URGENT: Aggressive Yearling
When we first received our 2-year-old pony, she was very affectionate and "cutesy." She was well broke (for experienced riders), but spent most of her day tied up while the other horses got used. We never got people with enough experience (that were of the right weight) to ride her. We've had her now for nearly a year.
Unfortunately her behavior has taken a turn for the worst. After several barn hands decided to take disciplinary means into their own hands (going from smacking her neck and saying "NO!" to pinching her lip/neck and twisting her ear). Progressively her behavior went from that of a 2-year-old pony all the way to a hateful, malicious yearling.
At first I had no issues out of her. While she was biting other people and trying to kick them (she even chased one man out of the area), she would walk to me with ears pinned and quickly prick them to get a pet or to lick my palm, even though there was nothing there.
While she still gave at least one person no issue, there was still hope. But then there's the hay guy; while unraveling the twine, I was shoulder-to-shoulder with him while we pulled it off the large round bale. Some horses anxiously ate off of it. As he passed the pony he rudely shoved her head away from the bale and we moved on -- putting me into her path. She landed a good bite on my shoulder, at which point I turned and yelled at her.
Had I smacked her the situation then would have turned dangerous. It's when you reprimand this pony, even with a simple slap, that she will turn her rear towards you and make a blatant attempt to fire both barrels and connect. Putting "Hay Guy" in this position was not what I wanted.
Today, as always, I went out to do a wellness check (just a basic injury check). Pony approaches me. I pet and love on pony. Pony chases other horses away as I try to check them. Pony gets scolded. Since she wouldn't let another horse near me, I stood at a distance to check a gelding for any obvious injuries. As I stood there, with Pony's head at my side, I noticed she was turning away from me at an odd angle. I turn to look just in time to see a foot in the air and feel her hoof connect to the back of my thigh.
I scolded her and she was fine, approaching me and "licking" (using her lip to rub my arm, as well as licking it). To my knowledge this is an "equestrian apology."
Later, while I was trying to check a band over (a band of which she's a part, though the other mares disapprove of her and "bully" her as often as needed). Pony approaches me and proceeds to start moving her rear towards me. Sensing an incoming attack I moved a couple steps back, scolding her again. She continues twice more. Had my back not been to a wall (literally), I'd have been less inclined to move away as I did. "Whoever's feet moves first, loses."
Before leaving the pony tried to kick another worker multiple times. Before she was a 2-year-old, now she's a Holy Terror. Any tips as to how we should handle her? I'm at a loss and have tried several things. I want to do some respect lunge work but I'm barred due to a coming Christmas party (this Saturday) which I "have to help prepare for."
I no longer want to have to carry a lunge whip or crop (jokingly called the "Pony Paddle"), because it's when you smack her that Pony matches your aggression with a rear-end turn towards you. I would normally scold her and apply pressure to the bridge of her nose (similar to where some halters would cross over their noses). When her ears would come up I'd pet and love on her. But now I don't know if I should pay attention to her at ALL. It's a shame because she is gorgeous and is a good riding horse; she hasn't been under saddle for some time and the last time she was worked in the round pen she chased two young ladies out of it.
She's really gotten too dangerous, especially with children who like to pet and treat her and even children who work with the full-sized horses and enter the pasture. What else can I do about this?
"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." (H.G. Wells)
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