Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
Its not really about being rough, though some people interoperate some techniques as rough. Basically in moving horses its always been my observation and experience that if you just treat them the same as always, so not treating them particularly gently because they are grappling with a new herd and environment, that they do much better. If you treat them with kid gloves all of a sudden 1) it’s very likely that they will think there is something to be worried about and 2) that they can get a notch above you in the pecking order.
In terms of a practical way of sorting it out? Well think like a horse. You are there to tell your horse what you want, to catch it for example, and she walks off and won’t let you near her. What would the boss mare do in that situation? Sense a challenge to her authority and rip the disrespectful horse into line.
You want that horse to stand up to be caught, as soon as she takes an eye off you, essentially flipping you the bird, get after her, gesture to her, so kind of a threat that she will get a whack on the backside. If that’s not enough for her, follow through with the threat and give her a whack on the bum. If there’s a jammed tail and/or some laid back ears, give her a bit more of a whack, if she looks like having a kick or a bite, make her think she is about to be eaten alive. As soon as she submits, back off and leave her alone. Start off subtle, only escalate as she needs it, be decisive in your delivery (there’s few more sure fire ways to ruin a horse than continued half hearted and unsuccessful attempts at enforcing your dominance); and know exactly when to back off and give her room. If she does good, don’t bother patting her or telling her she is a good girl. Just leave her be.
As for doing it safely, well that’s the trick. No horse is worth getting your face kicked in for. If you don’t think you can do it yourself find someone who can. You get an angry or frightened horse in a confined area with no escape, particularly if you are unsure of what to do, then you might well be in some serious trouble.