Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
I'm wondering how things are going! I can't say too much about aggressive or unhandled horses because I've never really had one. All of my horses are generally good natured. I think the important thing is to know when to ask for help (and you did!) and to make sure that you are handling situations in the safest way possible for you.
I'm not going to tell you to get rid of the horse because I bought a horse with little experience. I rode at a dinky lesson barn for 5 years, learned practically nothing, quit, and then a few years later, got my first horse. I bought him because he was very well mannered and calm. When I got him home, it was an entirely different story because I didn't know what I was doing. He'd bite, kick, do rear threats, take off towards home, throw major tantrums at the vet (vet actually asked if I was sure he was a gelding and not a mare lol) and would absolutely not load in the trailer.
Through advice, reading, and trial and error, I found a way to make things right. You absolutely have to be firm and let the horse know that you are boss. Praise them when they are good, ignore or slowly correct irritating behavior, and most definitely correct dangerous behavior. I never wanted to hit my horse. Ever. But if I didn't smack my horse in the neck or shoulder or smack him with a crop, he'd still be biting and kicking. That being said, some horses are more sensitive and would respond with a yell of, "No!" or with making a buzzer like sound. But Rusty was a stubborn case, and because horses weigh about 1000 lbs more than we do, we have to protect ourselves first.
Working slowly and surely will get you where you want to be. Rusty has learned to load in the trailer (though he is still a bit stubborn about it and doesn't enjoy traveling), has no major vices, and was a show horse for a year until he became injured and was no longer able to show. He's my best trail horse and my favorite ride. And he came with the most work.
I think a persevering attitude is also noted to get you far.