grumpiness... needs sorting out!! - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 37 Old 06-19-2011, 03:00 AM
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I don't care to use treats, I find that the horses I have known become pushy with it, and really fast. Maybe some people here are better with treats than I am and don't let that happen. But my horses work for praise, as I cannot treat them while I ride.

I have not worked with an abused horse, but of all the horses I have worked with, I have found that trust happens quickly.

The key in my mind, is to be consistent and fair. The first sign of a bite or kick, gets a sudden 'hey' in the moment, second sign or a progression in their aggression gets big movements from me and a volume to my words. The third stage, I whallop them. I would not care if they have been abused or not, it is not ok to come at me, I am not abusing them.

To me and having worked with biters and kickers (and abused dogs and kids not horses ). But it does not matter the abuse, and fear of humans is the same species wide, you have to be fair and consisitent, you cannot change the playing tables.

If you are always fair and consistent your horse will learn in no time what you expect.

Last edited by AlexS; 06-19-2011 at 03:02 AM.
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post #22 of 37 Old 06-19-2011, 10:41 AM
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I recently read a great book that may help with your situation. You'd basically be starting from scratch, but it sounds like that might be the way to go with him anyway. It's called "Right from the start" by Michal Schaffer. He's all about getting results while stressing that the horse understand he will not be harmed while you're working with him. It's meant to train for under saddle work, but the concepts would probably translate into an overall more trust worthy horse.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #23 of 37 Old 06-19-2011, 06:25 PM
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i almost 100% agree with cherie, do not ***** foot around with this horse it will result in you, him or someone else getting hurt and will not do you any good. the only side note i have to offer is to get a vet out and veify that nothing about his behavior is resulting from a current pain stimuli (i.e impoperly fit saddle, current sores, disalignment in the back etc.) as long as his behavior has no current cause proceed with the training. my mare is an ottb and heavily abused before i got her. when we brought her home she was alternatly terrified and combative to the point of being dangerous. when she was scared i talked quietly to her or sang but otherwise ignored her behavior and over time her fear resolved itself. however when she became dangerous i never backed down, id go head to head with her and if i couldn't get her to back off i would send her out to work until she chose to give up the fight and then i made her work a bit more before letting her come into me to stand quietly. i have had this mare for 11 years now and to this day she is respectful, quiet and obedient, often one of the best horses in the barn and she adores me. i am the only person who she has ever really trusted simply because the rules where always clear. anyways good luck!!
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post #24 of 37 Old 06-19-2011, 11:05 PM
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I would also normally say to get a horse checked for pain or ulcers etc, except this horse is "perfect to ride" and only ill-tempered when his handler is on the ground. That just does not sound like a pain issue. It sounds like just plain bad and dangerous manners.

Seconly, pain or sickness or 'feeling bad' should never be an excuse for behaving badly -- especially being mean or aggressive. If this is allowed, the horse would be untreatable in case of a terrible emeergence. I have seen too many horses like that -- horses that would attack someone trying to examine them or give them a shot or ?????
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post #25 of 37 Old 06-29-2011, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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hey guys, bit of an update.. actually have him now and have worked with him for a bit.

He is actually okay to handle as in fine but a bit pushy so been working on manners. The grumpiness only kicks in when brushing and doing up girth. to be honest i thought it was sensitivity because he has v thin skin but then yesterday i was stroking him in field and he was itching on me then he just got really grumpy and was snapping at my face and the more i shooed him away, hit him,(iie the more i reacted) the angrier he got so i just removed myself from the situation. later on that day my friend was filling up his water bucket and he was stood there and he just lunged at her for no reason and actually bit her on her neck.. I can NOT have that but I dont know what triggers it so can never be sure so im slightly wary all the time. I think it may be that she was stood in between him and his field mate because I also was when he snapped at me.
I also thought pain as hes slightly lazy in field and not very flexible but iv nopw ruled that out and he doesnt get angry when I do girth up onboard. In fact hes a gent to ride so I believe its manners definitely.

Pictures up in pic section now so have a look guys
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post #26 of 37 Old 06-29-2011, 06:43 PM
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He is just proving everything I said and he needs quick discipline before he really hurts someone.
I was stroking him in field and he was itching on me then he just got really grumpy and was snapping at my face and the more I shooed him away, hit him,(iie the more I reacted) the angrier he got so I just removed myself from the situation.
He won and made you leave. He is thoroughly in charge and he knows it. You either need to control him and manner him or you need to get rid of him before he seriously injures you or your friends. HE IS NOT SAFE to be around as long as he is in charge.
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post #27 of 37 Old 06-30-2011, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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hes really not that bad.... i removed myself mainly because i was in between the two horses. if your in a field you cant really be in control you have no halter etc... I am not going to get rid of him. its a bad habit. how would you suggest i react if that happens again...
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post #28 of 37 Old 06-30-2011, 06:50 PM
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Everything you teach ahorse is a 'conditioned response'. In other words, when you have control (like when you have a halter and lead on a horse) you need to teach it what you expect it to do when you do 'X', 'Y' and 'Z'. Then, you ask in that way and you reinforce with whatever amount of pressure it takes to get the correct response. The instant you get the correct response, you back off and stop applying any pressure at all and let the horse think about it.

