Alpha horse vs owner problem?

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Alpha horse vs owner problem?

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  • 1 Post By gssw5
  • 1 Post By Dustbunny
  • 3 Post By Cherie

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    08-16-2013, 10:16 AM
Alpha horse vs owner problem?

So I just got this 6year old quarter horse.
She has probably the worst ground manners I have ever worked with.
She acts like a spoiled 2year old. If she doesnt get her way she tryes to bite( I pinch her nose) or she rears (so I raise my hand to be bigger than her) she trys to kick out (i make her lung)
In her old home she obviously ran the whole family. Well I don't play that game.
This is not my first rodeo with horses like this. I was just wondering how others would approch this.
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    08-16-2013, 11:27 AM
Any ideas would be great. Or other peoples experinces with this. Thanks
    08-16-2013, 11:32 AM
Originally Posted by thorson    
so I just got this 6year old quarter horse.
She has probably the worst ground manners I have ever worked with.
She acts like a spoiled 2year old. If she doesnt get her way she tryes to bite( I pinch her nose) or she rears (so I raise my hand to be bigger than her) she trys to kick out (i make her lung)
In her old home she obviously ran the whole family. Well I don't play that game.
This is not my first rodeo with horses like this. I was just wondering how others would approch this.

For a horse like that I would start in the round pen off line and put her feet to work, get her going at what ever gait I choose and the direction I pick. Once she is consistent with the change of direction on cue, she will realize you can control her feet and the real work can begin. I would also be keeping her out of my personal space until she has respect for me as her leader. Set her up for success at all points and reward her for the smallest tries. She just needs to know she can look to you for leadership.

An added vent these spoiled sorry broke horses are very common and I just want to whack their owners for letting them get this way. But that is just my opinion.
thorson likes this.
    08-16-2013, 12:04 PM
Green Broke
Agree that a round pen may be in order. Make her work, and if she misbehaves, up the pace and increase directional changes. When she is doing well at that, go to ground work on a lead.

CA has a good groundwork program for building respect you may want to look into. I personally think that raising your hand when she rears is more encouraging a rear than discouraging. If she rears, make her move. Left or right, get her out of the rear, then have her lunge, with tons of directional changes and lots of energy, until she is focused on you, then resume what you were doing. If she bites, fly at her, yell, jump, smack her neck, get her moving her feet in a hurry, and most importantly, make her feel like, for the 5 seconds directly after a bite, she is in serious, life threatening trouble. Then resume what you were doing. If she tries to kick, she needs a firm smack, then move her feet. All of these issues are easy to fix if you treat them like the lead mare would - a swift, immediate bite or kick(for a human a good smack, or other quick, unexpected action) and get them moving their feet. A few times of getting a serious reprimand and they wont try it again. A lead mare wont calmly pinch an offending her members nose, or raise her head to seem bigger than a disrespectful rearing herd member. She gives them a good, quick, serious repercussion for their action.

The most important thing about this is timing. It has to be IMMEDIATE. If you wait 5 seconds to correct, you are too late.

I work with lots of horses, from new born up. By the time they are weanlings, regardless of breed, kids can handle them. I've had a three year old leading my 2 year old appy around, and many kids have handled the two year old thoroughbred gelding on the farm, that is out of successful race horses and going to be a race horse himself. It is SO much easier to do it right the first time, as I retrain ex race horses and found out quickly. Many of them have awful ground manners, but it is certainly fix able.
    08-16-2013, 12:32 PM
I do not have a round pen so i'm using a lunge line. She does well when I get her moving so that's what i've been doing alot of. I've had her a week as of last night. For the last 3 years she has sat and been spoiled.
I tried when she first reared to get her to move I found that raising my hand brought her back down to the ground so I could get her to move. That's why I raise it.
    08-16-2013, 12:54 PM
Originally Posted by gssw5    
... I just want to whack their owners for letting them get this way.
Amen! Owner-whacking should be part of the training process and not considered an assault, but rather "education."

