Need some help here....
 
 

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Need some help here....

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        03-21-2013, 09:25 PM
      #1
    Weanling
    Need some help here....

    My horse (Well, my neighbor's horse who I'm the caretaker for) has always been very sweet and loving and had respect for me. Well, it seems about a month or two ago he's gone through a complete personality change. He's not very loving anymore and doesn't like to be touched anymore and pins his ears at me and tries to nip at my legs. I solved the leg nipping problem by every time he would put his head down to go at my leg I'd lift my knee up and knock him in the nose. But then he'd pin his ears at me and I'll flick him on the nose whenever he does but that just seems to irritate him even more and he'll pin his ears more. I feel like he's lost respect for me. My neighbors keep them as pasture pets and they're spoiled and older horses. How can I solve this?
         
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        03-21-2013, 11:32 PM
      #2
    Trained
    Any chance he's got Lyme disease? Sudden personality changes are usually medical rather than behavioral. Horses get very grumpy and ouchy when they get lyme. Just a thought.
    loosie and Horse racer like this.
         
        03-21-2013, 11:41 PM
      #3
    Super Moderator
    You mean it you used to ride it but it never nipped at your or pinned ears before? Now, it is doing these bad behaviors and you are trying to "nip it in the bud" , so to speak, and the hrose is becoming cranky. It was never cranky about being ridden before?

    Maybe your corrections are not strong enough to make the horse fully give up his thought of biting you. Maybe you have to get really big and make him scared of and impressed by you , for a few secs. Nagging at him may only cause him to get more creative about his nipping.
         
        03-21-2013, 11:53 PM
      #4
    Foal
    Anytime I hear someone say "my horse is very sweet and loves me" it's a REALLY big red flag. It usually means the horse is being allowed to invade space and be lazy around people, which are prerequisites for a horse becoming disrespectful.

    He has probably tested you and his owners before by invading your space and putting his head in your lap, or nibbling your clothes, and it has been viewed as sweet, so he's gotten away with it. He has been systematically shown that he can act disrespectful, and now he's bumped it up a notch. When you bump him with your knee, he's pinning his ears because you're breaking his rules, and he's warning you that you're pushing the line. Your flicks and bumps are not discipline, they are disrespect to him, and he may just decide to put you in your place by kicking or biting.

    When dealing with a horse who is disrespectful, you need to make sure your discipline is heavier (psychologically) than his, and you never back down until he shows you respect. If he invades your space, you cue him to back out. If he pins his ears instead, toss a rope or swing the whip at him and make a bunch of noise to not only get him to back out quickly, but to show him that pinning his ears is not tolerated. If he decides to bite you before he backs up, give him a good wack or slap on the mouth. Never let anything slide, and always be one notch more strict than him. Anything you let slide is just going to be another stepping stone for him to become even more disrespectful.
         
        03-22-2013, 03:22 AM
      #5
    Weanling
    I have never ridden him. For some odd reason the horse's real owners say he's "too old" well, he's only 23. I've known this horse for over a year now and every once in a while I'll rub his neck and he'll actually close his eyes and get very relaxed and occasionally will take his nose and gently place it on my chest and take long deep breaths. Now he doesn't want to be touched. Period. Maybe for a minute or so, but then he'll try to nip at me. He has NEVER pinned his ears at me until now. And he's starting to become a little hard to halter. But I know how and am fixing that. I mean, he really is a sweet horse (or was). I'd never seen any aggression in him. EVER. But like I said, until now.

    This is all ground manners and stuff, like I said for some odd reason Im not allowed to ride them and they probably haven't been ridden in over 10 years. They're lazy, and spoiled. But, they're not spoiled by me. That's their owners doing.

    I've got to figure this stuff out, I plan to be a horse trainer someday...have a lot to learn :)
         
        03-22-2013, 03:44 AM
      #6
    Trained
    Hi, need more info to really give you much. Eg. What sort of horse experience do you have? How do the horses behave for other people they have to be handled by - farrier for eg? Are there particular body areas where the horse is more or less reticent to be touched? Do you get the idea the one that goes to nip at your legs is a 'dominant', playful type, or...?

    So... No. 1 guess, as you've dealt with these horses for a year & all has been perfect until recently, with no handling changes from you, is that it's something physical. I don't know anything about Lymes disease except what I've read here, but there are many possible reasons the horse may be in pain - fell when playing with his mate & put something out, for eg.

    Second guess is that these horses have enjoyed your company but that your idea of 'respect' is different to theirs and they've got to know you well enough to start telling you how they feel & playing dominance games with you. Unfortunately 'dominant' personalities are always up for a challenge & you playing 'tit for tat' when the horse gets nippy is only likely to encourage him to 'up the ante' & get smarter about challenging you.
         
