Grumpy horse when riding next to other horses?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-25-2014, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Grumpy horse when riding next to other horses??

So kinda as the title says. I can ride in the ring with other people no problems. I can walk side by side with my friends on their horses while were talking. No biggie. But once someone passes us trotting/cantering and were just walking or trotting he pins his ears and try's to lunge out at the horse. I can hold him back no problems so I usually do that when he tries to bite the horse that passed us but I'm wondering what do you guys think of this?? I don't know what it is cause it only happens if someone passes us while riding and they're going faster then us. He gets soo mad. He never kicks out.

I'm going to our first show next weekend and I'm going to tie a red bow on his tail but I'm nervous people aren't going to pay attention and get too close to us and him flip out. I don't know what it is!
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-25-2014, 12:41 PM
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He doesn't trust you as a leader, and he sees that he needs to take care of the other horses himself. Since they're coming up faster than he is going, this makes him nervous. I have an overly dominant gelding who was either cut late or is cryptorchid (just drew blood recently, waiting on the results). He will pin his ears and go after any horse that even looks at him funny or comes within ten feet in a way he doesn't like in the pasture. But I have done a lot of work with him, and he will not dare even pin his ears when a horse comes up his butt. Because he knows it is not his place when I am around.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-25-2014, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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So how do I fix this issue? I don't want him lunging out at other horses. And the horses he has lunged out at he is pastured with and they are higher on the totem pole then he.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-25-2014, 04:14 PM
Green Broke
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really get after him when he does it, lots of circles, make him work, and don't be shy about it. he doesn't have to be happy when other horses are running by, but he does have to respect your judgment and listen.

ideally, have a few friends help you out. have them ride by, and make sure your are relaxed and not anticipating anything. it will make his behavior far worse if you are tense. Then get after him if he misbehaves. repeat, until he allows the other horses to pass without misbehaving.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-25-2014, 04:25 PM
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Ground work. I have never had to correct my horse or stop him from doing it, but I have done extensive groundwork with him and it transfers over to when I'm in the saddle. If he's acting like this under saddle I would venture a guess he thinks he's higher up than you or doesn't trust your leadership. So I would focus more on the groundwork and it should transfer over. Keep in mind that a horse that thinks he's higher up than you may not be outwardly aggressive, but would be considered stubborn, because they don't see a reason to listen to you.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-25-2014, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Cowgirls Boots View Post
And the horses he has lunged out at he is pastured with and they are higher on the totem pole then he.
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Hmmm...maybe it's more of a defensive move than aggression. If he is okay at a walk but has this reaction when they pass at a faster pace, maybe he feels threatened.

He still needs to stop the behavior, however.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-25-2014, 05:07 PM
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My herd leader would do this if I let him. He doesn't like other horses coming in to his space but when I am riding I rule, not him. Essentially this means that if he pins his ears back, I tell him off. If he turns to look at another horse in a bad way, I tell him off. If he swishes his tail, I tell him off.

He knows that if I want him to stand perfectly still while another horse barges right into him, or overtakes him, or whatever... Then that is what he must do.

The telling off is not drastic - maybe it's a squeeze on the rein, maybe a nudge of the leg, or maybe if he's being totally rude a quick flick of the whip.

The key to it is being aware of his emotions and body language, and being in charge way before he gets to the 'lunging at another horse' stage.

I agree with the others that he is thinking of you more as a passenger than as his leader. You need to take charge.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-25-2014, 05:10 PM
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My mare did all of this. This is a combination of the horse feeling nervous and fearful of other horses, and not trusting you as the leader to deal with the other horses so he takes matters into his own hooves. First, go back to the ground. Start at square one and work your way up.

A big turning point for us is when I took her to a trail obstacle class once a month for a few months. It was very good for her because she had something else to focus on other than the other horses (it's also great for "spook-proofing" your horse). Riding the arena on the rail continuously is not making the horse think much, so his mind wanders to worrying about the other horses and he pays less attention to you. For this reason, give him things to do and don't repeat the same things over and over so he never knows what to expect. Ride a figure eight, canter a round, trot the cavaletti, practice switching diagonals across the arena, whoa, turn on the forehand, walk to canter transition, etc. Keep him moving, keep his mind working. After doing the trail class for a few months I went to the local arena's "open ride" night which is great for training horses. Basically it's the same thing as the warm up arena at shows. I followed the "keep his mind working" practice I mentioned before, and didn't leave her time to worry about the other horses. Anytime the ears started going back, I would pet her and talk to her reassuringly. However, if she attempted to bite or kick another horse, I would give her a solid smack with my dressage whip and drive her forward into trot or canter. Sometimes, all they need is a little reassurance. But if they attempt to "take matters into their own hooves", you must correct them immediately. When driving the horse forward to make him work, don't just do little circles. Circles don't do anything, and I won't say what it does for the horse but it certainly drives me crazy. The key is to keep him focused on you, keep his mind working. Don't become predictable with him, he should never know what to expect. Following this will keep his mind on YOU, not on the other horses. If all you do is circles every time he acts up, you become predictable, and it does not solve the problem.

For the show, it is your responsibility to put the red ribbon in and make it visible and noticeable. After that, if somebody gets kicked or bitten for being too close to your horse, it is no fault of yours. It is theirs for not paying attention (but you should pay close attention also of course).

Key ideas: keep his mind focused on you; take him out to other places and ride him around strange horses as much as possible; reassure when he becomes tense or nervous; any attempt at another horse must be reprimanded with a smack and driving him forward. I recommend carrying a dressage whip with you always. I find it much more effective than a crop or spurs, and if you just need to remind the horse, a flick is all that is needed from the dressage whip. You have to work harder with the crop. I don't use spurs anymore because I am aiming for the goal of being able to ride my horse without whips or spurs. Spurs do not create a horse that is light and responsive to the leg, they create a horse that is responsive to the spurs. On top of that, I don't trust myself jumping with spurs.
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