Hi everyone - I'm new to these boards. I have a relatively new 3-yr-old draft cross. When I went to see him, he was living in a very small field with a few other horses, no grass (it was just mud) - but he got some hay. His trainer said he was very people-oriented, etc. When I went to see him, he was very well-behaved for his age, and he came to the gate to greet us and everything.
Now he's moved to where I ride. He's got a HUGE grass field that he's turned out in. He gets grazing time and beet pulp with some hay in the evenings when he's in his stall. These are the problems I'm having with him, and I was just wondering if anyone had some advice?
1. I'm trying hard to bond with him, and some days when I go out in the field, he'll prick his ears and look at me and walk over. Other times, he completely ignore me. He's a real loner in the field and he's lower in the pecking order. He's very hard to establish a relationship with, I'm finding. Sometimes when I go into his stall, he'll immediately turn to face me. Other times he absolutely ignores me. It's really confusing.
2. Although he has a very quiet and happy-go-lucky kind of temperament, I'm finding issues with respect on the ground. He's BIG since he's half Percheron, and he's already stepped on my toes twice! He's very extroverted, mouthy (likes putting everything in his mouth to investigate it), nippy (not in a mean, ears pinned way - he does it with a soft expression, which I don't really understand - I can't tell if he's playing, trying to assert dominance or what), and he's quite pushy...not like barging into you with some menacing stare, but it's like he forgets you're there and that you're a lot smaller than he is. He may grow out of this behaviour some my coach says, because he's still young, but I want him to understand that it is NOT allowed.
I'm trying to find some ways I can assert myself as the leader so he respects me more, but I also want to earn his trust and love and bond with him more. He's such a quirky type of horse that it makes it really difficult.
I did get the Clinton Anderson ground series training DVDs, which I hope will improve his ground manners more and his respect for me, and perhaps also help him to trust me more. I would rather use natural horsemanship than have to resort to stud chains and other things, because I know that he isn't a menacing or aggressive horse, but he is disrespectful and young - and his behaviour could become dangerous if not 'jumped on' so to speak.