The Extreme Alpha Challenge! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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The Extreme Alpha Challenge!

My questions:

How do I know if I successfully instilled leadership in this horses mind?

How long does it last?

Why would a horse (seemingly) randomly in the middle of an exercise "challenge" my authority?

Is it normal for a gelding to challenge me 8 different times/ways in a 20 min work period?

Do I have to be "on" 24/7 around this horse?

What do you do when your horse hardly lowers his head, licks and chews...

Horse Background: The horse is a recent purchase, a 5 yo QH/Arab gelding. He bites, doesn't like his hind feet picked up, barely tolerates grooming, and likes to show his hindquarters when we longe.

When I first got him, he attacked me in his stall, tried to kick me in the head, would run me over when I tried to lead him, wouldn't tie, wouldn't tolerate longing or grooming. Don't even think about touching his feet!

How I handle Him: I work Aries pretty much everyday for 15-20 min about the same time each day. Here is my routine, I spray him with fly spray, longe him, groom him, try to clean his feet, saddle him and carefully add my weight across the saddle while standing on a mounting block.

How he responds: He is finally used to being sprayed with fly spray! Success! Longing is a pain though, but he is getting better. I put the chain under his chin and we start walking clockwise when I say walk. Then, I ask for the trot. I point the longe line at his hind end and keep my left shoulder pointed in so I am behind his movement driving him forward. For some reason, randomly he will come to an abrupt stop, and face me. I don't think that it is anythig I am doing. I have a friend video tape and we both couldn't find anything. I have to flick the longe whip near him rather violently (making lots of noise with it and growl, WALK!) to get him to move out. I even have to shift my gaze and stand sideways before he will walk. Then, after a few rounds of successful trotting, and me saying, "gooood boooooyyy!" he will pull another trick! He stops and brings his hind quarters in toward me and his head faces out! I have been whipping his head around so that it is in the proper direction and I immediately make him trot in the same direction we started in. Once I get a few successful times around, I say, "Whoa!" (which he listens to quite well), and I get him to change directions. Couner clock wise he is an angel.

He does kick at me when he canters. I can see him shift his hind in at me...but he is too far to get me. Still...it is unnerving at times.

When we are done, I ask him to come to me in the middle. It takes him a minute. I bow down and avert my gaze and he comes in ...slowly... Then, I use the longe whip to do some desensitizing near the feet. I take the hoof pick out of my pocket and walk up and pick up his feet. I can clean most of them...but he tries very hard to not let me clean the right hind foot. He totters and rips it forcefully out of my hand. Other days, I can get a secure hold and clean it. When he tears it out of my hand I yell, NO and try again, but sometimes he gives a little kick and slams the foot down hard. I am afraid of getting hurt, because he came really close to kicking me in the head with that foot!

I worry that there might also be a foot issue. The farrier came in early July and said his feet are fine. The previous owner didn't tell me that they never cleaned their horses feet until they were brought to my property, from out of state. :( So, he rarely ever got his feet touched and he clearly doesn't like it. The farrier is back in two weeks...so I will have that foot looked at then for soreness...

Once I am done with the grooming, I put the saddle on him. (He was already broke, but the previous owner said the trainer only rode him 5 times.) He is fine about the saddle and tightening the girth. He also accepts me standing up over him and leaning on the saddle. I just talk to him and pet him. He will SOMETIMES take a deep breath when I am up there... mostly he just watches me and rarely does he walk away.

When He Challenges:

I am ashamed to admit that when he bites or attempts to bite, I smack him hard on his neck and yell, "NO!" really loud. All he does is calm down and let me do what I needed to do.

When he invades my space I sharply wrap the lead line with the shank and he draws back. If he doesn't have the lead rope I wave my hands in his face, give him an angry look and hiss. He stays away.

So, any advice you have for me on being Alpha, horse language that can tell me I just went down a peg on the pecking order, and what to do about the feet and so on...

Thanks!

