Breaking a spoiled 2 yr old that pins her ears and charges. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 12-03-2009, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Breaking a spoiled 2 yr old that pins her ears and charges.

I am training a 3 year old filly that belongs to a a lovely young lady. She had bought her from a second hand seller. The woman had taken pics with her kids while the 3 yr old was aced. So poor Kylee had no idea what kind of package she had, just that she was ridable.
She has been up on her a couple of times but both times she has attempted to throw her to the ground and has once. So she resulted in finding a trainer. On our first meet she had NO respect for space and DIDN'T like you touching her food and would lash out by pinning her ears and charging. I have done two weeks of ground work, mostly tieing her head up and doing alot of descensitizing. I have been able to get her to not be aggitated when being constantly being poked and messed with. But she still pins her ears and charges a bit when I try to lunge her. She avoids being pushed out far enough to start out and once the whip is up she gets defensive.

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ~Henry V~
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post #2 of 31 Old 12-04-2009, 01:13 AM
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Well, I know this isn't going to be the popular opinion, but this is what I would do. Get aggressive back! It kind of goes against our nature as humans, but if she charges you, you run at her cracking and flailing that whip to tell her to get back. I've never had a horse charge me, but my gelding used to be very space aggressive/food aggressive and would lunge/bare teeth/bite (he never bit me, but i've seen him bite other people). For awhile I used a crop to poke him/shoo him with when he got grumpy, and it was very hard to constantly remind myself that I had to keep my feet planted or go forward rather than pedal back....but after two weeks we didn't have a problem anymore.

If she wants to get defensive, let her get defensive.....she can run it out to her hearts content, but you have to be ready to actually touch her with the lunge whip if she gets to that point (I would say smack if it were like a crop, but usually poking works just fine as a shock factor when lunge whips are involved) where she is crowding your space and won't listen to just popping the popper at her feet.

Last edited by justsambam08; 12-04-2009 at 01:17 AM.
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post #3 of 31 Old 12-04-2009, 06:46 AM
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I agree, you have to go back after her. I had people call me about a 4 yr old that was rearing, striking and charging. When they asked me how I got her to stop, I replied "Oh, just go after her", and their jaws dropped. It had never occured to me that it should be that difficult for a person to go after an aggressive horse. I was just raised in a family that took on problem animals and naturally reacted that way. Be very specific, if the ears are pinned at you, throw your energy her way, if she intensifies, you intesify. Its not a matter of teaching her to tolerate you being there, but to teach her to accept it and ultimately enjoy the leadership of a person. Use enough pressure to be affective, but don't overdue it if she is willing to respond lightly.

If she takes off in a crazy run, don't worry, you are actually making progress if she swapped from fight behavior to flight behavior. Remember, even the fight side does not mean that she is a mean horse, just a very strong defensive pattern. You have to break through that pattern and discover what is causing it to be that way, be it just inexperience with people, former injury, lack of social skills, etc. After she responds in flight, she will come back to fight again, allow her to bounce around until she figures it out, this can be quick for some horses, or take quite a while for others, just keep addressing the defensive behavior until she is all out of defenses. In the end, she will actually respect you a lot more for it.

