So my questions are.... 1) How can Ricky be more respectful of Bec and not step all over her?
- What all does Bec do with him? I mean, does she do any groundwork with him, or does she just lead him because he needs moved from point a to point b? It sounds like he is pretty respectful of you, but the lesson hasn't quite carried over to humans in general. Plus, as horses can smell fear
, he may be taking advantage of Bec's timidity a little. I would say (as long as Bec is interested, and willing to learn) take both of them out into an enclosed area (roundpen, arena, etc.) and go through some simple groundwork with him: you show and explain what's going on, and then bring Bec in to give it a try, and encourage/constructively
criticize her, show her how she might be more effective. Give her some tools for her bag of tricks around Ricky. 2) I find that just dealing with situations helps me learn but Bec is afraid to deal with him when he gets snappy. What can I do to help her get used to naughty horses and how to deal with them?
- Same as above, experience with a non-naughty horse in a safe environment. If she's confident in her ability to issue requests and Ricky's ability to respond nicely in a controlled environment, she'll likely be braver about asking for the same response in a less controlled situation. 3) A chifney? Seriously. In all my time having him he tried one little rear and came straight back down when I yanked on his halter.
- A chifney was probably not necessary (It sounds like you got help with the tick drenching from a more experienced horseperson? Does she know Ricky well? If not, she may have had troube in the past with performing similar operations with other horses and prefers to be safe rather than sorry). A chifney has it's place, and is not by definition a "bad" thing, but it doesn't sound like it was totally necessary in this situation. Perhaps you can continue to work with Ricky on things like he would be expected to handle for a vet/farrier/owner maintenance operation like that. When the job needs done is not the time to teach the horse how to handle it. Preparatory work is the key to happy health checks and maintenance 4) Would it be ok if Bec carried a crop whilst handling him and used when appropriate? That would just be a discipline thing, if he invaded her space etc.
- As above, show her the right way to handle Ricky in a controlled environment (how you ask for a response from him, and then about being effective in the asking). Get her learning how to move him out of her space with minimal pressure (ask, suggest, judiciouly encourage the behavior desired). A crop may be helpful, but only if she asks with her stance/voice and suggest with her voice/touch before tapping with the crop.
Hope that was somewhat helpful to you. I went through something similar after I got my first horse; before my sister got involved with them, my dad was the one who helped out if I couldn't be there to handle something (ie, farrier appointment at the same time as an orthodontic appointment, etc.). I just took a day and showed him the best way to pick up feet, halter and lead the horses, how to move them out of his space with and without tack, and the safest place to stand if they get nervous/pushy. He's not big on the horses, but he is definitely competent to deal with basic handling when the need arises. It's a very good thing to have someone on hand who does have that kind of knowledge, you never know when an extra pair of hands could be helpful.