Groundwork for Dominant/Bossy Horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-15-2013, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Groundwork for Dominant/Bossy Horse?

There's a horse at the therapeutic stable I volunteer at who is a neurotic mess (the BO calls him that, too) on the ground. When he has a rider, whether it is a special needs kid or a rider who can control him, he's fine and responsive to his handler.

For a little background, his groundmanners are terrible due to the fact that his previous owners let him get away with murder. He has a dominant personality when it comes to humans, but in the pasture he is down near the bottom of the order, and his best friend (needs to be able to see him if they are not in the same pasture) is the most dominant horse on the farm. This leads me to believe he is looking for a leader, but is also willing to take charge if his handlers are not completely confident in their role. He is tough to bridle (partially due to a problem with his teeth, which is now fixed) and is the general disrespectful horse (in your space, tossing head, moving around incessantly) no matter who is handling him, and quickly takes advantage of less experienced people. He has been here for two years and no one has worked with him consistently as far as groundwork goes. Last summer, a volunteer did NH work with him and he responded to that well (dropped his head with just a hand on his poll, etc) but since no one kept up with it he has fallen back into old habits.
Last week, he ran himself into a full sweat in the pasture. He was by himself, but in a good sized pasture in sight of other horses. He has been out by himself before, but chose today to be neurotic??

I feel like traditional horse training ideas would make things worse because he wouldn't be doing things because he wanted to, just to avoid punishment, and I don't want to force him to submit to me that way. I also don't think that regular training would work for him.

Right now, I haven't done a whole lot of work with him due to time issues on my part. I try to get him tacked up for his therapy/lesson a little early so I can have five minutes working on respecting space, walking/stopping next to me, and moving his hindquarters. I will also try to integrate time where he stands next to the fence quietly, and if he moves at all/invades my space, we play the 'move your feet' game - if he wants to move, that's fine, but he doesn't get to just move a little, he has to move a lot. I'm hoping he'll get the idea that it's easier to just stand quietly next to me.

I have never done actual NH with a horse before. One of the instructors and a few volunteers do it with the horses, but pretty infrequently as certain horses need more attention than others and no one has time. I'm sure if I asked someone they would help me with him. I've always wanted to try NH From books I've read (sounds awful, I know) I was thinking join-up? Any other suggestions? I would want to start with establishing dominance, and also would like him to get over his head/bridling thing.

Thanks for reading through this whole thing!

A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-16-2013, 01:41 AM
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The therapeutic facility I horse handle at has several instructors and they try to be consistent in their handling of such horses. As well, they try and teach the horse handlers the same techniques, whether it be leading, backing up, respecting space, etc. Could you perhaps suggest a training day for all the volunteers to come and practice some skills?

It certainly would be beneficial for the horses and their handlers.
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-16-2013, 01:48 AM
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didn't you have another thread about this horse?
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-16-2013, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
didn't you have another thread about this horse?
I did. That was more about trying to understand his behavior than fixing it, though.

A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-18-2013, 12:17 AM
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if your not going to have the time to train this horse then i suggest you find someone who does or hire a trainer. The horse will need consistent training and alot of time.Once he is trained everyone who handles him will have to be firm and follow through or he will go back into his old habits.if you cant guarentee that then maybe sell the horse to a person who can commit the time and constant attention he will need.
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