Paddock Aggression! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-17-2010, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Originally Posted by Marecare View Post
The word "Alpha" gets used around horses a lot and means something different to each person.

You can have a horse that is dominate over the other horses and it does not mean that the horse is a leader.
The horse can just be a bully and not really a leader at all or is just a bad leader.
The combination of the herd can put stress on the other horses and this is not always good.
It has been my experience that many horses are not good leaders at all and are just in the position of being on top with no skill to actually lead.

I have a mare here that is truly a leader and is NEVER challenged by anyone at all.
The seas part as she walks calmly through the herd.
There is no violence and everyone knows their place.
Wherever she is placed order is restored and the herd is calm.

The order of a "balanced domestic"group of horses can be deeply and drastically upset by a junior bully's and this in turn can effect the harmony of the other horses and also effect their sense of well being.

I have seen many behavior problems come from bully's beating up on a more submissive horse and that horse becomes defensive and mean.
This is a nice, insightful post, very informative. What solution do you offer? How do you suggest people go about changing the dynamics of a herd?
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-17-2010, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: California
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A horse can be brought along and kind of trained to be a future leader by the herd mates that they are with and by the experiences that the horse has but true leaders are born.

Most good leader are a bit aloof and are a little more secure in themselves.
They have more confidence and have the ability to past that on to the other members.

If a horse has a hard time getting along and being a good herd member then they live alone for a while until they learn to appreciate the safety and comfort of the group. this sometimes helps but is no guarantee.

Some of the horses that can not be combined are "Made" by the way they have been housed and the horses that they have been with.
They were more than likely beat up a lot as young horses and now it is pay back time.
Insecure horse are easier to work with in some ways as they are always waiting for the hammer to fall and are very space conscious.
They can also have a lot more baggage such as weaving,sucking air,timid on the trail, and very nervous during learning.
So people feel more secure around insecure horses as they feel more in control.

So I think many of these horses are created by their environments and the owner may or may not even be aware that it is happening.
The dynamics are endless and every herd is different.

"The greatest strength is gentleness."
- Iroquois Proverb
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post #13 of 14 Old 02-18-2010, 05:05 PM
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Being aggressive for no reason is not being a leader for sure. Sounds to me like this guy is a bully and either he needs to be taught how to get along or he needs to be by himself.

How to teach him is a whole different question. Respect is respect and it applies to other horses as well as humans.
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post #14 of 14 Old 02-23-2010, 01:04 AM
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To me, the horses who are aggressive and bullies are the losers. I do not tolerate aggression or bullying of any kind out of any of my animals.

Anyway, if I were you, I'd segregate the aggressive horse. The first place I boarded my horse would turn him out with a pack of aggressive horses. It got to the point where I had to stand over my horse while he was eating his hay with a whip in my hand to make sure nobody knocked him off his food. The last straw was when he came out of the paddock with a bloody leg, and the BO refused to move him to another paddock. Needless to say, I'm boarding him somewhere else.
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