Serious aggression in horses...what to do
I posted about this horse once before. He is an OTTB that had a bad past (which I now feel is no excuse) and he has some serious issues.
Last year in about August he attacked his owner while she was coming to bring him in for his evening feed. When I say "attacked" I mean he actually lunged at her and bit her in the forehead and ripped her face open. I had to rush her to hospital for emergency treatment. Thank goodness I was there or who knows what would have happened.
He just has a bad reputation. Although she claims not to be, his owner is terrified of him on the ground. Just from the way she handles him you can see that she is always concerned he hurts her. When he is under saddle he works well but constantly has his ears pinned at anyone going past.
On sunday I went to help bring the horses in because the BO was at a show and we always help her out. I walked over to another horse to bring him in and this aggressive horse just came out of nowhere at me. He was a good 30 meters away and I was not even looking in his direction. Next thing is he kicked his back legs up, came galloping straight at me, hit his brakes, reared up in my face and lashed out with his front hooves. This of course caused the other horses around me to lash out at him in defense and I dont know how I never got hurt. As he came back down he lunged at my face again, teeth bared. Only the devil could have a worse face. Then he turned around, kicked his back legs at me and ran off towards his stable.
I know it was feed time and horses tend to get a tad worked up sometimes, but this behaviour is just not acceptable to me. If he was my horse I would have him PTS. The owner has given him more than enough time (years) to come right and he has only worsened even with kind treatment. I am not afraid of horses no matter how big or small they are, but this one I avoid at all costs. I just won't risk being injured by him. You cant even walk past his stall without his lunging at you.
His stable is next to my horses stable and the side walls are open so the horses can put their heads over. I was filling up my water bucket the other day and lucky I looked up first because this same horse had his head over and ears back and was lashing out at me to bite me.
there is just no reason for him to act this way. I know many horses that were abused worse than he was and they have all rehabilitated into wonderful animals. Many of the ponies at the yard come from abusive backgrounds, they are all wonderful. I dont know exactly how he was abused but I dont think it matters at this point.
I know his owner thinks she is doing a good thing by giving him a second chance at life but he is not co operating much to deserve it. Im not into having animals put to sleep unless they are suffering but in this case I personally would have it done to save more accidents to other horses and people. And she could be using that time and money to help another animal and in the proces perhaps enjoy her horse. I see nothing enjoyable about this creature
I don't really know the owner well enough to offer the suggestion though and the BO has mentioned it to her but she says she will never. I dont know what to do, all I know is that from now on when he is around I wear a helmet and carry a whip in case.
I sound cold and callous about an animal but i really detest this horse and I am happy to admit he is the first horse I can say I am scared of. Everyone is. I had to warn new people the other day to avoid him because he was standing waiting to come in for lunch and this woman walked over with a toddler who wanted to pat the horses. It's just not safe.
Im waffling now, I need suggestions on how to make the owner see reason. what is it going to take? another serious injury?
Sounds like this horse thinks hes boss, If you want to gain his respect you should ask if you can lung him in a join up type style. If his owner is not gaining his respect his ego is running away with him. I would carry a lung whip or crop while in a pasture and smack him with it if he get too aggressive... If he were in a herd and he acted like that to a lead horse hed get his butt kick..BE THE LEAD HORSE.
and when he lashes out smack him either on the shoulder or the nose but not too hard of course, then rub him in the same spot so he knows he got womped for lashing out and not just because.
and when riding it he get pissy with another horse make him work harder turn him in the other direction, do circles, or you can use a crop to correct form the shoulder, every time he pins his ears swat him on the shoulder then rub him with it so he learns hes only getting hit for his behavior and dont just because.. but that could just piss em off and make more problems so be careful.
just make sure that you ALWAYS desensitize with your tools and or body so he doesnt become afraid of them.
And He may have been abused but you can still use these techniques with out stirring up old memories, as long as you desensitize, and "join up" that is.
If you smack him or lift your arms up at him to push him away he comes in even harder to attack. If I smacked him and then went to rub his nose he would keep attacking. He isnt trying to scare people, he WANTS to bite and attack and injure his target.
