Originally Posted by SammysMom
, do you mind me asking how you get that effect? My horse is very pushy around feeding time (it's a struggle each time to make him hold still while I take his halter off if there's grain in the stall). So far I've just been blocking him and giving him a "Hey!" when he tries to duck around me, but he only lets up for a split second and I usually call it a victory when he looks away for a second. I would looove it, though, if he would stand like a sane horse until I give him the ok rather than weaving around me like a demented boxer. Should I just do it "bigger"? Is there a danger of really scaring him if I react really strongly if he gets pushy (I mean as in yelling, making noise, chasing him away, of course, not hitting him)? I have a pretty passive/non-confrontational type of personality, so being "lead mare" isn't natural for me. I have to have rules and tips to follow
Exactly what Cherie+TinyLiny said! Demand respect and you'll get it.
If your guy has been getting away with disrespecting you for a while, he may take longer to come around, but if you're consistent, fair, stick with it, and never take "no" for an answer, he'll come around pretty quickly.
Have you ever watched a bigger herd of horses, one with a really dominant horse, a few subordinates, and at least 3+ "mid-levels"? If you haven't gotten the chance, that's something you might want to do to help yourself feel better about being "hard" on your guy.
The dominant horse has no problem really blowing up at a lower-ranking horse that has gotten in his/her way. And by "really blowing up", I mean kicking, biting. Chasing, the whole deal until that lesser horse would never imagine trying whatever he/she just tried evvvver again.
I once saw a extremely dominant little QH Pony mare RUN backwards, hind legs flying, at a gelding who had dared come near her while she was eating. She then turned and chased the gelding clear to the other side of the pasture, all for getting within 15ft of her while she was eating. She was less extreme with the other horses but that guy was pushy and stubborn, so she needed to make sure he got the message.
Anyway, I learned a lot from watching that little mare. She knew how to discipline each horse in the herd perfectly. Even the more timid horses - she could swing her head to send them running...and be mutually grooming that same horse 30 minutes later.
Her corrections were always short, sweet, and to the point. The "2 second rule" was pretty accurate with her discipline. She kept discipline short but was as heavy-handed as needed during that time. I try to do the same thing - I don't keep correcting again and again until the horse finally responds. I correct fast and HARD, if that's what the horse needs. Once the horse starts self-correcting [for instance, with hay being placed out - starts going for it, I say "ah-ah!", and the horse pulls back ever so slightly from the hay, but continues to go for it], I'll lower my correction level. But at first, I keep it fast, hard, and memorable! Haha
[I also always give a 'warning' with "QUIT!" or "AH-AH!!", then immediately correct. That way, eventually "ah-ah" or "quit" is all the correction that's really necessary. I'm like you, I don't like to have to physically correct alllll the time!]