Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
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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