In a natural approach how do you deal with dangerous disrespect when trying to build respect?
Make sure that you're not causing it by using pressure the wrong way:
2. Using too much pressure too quickly
You ask the horse to go forward when sending him around you, he walks around you, but you want a trot, you twirl the end of the lead line or the stick and string and he just walks. You twirl and twirl and twirl....with the exact same level of intensity....this is constant pressure....doesn't change, even though you want the horse to trot (to change)....but all you do is keep the same level of pressure. This annoys the hell out of the horse and he will strike out. He gets sick of it. Then if you don't "shut up" he'll charge you to make you shut up.
Using too much pressure too quickly:
You ask the horse to go forward around you again....but this time, you smack him with the stick and string to hurry up and trot. This can annoy the horse because you haven't given him enough time to think things through....and he might retailate and strike out, kick, charge at you.
A combination of these things will cause a horse to go sour on pressure.
I know that you are doing the Parelli stuff...and that's great....but be sure to follow his rule of: use pressure light but be willing to raise it as needed... If you stay with the same level of pressure, you will irritate the horse and he will get sour.
This is the same problem that I worked with a client today. She nagged her horse and he would flip his head and start to crowd her with his shoulder to basically push her out of the way to tell her to shut up.
Soon as she stopped nagging and didn't just whack him with the stick and string...but rather....used pressure like a volume knob AND was clear about where the release of pressure is.....the moment he responded correctly: release of pressure....even if he made the mistake of slowing down, for example. Then she simply repeated the light pressure, added more and more as needed....the horse responded....and got the release of pressure.
He stopped flipping his head, he stopped getting aggitated. He stopped trying to come in toward her with his shoulder.
This horse has knocked down this client when she would nag him with pressure. She was afraid of him. But she got to learn to be clear with her signals and so her horse became more confident in her ability to lead. So, he stopped all the unwanted stuff.
Not once did she reprimand or otherwise punish him. She simply Redirected the negative to a positive and the horse was more than willing to comply.
My 3 year old gelding has recently started blatently disrespecting me by striking at me with his front hooves and charding at me. He does it while lounging and the circle game and the yo-yo game.
Be absolutely sure that you are not nagging. I suspect that this might be your real issue. Because you say the following:
He doesn't respond to the flag on the ground as much as he should and we are working on that.
This tells me that you might of overdone the desensitizing and you haven't done enough sensitizing.
Desensitizing a horse is great! Don't get me wrong. You never want a horse to fear you or your tools. BUT you do want to teach him to respect when you apply pressure. And that can only happen when you pay close attention to how you are applying that pressure.
Use light, but add more and keep adding more until it's too loud for him to ignore. The moment he responds....reward with a total release of pressure. Never with anger. He only knows what is.
What is: You're not coming across as a strong and assertive clear consistent leader. Find out why....that is....how are you using pressure?
Do you keep twirling the stick and string or hitting the ground over even when he is already moving at the speed that you ask? (this is nagging)
Do you maintain steady pressure even when he ignores you...you don't raise the pressure at all? (this is nagging)
He works ok while I am on the fence but on the ground he tries to strike. He isn't usually a dominant horse and is the lowest in the herd rank. I've tried getting him to move out of my space but then he tries to attack me. I know how my old trainer would handle this. But I want a natural approach. I will gladly answer any more questions and all advice is appreciated.
I strongly suspect he's just telling you that he isn't clear about your cues, so he gets tired of it and comes into you to tell you to stuff it.
So...be very clear.
1. Take nothing personal. No emotions
2. Use light pressure first and always. Give him 1 to 2 seconds ONLY to respond, if he does, the release of pressure. If he doesn't then ADD more pressure. 1-2 seconds more, add more pressure.
3. If you start and he immediately steps ONE step toward you that you didn't ask for (make sure your hands are SOFT on the lead! If you grab and hold you might be pulling him toward you without meaning to)....anyhow, if he steps one step toward you and you feel like he is going to act very dominant....immediately raise your hand (the one holding the lead) like a traffic cop....why? Because this acts as a block. Trust me. It works. But inconjuction with:
Twirl the end of the lead (or smack the ground with the stick and string) HARD and FAST...you're making a "wall of pressure" and stare at his chest and walk in toward him (or stand still but never back up).....the moment he backs off one step or more, stop all pressure.
And repeat. Til you can walk toward him and he backs off without you needing to twirl the lead or spank the ground with the stick. But start with a light twirl as you walk toward him, he doesn't back up, quicken the twirl, til you have the wall of pressure coming toward him and he backs up. The moment he backs up....reward with a total release of pressure. Eventually, you will be able to walk toward him and he backs off.
The point of the "wall of pressure" is to tell him that any further forward movement from him will result in his running himself into the wall of pressure. Do not chase him with it. Just put up the wall. Then ask him to back up. Don't be aggressive. Be assertive. Big difference.
Only when he is going to use a lot of dominant pressure on you (charging, etc) do you match that energy with the "wall of pressure" which is the same level of intensity that he's giving you....you give it back. The moment he responds, reward with a total release.
You can't change his habit by staying with low pressure. You need to match it right now. Later on, yeah, you'll be able to apply all lessons with just light pressure....but right now, there's a breech in the communcations and this has to be fixed first.
I do these things will all horses who charge and otherwise try to dominate me (I fix bad habits for a living)....it works every time. I've had horses rear up, strike out, kick out, charge, etc....and if I believe in what I'm doing (you have to believe in what you're doing, if you're timid, get a professional to do this for you, to show you).
Also...don't add to the pressure by showing fear/aggression. Just act out what you are focused on...the lesson. Focus on what you want to see. The horse responding. Soon as he does. Release of pressure. Be very clear, and plain.