Need some advice on my horses behavior - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-05-2013, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Need some advice on my horses behavior

I have an OTSB who is a gentle giant, most of the time. I had him at a stable that was a hour away from me. I decided to move him to a stable that is closer so I can see him more often and ride more often. After about a month he was doing fine acting normal...then I took him trail riding with my mother in-law at the stable where he was before. He was sooo happy. After, I brought him back to the new stable he was not happy anymore. It was a night and day difference. Now he kicks while I'm riding when I ask him to walk...He gives me attitude when I mount and dismount, and he is starting to kick when I'm on the ground and he doesn't like something. He has always been sensitive when I tack him up, but now its worse. Any advice on why he is acting this way? Keep in mind he and I are both "Green" so we are training and learning together. I was told he was "testing" me but, I am wondering if there's more to it.

Last edited by Lovemystandardbred; 11-05-2013 at 07:16 PM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-05-2013, 07:40 PM
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Ye he could be testing you. One thing to let him knwo that you are the boss and should not test you as much, is to make sure he knows you are boss. If he kicks when you are on him, turn his nose to your knee until he comes to a stop, then hold it for a few secodns more, then flex the other side of his neck.

Make sure his teeth are good, he has no sores, he isn't in pain, etc.
One of my horses was awful, he wouldn't listen he wouldn't to anything and it was a constant struggle to turn his head away from the gate. Well, he had a bad tooth that needed to be pulled and was causing him tons of pain. My mind is drawing a blank, but I will get back with more tips and ideas for you.
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-05-2013, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I will definitely start doing that. I have been told horses, especially race horses can get ulcers easily from being stressed or from change in environment...I've been wondering if that could be whats going on.
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-05-2013, 11:10 PM
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Yes he could well be testing you & it's solely a behavioural issue, but sounds like there could be something physical wrong, if he changed so suddenly. Teeth, back, saddle, ulcers(esp with change of environment & stress & poss feed change too), feet...?
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-05-2013, 11:13 PM
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He could have ulcers that will make a horse act ulgly. Also could be a lack of respect and could be pain related.

In my experience green on green makes black and blue. Sounds like you need a trainer to help both horse and you. Make sure any causes of pain are ruled out first.
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-06-2013, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate all of your advice. I'll get my vet out to do an exam on him. I would hate for him to be in any pain. I do have a trainer and she seems to think my horse is acting normal and just testing me which could be the case too.
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post #7 of 12 Old 11-07-2013, 06:38 AM
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I'd probably follow what your trainer says.

Testing happens a lot, and letting them get away with it once is inviting further testing.
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-07-2013, 04:46 PM
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You need a mentor worse than your horse needs a trainer. You are not able to 'read' your horse well enough. You need someone that can lead you through horse behavior and the 'how' and 'why' of that behavior. Horses seldom come up with surprises. They give a lot of 'little signals' even before they give you 'warnings'. This horse has 'told' you in 'horse language' that he is displeased with what or how you are doing things. Instead of you telling him "I am in charge and you are going to do it my way!", you have stepped back a step and said "OK, We'll do it your way."

You need to learn how to 'read body language' and step forward and make him back up a step and say "Yes Mam!".

This is all accomplished by your body language and your timing. It is not rocket science, but most people are not born with this gift. You must learn how to read horse expressions and behavior and you must learn how to respond to it. You need to learn how to play 'offense' instead of always being on 'defense.

When you let a horse put you on defense, it gets more and more spoiled. Then, it needs someone to step in really 'fix' things and get them back to being pleasant and safe for you. It should never get this far. When you keep a horse in line with you being the leader of your 'herd of two', you just do not have any problems like this pop up.
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-08-2013, 01:34 AM
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I agree with others, it would be best to rule out anything medical first. Mind you, it could be due to the new environment causing him stress or making him want to test out if there's also a new pecking order.

As far as stress related cases, the gelding I used to lease was a total dream to ride when I started leasing him. I could take him out bareback and bridleless no problem (and I did that most of the time actually). Then his owner moved him to a new barn. All hell broke loose. This horse that used to be super docile and easy to ride would take off at any random moment, even in a ring. You couldn't stop him once he was opened up, he would pace and strut around while you were tacking him up (he used to fall asleep while I was brushing him at the old barn) and would pin his ears at you when you went to get him from pasture (meanwhile at the old place he used to just stand there, even walk up to me sometimes).

I'm still new at riding and he was too much for me to handle, so I had to stop leasing him unfortunately and his owner isn't even riding him anymore because she can't manage him much better than me. In my opinion, your horse could be reacting out of physical pain, stress, testing his place, or a combination of the last two.
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-08-2013, 07:10 AM
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Several of you are missing the whole point. Pain or a health problem should NEVER be an excuse for aggressive behavior, NEVER!!! There is a HUGE difference between a REASON and an EXCUSE. When you let a horse be aggressive while you try to figure out why he is being aggressive, you just gave him a pass and taught him that you are submissive to him. You just put him above you on the pecking order. In effect, this 'teaches' a horse to be aggressive.

Not only should a horse have to treat you with total respect when he is hurt or in pain, he must let you or a total stranger (like your Vet) 'hurt' him when he desperately needs the help of a person in case of a severe injury. We have had it happen many times over the years where a horse has been badly injured and we had to wade right in and do what was necessary. I can recall several severe hock or lower hind leg injuries and I never even gave a thought to a horse kicking at me or being ill toward me in any way while I attended to his injuries.

I cannot think of a single reason that it would be OK for a trained horse to kick at me. A barely handled yearling ? -- maybe. A broke to ride horse -- never. Horses have many ways to show pain. Again, a person needs to be able to 'read' a horse. A horse's posture, a head hanging lower than usual, a switch of a tail, a horse that does not 'shake' after getting up, an unusual 'switch' of a tail -- all tell me to further explore a horse's well-being. Kicking at me? Never gonna happen here!

And 'yes'. Changing stabling and and riding situation can negatively affect a horse's behavior. This should never include aggressive behavior, but it sure can change how a horse rides and handles. When a horse experiences an event that alters their performance, one has to figure out the best way to counter it. Just like teaching a horse that is buddy sour to stand quietly while tied, this works very well to get horses over stressful situations. One can tie one up for a good while in a safe place until they settle down and it helps them a whole lot. Fighting them is pretty futile. Again, a frantic or upset horse is reactive and is not going to respond well to a rider.
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Last edited by Cherie; 11-08-2013 at 07:17 AM.
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