Join Date: May 2012
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Maybe an idea - my horse used to have the same kind of reactions as yours does. Not as violent, but he definitely wasn't happy with me chasing him around. Natural horsemanship is a broad term - and it doesn't have any 'rules' on the aggressiveness you are allowed to use for it to be called natural horsemanship. No, you might not actually hurt your horse, but does your horse know that?
A dominant horse's instinct is to fight when threathened. You, when chasing her around, are threathening her. Can you blame her for protesting? The change in my horse came around when I realised this - my horse doesn't want me to push him. Even if not with pain, it can still be pushing. We switched from pushes to quiet communication, and the confidence of my horse has jumped sky-high compared to what it was at first. We don't work anymore, we play. So my advise to you is, don't work your horse to death. Don't make her run just because. Start listening to her and do simple exercises with her that require quiet but specific cues (like backing up between something narrow). If she fights, you are not going to stand down, you will simply ask her, and I mean ask her, until she gives you one more step, and that's the end of your session. If you want her to loose some energy, start teaching her voice commands and body language, and do it loose without line. Your cue will be a turned shoulder instead of stepping in front of her and simply blocking her way. Both will get the message accross, but with the first you are talking and asking, and not saying. Same goes for riding. A communicating horse doesn't fight.
For a little example - my horse often has the tendency to stand stock still when something scary was around (and at first bolt too). He learned to trust me enough to stay with me, but he would still stand still. I got a Monty Roberts Dually halter, and learned to keep steady pressure until the horse complies. This might work in this halter because of the constriction, but in a rope halter, you are just doing a tugging war. I kept having this problem with my horse until I realised - me not pulling on him is not giving up/releasing. Instead, I jiggle the rope, tug it, use my voice and click my tongue and am insistent until he comes with me, then completely quit it all and tell him he's a good boy. Consistently doing this has made him almost stop just stopping like that, if he does, it will only take a bit for him to come with me, and besides he is more responsive to little tug meant as walk faster. Same thing with something scary - tell him to go, he'll say NO and turn, ask him to do it step for step, slowly and quietly, and he'll finally say okay, I'll go, and see it's not so bad.
There's absolutely nothing wrong about respect work, but don't try to push your horse into respecting you. Show them you are quiet, dependent and consistent, and they will realise it all by themselves that you are a good person/horse to follow.
Another something to think of - getting in an argument with your horse and winning it might give you the victory for the moment, but think of what it does for your relationship in the long run. Would you trust and choose to follow someone who only told you what to do and do it now, and fight with you if you won't?
Listen to your horse and he might just return the favour!