Shelley
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post #2 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 05:59 PM
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Shelley, I'm concerned for your safety. I feel that you need someone with more skill to bring Aries out of his present challenging mode. I suggest that you watch & learn from that person while he/she's training Aries. Are you wearing a helmet around Aries?
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post #3 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern View Post
Shelley, I'm concerned for your safety. I feel that you need someone with more skill to bring Aries out of his present challenging mode. I suggest that you watch & learn from that person while he/she's training Aries. Are you wearing a helmet around Aries?

Yes, I am actually wearing a helmet.

I have actually tried to hire two people, who train in the area, to come out. After they heard about his behaviors they told me to sell him and that they don't generally work with horses of his "nature". I can't afford to send him away. They want 600.00 a month and want to keep him for several months. So, I wanted to keep "working" with him the best I could until I could find someone to come to me.
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post #4 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 07:09 PM
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I am ashamed to admit that when he bites or attempts to bite, I smack him hard on his neck and yell, "NO!" really loud. All he does is calm down and let me do what I needed to do.


Read more: The Extreme Alpha Challenge!


You do not need to feel ashamed. If he tried this with a dominant horse he would get bit back or kicked at. So smacking him is alot less than what he could get. How long have you had him? He sounds to me, like he has no respect for you. Watch when you lunge him that you stay behind his withers or saddle area. If you have to try and stay at his hind end. If he tries this backing up to you with his hind end, give him a good smack with a crop or lunge whip. Like I said, a dominant horse would not stand for that.

"He does kick at me when he canters. I can see him shift his hind in at me...but he is too far to get me. Still...it is unnerving at times. "


Read more: The Extreme Alpha Challenge!


Dont you use a lunge whip? Dont let him be so far away from you that you cant correct him quickly. As soon as you see he is shifting his hind end in to you, yell loudly and say no and if you have to let him "RUN" into your whip. Dont be afraid as he can sense that. I would get mad! You cant let him know you are weaker than him. Make it look as if you are TOP DOG.

"I am afraid of getting hurt, because he came really close to kicking me in the head with that foot!"


Read more: The Extreme Alpha Challenge!

You are doing fine desensitizing him with the lunge whip. Safer that way. Even if you dont pick his feet, still do alot of touching starting from his butt all the way down. Dont even pick up his feet, he probably will be anticipating you picking them up, but dont. Just brush his legs or scratch them and touch the outer hoof area for awhile. Every now and then try and pick the foot up and be quick about putting it down again.
Rubbing and praising him when you finish. I would do this for awhile and it may not be in one day that you get to actually clean his feet.
Almost as if its back to basics. It wont kill him not to have the feet cleaned everyday. Just take your time and rub rub rub. Good luck!


STAY SAFE!! IF YOU FEEL YOU CANT OVERCOME YOUR FEAR, HAVE SOMEONE ELSE DO IT. BUT LEARN FROM THAT PERSON SO YOU CAN CONTINUE THE TRAINING.

Last edited by mbender; 08-15-2010 at 07:12 PM.
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post #5 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 09:42 PM
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well sadly my horse sounds like this and ten times worse
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post #6 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaydeebug View Post
well sadly my horse sounds like this and ten times worse

Are you having success with anything in particular?

Tonight, he tried to bite me when I went to give everyone their evening feed. I had to smack him AGAIN. Then, I had to shoo him out of his stall and be extra obnoxious about it. He peeked in to see if it was OK to enter. I turned stiff, shoulders erect, and gave him the ugly look. He turned and walked away. I can't turn my back on him for a minute. He acts like a stallion...

I guess I am just gonna go back to the basics with this BRAT and I will hire someone to help me.
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post #7 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbender View Post
I am ashamed to admit that when he bites or attempts to bite, I smack him hard on his neck and yell, "NO!" really loud. All he does is calm down and let me do what I needed to do.


Read more: The Extreme Alpha Challenge!


You do not need to feel ashamed. If he tried this with a dominant horse he would get bit back or kicked at. So smacking him is alot less than what he could get. How long have you had him? He sounds to me, like he has no respect for you. Watch when you lunge him that you stay behind his withers or saddle area. If you have to try and stay at his hind end. If he tries this backing up to you with his hind end, give him a good smack with a crop or lunge whip. Like I said, a dominant horse would not stand for that.


