(Long) Aggressive Gelding - Best Long Term Solution? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 31 Old 03-14-2013, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Shropshirerosie View Post
Hold on guys. The OP says that s(he) worked on reprimanding the mouthy bad behaviour on the ground form the day the horse arrived. You are all assuming that OP is a novice and was doing an inadequate job at this point, thus leading to the current situation.

We don't know this is the case - let's ask some questions and get some more information about what type of training has been used up to now. Also we need to know if this horse has already seen the vet, saddle fitter etc.

There HAVE been threads on this forum that end with people sadly advising that a horse is better euthanised than moved on, and there HAVE been instances where people agree that there can be something wrong with a horses mental state.

I agree that a full work-up by a good equine vet is the absolute must next step, but I don't want to jump on the bandwagon of condemning the OP who came here for advice.

That could well be the case, but if there are people here who have trained a few horses, and there are, they can tell you that they have seen it in person wherever people with experience get a hold of a horse that puts them out of their depth. I have had it happen with horses I have trained a number of times where I have trained a horse for someone, gotten the horse to a stage where I hate to give it up because it goes so well, only to have the person who owns it end up too scared of it. In some cases it moves too good for them to stay with and they fall off when the horse just does the job it was trained to do. In other cases they take it dead quiet from me, but in a month or two complain that its disrespectful and they get scared of it. Not because of anything the horse has done, but just because its doing what most decent horse do and they haven’t established their place as the dominant one in the partnership.
The trouble is that many people who do have years of experience still don’t put a horse in its place, and, as Cherie said, continually peck at them when they need to rip it into line.
I don’t think anyone is condemning the OP, I certainly wasn't, but sometimes good advice comes across as a bit harsh. My guess is, from what the OP said was that they have the right idea and know the direction to go in, but maybe just needs a bit more experience doing it, even if they already have years of experience, if its of the pecky indecisive type of experience then its going to lead down this road every time. And going back to one of the points I made, this kind of thing is part of life. I heard a great saying once. It came from one of the ringers I worked on a cattle station with, he was kind of a protégée of a big name horse trainer here in Australia, I cant remember his name, but he was taught by Ray Hunt. Anyway, they young guy I worked with said that this guy always said to him “If you are green you are growing, when you are ripe you are rotten”. Pretty good saying to remember I always thought.
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post #22 of 31 Old 03-14-2013, 10:01 AM
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I was taught:

'Do it like you mean it!'

When that didn't cut it, it was:

'get after him like he's just tried to kick your head off'

I think it takes some people a lot of effort to get to a level of controlled aggression that is effective. Some people are too soft and wimpy and some people are too aggressive and egotistical. I have discovered through experience and observation that horses can either cripple or kill you through sheer ignorance on the handlers part, and that includes accidents that could've been avoided.

In saying this, I really wish some people would drop the fear if being judged for assertively and aggressively correcting their horses. It's their neck that's on the line.......
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post #23 of 31 Old 03-14-2013, 11:42 AM
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I agree 100% with Cherie that this horse's behavior is the handler's fault.

No horse just suddenly turns aggressive, just like no dog suddenly turns aggressive. There were signs leading up to what happened, but either the OP was blind to them through inexperience, or she chose to ignore them. Regardless, the OP created this "'monster" and I, for one, am appalled that she is even considering taking the easy way out by having this horse PTS.

I am not a trainer, nor have I ever claimed to be, however I do have experience with spoiled horses. My old gelding was extremely spoiled when I started working with him. Not dangerous, thankfully, but spoiled nonetheless. His owners couldn't figure out how he had "suddenly" become so spooky and difficult to handle. Once they started telling us how they handled him, it became clear that THEY were the problem, not Dakota. Yes, Dakota had learned that he could get away with literally anything but only because his owners would automatically back down ("Oh, he doesn't want to work today. Let's put him away."). In their case, they purposefully blinded themselves to his blatant disrespect because it conveniently fit into their warped interpretation of Parelli's methods (their interpretation was closer to that "Friendship Training" crap than anything else).

