Horse is very dominant and very submissive at the same time! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-06-2011, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Question Horse is very dominant and very submissive at the same time!

I have a 4 1/2 year old Lusitano/ Andalusian gelding named Bo who has lived on the range until about 4 months ago. I have had him for about two months, and from the very first week we have been roundpenning him, doing natural horsemanship, going for walks, grooming, doing horse agility, etc. these are our issues:
1. We can't catch him without grain! Chasing him will work after about 1/2 hour of him cantering around but this only lasts for the day and I do not have time for this every day.
2. In the roundpen, he shows submissiveness (e.g. lowering his head, chewing) while showing dominance (e.g. disrespecting my beam, not doing outside turns, cutting corners).
3. We have sat on his back 4 times now and walked around. I have my experienced coach right there with me leading him just in case. He has been 100% fine with me being on his back surprisingly, doesn't even blink an eye, but he is scared of my coach on the ground even though shes the one that feeds him and does roundpenning etc with him as well! He is more scared of people, even me, on the ground than he is on his back. he won't freak out or anything, he is just weary and wants to keep an eye on the person on the ground. It seems like he is almost not ready to get on his back when you are on the ground, but once you or on he is fine. He can do the whole roundpenning program fine, including approach. silly guy!
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-06-2011, 11:44 PM
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This horse is very young and sounds like it is just this side of being a wild animal. You must expect to move VERY slowly with it and give it time to learn what you are asking.

Andalusians and Lusitanos are notoriously sensitvie breed of horse. You horse is NOT fine when someone is on his back. He may be tolerating it, but that does not mean he is fine, and do not go out riding on him thinkinbg that he won't blow up. He sounds like a horse that is not feeling good about being in the round pen and the way he is being worked there.

May I ask what sort of way your coach is doing this? Is she running him around and around and around waiting for him to tire enough to beg to come in?

Do you really feel that when the horse comes out of the round pen he is a changed horse, in his attitude, from when he went in?
When you round pen him, is it mostly about chasing his hindquarters? Do you look at his face/ears/eyes and watch to see where his mind is going? Is it focuessed outside of the pen, instead of "who is this talking to me? what do they want?"

Do you keep your sessions very short and end on a positive note, even if it's only after 10 minutes?
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-07-2011, 02:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Maple Lucero View Post
1. We can't catch him without grain! Chasing him will work after about 1/2 hour of him cantering around ...this but he is scared of my coach on the ground even though shes the one that feeds him and does roundpenning etc with him as well! ...He is more scared of people, even me, on the ground than he is on his back...
He needs to perceive you as a friendly leader, so you must earn that place by developing Love, Language, & Leadership in equal doses, then he will catch you (want to be with you, put his nose in the halter, etc.) Don't chase him/run him down till he cries Uncle, because he won't like you any better for it. Don't even think of it as "catching him", because that's too predatory/direct-line for a horse, who, as a prey animal, is wary of entrapment! Think of it as haltering. :) Start by hanging out in his field & doing nothing relative to him; just sit there on a log & don't even look at him. See how long it takes for him to gain enough curiosity to approach you. Even if he puts his nose in your face, don't be quick to reach out & stroke that nose. (protect yourself if he gets pushy, of course!) This half hour or so is the start of your new partnership with your horse.

His needs to perceive your coach in the same way as he needs to perceive you. Fear of both of you must be replaced by trust.

Even though the horse seems happier with you on his back, the catching issue & the fear issue with you on the ground must be resolved first.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-07-2011, 03:24 AM
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I agree with the above. The horse is not silly at all. The horse is a reflection of you, so whatever he does reflects what you are asking him ie: the wrong thing.
It sounds like there is just no trust there at all, so if you are sitting on him before you have a good foundation I think that is a recipe for disaster. You need to understand why he does what he does and why 'he does the wrong thing' (but he doesn't do the wrong thing!). It all comes back to you and what you are doing, so you need to take a good step back and understand him before trying to go too fast. If your trainer isn't telling you this, Id start to question my trainer.
Build some trust first, stop asking from him, start listening to him. He should be wanting to catch you, not the other way round.
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-07-2011, 09:55 AM
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Can you put him in a pen instead of a field? This is not the time for him to learn running away.

Lowered head, licking does not equal submissive. It means at least some relaxation, and maybe thinking, but not submission.

I'd try working on one thing at a time...or two or three, tops. In a round pen, can you control his pace - walk, trot, stop? Will he do an outside turn? Until those are down pat - as in doing an outside turn when requested 30 times in a row without failure - he isn't ready to move on.

From watching trainers work my horses, I'd say he is a long way away from being ready to mount.

Also, as mentioned, how you approach a horse makes a difference in how he responds. Even in our corrals, if I walk directly to my horse's face, he'll tend to move away. That is politeness and submission on his part, not rebellion. Another horse moving directly to the face of another is challenging him.

Circle as you get closer so you are facing to the rear of him. Stop. Turn around. Stay still for a moment. Drift towards him. As you get closer, move your shoulder towards his shoulder. Don't look him in the eye, unless stopped. That won't guarantee you will be able to catch him, but it will improve your odds.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-07-2011, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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He has done the whole roundpenning program (outside/inside turn, stop, approach, speed control, etc). If i try to approach him from the side, he will turn to face me.
Once you have touched his face when you're near him (he is in a paddock/ stall), he is fine and will stand there. It is like he is afraid of the initial touch. That's a good idea NORTHERN to do nothing in his paddock, I will try that for a week.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-07-2011, 02:29 PM
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Maple, you're going to start a partnership with your horse by so doing, & you both will be so much happier!

I must say that your coach didn't know how to bring horse out of his issues any more than you did, so I don't understand that this person presents self as a horsemanship coach. Not that I'd care, if a horse wasn't the one to suffer for it, but the horse has already suffered for it enough, I'm sure you'd agree.

The "coach"/"trainer" who doesn't help the horse is ubiquitous in the horse world, sadly.
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breaking , roundpen , scared , young

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