Major disrespect! (long) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Major disrespect! (long)

Alright, today was my first day of officially leasing Prince the lip/arab 16 y/o cross at my barn. My instructor was away at a show so I was only there with my friend who is also leasing another horse.

For the past 2 months I've only ridden Prince in lessons, but not on my own without instruction. So I haven't had the chance to do fun stuff like letting him graze, ride bareback with a halter, or let him free lunge. But today, I figured I'd let him loose in the arena just to see what he'd do and find out more about his personality.


He did one loop around the arena and kicked out in my direction!! I was a good 20 feet away but still. He ran around a little to get some energy out and when he was done he was standing at the end of the arena. I started walking towards him on his left to put his lead rope on. He kept his face into the wall and aimed his butt towards me with his ears back. I kept out of kicking distance and tried approaching him on the right side side instead and he moved his butt around to face me again! He honestly looked like he would have kicked me if I went any closer. He didn't want me anywhere near him. I've never had a horse do this to me before so I didn't know how to fix the behavior. Instead, I avoided it by getting him apples and making him come to me. But still, that's not fixing the problem.

I see this as one of the worst signs of disrespect and if I'm going to be riding him all summer I need him to understand I'm boss and not another lesson rider he can take advantage of. I'm going to ask my instructor about this on Tuesday when he gets back.

I definitely need to refresh his mind of some groundwork and manners but is there any way to stop this problem specifically? Or any good groundwork exercises that will teach him NOT to do that and to respect me more? Thankyou for your replies
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post #2 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 02:05 PM
Green Broke
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I say give him a whack on the butt with a whip, it probably sounds harsh but it is less hurtful then if he did that to a more dominate horse and gotten a good kick.

You can always do Join Up with him, ground work from Clinton Anderson or any other respected trainer. I also like Monty Roberts! Monty Roberts Join Up, Man Who Listens to Horses, Real Horse Whisperer, Books, Biography, Train, Demonstrations, Flag is Up | Monty Roberts

These are just suggestions though. Good Luck with him!

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #3 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 02:59 PM
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There's a young Andalusian I know who's the first horse EVER to COMPLETELY ignore me: he can just turn off, as if no one is around, and if you do try to interfere, he might barge off, but so far no aggression. The only time I saw anyone GET his attention was when a trainer, asked to help lunge him on one of his "days" took the lunge line, and without any warning, hit him HARD with the whip. He turned and looked at her, and things went fairly well after that. For her.

I only mention this because it might be a breed-related dominance. I do NOT think beating a horse is the only way to get his attention. However, I will admit, that it may take a very experienced trainer to deal with this horse, on the ground anyway. It's possible, and probable, that you'll have less trouble when riding. In any case, be careful, keep avoiding potentially dangerous situations. Sounds like the "fun stuff" might not be possible for now.
Beling is offline  
post #4 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 03:58 PM
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Try Join up. Worked wonders with me and my mare! Good luck!
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post #5 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 04:15 PM
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It's hard to tell you to whack him because you're leasing, but honestly, that's EXACTLY what you need to do. Join up is great, granted, but you have to have the respect in order for it to work. My suggestion would be to put him on a long line, let him misbehave, then when he turns that rump to you, whack him, and pull his head around to face you. Eventually he'll learn that his head gets good attention and his behind doesn't!

Also, try doing less free things first. Like lunge on a short rope for a bit, lead him around, make him do tight circles around you, let him graze while on a rope, and when you feel that he's respecting you in those activities, try the free lunge again.

Don't think just because he's a horse and you can ride him that you don't need to work with him on the low level things as well. They need respect and leadership just like we need their respect and obedience.
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post #6 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 04:40 PM
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Thats very naughty... and intimidating i suppose!! I personally wouldnt have whacked him, he started the fight and being bigger and stronger and faster he could also finish it so i wouldnt personally take the risk!

If i were in that situation i would have attempted join up - i think u had the right idea to make him come to you - but not for reward! I would have got lunge line/whip/something else big and chased him away.... everytime he stops or wants to come near you (even in a nice way) chase him away again (providing the arena is a safe environment to do so) evetually he will start to submit - head lowered, ears focusing on you, maybe chewing.... THEN let him come near you! It wil be his choice and you would also have gained his respect...