Just curious, is this now your horse or do you have it in training? It would be a shame to have this horse go back to the same owners, pick up where she left off, and be a real problem.
barrelbeginner likes this.
    08-16-2013, 01:00 PM
She is now my horse. I will be keeping her or my mom will. (we have the same horse mentality lol)
I once was working a horse for a lady who was just as bad as this one. And it would charge and kick and be horrible. So I spanked it and the owner got mad at me. I picked my stuff up and left.
    08-16-2013, 02:39 PM
My boss and I had a horse that would rear and bite if you reprimanded it on the ground (only kicked once and stopped when she kicked it back in it's butt lol). Her barn has a lower end where there's enough clearance for a horse, but not one that rears. She went about her business as usual and when the horse bit her she smacked her nose and the horse, getting pissy, reared and hit its head on the ceiling. It looked at us and that was the end of that problem. The same horse tried it once outside on a lungeline and lost her footing, she fell a bit, got up and stood up and then thought about it and then continued to work. We never had a problem after that.

Sometimes they need to get themselves into an issue and hit their head so to speak to realize they can't do that. I'd be super hard on her for the rearing/kicking. I've kicked horses back when they've kicked at me. The rearing.... well see story above lol. As for the biting I'd do what you're doing. Good luck!

As a note: Do not think I or my boss are abusing horses! We do not, we simply strive to keep both parties as safe as possible! We would never abuse a horse! Just wanted to reassure people who might have read that and thought, "Oh my gosh..."
    08-17-2013, 12:03 PM
Super Moderator
You don't need a round pen (they are for people and not horses anyway) and you don't need a longe line. She is not ready for that.

You need a good, stiff rope halter -- without or without knots on the nose-band and a good easy-to-hold lead rope that is 10or 12 feet long.

Start out just leading her and 'pushing' her around. Back her up, move her shoulder over to the right and NEVER, NEVER let her make you back up a single step. She should ALWAYS have to move away from you. This is the very best way there is to show YOUR dominance.

Teaching a horse to 'yield' from the slightest pressure from you is how good manners are taught at my house. I 'smooch' to indicate that I want a horse to move. My body language and physical pressure (if needed) tell the horse where to move.

So, if I face a horse, smooch and step straight toward its front end, I want it to back up. If it does not willingly and quickly back up, I push 'lightly' against its nose with the lead-rope and halter. If the horse pushes back or refuses to back up, I give two or three quick, sharp jerks on the lead-rope and ask again. I get as rough as I need to until the horse backs up with only a smooch and a step toward it. I refuse to get into pushing matches with any horse. If I absolutely have to (usually with a badly spoiled horse), I will take a folded up piece of baling wire and smack it on the chest. Then, I will ask again nicely with only a smooch. I do not want to have to put a lot of pressure on any trained horse. I just want to use subtle body language and a 'smooch' at the most.

Any time I have a horse that gets even a little bit pushy, I just give it 2 or 3 quick jerks on the lead-rope and say "Ah!" and that is all it takes. An "Ah!" is the only reprimand any horse around here needs. They just straighten right up, move over or ??? According to my body language.

If I get in a horse that wants to nip or swing its head around and threaten to nip, I just hold a nail between my thumb and fingers and let the horse run into it and say "Ah!". I never hit or slap at a horse. I let it punish itself (by running into the nail) or I give a hard jerk or two on the lead. I never let horses play games (like nip and dodge) and I never engage them in pushing, shoving or pulling matches. I reprimand with a jerk and an "Ah!"

If you use this approach, horses will respect you completely -- all of the time -- and will never show any fear or misbehave and get frantic (because they have been 'run around'. Horse will respond to a very soft, light approach and show total respect for a handler.

Any time you 'get after' a horse or run it around, you are putting it into a 'reactive mode'. It only learns when it is non-reactive, thinking and 'responding' mode. So, if you use running or chasing a horse around as a way to get submission, then you have to do it until the horse quiets back down and starts 'thinking' again. It is a lot easier and horses stay a lot more calm if you keep them in a quiet and thinking mode all of the time. Backing one up and pushing one away from you gets the point across without a lot of over-reaction and frantic excitement. I'm way to old and decrepit for all of that.

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