I also agree with everyone that has said that the OP has picked at this horse as their way of "reprimanding" him and he finally got fed up with it. His behavior at the mounting block screams pain-related to me. An animal in pain (prey or predator) will strike out at whatever they perceive is causing them the pain if fleeing from it doesn't work. In this case, it was the OP (and her friend) trying to mount. Reprimanding the horse for telling you that he hurts (when he was trying to get away from the mounting block, which in his mind was the source of the pain) just reinforced in his mind that you were the source of his pain, which is why he struck out at you. If I got after my 4yo gelding (Percheron/paint cross) like you did yours, jumping and screaming, he would just look at me like "What the...?" He might trot off a few steps and look back at me like "Ooookay." To make him really understand that what he did was unacceptable, I'd blow myself up (make myself seem bigger), take a dominant/aggressive stance and MAKE him truly believe the world was ending. The difference is that I've made my gelding believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that if he out one hair out of line, he was going to "die." I also pay attention to every nuance of any horse's body language so I know exactly what they are thinking/intend to do.

If I was closer to where you live (not sure where you are, as I'm on my phone), I would take your horse in a heartbeat. He'd have a full vet exam, chiro/massage work up (I know a fantastic massage therapist/chiro), and then we'd start from the beginning, just like he'd never had any training at all (which my 4yo didn't when I bought him as a virtually unhandled stud colt two years ago).
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post #24 of 31 Old 03-14-2013, 09:47 PM
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Ahh don't put him down!

Everyone is really tearing you apart but I know how hard it can be to have a horse like this. First, I would wait for the vet exam. This horse my very well be in pain while being ridden and he is beginning to associate human contact with riding and pain. It may be that this pain is in fact causing this horse to be dangerous and not simply that you are not an experienced horse person (You don't mention your experience level). I also noticed a lot of your issues are when your horse is asked to back up...this might be associated with a back injury. The fact that the horse is acting out toward the barn manager is another red flag for me. Maybe you are letting him get away with his aggressive behavior and he is becoming a brat, but in my experience horses usually have a certain relationship with barn managers - I know because I have been one and I can't tell you how many times "problem" horses were absolutely perfect for me. Again, I don't know what your manager is like but I would assume/hope he or she is a knowledgeable horse person.

I would either sell your horse to a carefully approved home under full disclosure or look for a young trainer or experienced rider at your barn who may want a project. Make sure you sign an agreement including a wavier of responsibility and free lease your horse to them. I did this last summer and took an extremely aggressive mare off the hands of an inexperienced owner. When I first started with her the horse would spin and kick if you touched her back legs - she had not been ridden in 6 years and had been put to pasture because she reared under saddle. Anyway, she was an very "mean" horse. It took me 3 months but by the end she could stand tied, have her feet picked, lunge and was being ridden at a walk and trot with no issues. But through the course of that work she almost flipped over rearing with me, came close to kicking me several times and would have seriously hurt me if I didn't know how to work her. Mean horses respond best when they learn bad behavior equals work (yelling and screaming is not a good tactic). When that mare kicked out I would calmly pick up my lead rope and send her cantering around the round pen several times. She figured it out. Basically you need someone experienced to work this horse and with the right person he will probably be fine and maybe you two can focus on building a relationship again.

Search out your options but be careful, I know several fantastic young trainers who take on problem horses because they want to build their reputation in the horse community - but I also know many people who have worked only with dead-broke horses and somehow think they are experts with problem horses so be wary!

And if it is a back injury, sell him/give him away as a pasture mate. Yes, it is hard to find a good home for a pasture buddy but not impossible, when I retire my old guy I plan on buying/taking on an unrideble rescue horse to hang out with him.
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post #25 of 31 Old 03-14-2013, 09:54 PM
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Real quick - keep in mind very few horses are really MEAN - they get that way because they either feel pain when they are around people or they learn that by pretending to be mean they get away with stuff (like the mare I worked with). I shouldn't have implied your horse was a "mean" horse as I really doubt he is, your job is to find out if it's a pain thing or a behavior thing and then do what's best for him :)
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post #26 of 31 Old 03-15-2013, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by EmmaWay24 View Post
Ahh don't put him down!

