Horse comes at me when lunging/puts his ears back/gives off a bad vibe! - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Cinnys Whinny
  • 8 Post By tinyliny
  • 2 Post By farmpony84
  • 3 Post By Northern
  • 1 Post By LadyDreamer
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-11-2013, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Horse comes at me when lunging/puts his ears back/gives off a bad vibe!

I have a 22 year old mustang gelding named charlie(my profile picture). I got him when I was 10 now I'm 22. I didnt spend a ton of time with him due to school then college but now I want to reconnect and form a bond and eventually begin riding him again. I bought a lunge line and lunge whip and took him out to the riding ring. This is not a circle, it's more of a paddock and rectangular in shape. I can get him to trot around me at most twice then he turns his head towards me and stops. He then walks towards me. When I try to get him going again he runs at me with his ears back and gives a vibe that makes me think he wants to hurt me! I think he is trying to show dominance but I am not sure. Also when he is trotting around me he puts his ears back and looks pissed off. I'm not sure if I'm doing this wrong or if he is just disrespectful? Opinions?
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-11-2013, 01:08 PM
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It sounds like 2 different things going on to me, and I've had some of this behavior from my horse when I first got him. For starters, how long has it been since he was worked? He could be trying to tell you that he isn't fit enough for what you are asking. I know it seems weird that he can't trot in a couple circles, but if he hasn't been worked like that, it could be. My horse hasnt been worked since June and I just started him back up today. He used to be able to canter on the lunge for half an hour or more. But now, he can barely make 2 circles. It is his fitness level, and it will get better.

I think also at the same time, your horse is also trying to show a little dominance but I think it starts out as him trying to tell you he can't do it yet and your not listening so he feels he has to really push his point to the point of getting dominant and/or aggressive with you.

What I would do if this were my horse.... a lot of lead line work. Get back to basics, Get him walking beside you correctly, halting, backing and even try turning on the fore and on the haunches if you can. All the walking will help in his fitness and it will help get that trust and bond with him restarted. When working on the lunge I would let him trot once around then ask for the walk and let him walk a few times, then ask him to trot another time around and build up from there over a few weeks. This way, he can start building up his stamina again, but when he goes to a walk it's YOUR idea and YOUR say so, not his and he is less likely to learn that he can bully you.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-11-2013, 01:14 PM
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he IS pissed. no doubt about it. he doesn't get why his life should suddenly change. have you ever lunged him before? I think if he has been a pasture ornament for all these years, that you had better start with just leading excersizes. that is, working on getting him to lead up correctly, back up, move his hind /fore away from you and follow but stay out of your space.

being able to do these small things well will be a good start because it will show him that you are a calm but consistent and reliable leader, to whom pinning the ears is not effective.

when it comes to lunging him, if he is actually coming at you, you need to use the lunge whip and snap it back and forth in the air in front of him, and even crack him one on the nose if he keeps coming into the space after you've warned him with the whip. Don't be slow or tentative toward a horse that starts to come at you. pinning ears is thinking about it, turning toward you is beginning to act on it, and the next step COULD be lunging at you with open mouth and sharp hooves. Dont' go to that step. you get in there sooner and use the whip (you don't have to hit him, just make enough commotion to startle him out of that frame of mind) when you see the ears pinning, because he's already thinking about things he shouldnt'.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-11-2013, 01:49 PM
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I agree with Tiny. One of my horses started doing something similar while lunging about a month ago. I had to really get after him. It's scary stuff at first to show a 1000 lb animal who is boss. But he needs to see that you're not going to tolerate that behavior. A horse like that can hurt you if he thinks he has the upper hand.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-11-2013, 08:51 PM
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He is being a dominant putz. I happen to have the same issue with my guy. He got my number early on and it's been really tough for me to fix the issue. The Clinton Anderson videos have helped me a lot. I even broke down and bought the stick he uses although a lunge whip or even a stick would do the same thing. When he stops and faces you, back him up. Back him up all over the place if you have to. Get him moving away from you. He is cutting in at you because it startles you enough that you back away and he wins.

I have really come along with my guy but the wins have been small because I'm timid on the lunge line with this one horse.

You do need to be careful and mindful of just how nasty he is because he could kick out at you if he thinks he needs to.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-11-2013, 09:14 PM
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One thing: In horseland, whoever moves the other's feet wins the dominance game. Practice like the dickens not allowing him to move your feet, & instead, move his. If you have to do jumping jacks while screaming bloody murder & cracking a bullwhip, do what it takes. Good Luck; once you've earned a Mustang's heart, you've really got your back covered.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-12-2013, 09:43 AM
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Your personal space also is as large an area as you want it. If you watch CA, the Hula hoop kid of seems like the end of your stick. In truth, it can be as far out as you want it to be. Keep him out at a safe distance. Safe, meaning far enough that you can't get hurt and as far out as needed that you don't feel threatened.
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aggressive , horse , lunging , mustang

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