Any ideas on how to work this horse? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 01-19-2011, 10:30 PM
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While I 100% agree with Kevin, I would urge the owners to talk to a vet about her behavior.

I had a gelding that had lyme disease that would be fine one second and a complete whack job the next. He would snuggle on my friends horse and in 20 seconds would have that horse on the ground and would be stomping and biting and kicking. We just thought that he was horse aggressive until he turned it towards us. We had the vet out and she said that they could clear the lyme, the couldn't promise that the psychosis would clear. We had him put down. Even without the lymes disease, I would have put him down. He was a danger to all that were within 20 feet of him.
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post #12 of 21 Old 01-19-2011, 11:13 PM
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Barring any physical problems, this Arab is very angry at what human(s) have done to her. (Arabs are super-sensitive, then there's her "horsenality").

If you have the savvy to help her, by showing her that she can trust you to be a friendly leader, she of course will come around.

It depends on whether you have the prior savvy plus desire to grow so that you are part of her solution.

There's no shame if you don't have that desire; just do try to find the right person for her, in that case.

You need psychology above all else with her. Reverse psychology, small periods of time spent with her at first as other poster said, reading her slightest changes so as to disinsterest her in blow-ups, causing her to get interested in the fun things you ask her to do, etc..

Arabs need a meaningful relationship. Just think relationship, relationship, relationship with her! :)
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post #13 of 21 Old 01-19-2011, 11:41 PM
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Well, there are several ways to handle a horse that is this aggressive. I used to do it all of the time -- about one a year would show up on my door-step. I had to 'fix' one mare and several stallions and geldings. Some had nearly killed a previous trainer or owner. Most could not even be led without two lead-ropes and two handlers to keep the horse from attacking just one person.

Now, I would not bother. There are too many nice, cheap horses that WANT to be trained to mess with one like this. I would either have her put down or put her on a truck to Mexico.

That being said, I found that 'restraints' worked best on their demented minds. I either put 4 way hobbles on them or laid them down. Those that were 4 wayed usually tried to attack anyway and laid themselves down. Taking all movement away from a horse really 'messes' with a horse's mind. I never had one injure itself and they all got up a different horse. The restraints keep the handler safe and take ALL of a horse's power away from it.

Most people understand or at least have heard that 'controlling a horse's feet' controls its mind. Restraints that don't let a horse move its feet are even more effective than making a horse its feet. It just takes a highly skilled handler to do it right.

With this particular horse, I would do something else first. I would tie this horse up until it gave up being herd-bound. That is what I do with all herd-bound horses first, anyway.

I use a big tree. I have a nylon rope hanging down from a big tree limb. This rope has a huge bull snap on the end of it with a good swivel in it. NEVER TIE A HORSE LIKE THIS WITHOUT A GOOD SWIVEL SNAP! I just leave a horse alone. It will whinny and paw and run around in circles. It will get lathered and may be frantic for hours. No problem. It can get glad in the same hide it got mad in.

I will tie one out early in the morning after feeding it. I will offer it a drink at lunch-time but it probably won't drink. I will leave it tied out one hour after it 'gives up' or I will put it away and feed and water it and tie it out again the next morning. I have had some that took three days of being tied out all day before they just stood quietly with their head down and a hind leg resting. They will get tied out every day until they do.

Any horse that is herd-bound to the point of being frantic is in a 'reacting mode'. Horses HAVE to be in a 'receptive mode" in order to learn. A reacting horse CANNOT learn anything you may be trying to teach it. The best way to get a herd-bound reactive or fighting horse to listen is to tie it out until it is in a receptive mode. It is not worth your time to try to teach a reactive horse that is on the fight and it won't work anyway -- simple as that.

You may find that if this particular horse is tied out until she gets over being herd-bound, she may start learning. I do know that one thing you do not want to do with this horse is just 'peck' on her enough to barely get her to move. Either get after her real severely or leave her alone. A little bit of discipline only makes a tough one get worse. That is how most of the ones I got in for training got that bad in the first place.

