My horse is invading my space; I love his curiousity but need him to BACK OFF!
I'm new to the forum, and fairly new to horse ownership; utterly green when it comes to training!
My four-year old blue roan paint gelding, Takah, is a sweetheart.
Last summer we put about 10 rides on him after this woman who turned out to be an utter nightmare "trained" him.
He is very even-tempered and easy to work with. He and I had established a positive relationship and our mutual confidence suffered some bruising - literal and metaphorical - after she pushed us both too hard and too fast.
When I finally grew enough brain to run her off the ranch, Takah ran every time you showed up with a rope or a halter in your hand. I backed him right off last fall and just worked on our trust again. Now he comes when I call and is my buddy in the field again, following me around when he gets the chance.
I am 7 months pregnant so am not riding this spring. Takah has been bale grazing with the four other horses on our place, and since we're not moving to the ranch until late summer, I don't get to see him as often as I like, although I cherish the half hour or forty minutes we get five times a week, at least.
He is booked to learn again with a natural horsemanship trainer at the end of June; treeless saddles and halters, etc. I think because of his nature he will adapt very well to this style of training, and after getting both of us burned so bad last summer I really looked into the trainer this time!
He is fine to halter once again, although it takes a little more work than I like because the horses are still on winter pasture and bales after half my corral system gave into flooding. We're rebuilding as soon as the frost goes, but I don't have a pen at the moment and my two-year old is a jealous snot always causing trouble . . . but that's a different story!
My problem is that Takah has gotton too friendly. He has insatiable curiousity and notices everything; if I have cargo pants on instead of jeans, he checks out the pockets. He picks at buttons and pulls on zipper tabs, tries to look in my pockets, and to see if my hat will come off. He inspects my boots, whatever I have in my hands, whatever I brought with me . . . he knows to 'back' and I've been reinforcing that with him when he starts his inspection, but I want him to simply back off. I have lots of little kids (this is number five and my eldest is only seven) and he worries me. I made the mistake of giving him treats from my hand but stopped that; only from the bucket! How can I get him to wait to be invited into my space - or anybody's space! - without punishing him for his curiousity, which is really quite useful when teaching him something or getting him to try something new?
I really appreciate any advice you can offer.
Thanks, and happy spring!