Well, if there is something else I can do to make the message a little more permanent... I am all ears..

"He does kick at me when he canters. I can see him shift his hind in at me...but he is too far to get me. Still...it is unnerving at times. "


Read more: The Extreme Alpha Challenge!


Dont you use a lunge whip? Dont let him be so far away from you that you cant correct him quickly. As soon as you see he is shifting his hind end in to you, yell loudly and say no and if you have to let him "RUN" into your whip. Dont be afraid as he can sense that. I would get mad! You cant let him know you are weaker than him. Make it look as if you are TOP DOG.

Yeah...I do that. He kicks, rears and starts trotting. I would love to be able to longe him with out all of the drama.

"I am afraid of getting hurt, because he came really close to kicking me in the head with that foot!"


Read more: The Extreme Alpha Challenge!

You are doing fine desensitizing him with the lunge whip. Safer that way. Even if you dont pick his feet, still do alot of touching starting from his butt all the way down. Dont even pick up his feet, he probably will be anticipating you picking them up, but dont. Just brush his legs or scratch them and touch the outer hoof area for awhile. Every now and then try and pick the foot up and be quick about putting it down again.
Rubbing and praising him when you finish. I would do this for awhile and it may not be in one day that you get to actually clean his feet.
Almost as if its back to basics. It wont kill him not to have the feet cleaned everyday. Just take your time and rub rub rub. Good luck!

Rubbing means nothing to him. It is like he doesn't like to be touched. Sometimes, he lowers his head and chews a little when I pet near the withers... but for the most part, he is curious about me but doesn't seem to have an interest in pleasing me.


STAY SAFE!! IF YOU FEEL YOU CANT OVERCOME YOUR FEAR, HAVE SOMEONE ELSE DO IT. BUT LEARN FROM THAT PERSON SO YOU CAN CONTINUE THE TRAINING.
Good advice and I will keep working on it! :)
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post #8 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 09:57 PM
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ugh unfortunately i know the feeling. my mare is so dominate she thinks she rules us humans as well. she will bite me when i got to feed her. but i try to not hit her in the face cause she is close to being extremey head shy from previous owners. she is just a pain. i can hardly do anything, she is cinchy so shell try to bite me and she is stirrup soar so shell try to bite me and when i kick the lope her she pins her ears back and when i turn her head to bend her neck she tries to bite my feet. she practically broke a fence down going after our new horse. to show that she is the dominate one
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post #9 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaydeebug View Post
ugh unfortunately i know the feeling. my mare is so dominate she thinks she rules us humans as well. she will bite me when i got to feed her. but i try to not hit her in the face cause she is close to being extremey head shy from previous owners. she is just a pain. i can hardly do anything, she is cinchy so shell try to bite me and she is stirrup soar so shell try to bite me and when i kick the lope her she pins her ears back and when i turn her head to bend her neck she tries to bite my feet. she practically broke a fence down going after our new horse. to show that she is the dominate one

OMG!!! I feel so bad for you! Do you work with a trainer?

What are your plans for the mare? Is she just born this way and never going to change. Did you have plans to show her? What is her breed? Maybe 2 hours of galloping up a hill will fix her attitude hahahaha!

It just makes yeah think...why am I keeping this horse? Will I keep him until the day comes that I get hurt. I am actually worried that I won't be able to sell him. lol
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post #10 of 79 Old 08-15-2010, 10:06 PM
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my mare is a thoroughbred, she was originally suppose to race but never did. i do ride her two times a week and i have my horse shows. when i am riding her and she bends her head and tries to bite me i kick her in the nose. that worked. i dont think shell ever hurt me, she is just a runner she always wants to go. she would be a great high school rodeo horse. i just dont high school rodeo i had a choice i chose not to. so i ride in a riding club i also race her on the track just not professionally. i wish i was brave enough to take her in the hills im just afraid shell take off wanting to run. shes a great horse you just got to be ready for a hot horse
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