Aggressive horse who won't give up - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 33 Old 09-17-2012, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by kalarni View Post
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.
Yikes. This is probably 90% of the problem, right there. What this horse knows now is that sometimes he can get away with it, sometimes he can't, but if he can't get away with it NOW it is only a matter of time. All he has to do is keep trying and eventually, you're going to let him.

That's a bad thing to teach the horse, but unfortunately, you seem to have done it. You can undo it, but it's going to take a lot longer to undo than it did to do it in the first place. But it CAN be done.

I doubt you need a big arsenal of tools to do this. I wouldn't try loading up on all of the approaches that have been suggested here. What you need to do NOW is to decide - for yourself, and for GOOD - that you are NOT going to put up with this behavior AT ALL, EVER. And then you need to mentally prepare yourself for a long, extended battle.

You have to treat horses just like you treat kids. Decide what behavior is OK and what is not, communicate that in some way that the horse (or kid) is capable of understanding, and then keep those rules 100%, all the time. No exceptions, no feeling sorry for the poor thing, no bending the rules just this once.

Most of the suggestions in this threat have to do with the "communicate that in some way that the horse can understand". The solution is not to do all of these. The solution is to find one that works - and it sounds like you've already got one, with the crop - and STICK TO THAT FIRMLY.

That's not to say that it will always, forever, be a bad idea to bend the rules once in a while, but you're not even close to that point. All you do when you bend the rules, or break them for yourself, or get tired of fighting and stop, or change the rules...all you're doing now is confusing the horse.

A confused horse is an unhappy horse. And a confused child is an unhappy one, too. Both of them, they like to have structure and know who's in charge and what the rules are. Both of them, even so, will test once in a while to make sure that you're still in charge and that the rules are still the same. If you want a happy horse (kid) you need to make sure that you're delivering the same exact message every. single. time.

It is exhausting, especially when you have a bright, curious, pushy horse. I know this because I do too. But you have to trust me - and I know that other people here know this as well, including some of the people who have already weighed in...I'm sure they're thinking "Oh, no, so you've been giving intermittent rewards? No wonder he's acting out." - IF you can be 100% consistent with your boy, and you can enforce the boundaries 100% of the time, and you are communicating it in a way he can understand, THEN you are going to have one great horse, and a horse you can feel very comfortable with, and a horse that will be able to relax and love you back as much as you love him.

I will bet, since you say that your horse behaves better under saddle than on the ground, that you are a LOT more consistent about your aids and corrections when you're riding than when you are handling the horse on the ground. That, alone, will explain this whole mystifying phenomenon.

As I said, I'm speaking from experience on this one. My horse still mounts the occasional challenge. He has to. He does it under pretty predictable circumstances now, though, like if he's been stalled up a little too long, or hasn't been ridden or worked intensively in too long. He also does it when it's very windy, and when the weather is changing a lot. My job is to pay attention to the circumstances, anticipate the behavior, and be ready with my corrections when he crosses the line (because I already know he will). The challenges go on for a lot less time, and they are more "token" challenges, and so they're less annoying and time-consuming to deal long as I'm ready with that correction and nail him (figuratively) as soon as he crosses the line. SO it's not going to make your boy a perfectly behaved horse, but it will be a lot more manageable.

Last edited by ThursdayNext; 09-17-2012 at 07:46 AM.
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post #22 of 33 Old 09-17-2012, 11:12 AM
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Hi Kalarni, I was reading your post and wondered if you only pushed him away and waved your hands around. Have you ever just smacked him (with your open hand)? Or does that just make him worse? Sometimes just the sound of such a big smack gets respect (though it probably is nothing to them).
One of my colleagues tells me there is an "off button" about two-three inches below their eye on the cheek and to go for that. Anyone else hear of that?
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post #23 of 33 Old 09-17-2012, 03:43 PM
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Look on Monty Roberts website, its fantastic :)
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post #24 of 33 Old 09-17-2012, 03:50 PM
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which part of Tassie are you in? I have a couple of contacts for you (nw coast, they may know of someone if you are in Hobart or Launceston area) that can help with this. shoot me off a PM.
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post #25 of 33 Old 09-17-2012, 03:56 PM
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going off of some of the other posts. with my gelding he didn't bite but he would charge and kick at me because he didn't respect me.

i used anything from lunge whip to bats etc. the most convenient thing to carry all the time however was a cane. like this picture

you could just rest it over your forearm and you always had it and you always had your hands free if you didn't need it. after a few run ins with this and him seeing it on everyday basis he stopped with alot of his aggression.

however you definitely need the right mindset or you are going to get hurt.. trust me on this one my guy has nearly run me over multiple times for trying to correct his aggression. so there is no doubt that your guy will try to hurt you now for trying to stand your ground. if you can get a professional to work the aggression out first and then watch you correct him then you can really save yourself alot of danger.

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post #26 of 33 Old 09-18-2012, 01:16 PM
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it sounds to me like you are correcting him only part way. even your most recent description of hitting him a few times in the pasture and haveing him get to the point of following you around sounds like he may still be only partway to the point where you need him to be. You need him to LET GO of this idea that he can threaten you without repercussions. He may have paused, for that day, but I bet he has not truly made any change in the way he thinks about you.

