ear pinning and general disrespect
I have owned Fancy since she was about a year old. I broke her and took her to shows when she was 3, but then I went off to college and only get the chance to handle her when I am home for breaks. I have been in college for a year and a half, just to give you a time frame.
She has always had a bit of an attitude, but since I have been gone it has gotten worse. I realize it's probably because she doesn't get handled much, but now that I am trying to sell her, I really need to concentrate on getting her manners back. No one wants to drive out here to look at a potential buy who just pins her ears back when you brush her -_-
I just got done doing some ground work with her, but I'm not sure if what I am doing is right. I started out brushing her (she wasn't tied up, I was holding the lead rope) and anytime she would pin her ears at me I would immediately send her off trotting in small circles around me. I didn't really know when I should release, so I just stopped after about a minute and continued brushing until the next time she pinned her ears and I would repeat the whole cycle over again.
After about 3 times of this, I decided to just take her to the round pen so that when I sent her out I could really make her work. So I stood in the middle brushing her, and when she pinned her ears I sent her out on the rail. I waited to let her stop until she showed signs of submission (head lowered, ear on me, licking lips) and then I would turn away from her and let her come into the circle with me. After doing that twice she stopped pinning her ears when I brushed over her back, but instead she would swish her tail and lift up her back leg in a threatening-to-kick way. I made sure to end on a good note, but she never really stopped the tail/leg thing like she did the ear pinning.
She also pins her ears at me when I walk by her eating which I don't like, but I don't know how to "reprimand" her in a situation like that. I could use some help with breaking these bad habits!
I ran across a Rick Gore video on YouTube recently about this EXACT issue (ear pinning at dinner time).
Here it is.
I will make a horse move and will put pressure on one that is loose, particularly in a round pen.
If I have one on a lead-rope or a line or have one tied up, I do just the opposite. I give the rope a jerk and back the horse up and turn it away from me. [If it is tied for grooming or saddleing, I quickly untie it first.] I make it back and make it yield its shoulders. If I am brushing the left side of the horse, I will back it briskly for 5 or 6 steps and will then make it do a 360 or maybe two of them to the right, especially if it is reluctant or sluggish in the way it does the 360.
If I am on the horse's right side, I will back it up and make it do one or two 360s moving its shoulders to the left. I make sure there are sharp consequences for being cranky or sullen. The ears back or the shaking of the head will get a swift response from me.
A lifted foot or other threat will get a stronger response from me. I will spank the horse's chest to make it back up faster. I will move its shoulders to the right, to the left, back again, to the left again. When a horse gets threatening or sullen ( bows up and refuses to move), I will get much rougher on it.
Just like another horse 'punishes' a horse that is disrespectful, the worse the aggression, the bigger my demands are. If you give a horse a pass on pinning its ears at you, it is just a matter of time before it gets more and more aggressive toward people. I believe in 'zero tolerance' where aggressive behavior is aimed toward any person at any time -- loose, in hand or under saddle. Loose, you are stuck with only being able to make a horse move forward or run away from you. In hand or under saddle, you have the ability to make a horse back up or turn sharply on command, so that is what I prefer to do.
The video was helpful, thank you! I actually just sold the horse I was asking about :( Those people came with the trailer and bought her after spending time around her for an hour and a half... It was so fast! I'm happy, I love the people, but I'm also sad because I wasn't expecting it!
I still want to learn more about how to break this habit for future reference, so keep the comments coming!
Well at least you found her a good home!
I couldn't have asked for nicer people! I was open and honest with them about her attitude, but I hope the daughter is ready for it!
Thank you for the Rick Gore video! I have a mare that not only pins her ears when I approach her, but she doesn't hesitate to wheel around and throw a kick. She has already kicked one person that I know of. She is extremely difficult to catch and I'd love to just chase her around the field, but she has a lot more endurance than I can ever hope to have (I'm 65 and she's an Arabian). This mare has had nothing done with her for the past 7 years but prior to that, she was ground driven and had a saddle and rider on her (on lead line). I have just one question...will I someday be able to NOT carry a whip around with me when dealing with this mare? Thanks to all who posted answers on this thread; you have definitely helped me.
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