With other horses he isnt too bad though as you say, he isnt their boss.
I dont think he is afraid of anything, he is too sure of himself for that> i must try get some of his behaviour on video. Words dont do it justice.
I would say join up! My sister ended up with this gorgeous Kiger Mustang but he had a weird tick, just like the horse your dealing with. After she lost her never with him she called me over. I clipped a lead rope to him and asked him to move out, He charged me about six times, but I just came back at him with the end of my lead ... sadly to say I aimed for his face... but he finally darted away from me. I pushed him, and have to say I got tired and dizzy long before he did. But after about 40 mins and several brakes later he FINALLY licked his lips. So I stepped in front of his shoulder and called him in. He came half way dropped his head and panted for a long while.
when he caught his breath I sent him out again this time it was only 20 mins before he dropped his head and licked. so again I stopped him and called him in this time he came right to me and held his head at my knees... after that he followed me every where and really did respect me.. although it was several weeks before I didnt carry a crop in the pasture.
My sister never could trust him enough to start him so she traded him for two goats haha.. if I had had more time I probably would have took him... O well.
Point is its hard and a little scary but it does work. the trick is to keep him close I use a 15 ft lead and put just enough space to where I cant reach out an touch him.
and I would like to see the videos, I am curious.
A video would be great to grasp how terrible this guy really is. It certainly does sound like someone with the case of the 'Bossies'.
I say your personal relationship to this person is trumped by the sheer danger of the situation. Offer her your help and suggestions anyway. You personally detest the animal (no shame in that), but try to bide that when you suggest she do something with him - round pen work, lunge line work, a really long saddle lesson...ANYTHING to get him exhausted and listening. She needs to move his feet so she can regain her seat as Boss Hoss.
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I shouldnt say I "detest" him because Im not normally the type to dislike any creature but he is dangerous and will defend himself in any situation as violently as he can. He never has his ears forward and he is never friendly. even when she offers him a carrot after exercise he lunges at her then snatches it and lunges it again. I worry about what would happen if it is a child in his path one day (not that Im extremely big, about 5"3') because he is a good 16hh and as solid as a barrel. And he means business, he is not threatening he is promising.
I will more than likely see the owner this evening when I ride and Im going to tell her about the incident and maybe suggest she gets someone in from an external source to assess him. She is just a soft individual, I dont think he will ever take her seriously.
Our lunge ring is being built at the moment, perhaps once it does she needs to get him in there and start making him work and trying some join up.
I know this is not what you may want to hear, but this horse is too dangerous to continue. Sometimes a horse is better off being put down then risk someone getting killed. No matter how much training you put on him, there will always be the danger of him reverting.
MysticL did say several posts ago that if this were her horse, she would have him euthanised, but he's not and she said that the owner won't do it.
He bites (lunges at your face), kicks with back and front feet, rears up at you and lashes out you name it. I would post a picture of the owners injury but I do not have her permission to do so and even though she is not on this forum I would not feel happy doing that.
I will see what she says tonight when I tell her what happened (if she happens to be there). I think I just see him for what he is which is dangerous because I was there to witness first hand when he attacked her. It was violent. not only did he bite her in the head but he then tried to stamp her and kick her.
Where does the BO stand on this? This is a huge liability both for the owner and the BO. I agree this is one that needs to either go to someone who can today rehab him, without other innocent people in danger, or, put him down. I actually had one like this. I truly understand what you are saying about the look in their eyes, and had never seen anything like it. I boarded him at a barn and there were other people around as well as children, so he had to go. He also had to go because he had me terrified. You can never let your guard down with one like this-they will literally go out of their way to get you, and you are right-a whip in hand makes it worse. I would make it really clear to the BO and this horses owner that they stand to lose everything if this guy hurts someone. If you are a minor, I would make mom and dad aware of this and they should talk to the owner and BO. I was fortunate to find someone to take mine who could rehab him, but I certainly would have out him down had I not.
Good luck, and do not turn your back on this guy-ever.
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