I would go out in that pasture, with my mind set in a granite of will, saying "Game Change!" I'd walk right up to him and start moving him right away. I would NEVER allow him to approach me all the way. He can come up to me only to within about two meters, after that I approach him. But , at first, do not allow him to come up to you AT ALL, until you can make him move away with respect.
I would single him out of the herd and move his arse around that field , on and on. I would make him wonder "what the heck's got into her head?" I would use a dressage whip, not a short bat. The dressage whip can be whipped throuigh the air to make a big noise and really get his attention.


once he is moving promptly when I say so, without any threat posture in his face or body, and is turning to face me and asking to come in , I would allow him to approach, to the "stopline". I would then go and greet him very briefly, then leave him alone.

Day One done. If you do this right, a change will come about. NOt a pause in his behavior, but a change in his thinking. I bet the next day when you go out, he will not dare any threat gestures.

Last edited by tinyliny; 09-18-2012 at 01:18 PM.
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post #27 of 33 Old 09-18-2012, 01:33 PM
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This horse is dangerous and you NEED some professional help that will retrain him to respect and then, retrain YOU so that you can keep up with that training.
Honestly, the lesson here is to look for a good attitude when you are horse shopping. I've lost money several times (after my lesson business closed) bc I bought horses that didn't respect people, were afraid of people and/or weren't people-friendly. This was the ONE thing that all the horses I bought and then sold again had in common, but I overlooked it.
When you shop, make your mind up that:
(1) DON'T buy and trailer home the same day you look at the horse. Sleep on it and take good notes.
(2) Get the owner to show you everything about the horse
--grooming/tie-up manners
--tacking up manners
--manners under saddle
--manner inside an arena and manners outside of an arena
--manners working with another horse alongside (IF possible)
(3) DON'T get on to try that horse unless he is SUCH a gentlemen that you're drooling over the idea of riding him
It doesn't mean you won't have any problems. "Trogdor" was 19yo when we bought him and we had to train him to gunfire and he rushed out of the trailer, until we broke him of that, but the whole family could tack up and ride him anywhere at any time, even after months of no riding. I got him for my DH, and I really wanted to try him bc he was so respectful and I knew that he'd be comfortable (TWH.)

A Jack and Three Queens, the latest book by James C. Dedman,
Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did!
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post #28 of 33 Old 09-18-2012, 09:50 PM
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Before you do anything you should have someone with you. My pony is the alpha in his little group (yet he is the smallest!) And when I first got him he tested me for a couple of months, both on the ground and while riding. Biting, kicking is not tolerated at all. I've walloped him on the nose several times because he made moves to bite me and or raise his leg to kick. The moment you fear a horse is when you loose power. My pony is only about 12.5 hands but still bigger than me in many respects. (I might feel differently if he was a 16-17 hand guy but the theory is the same) horses are smart, but we are smarter. Think big, think calm. And even if you have trouble believing it, you are in charge. Horses want a leader, its hard to become one to even the most aggressive horses. But it starts with believing that you can do it. Make him understand that its your way or the highway, and be consistent. Thats another important thing. But please, for your safety have a friend or a trainer to help you in case something happens. Good luck.
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post #29 of 33 Old 09-18-2012, 10:10 PM
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My first horse acted a lot like your gelding. At the time, she was MUCH smarter than me, and would be very aggressive when she did not want to be messed with. When I say aggressive, I mean she ran me down in the pasture and snapped my wrist one time. Not just a mouth open, "you're near me so I'm going to bite you" thing, it was a full on "if you are within running distance, I'm going to hurt you" type of aggressive. I was just 13 at the time, and I tried natural stuff.. figured out how to approach and retreat, yield hindquarters, move her feet.. but some days she was just not having it. So, one day, in sheer frustration after trying to catch her and getting lunged at by her, I grabbed one of those big, plastic bats little kids use for learning to play softball.. And when she ran at me and reared, I whacked the !@#$ out of her front legs and kept going until she was backing circles in the paddock with a look of total bewilderment. After that, I had no problem. Turns out that in order to top her extreme alpha personality, I had to get more aggressive than she was. Now I don't condone hitting horses, but in some cases they need to be shaken up before they seriously injure someone. I kept this horse until I was 17, and by that time she had become a push button, beginner type horse.
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post #30 of 33 Old 09-19-2012, 07:57 PM
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"I made him run around" Why? When he put his head up and his ears back he was on high alert and wanted you to stay away. That is not unreasonable. So you went and smacked on his chest. Well if he ain't confused I don't know what he is. He's going to get so he hopes to never see you. Not the way I'd want to win him over. Why not just put him in the pen, go in yourself and ask nothing of him, just be there. With so much of what you have said it sounds like a battle. You are inconsistent in how you do things with him then take it out on him. I also suspect your saddle is hurting him. Grabbing at your boot may be his way of telling you he's hurting. I have a horse I've owned for four years and have never hit him. He is respectful of my space because I've taken the time to lay the foundation. Day after day if necessary. This was almost always done at liberty so if he couldn't handle the pressure he could leave. That was my signal that I'd asked too much of him. Your horse needs leadership, not someone who wails on him. The more you dominate him in a way he understands you'll find the biting will diminish. In a herd if he bites at another horse, the leader, he's going to be in big do-do and can expect repercussion. If he goes after a horse that's lower in rank than he is he will merely drive it away as it won't put up much fight. He's not seeing you as the leader but as an adversary of lesser rank. Try to see it from his point of view.
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