Everyone is really tearing you apart but I know how hard it can be to have a horse like this. First, I would wait for the vet exam.
I have to agree. Until pain is ruled out-back, teeth, etc., speculation that this is handler error/get a trainer or put him down is pretty fruitless. If pain is ruled out, then you need to look at other options like a training issue or handler-induced issues.

We grow too soon old, and too late smart.

Last edited by DimSum; 03-15-2013 at 09:07 AM. Reason: clarity
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post #27 of 31 Old 03-15-2013, 11:55 AM
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Don't try to tell me that pain is EVER an excuse for trying to bite someone's face off --- EVER, EVER, EVER!!!

I doubt this horse is being ill-mannered out of pain. None of the ones I ever got in like him were in pain. And most of the horses I have had that did have a pain related issue were not viscous about it. I have found horses in the pasture with broken legs -- more than one -- and not one of them has ever offered to even lay an ear back at me when I examined the leg.

This horse is just plain bad mannered not trained to respect his handler. Could he have a sore back or some other physical problem? Of course. But, this ill-mannered sucker would not even let a Vet examine him safely. And if he does have a problem, it is still not an excuse for trying to bite someone's head off.

No wonder Vets and farriers like working on our horses. They've been blessed by trying to work on the ones with horrid manners.

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post #28 of 31 Old 03-15-2013, 12:09 PM
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TrailMolly, thank you for your post. I appreciate reading the insightful and helpful posts, having a very similar situation with the "lodger" horse on our property. This green-broke young mare is becoming increasingly aggressive toward me, obviously trying to bully me (and my lab). It's understandable because I'm inexperienced and now extremely fearful around her. I stay indoors with my dog unless the horse is occupied with her morning feeding. My husband, who is very experienced with horses, has no problem with her--she loves him! I'm still pushing for getting her moved to the neighbor's property for my safety. I know dogs and it seems that horses are like some dogs--they need the right owner and some need a very alpha (and experienced) handler.
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post #29 of 31 Old 03-15-2013, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
Don't try to tell me that pain is EVER an excuse for trying to bite someone's face off --- EVER, EVER, EVER!!!

The only reason I was thinking pain is because this was a new development. I am not saying it is okay by any means. It is not. It is flat out dangerous and there is no excuse.

However when he only seems to do it when someone is getting on him, that is what made me think pain.

BB ~ 2014 Trakehner Bratty Mare ~ 1993 CSHA Em ~ 2007 Standardbred
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post #30 of 31 Old 03-15-2013, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
Don't try to tell me that pain is EVER an excuse for trying to bite someone's face off --- EVER, EVER, EVER!!!
I'm not sure why we say, "If your dog is ever in an accident be very careful, he might bite while he is in pain," but can't believe that a well-trained horse would ever lash out when in pain. I've been around a lot of well behaved humans that strike out when they are in pain too, and then apologize afterward.

I've had sweet, well-behaved horses try to kick me when I stuck a hoof pick in their foot when they had deep central sulcus thrush. My mare who is very well-trained had to be reminded that she couldn't snap at me when I needed to clean some deep injuries in her knees last summer. She had never, ever snapped her teeth at me before. Now I can imagine that if she had not developed any respect for me, was quite a few years younger and was being handled by an inexperienced owner that bite might have landed. I've also seen a very well-trained, mellow horse that had never reared under saddle come straight up off the ground when a saddle was put on his back and the rider sat down, since it had a bad tree and we didn't know it.

I am certainly not saying to excuse the behavior. But I am saying that pain is an understandable reason for a horse to lash out, and I would never rule out pain as a cause for loud behavior from a horse.
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aggression , biting , dangerous , euthanize , put down

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