On another note, once a horse has learned that they can make progress with their aggressive behavior towards a person, that will always live in there. It actually lives in any horse, but I know that a horse that has gone to an extreme is much more likely to revert to that behavior if put back in insecure hands too soon. Make sure that her owner is ready to manage this before she goes back. If you get it under control, management would be as simple as making sure she didn't invade your space, or move your feet while leading. Good luck, and don't be afraid to look for extra help with this horse if you feel even slightly intimidated by her.
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post #4 of 31 Old 12-04-2009, 09:04 AM
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I totally agree with both posts. I was having the same problem with Hunter (he is 2). He scared the crap outta me the first time I had him in the round pen. The next time I got aggressive back and he backed off and was fine. Then after he had 2 months off for surgery and I moved him to where there is no round pen the second time I lunged him he charged me again. Caught me off guard. My friend came out and helped me get aggressive with him and now I dont let him give me any guff. I always have to be ready for it and show no fear because once I show fear he knows it and gets more aggressive. He is doing pretty good now though, am lunging him today so we will see how it goes.
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post #5 of 31 Old 12-04-2009, 09:08 AM
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Absolutely agree with the previous posters. She is doing what she does because it works for her -- show her it doesn't work.
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post #6 of 31 Old 12-04-2009, 10:07 AM
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my 18month Qh also has an ear pinning issue when it comes to his food, so what i do is hold the food in one hand and a whip in the other and if he wants to be nasty he gets popped on the butt. by doing this he understands that you dont bite the hand that feeds you and im able to stand next to him and pet him while he eats. but you cant show that you are afraid of his actions he will only feed into it.
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post #7 of 31 Old 12-04-2009, 10:45 AM
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This is a case where everyone is going to get to scratching their head and after a scratch or two they want to go grab the tool that they know the best to get the job done.
It is kind of like going to a mechanic that is going to work on your truck and you look in his tool box and he has a hammer and smaller hammer.

There are a dozen ways to work on this problem and most of them start with more ground work,but for the sake of interest lets try another approach.
Saddle up another horse and work your problem next to a trained horse in the round pen and then pony that horse all over creation for about a week or two.
You all will have a real good time and nobody has to get mad or shook up.
The horse will get use to being led and taking directions and also will get use to you being up there directing.
There won't be any attacks because you are going to be riding a real broke horse that is going to take care of that for you and teach the young one how to act.
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post #8 of 31 Old 12-04-2009, 10:52 AM
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Lunging isnt for every horse, and isnt 100% necessary. That get them back method might work most of the time but if you have a truely aggressive horse you could get killed, or make the horse worse.
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post #9 of 31 Old 12-04-2009, 11:56 AM
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ok. there are several things here that you need to see. one being she is very young. two being you are new to her. this horse is on the defensive because she feels threatened. her only priority in life is to SURVIVE. you need to show her you are not a threat and if she complies to you in a positive way she will only get good things. i agree with never backing down to an animal that threatens you. when you are in the paddock/pasture whereever... you are herdboss. to desensitize her is probably not as critical as sensitizing her. sensitizing her to pressure. making her move away from you, all parts of her. back, sideways, front. getting her to respect your space. a horse looks for a leader and when it doesnt find one it becomes one. this is herd dynamics. the dominant horse always moves the others. they respect that horse. trust that it will keep them in line and protect them. you need to be that. in this case, her being young is a positive thing as the younger the better and easier to correct the bad behavior. i would get a rope halter and a 14 ft. lead and start slow with making her move her feet. anytime she tries to bite, pin her ears, kick, whatever make her move her feet more. make the wrong thing hard and the right thing (not being disrespectful) easy. a horse hates to have to work. as long as the horse is doing the right thing the reward is no work. do what you have to to protect yourself against her aggressive behavior. you also need to be very confident as they will pick up a nervous person and take advantage of that. i hope this helps and good luck. be careful and she will come around. it will just take some time and patience.
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post #10 of 31 Old 12-04-2009, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice guys! I have been doing more of the aggressive approach. Her owner on the other hand is a little new to the whole "being dominate" approach. She kinda climbed up on her the first day we met when we were lunging her when she ran back cause she turned her body towards her with pinned ears. BIG NO NO! We scolded her after we found she was ok but we knew why Stormi charged. She responds to my hand signals and voice commands very well but doesn't like to be approached with a lunge whip. I think she knows it means work. She has tamed a bit since I have been handling her but I needed to know if I was doing the right thing. I grew up around Appies, and they are tons easier to train then alot of other breeds. If you have any more advice, I'm all ears. Thanks again.

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ~Henry V~
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