrella "jumping" open at him just migh scare him enough to step back long enough for you to regain control.
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Interesting idea. Might just work. Although, I have to admit, a cowboy walking out in the pasture with a big stick looks a lot more manly and fearsome than a cowboy walking out with a nice yellow umbrella!
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post #13 of 33 Old 09-16-2012, 03:31 PM
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I wouldn't give him treats if he tries to bite you. You will only be rewarding the behavior, and encouraging it. If you are in the habit of hand feeding him, stop until you get the biting thing under control.
The umbrella would probably work, but I think it would be kind of awkward. You also don't want to make him scared of umbrellas.
Get into the habit of carrying a dressage bat or a small whip with you when you are around him. Reach out use your hand 1st like you would normally, if he goes to bite smack him on the nose with the training aid and tell him no.
Though if your horse is charging you and you can't get him off of you and get him out of your space, please get a trainer to teach you before you get hurt.
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post #14 of 33 Old 09-16-2012, 04:07 PM
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After reading my first post on this thread a second time, I thought I'd better add a couple more thoughts (I only have a few of those each day), else I might come off as an ogre.

I am a staunch advocate of firm, consistent, and gentle training methods. I try to use just the amount of force necessary, in training a horse, to overcome bad behavior and encourage quick compliance and good behavior. Sometimes there is a need for otherwise unnecessarily harsh discipline to quickly stop or correct a potentially dangerous behavior. I advocate the use of training tools, such as spurs, staffs, quirts, ropes, etc, which, when properly used, increase the horse's attention span, obedience, and willingness to act. These same tools, when used improperly, can become tools for abuse. Occasionally the "big stick" method, in my opinion, is warranted to quash a potentially dangerous behavior. Even a good whack with a big stick, like the axe handle I mentioned, is nothing in my hands like a solid kick from another horse, but it is enough to give the horse a clear message that certain behavior is not acceptable and WILL result in pain to him. Once good behavior and performance levels are established, the training tools normally become unnecessary for everyday riding, including spurs. As long as the riders firmly and consistently insist on good behavior, the horse normally continues to behave well.

There is absolutely no place in horse training or handling for a bad temper. Never discipline a horse in anger. I don't mean not to discipline a horse when you are angry, I just mean don't use the anger in the disciplining process. Always be firm, consistent, and dispassionate in discipline. Make the punishment suit the crime.

I do as much to encourage good behavior as I do to discourage bad behavior, however I always insist on immediate compliance, or at least a good effort at compliance, before giving praise. The better the horse behaves and complies, the less force and discipline is used and the more praise and pats he gets. Both of us are happier.

I find, and it is significant to me, that horses are happier when they are submissive and obedient to a good master.
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post #15 of 33 Old 09-16-2012, 04:30 PM
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Although I agree that it sounds that this is a need for a very harsh punishment due to his dangerous behavior I fear for the OP's welfare in administering it. If you go at this half heartedly, this horse could hurt you.

Be very careful that he doesn't spin around and kick you. Best to call in a professional that has dealt with horses like this so that you do not get hurt.

If the horse was biting while tied or something I have a trick I used years ago on a particularly nippy Morgan Stallion. He was famous for turning and biting while I would be picking his feet or brushing him. I didn't want to rail on him for that because we had worked so hard on getting him to stand nice while tied. What I did was put on an old windbreaker style jacket that I had forced a bunch of thumb tacks through. When he would reach to bite me, he corrected himself by getting picked by the porcupine type quills of the jacket.

It sounds however like your horse is far more assertive then that stallion was. I agree with the use of just the right amount of force and keeping anger out of the training ring.
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post #16 of 33 Old 09-16-2012, 05:01 PM
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I worked at a cutting barn, and while employed there I had deal with my fair share of young and dumb and/or studdy horses. When they first arrived, not many knew much about stall etiquette and some could be quite nippy (one stud tried to mount me!) at first. Also had a horse that was an IDIOT and was very playful as a baby.

I have used two ways pretty effectively to teach these buggars that I'm not good knawing material.. while NOT making them freak out on me (in a stall mind you).

1.) you can use your elbow to jab the offender when he comes around for a nip- not much effort is needed you just need to make sure he will make contact. kinda like he did it to himself.. this was more effective with the youngsters that weren't well versed in biting/reward.

2.) If your fast and have really good aim- a well placed punch to the muzzle will correct this repeat biter pretty quickly - If you aren,t fast or miss, it will just become a game to him...he will go in for a nip and then anticipate your attempt with a head dodge (plus it can and will make him headshy).. and he will laugh at you the whole time!! So if you attempt this DO NOT MISS. and always have a halter on when trying this..

Bottom line, this horse is disrespecting you, and you need to show him that that is not ok. No more treats, and NO MORE letting him mouth you (even if hes being nice)or your boots..
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post #17 of 33 Old 09-16-2012, 05:10 PM
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I have to advise getting help from someone experienced with this problem.

