I agree...most folks have the whole trust thing backwards...respect MUST come first, trust comes through respect, respect doesn't come through trust. Even a horse who is extremely fearful (my mare for example, when I got her in 09), will become more a more trusting partner, if you establish yourself as a leader he can rely on; while I took my time in some areas with Flicka, I did not skirt around the bush and ***** foot around her. She quickly realized she could rely on my leadership, and began to trust me...I'm still about the only human she really trusts, but I'm also the only one who regularly works her, which is important for the horse.
Cherie has great incite, and is likely spot on for this horse's behavior...it wouldn't hurt to have a vet look him over, but most likely, he is just bluffing everyone over, because everyone has let him get away with it, and when they don't "listen" to him, he escalates until they do. It's time to take the ball away from his court, and put it back into yours. Regardless of the cause, his behavior is dangerous, and needs to be modified.
If Cherie's idea doesn't work for this horse, still leave the horse out of the cross ties, and everytime he goes to be unruly, make his feet move...NOW! Get him out of your space, and make him stay there for a while... I find that with alot of unruly horses, the harder you make it for them TO be unruly, the quicker you make your point...so take your tack out to an area you can lunge, or even round pen him, and when he wants to get fussy, well then by all means, make those feet move, and make them move quickly, and for quite a while...he will figure it out fairly quickly that standing quietly, is really the best option he has; horses are, after all, quite lazy, so he will want to seek out that 'easy answer'. Make sure you do alot of direction changes, so he doesn't just get bored, and not pay attention to you...make the work you are having him do, still be your idea.
For when you are grooming or tacking him up, keep your lead rope elbow raised slightly, so if you feel him starting to shift toward you, all you have to do is lift, and you allow him to 'run' into your elbow (or you can have the crop there as well, and have it ready to whap his cheek). He WILL NOT become head shy, since he's not going to realise where it came from, or what really happened...just that he all of a sudden 'hit a wall'...then you can proceed to continue to move him out of your space if he continues to shift into you. My guess is that he doesn't "just" use his head, but shoulders into people as well. Start teaching him shoulder and hip yielding, along with other ground work basics, to further educate him in ground manners..."just" fixing the biting habit, isn't going to make him a more respectful horse...you need to work all the other areas as well, and my guess is that he probably has other areas that are shifty as well.
"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
Last edited by mom2pride; 06-16-2011 at 10:36 PM.