He's always been pushy but not bad....or so you think. But that's not how the horse sees it. If he's been pushy and all he gets is reprimanded, he learns to become desensitized to that and eventually this type of little pushy behavior comes back to bite in a big way.
He's totally clueless, basically and needs to be retrained back at square one to understand what he's supposed to do and what he's not supposed to do.
Where's the release of pressure? That's all he knows. He's not taking any of it personal. He's just doing what has given him a release in the past...and running with it, so to speak.
I'm working with a horse that scares his owners. He's clueless. He tries to run over the top of you or kick at you. But why? Because he's been nagged with pressure (desensitized) and never really told what his place is (in a productive way, not punishment)
Typical scenerio for the horse I'm talking about:
So, he is set free in the arena and he runs around, the person who sets him free backs off when he gets near and he comes in too close and the person backs off and twirls a lead line or wags a whip in his face. He turns to leave, but the person still is twirling the line or wagging the whip and so the horse kicks out.
Basically pressure means nothing. The person means nothing but a nuicance. He's been reprimanded, but he isn't fearful of people and knows if he steps in close the person will back up = there's a release of pressure = when he feels the need, he steps in close faster (charges like) and the person gets out of the way (but he's bluffing, he's not charging, he's just dominating because the person is submitting)
See? It's total confusion to the horse.
If your horse is pushy, if he steps in toward you, tell him to back up now. The moment he backs up, leave him be. Every time he steps forward into you, back him up that many more steps or a bit more. The moment he complies, leave him alone. Then he can start to understand: pressure when he steps into your space and the release is when he doesn't.
Simply be clear with your horse about your intentions, take the lead and don't be reactive to his reactions. He doesn't know what you want, he only knows what is: where's the release? You're irritating him with pressure? Okay, he'll kick out at you. He'll dominate you to make you stop. And you do (by backing off and not giving him clear enough cues).
Take it back to the beginning with this fellow and with the help of a trainer (who's not going to reprimant but who's going to teach him about pressure and finding the release where you do want it (resulting in wanted behavior).
It's like when a horse pins his ears on Monday and bites you on Wednesday. It's not out of the blue, he was already thinking about biting you on Monday, you just didn't notice. See? Same thing.
Don't bother wasting your time trying to stop what you don't want your horse to do. Instead, teach him what you do want him to do and the unwanted stuff will take care of itself.
Hope this helps some.
Last edited by Calamity Jane; 04-08-2009 at 01:39 AM.