Good luck with him xxxx
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post #7 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 04:46 PM
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Honestly-I would make him keep moving. Without getting too close to that butt, but use the whip to make him MOVE! He needs to run, not be allowed to stop (which IS difficult, since you also will have to run with the whip...almost like you are chasing him-to keep him going) for a few minutes. Then-try again. If he behaves the same way..repeat. Keep doing this until he decides that you are better than running any more. He is not yours, nor are you leasing him, but IMO this is the best way to get his attention.

I would recommend NOT letting a horse loose just to free school unless you have done groundwork on line first. THere are many things that can happen, what happened to you being just one. The best way to establish basic respect is on line-same process, but you have more control of which way the head (and thus, the butt) goes. It would sound to me like you and he are not ready for free schooling, especially since it is someone elses horse, and they asked you to RIDE it.

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post #8 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 05:01 PM
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I got a terrific chance to see my trainer deal with this very thing on Friday! My lesson horse has ATTITUDE. "Respect" is a word he needs to use a foreign-language dictionary to understand. He's not a kicky horse - that was extremely naughty of Prince, too - but it comes from the same place: horse thinking he's on top of the Power Pyramid.

This came up in the context of catching the horse in his paddock to get haltered up and ready for work. He took one look at her and decided to play the You Can't Catch Me Game. Her solution to this (and she explained it all while she was doing it, b/c any day now, I have to start catching him for myself) was this:

Every time he turned his face away from her, she made him run away from her. If she wasn't close, she let the halter/rope whizz out of her hand toward his butt. If she was fairly close, she'd hold onto the halter/rope, and flash it around dramatically toward his butt. Either way, he'd wind up jumping up in the air and rocketing away from her.

She'd follow him at a walk, and wait for him to stop and see what he'd do. If he turned his head away, it was more action with the rope.

I don't think she actually touched him with the rope - it seemed to be enough to just make it move a lot in the general direction of his butt.

Eventually, he got tired of this and stood still, faced her, and chewed on his lip. She said this was his sign that he'd decided it was a better idea to just go along with the halter.

She said the point was to make it easier for the horse to do the Right Thing than to keep doing the Wrong Thing. It was pretty exciting to be in the paddock while this was going on, I will say that!

I saw a video of Julie Goodnight schooling someone who was having problem longeing her horse - the horse wouldn't go in the desired direction and kept turning its head the wrong way. Julie had a flappy plastic flag on a stick that she used in the same way my trainer used the halter and line. Here's the clip, in case you are interested in trying this. (It starts out with a bunch of stuff about the rope halter - you see the flag come into action around 1:50).

Last edited by serafina; 06-05-2011 at 05:06 PM. Reason: fix link to video
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post #9 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 05:08 PM
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I just realized it might look like my trainer was throwing the halter and rope at the horse - this is not the case. She hung onto one end of it, and whizzed the rest at him like she was tossing a frisbee.
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post #10 of 28 Old 06-05-2011, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thankyou for all of your comments everyone! I couldn't access the joining up link because I don't have an equus account but I did manage to youtube Monty Roberts Join Up Example here's the link
. It's in the first 3 minutes I'm assuming. Instead of hurling the lunge line 20x could I wiggle a whip instead?

As for the smack him with a whip comments I totally understand that but I'd be worried that he could still kick me from that distance. If I used my lunge whip would that be possible to reach him AND be out of his kick range? I would just hate to be kicked... but if I have to "kick" him with his own horse language and that's what it takes I'll do it. Might as well beat him to his own game before he thinks he can pull it on me.

It's too bad that I'm just a leaser too :( because he's not my horse and I don't want anyone giving me bad looks and telling his owner (who never comes out to the barn anyways) if they don't like my methods.

I'll double check with my instructor. The join up method looks totally harmless but I bet he'd also give me the go ahead to bop him one if he aimed his butt to kick in my direction again. But I just KNOW that when I tell him what he did and try to recreate the scene Prince will act like a respectful little angel around my instructor. He never tests my instructor but he'll test me because he senses my weakness .
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