        03-22-2013, 11:41 AM
      #7
    Banned
    Although 23 is not terribly old, my guess is he is having some arthritis issues. A 23 year old horse doesn't just change personality without a physical reason. I would recommend having a vet check him for arthritis...
    Speed Racer likes this.
         
        03-22-2013, 02:48 PM
      #8
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Horse racer    
    I have never ridden him. For some odd reason the horse's real owners say he's "too old" well, he's only 23. I've known this horse for over a year now and every once in a while I'll rub his neck and he'll actually close his eyes and get very relaxed and occasionally will take his nose and gently place it on my chest and take long deep breaths. Now he doesn't want to be touched. Period. Maybe for a minute or so, but then he'll try to nip at me. He has NEVER pinned his ears at me until now. And he's starting to become a little hard to halter. But I know how and am fixing that. I mean, he really is a sweet horse (or was). I'd never seen any aggression in him. EVER. But like I said, until now.

    This is all ground manners and stuff, like I said for some odd reason Im not allowed to ride them and they probably haven't been ridden in over 10 years. They're lazy, and spoiled. But, they're not spoiled by me. That's their owners doing.

    I've got to figure this stuff out, I plan to be a horse trainer someday...have a lot to learn :)
    When dealing with cases like that, sometimes it's best to walk away from the situation. I have never been able to afford my own horse so I've only ever worked with neighbor's or friend's horses, wherever I can find them. Sometimes, the owners are so mentally delusional about their horses that I just have to throw my hands up and say I can't deal with it. There was a horse I really would like to have worked with, she was a 10 year old Andalusian/Arabian, very beautiful and very untrained. Her ground manners were a complete disaster, almost to the point of being dangerous because her owners had let her run them over and charge at them, and rip their clothes up in search of treats. Normally I would have jumped all over the opportunity to train the horse, but it was impossible because her owners didn't see her as a horse at all, they saw her as a big dog that they wanted to treat as a human baby... so in essence they saw her as a human baby. Any kind of discipline was turning their baby back into a horse and it just destroyed them every time, so I couldn't do anything with her. Had to walk away.

    I would recommend if you like working with horses to find a horse that someone either doesn't care what you do with the horse, or knows a lot about horses and is willing to help you. I can sometimes turn horse owners around by making myself look as much horse trainer-ish as possible, I talk to them about horse psychology and different training methods that deal with each kind of behavior, and I come across almost professional and it lets the owners know that I really am experienced and there's nothing they can tell me about their horse that I won't know in the first five minutes of working with the horse by myself. They will listen to me a lot easier that way. But if you're young, and inexperienced and looking to ride horses for fun, you're going to have a harder time convincing the owners that how they view their horses is wrong. So for now, just don't even deal with people who are difficult, find someone who isn't going to be quite so delusional about their horse.
         
        03-22-2013, 05:05 PM
      #9
    Showing
    I think he's testing the waters as horses do from time to time. Flicking him on the nose will turn into a game and he'll come out the winner.
    Cherie likes this.
         
        03-22-2013, 05:48 PM
      #10
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Horse racer    
    I solved the leg nipping problem by every time he would put his head down to go at my leg I'd lift my knee up and knock him in the nose. But then he'd pin his ears at me and I'll flick him on the nose whenever he does but that just seems to irritate him even more and he'll pin his ears more.
    More than likely it's the cure for the problem that's the cause. Horses get mad when you do this to them and it just makes them want to bite all the more. It then becomes a game of one-upmanship that ends with the horse becoming generally crabby and disagreeable to being handled at all. I would just think of making myself impossible to bite. I'd try to see it coming a mile away, expect it, and then interrupt that thought by having him take a step back, or to the left or right. It doesn't matter where you take his feet just so long as you replace the thought of biting with the thought of moving his feet. It's tough for them to think of doing two things at once so this really works well for discouraging the biting. That would be the most ideal solution. Barring that, I'd try to set it up so that when he went to bite me he'd accidentally find my elbow halfway between where he started to bite and where he expected to end up, if that makes sense? Another way to say it would be, interrupt the biting BEFORE you have to correct it. But don't stare him in the face and don't do anything that resembles flicking him or punishing him or the habit will only get reinforced! It's really critical to not make it personal. I think of myself like an electric fence that's only on when he's thinking of biting. An electric fence has no emotions and takes nothing personally. It only shocks you if you run into it!
    loosie and Horse racer like this.
         

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