But, like I said, nowadays, I would not bother. There are just too many nice horses to waste your time and tallents on one like this.
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post #14 of 21 Old 01-20-2011, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by dressagebelle View Post
First if you haven't already, I would get her thoroughly checked out, make sure that she doesn't have any infection, or other problems with her uterus, as well as any other possible pain.
This is a very good idea. My mare is 13 years old, and was always perfect to ride and be around until about a year ago when suddenly she turned into a little monster. She even threw her owner for the first time ever (and this woman had owned her since she was 9 months old). Turns out something had happened to her while she was out to pasture (they think she flipped on her back) and she had seriously painful back problems. Worked it out with a chiropractor and now she's a sweetheart again! I'd definitely agree with the recommendation to have her checked out -- just in case something's up.
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post #15 of 21 Old 01-20-2011, 12:04 PM
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Since the mare your working with has been spayed it is possible she is still having some estrogen production going on or she is exhibiting pre-spaying behavior. I once had a husband and wife ask me to work with a POA who was a 4 year old gelding they had who was a mean and dangerous one. He was appropriately named Savage. The owner's had no experience with horses at all and let the pony win/get his way everytime they were with him. I began with lunging him and lead work I did use a nose chain attached to his halter. He got frustrated with not getting his way from me. He charged at me with his neck moving like a snake and teeth bared at me. I had a stock whip in hand that I used only as an extention of my arm. I was waving that whip in the air and when he got in range of the lash on the whip it got him on the nose. He immediately turned tail and stuck his head in a corner of the pen we were in, but immediately came at me again only this time he backed down from my *arm extension*. I stood my ground each time, but my heart was pounding. He never charged at me again. He did however one time turn his back on me and kicked out with both hind legs at me. I had my lunge whip with me that time and I swung the lash of that whip at him meeting him kick for kick with it until he gave up. He never did that again either. I did ground work with him for a month then finally decided to try riding him. All the in-hand work I did with him really paid off big time. He went vey well under saddle, but I personally never trusted him to not revert back to his dangerous behavior. The husband and wife did sell him eventually. You know I never charged a dime for my time and effort. I figured no amount of money would cover the experience I got from rehabbing a horse.
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post #16 of 21 Old 01-20-2011, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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The spayed horse that was mentioned before was from another poster, not me. This mare is not spayed.
I had the vet out before I worked with her to begin with. I always have the vet check out any horse that has been brought to me as aggressive, all of her blood work came back clear. I refuse to work a horse that has been labeled aggressive without a vet check first, for the very reasons which you have discussed and so that any physical issues can be addressed before I work on the psychological issues.
Inbreeding isn't an issue, I have a copy of her papers in her file. And she is in with only 2 other horses.

Thank you everyone for your recommendations and suggestions. I will continue to keep you posted on this horse and if anything changes. Please keep the info coming. I believe that different views and methods make a better trainer.

I have never given up on a horse and I have no intention of giving up on this one. I rarely get the "nice horses that want to be trained." My focus is on the ones that no one else wants to touch. The abuse cases and the spooks at the horse rescues here locally are the majority of my clients.
I do though, appreciate every viewpoint for this mare, she is a tough one and there may be someone here who can bring to the table something to try with her that will set in. Until then I will just be consistent and slow in her training.
Thanks again.
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post #17 of 21 Old 01-20-2011, 11:07 PM
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I would likely work off lead, for a long time, as well as gaining respect on line...just simply getting her to move her feet in the directions I want; if she's nervous, just work with her calmly and continue until she starts showing some signs of relaxing (slowing down, licking lips, stopping, etc). The first few sessions in the round pen may be down right 'brutal', in that you may feel like it's never going to get anywhere, but just stick it out. Do lots of direction changes, and keep her moving in atleast a fast trot. Because she's an Arab, you will be out there for a long time, until she realizes that you are a worthy and acceptable leader.

I worked with a filly last year who, though wasn't 'as' aggressive as yours, took a long time to "get" the round penning thing, because she just wanted to be in charge...we were both pretty sweaty before she realized that she could relax and accept me choosing direction, and speed, and eventually backing, etc, off lead. I was really close to throwing in the towel, too, but I just kept at it, and the light all of a sudden went on; she stopped rushing around with her hip toward me constantly, started tipping her nose in instead, and was paying attention to my body, then she started chewing; when I asked her to stop, she stopped and turned in and look straight on at me, instead of giving me her butt. It took couple more sessions before she consistently obeyed off line well, but it was totally worth it; she was much more focused on me, and less focused on the other horses, and what SHE wanted.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #18 of 21 Old 01-21-2011, 12:33 AM
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This mare does something that concerns me, and that is she doesn't posture first, but goes directly to charging and striking. In short, going from "it's okay" to "I'm gonna squash you like a bug" in about a second, without going through the typical "you're pissing me off" stage (posturing). Horses don't just go at each other, one always lets the other know what's what before it ever comes to blows and it only comes to blows when neither will back down/give in…she's not giving you the option of either backing down or confrontation…she takes immediate action. IMO, she's learned that from interaction with people, perhaps a prior trainer ignored her warnings, tried to "put her in her place" and failed. At any rate, she's learned that warnings are useless, so she doesn't give them. Personally, what a horse thinks is going to happen is often times much worse than what actually does happen, and a horse who lives in fear of what might happen is not a happy horse. It can't be. Based on what you've said, this is a horse that I would consider laying down and I would lay her down from both sides. I would take her worst fear, make it a reality and show her that you will not hurt her, even when you have the right and the unmistakeable ability to do so. Sometimes slow and easy is the way to go and other times it is actually less stressful for all concerned to just make the point, get it over and done with and move on.

Just my opinion, as usual.
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post #19 of 21 Old 01-22-2011, 07:20 PM
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Wakan, glad that you're keeping her!

Remember to feel "of" her at the start: let her know that she's heard. You hear her anger/fear toward humans, & you hear her entire presentation of her individual self. Go with her so that she can then feel back to you & start to go with you.
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post #20 of 21 Old 01-22-2011, 08:39 PM
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All I can really think of is the lion with the thorn in it's paw. She could be aggressive, but perhaps there is something that is paining her making her so much worse. If you look into that, then perhaps you can "take the thorn out of the lions paw" and she might cooperate a bit better. I'm no professional, but that's all I could see that might be wrong.

Otherwise you might be able to find natural things that could help. Maybe calming sents on her tack or something? I don't know if scents really effect horses like dogs and humans, but it could be worth a shot.
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