Some things to keep in mind while you're looking for help:

Every time you onteract with this horse, keep his focus 100% on you and what you want. If his attention wanders, make him move until he's with you again.

Use a proportional amount of mental and physical force every time he even thinks about getting aggressive. The key is to be quick and effective every single time. He keeps challenging you because you don't always win. To win, he needs consistency.

Do not approach him without a firm plan in mind. Think about what you are going to do and how he is likely to respond. If he doesn't respond like you expected, how will you change your actions?

You have to be 100% committed to every action you take. If he does something that threatens you, have a plan on how to react. (Such as stepping away if he charges but send him off harder. If he's behaving well, give him a chance to rest, but keep watching and put him back to work as soon as his attention shifts.) This is really where having a plan will come in handy.

Do not pet him, ever.

Do not hand feed him, ever.

Most importantly, do not let your guard down, ever. You have to be able to react instantly to what this horse does.

I recommend diverting his attention BEFORE he gets to the point of biting. Movee him off or make him yield. But get his focus back on working for you.

Always have someone else around when you're near him.

This is where I would start. Keep in mind, this might not work for him, which is why I suggested seeking help.
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post #18 of 33 Old 09-16-2012, 05:25 PM
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I'd be handling this guy with a lunge whip and no fear of using it on him. His behavior is going to get someone hurt or killed and buy him a ticket on the meat wagon one day. His only hope of becoming a good lifetime member of society is to shape up, and that means any and every time he acts up, he needs to learn fear of the consequences. I would not allow him in kicking distance, let alone biting distance while you're out in the field when you know he's got a habit of acting up. Right now, nothing bad happens to him in the end when he acts up, so from his point of view, there's no reason to stop.
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post #19 of 33 Old 09-16-2012, 06:01 PM
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I would not tolerate a horse that bites. I would clean his clock - and if I couldn't I'd get someone that could. Biscuit acted like he THOUGHT about nipping me last week - he got a very sharp slap on the nose. Momma don't play. EVER. I feed Biscuit treats all the time and when getting a treat he couldn't be more gentle or he wouldn't get one. We used to pass a tumbled down shed going down the rode and he would always get very nervous (full of opposums, cats, racoons) and reach over like he wanted to touch my arm which I took a him trying to nip. I blew up at him I am sure like that lizard that runs on his back legs with the ruffly neck flairing out. I think I scared 3 years of growth off of him

If he ever bites he will be missing body parts because I will not tolerate that and you shouldn't either. He sounds dangerous and if you can't get his respect you need to get someone who can. Biting and kicking horses is just fine as long as they are kicking and biting another horse....human's aren't horses. Box his ears into the middle of next week if he even looks like he is thinking about taking a chunk out of you and he might think twice about that!
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post #20 of 33 Old 09-17-2012, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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Yesterday I went into the paddock with a crop (that's what we called them in Australia, I think they are called riding sticks in the US, a short whip), with it tucked up my jumper so he couldn't see it. I made him run around and move his back end around, and back up which I've taught him from voice command so I don't need to touch him which is asking for a bite! I'd rather not give him the opportunity. Then as soon as he put his head up and ears back at me I whipped out the crop and gave him a sharp smack on his chest. He ran back about ten strides with his head bobbing about but ears still back, he didn't have a clue what had just happened! And he didn't like it at all. So I did this a couple times when he got nasty but didn't push it too much, then he was at the point where he was submissive and calm and following my feet. He's a very quick learner and really smart, so hopefully he'll realise he won't know whether he's going to get a smack or not and he'll calm down. I will try all of your ideas for sure though to mix it up a bit :) thank you! He'll probably get too smart for the whip soon anyway.

affored - I agree with you 100%. I never hand feed him, but I pat him and he always manages to find a way of being naughty. Sometimes I go through a week or so of just giving him tough love, pushing past him and making him do what I want, not being nice at all. But it never lasts for long :( often because I feel sorry for him. I need to really try and make it a long-term thing, with the things that you mentioned.

peppersgirl - I have tried using my elbow on him every time he bit me for months on end, unfortunately it made no difference. I don't know why! Thank you though

Inga - I have been meaning to put some mustard or something on my boot so that when he bites that he will get a nasty taste. I hadn't thought of thumb tacks in a jacket though, it sounds like it would probably work - for when he tries to nip me when I clean out his hooves too.

DRichmond - He seems to act the same with women and men - he bites my little sister as well as my dad and hoof trimmer who is a male, although he doesn't get away with much with the hoof trimmer. They never really put themselves in a position where he becomes aggressive though, so I'm not sure what would happen there. I probably should have said more about him under saddle - he's not dangerous but he will try to get away with anything he can. Has the occassional bucking hissy fit and tries to run out of the arena or not do something he doesn't want to do, I always feel as though I have better control of him when I'm on him for some reason though. Not that I constantly yank his mouth off or anything, I (hope) I'm always pretty light on the reins :) My dad actually said the other day I should try and just be really quiet and calm when his mouth comes at me to surprise him, I'll try it and see what happens, thanks
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