Just Plain Aggressive Gelding - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Just Plain Aggressive Gelding

So, a gelding of mine, is a gorgeous 8 year old TB beauty, a looker for sure. However, he comes with one tiny issue. He is angry just about every waking hour of the day for reasons I can't fathom. He started out mildly aggressive in the field when I bought him a year and a half ago, and has gradually progressed to down-right miserable to work with.
He pins his ears when you're simply next to him in the grooming stall,
Chases down and shows interest in attacking other horses when riding, HATES doing much more than trotting around (still has issues with even that)
And don't try using any more than a brush with your legs
Hates getting groomed,
Hates having much to do with anybody if it doesn't involve getting food, going out to the field, coming back in to his stall, or little kids, he loves kids (although I don't trust him enough to be around them)
He's seen several vets who can't give a reason medically why he's so upset, he has his own chiropractor and acupuncturist, we've tried massage, saddle fitting, diet changes, we've treated for stomach ulcers, we've injected his hocks, we've done 4 chiropratic visits, 2 accupuncture sessions, we've changed his shoes, we've changed his bit, we've tried everything I can think of.
We tried the behavioral stuff, tried natural horsemanship approach, tried the more aggressive dominance battle techniques, we've tried just ignoring his behavior to see if he's looking for a reaction, we've tried running him out of it, we've tried making bad behaviors hard and good ones easy, we've tried food incentives, we've tried it all.

WHAT HAVE I NOT THOUGHT OF?

I would love to hear something new that I can try and figure out what is going wrong to make him so angry. He's very dominant, and while he never actually bites or kicks, he tries to fake you out, and wears one of those ugly ears pinned, lip curled faces like a favorite outfit. I'm going mad with this!

He's extremely talented and when he's on, he's on. He can soar over 4 foot fences like they're nothing, he's fearless and can give you the best trail ride you've ever experienced, he's wonderful to kids who want to pet his face, and when he's not angry, he is the sweetest horse I've ever met, I just want to know how to fix our problem, what am I doing wrong?

THANKS

I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse.
- John Galsworthy
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post #2 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Greener Side View Post
So, a gelding of mine, is a gorgeous 8 year old TB beauty, a looker for sure. However, he comes with one tiny issue. He is angry just about every waking hour of the day for reasons I can't fathom. He started out mildly aggressive in the field when I bought him a year and a half ago, and has gradually progressed to down-right miserable to work with.
He pins his ears when you're simply next to him in the grooming stall,
Chases down and shows interest in attacking other horses when riding, HATES doing much more than trotting around (still has issues with even that)
And don't try using any more than a brush with your legs
Hates getting groomed,
Hates having much to do with anybody if it doesn't involve getting food, going out to the field, coming back in to his stall, or little kids, he loves kids (although I don't trust him enough to be around them)
He's seen several vets who can't give a reason medically why he's so upset, he has his own chiropractor and acupuncturist, we've tried massage, saddle fitting, diet changes, we've treated for stomach ulcers, we've injected his hocks, we've done 4 chiropratic visits, 2 accupuncture sessions, we've changed his shoes, we've changed his bit, we've tried everything I can think of.
We tried the behavioral stuff, tried natural horsemanship approach, tried the more aggressive dominance battle techniques, we've tried just ignoring his behavior to see if he's looking for a reaction, we've tried running him out of it, we've tried making bad behaviors hard and good ones easy, we've tried food incentives, we've tried it all.

WHAT HAVE I NOT THOUGHT OF?

I would love to hear something new that I can try and figure out what is going wrong to make him so angry. He's very dominant, and while he never actually bites or kicks, he tries to fake you out, and wears one of those ugly ears pinned, lip curled faces like a favorite outfit. I'm going mad with this!

He's extremely talented and when he's on, he's on. He can soar over 4 foot fences like they're nothing, he's fearless and can give you the best trail ride you've ever experienced, he's wonderful to kids who want to pet his face, and when he's not angry, he is the sweetest horse I've ever met, I just want to know how to fix our problem, what am I doing wrong?

THANKS
Hi,

That's great that you've tried to rule out any physical causes first, as that's a common problem & reason for 'bad behaviour'. Sounds like he's a domineering type! I'd be working along the lines of convincing him that doing stuff you ask for is actually a Good Thing for him. I've found that 'clicker training' type methods are great for 'bully' type horses. They just have to realise that they can get what they want with 'good' behaviour rather than bad.
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post #3 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 12:24 AM
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Green, I have a horse of similar persuasion. She is a beautiful all black Kentucky Mountain horse. She is great under saddle, well trained. But she hated people, hated to be touched and kept her ears pinned at all times.

I've been using clicker training with her since July and she is changing. I focused on rewarding her for ears forward and soft eyes. She gets better and better. She even comes up to me in the pasture. Her attitude is much better

Have you tried CT?
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post #4 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 12:32 AM
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Great minds, Loosie!
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post #5 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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I've used a clicker with my dogs but never a horse, is it the same principle?

I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse.
- John Galsworthy
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post #6 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 12:40 AM
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Yes! It's good you have experience with dogs.
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post #7 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 12:41 AM
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Yes, c/t principles are universal for any animal (even husbands apparently, but I mustn't be a good enough trainer for that ) Remember it's the principles that are most important to understand. The specifics such as a little plastic noisemaker & food treats are handy 'tools' but not necessary. Understanding the principles will also help you use negative reinforcement & punishment more effectively too, if/when you deem necessary.
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post #8 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Now assuming this method works with him, how do I go about working this behavior while riding? I don't hold strong hope that I can consistently correct and reward while on top of him preforming his normal antics and not muck the entire process up. An alternative method on horseback maybe?
He's downright dangerous if he's crowded in the least, and goes after horses to try and crowd himself, almost as if giving himself a justified reason for his attitude.
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post #9 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 03:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Greener Side View Post
I don't hold strong hope that I can consistently correct and reward while on top of him preforming his normal antics and not muck the entire process up. An alternative method on horseback maybe?
Find someone who can?? It's not a 'method' as such, but basically applied behavioural psychology. Any training style, whether using positive reinforcement or otherwise, follows the same 'laws of learning'. Unfortunately if you don't feel you can reinforce/punish him appropriately, no 'method' will be effective. Not meaning to be snide. Perhaps some lessons on an easier horse, to get your skill level up to scratch before you try to tackle this one?
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post #10 of 24 Old 09-29-2012, 07:02 AM
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Perhaps do ground work CT only until you start seeing a change in his attitude? I don't have any experience with CT but I assume like any other type of training, once youve cracked it from the ground, then you can progress to trying it from the saddle. And if clicker training does have a positive effect on him, his riding will probably improve anyway as his attitude to humans changes

We lose ourselves in the things we love, we find ourselves there too ~Kristen Martz
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