You are doing it right. When it comes to him invading your space. Just don't back down. I think he is testing you. Nip it in the butt now. I would prohibit anyone from feeding him treats by hand until you get his nipping, biting and aggression under control. I also think with the feeding issue, he will settle down when he learns to trust you. I know how you feel about wanting him in your own backyard. I would be worried someone could only be making his aggression worse. My horses arent in my backyard but they are at my relatives and its nice to be able to know they arent being abused physically or mentally. Just do your best with him. If it seems to get worse even tho you are doing your ****est I would try and find another barn. I know,,, easier said then done. I would work with him on the ground. Make him move his feet backward, sideways and forward. If he protests, and he will.. keep at it. He needs to realize you are his leader. Yes use the whip. I would try to desensitize him to it. Rub him alot with it. Scratch him with it. Just an extension of your hand. If it becomes a very dangerous situation then I suggest a trainer. You know your limits. He doesnt respect you yet nor does he trust you. But until you figure out what you want to do, try not to let him get away with any of it. Good luck. I would also watch alot of Clinton Anderson. Teaching for respect, I think that's what its called. I think he is a great trainer. Just my opinion.
Thank you for the advice. Yeah, he is being moved at the end of this week (fingers crossed) to this new place where I don't have to worry about people feeding him treats and doing odd things around him behind my back.
I've been doing a lot of groundwork with him, on the lead rope and the longe line. He leads fine and stops with his head at my shoulder the instant I stop. He was violent longeing in his least favourite direction, but I can now get him to halt, walk, trot through voice both directions...he licks and chews, puts his head down. I can control him and I seem to have obtained the alpha position.
But what I've been noticing is that when the halter is off
, he immedietly looses respect. If I go into his paddock to just say hi or clean or feed, with him sans halter, he starts trying to grab my clothing...I growl or reprimand him sharply with my voice, the ears immedietly go back and he starts grabbing with more earnest. I throw my hands at him, he does little rears and jigging and tail swishing...and it escalates from there. He's not mean, but once that halter is off it's like we're back at square one. If the halter is on, and he's tied or being led, he's absolutely fine.
I never back down...but I've had some near misses. I've been watching training videos and I know you're not supposed to give ground, as that's a signal to him that he's won, but it's kinda hard to not dodge to the side and take a few steps back when he whirls around and kicks out.
Like I said, I've been working on the respect thing when he's on a line or lead rope, and he's picture perfect and seems to have given in, but once the halter is off...
So...I'm not disheartened at all, I'm willing to work him through this (hey, he was free afterall...those types of horses usually come with some baggage
Justsambam - He's in a large paddock right now. In the new place he will be in a much smaller area with a horse on either side...it's the equivelent in size to a stall with a run, although the "stall" part is a three-sided shelter on the end.