aggressive horse need help - The Horse Forum
  • 7 Post By Shropshirerosie
  • 1 Post By tinyliny
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-27-2013, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Hunter Valley
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aggressive horse need help

Hello all!
So my story goes...
I bought an 8yo Standardbred about 2 months ago. Prior to buying him the owner did say he can be bossy. However after bringing him home I've found out the hard way that he is not only bossy but aggressive as well...but only sometimes.

During Lunging workouts he is great but sometimes when i try to get him moving forward he turns his head towards me with his ears back and wild angry eyes and moves towards me, or he will kick out.

During feed time, he gets extremely bossy and will try to get in your way and if you shoo him away he will turn his backside in towards you and kick out with both or one leg. There's been many times where he has just missed my head or body.
I've tried tieing him up and leading him to his feed AFTER I've put it out, and he's fine.
I've also had his halter and lead on, and made him stand there and if he put a foot forward I would give him a light smack with my dressage whip and make him back up a few steps. I do that until he can stand there without moving whilst I put his feed in.

My partner feeds him while I'm away at work, and all he does is take a lunge whip into the paddock and shoo him away with that until he is down the other end of the paddock, then he will put his feed in and walk to my horse and give him a pat... mind you there's a bit of kicking going on as he's been shooed away.

However there must be another way...

Also another thing he does is if he is grazing and I try and get his head up he will go to bite me. 99% of the time he comes when called, and he puts his head up when I get there but if i am already beside him while he is grazing he will bite. He's bitten me once and my neighbours daughter once as well.

I do plan on getting a natural horsemanship trainer out to do some groundwork and respect training with both me and him, but until then I need help.

We have visitors and my neighbours children walk through the paddock sometimes. I would hate for one of them to get hurt.
I find it so difficult to try and turn the domination around from him to me.
Apart from these issues he's an amazing horse!

Please only reply if you have proper Natural Horsemanship knowledge or training and not just backyard stuff.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-27-2013, 03:57 AM
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"Please only reply if you have proper Natural Horsemanship knowledge or training and not just backyard stuff."

This last sentence may be why you are having no replies. There are many people here who know what they are doing having had years of experience, but no 'official' or 'branded' training. You have unintentionally dismissed all of these people before they even spoke up.

In general terms, I think you partner actually has it right - he is speaking horse language and driving the horse away from the food; he is establishing himself as dominant horse in the field. It sounds from your limited post that you are approaching this more like dog training (put on lead, make dog sit before food...) than horse training.

I suggest you read some of the posts here, or go on the well respected trainers you tube videos to learn about respect training. In short, you need to learn to drive (move) this horse away from you with your body language alone. If the body language includes a long whip, or a long whirling lead rope, then that is the way to start.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-27-2013, 04:22 AM
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Move toward getting a good trainer to Help you ASAP. Do not mck around on your own. And be uber careful if you do shoo him off that he's out of kicking range before you apply a whip to hs rump. You are over your head. No excusing this, he is behaving in a dangerous manner. Do not brush it off. Get real help.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-28-2013, 05:57 AM
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You know, I didn't even notice the last paragraph until Rosie mentioned, but I'm going to reply anyway... as I'm not sure exactly what constitutes 'proper' natural horsemanship

Agree also with Rosie that it sounds like your husband has a better idea/approach. *Though I would caution you about 'getting assertive' with him now, at least without experienced help. It doesn't sound like the horse is actually aggressive, just being an assertive horse. Sounds like you've been allowing him to 'call the shots' and he's letting you know when you overstep the boundaries.

The tables need to turn obviously, but you need to learn how to do it *safely* & effectively, which I think is beyond a forum(or book, vid...) to teach. While you're looking for someone to help you - & don't rule out trainers just because they may be 'conventional'... or for that matter rule in people who lable themselves 'natural' - read up on equine behaviour & psychology, and behavioural training principles, and keep safety at the forefront.
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-28-2013, 08:31 AM
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Proper 'natural horsemanship' says that you MUST put him in his rightful place below you on the pecking order. If that means kicking his arse like the lead horse would do in a herd, then that is what he needs. He must respect you 100% of time or he does not respect you at all. 'Pecking' and 'nagging' at him will only become a game and a challenge. And yes -- you are in way over your head.

That's all I'm going to say.

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post #6 of 10 Old 12-29-2013, 10:14 PM
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When the dominant horse is at the food, s/he will not let the other horses come near it. They run the others off. I have seen it many times with my herd. I have even had one mare claim an entire round bale for herself. If another got close she would charge, ears pinned, head down, squealing and kicking. Other times, I have seen one horse try to barge his way in, and was promptly run off until he could eat politely.

The herd leader holds all claim to the food. If they want that nice flake of hay, they take it. If they want the first drink, they get it. If they finish their grain first and want the other horse's food, they run the other one off and take it.

It is not until the herd leader is finished, or until s/he allows it do the subordinate horses get to eat. Generally speaking, my herd gets along really well now, and squabbles over food are rare, but they have been together for a very long time.

Your partner has the right idea.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-30-2013, 01:29 AM
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Keep visitors and the neighbor's kids out of his paddock.
You do have some serious issues here.

One more thing...Whatever Cherie has to say is advice worth taking to heart.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger

Last edited by Dustbunny; 12-30-2013 at 01:32 AM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-31-2013, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MissStandy View Post
Please only reply if you have proper Natural Horsemanship knowledge or training and not just backyard stuff.
^^yeah that's almost a deal breaker and not a good way to start off, so I will keep my 54 years of experience short and sweet.

It's just like raising children. From time to time they need the wooden spoon taken to their behinds or the dawn dish soap bottle to their mouth if they persist on swearing.

Let the punishment fit the crime. I would have the buggy whip on those hind legs in a skinny minute.

Even though he is prone to bad habits, what you're feeding him can enhance those bad habits.

Sweet Feed for big starters. Alfalfa makes some horses ugly.

I have a horse that has such bad oat, corn and soy allergies that I haven't had to keep the riding crop in the bath bucket since I took him off all that stuff three years ago.

Just my two cents and yes, I are one of those old timey backyard horsemen from back in the day when Natural Horsemanship really was
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-31-2013, 02:00 PM
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As walkinthepark says, certain feeds and grasses can make a horse aggressive.
Clovers - especially red clover and sub-terranian clover contain phyto-oestrogens which interfere with hormones and reproduction. They can make a horse very aggressive so check the paddock for this also.

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post #10 of 10 Old 12-31-2013, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MissStandy View Post
Please only reply if you have proper Natural Horsemanship knowledge or training and not just backyard stuff.

^^^With this statment you pretty much shot yourself in the foot on this one.

Sounds like he needs a good attitude ajustment sometimes it requires being a little rough. Any horse who turned it backside to me would be meeting the whip across he rear end with some force.

Oh i might not quilify to your training standards but what i do works and my horses are respectful.

Might want to concider what walkinthewalk said think she just might know something you could learn from.
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Last edited by spirit88; 12-31-2013 at 03:07 PM.
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