I want every horse I handle (and am around) to know that when I 'smooch', I want him to move. My body language will tell him where I want him to go. If I step toward a horse's head and smooch, I what that horse to move directly away from me. If I put an once or two of pressure on his halter noseband, I want him to instantly step back. I do not want to have to push on him or drag him back. I want a light, responsive 'move' out of him.

If I do not get a quick, light response, I get after the horse and repeat the request how ever many times it takes to get a quick, light response.

As always, I never ask a horse to do anything that it is not able and ready to do. Then, I do not settle for anything less than full compliance. Any horse I am handling knows that anything less will never be accepted and obedience is never optional.

I just never have any problem with any horse showing dominance or aggression around me. I have handled countless horses that have chased or totally dominanted other people. When I handle them, they just don't. This kind of thing is difficult if not impossible to teach. It comes with confidence and the ability to 'read' horses and know when they even 'thinking' about not responding correctly.

Horses just do not suddenly become dominant. They give a lot of signals that other horses would recognize and people need to learn to read. By the time a horse has acted aggressively, I guarantee it has threatened to a dozen times or more.

I would never interact with this horse without a halter and lead on it. I would not even go out and feed it without catching it first. I would make it back up several steps any time I had a halter on it. [This is something I do with every stallion every time I handle one.] This action alone reiterates who is in charge. It ALWAYS needs to be the handler.
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post #29 of 37 Old 06-30-2011, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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i am doing a lot of groundwork with him as he had no manners. His backing up was awful but hes getting it. Thing is you say your sure he threatens first. He doesnt hel be stood there ears forwards or relaxed then hel snap. He has learnt now when girthing that if he swings his head he gets a firm ahah and if he tries again i raise my hand and say no. This is gradually stopping him. The onlt main issue is that he can just turn in the field. Hes friendly and comes over but i do have to be catious. I want trust. I kbow that comes with time etc but does anyone have any advice on how to move him away from me in the field? The normal big step towards,dominant b language doesnt work so well when hes snapping at your face :/ anyway to safely move him outa my way
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post #30 of 37 Old 07-01-2011, 09:46 AM
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I understand your perspective. I agree with some of what others posters have said. Consistency and fairness are important as are clear boundaries.

However, as much as one sometimes sees a too softly softly approach all too often one also sees the overpowering, overly domineering, always getting after the horse approach too, which is just as dangerous and damaging. These horses lose their personality, and their ability to express themselves such that they often channel this frustration into other areas.

I see these overly restricted horses all the time. Sure they maybe 'safe' but they are also insensitive, dull, and stressed (internalized). They are the same horses that suddenly take to aggression towards the other horses, get stomach ulcers, start cribbing and weaving, the list goes on. Nobody listens and nobody cares.

There are many reasons why a horse can deomonstrate 'aggression' many of which are not sight dominance. To label it all as dominance is to overly simplify the capacity of every horse. Much the same as with dogs, aggression can be dominance, but it can also be many other triggers including insecurity. If your horse in insecure then dominating in such an aggressive manner will not help it in the best way. It needs clarity, clear, balanced, emotionally neutral, OBJECTIVE leadership. This is why I personally do not use any raised voices around horses. As humans it usually brings emotions into our action, whether real or perceived. Equally it tends to become a crutch for us and allows us to focus less on our actual body language.
Anyway in terms of your horse and the field. Personally I only carry a rope. That's all I need, but I always carry it. Mine is usually 20 or so feet long and will have a hoop on the end with a carabiner. With a couple of loops knotted at two points it serves a wide variety of purposes.
However in this case I would be using it to control the horse and create a barrier. This is how I would do it. I do not know where you are in terms of your ground skills or confidence, so please do not take any risks you are not sure of, this is simply what comes to me.
There are a number of ways to dominate the horse in a more neutral and less physical way depending on the personality of the horse. One way is to use a feed bucket, but I suspect that is not right for this horse. Initially I would simply spend time in the field. Only allow him in to you when you invite him. At first don't allow him at all. When he approaches raise your posture, be absolutely solid in your mind and take a step towards him then stop dead and bring the rope up across you like a bar in a snapping fashion. If he stops then great. Stand absolutely still yourself. Relax your arms but do not fidget.
If he moves take an abrupt, part step and raise the rope again.
A horse like this needs to stay out there away from you for some time. I've stood for as long as 10minutes before I've invited them in.
If he does not want to stop when he is approaching you then whirl the rope (aiming in the direction of his shoulder) point away and step in towards the shoulder. In others Words send him away.
All of this is totally neutral. No aggression, no anger, no fear. Entirely neutral. You cannot believe the power that very fact has over a horse. Especially when 99% of their experience of humans has been emotionally fueled.
Secondly a horse like this needs to e controlled from a distance. Time spent in close initially is not right or him. Our natural thoughts are always to control them and touch them, but these things are not right for all horses at the beginning.
I know you are considering your horse and I know you will find a way. Keep us updated.
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