Bad Manners, for NO reason
Hello, I have a question about my yearling filly. i raised her from the ground up and shes always been very smart and willing to do anything for me. Well, I started to have a real problem a couple months ago with her jumping out of anything i put her in ( she doesn't clear it!) and being really pushy about being in my bubble. I've trained several of my own and a couple of other peoples, and have worked with a western pleasure/english trainer along with the trainer i was working with up until a couple days ago, and just dont understand how she has no respect for anything now. All the others i've worked with and have now know who the boss is and everything, but she doesn't respect fences and just runs over people. Any suggestions would be really helpful. Thank you!
I can understand a yearling being a bit pushy and in your space but the fence jumping is a little odd. Is she running into the fence or just attempting to jump it for escape? I wonder about her eyesight is the reason I ask. If its fine, can you figure out what reason she may be wanting to escape where she is, fear, a buddy on the other side etc.? I think the getting in your bubble can be easily worked out with an elbow while being led and a stick during training sessions. The fence jumping is a tougher question.
See, you're looking at it wrong...she shows "show jumping potential" J/k I would put a hot wire over whatever you're keeping her in, that should keep her off of it. As far as her lack of respect for you, if she were mine, that filly would believe she only moved one direction and that direction would be backwards, away from me.
I agree with Palo on the hotwire suggestion. Unfortunately I have a Houdini too. He used to be respectful of fences, until he went to live at a place with bad fencing & a couple of bully horses. After he was cornered & bullied into escaping through the fences a couple of times, he learned he could go where he liked. He doesn't jump them tho, but goes under/through. I need a multi strand, strained fence or at least 2 strands of hotwire to keep him in now. I've even seen him kind of squat down to get under a timber railed arena fence!
I agree to a large extent with assertively asking the horse to back up or using your elbow or whatever else if they invade your space too. But be careful to work out the cause of it, as if it's fear related(she wants to be in your lap for you to protect her), just getting tough could make matters worse - give her a stronger association with whatever it is & Bad Stuff, and also make her less inclined to trust you & look to you for safety.
I would be inclined to take everything a little slower & easier for her if you think it is a right brained, fear response. It could also come from confusion, which is also an indication for slowing down & simplifying training for this girl.
I use my elbow, hand, rope, whatever, to 'swat flies' if a horse is likely to get in my space. I don't focus on the horse or hit *at* them, but randomly just flap about(yes, I'm sure it does look a bit strange :roll:). I do it this way, so that the horse is less likely to take it as unwarranted aggression, and more likely to think I'm a nice but rather unpredictable person that it pays not to get too close to! :lol: In conjunction with this, I would teach them to back out of my space and positively reinforce them with treats, a scratch, whatever... for them being 'polite' & staying at arm's reach unless invited in.
Thank you, you guys. My guess as far as being in a place she isn't comfortable with, she has lived in the same place since we moved from CA when she was 9 weeks old. She was with Mom, and i got a project horse last November to train and sell and she was fine then. The only thing that comes to mind is that she lost her mother the same day we got 4 horses in from another owner, and then i was helping him buy/sell for a while so about 10 different horses ran through the place, but she was only with the ones that i bought and planned to keep.
I haven't seen her being bullied or anything other than just a natural pecking order during feed time. She has always wanted to get around me and anyone who walked on two legs since she was born. I had her penned up in a 12X24 pipe pen and she jumped out of it and squashed a panel completely. She has also hurt her shoulder a couple months ago, and that took a while to heal.
For her respect of me, believe it or not, I've already tried the whole elbow in chest/shoulder etc to get her to give room, but she persists, its like she has the skin of a tank, lol. Nothing fazes her in that regard. Do you think the problem could be that i spoiled her too much?
If you think this may be a "cruel approch" here in my thoughts. I rather have her get a good shock then to have her hung up on a pipe gate, or run through electric fences possibly cutting herself, getting hit by a car, or even go running through the crp land by my dads and getting a leg in a gopher hole and breaking a leg.
The pushing thing we had that too. it took a long while but lots of backing, and free lunging in a round pen. It teaches the horse that anytime she is going to come into my space a lead rope will touch your butt... she is 5 now and does very well.
The man I got my gelding from wanted him to be a "people horse," and he is definitely that! He would much rather hang out with the two leggers than those on four. As a result, I think he has no problem being in people's spaces. When I first bought him, I had my hands full just trying to lead him without having him run me over too. I literally had to carry a short whip in my right hand any where I led him for weeks. Any time he came to close he got an immediate whack in the chest and a back up if he didn't respond to that. I would randomly "walk on" and "whoa" any place we walked and praise him when he did well without running me over. He is so much better now about it although, he will try me out every once in a while!
My guy has thick skin too and not much hurts his feelings....so when the lighter cues don't work, I have to find the degree of correction that will work, doing only what is necessary. Good luck!
yeah, that approach is what i think it may take, A_L. I don't think its a bad thing to do at all. I'll have to see about getting a small fence charger and getting her into something that she won't even want to look at, never mind touch, lol. I did have a side that was all electric fenced in the pasture, but the charger quit working and i went with another type of fencing on that side.
And yeah, Melinda, Im going to try the crop thing as well. I can actually get one tonight maybe. She doesnt even care if i poke her hard with my finger or something, lol. Something needs to get through to her when we are walking around. She never used to do any of this until about 2 months, maybe a little longer ago. Its been really frustrating, but i think we can work it out.
I'm glad I posted on here, because i was VERY close to selling her for whatever i get for her, since i can't afford to keep fixing fences! Thank you!
I like Angel's idea about the fence. As for the space issue, another thing you can try is make sure your lead rope is always long enough to have a couple of feet that you can twirl in a vertical circle. Every horse I've ever met will back off from a twirling rope without ever getting close enough to get the rope in the nose, except for the first time! :lol:
I had a draft stud that wouldn't respect my space either and what I did with him was use a small metal rod (diameter of a crop, but longer) and used it like I imagine you are using your finger. The rod is stronger and pokey-er (nice spelling, eh?) and you won't get tuckered out holding your ground with it. If he came into my space he got poked. The more he came, the more he got poked and only when he backed off did he find comfort. I never pushed out with the rod, just held my spot.
Re 'spoiling' her too much, I suppose it depends. IMO that's one of the things pets are for, aren't they?? :wink: But if you 'spoil' them when they're being 'bad mannered' then you're reinforcing that behaviour - it works, so they're more likely to keep doing it. Being aware of what behaviours are happening at the time of reinforcement(treats, scratchies, Good Stuff...) and being utterly consistent with NEVER reinforcing the undesirable behaviour is the most important thing to keep in mind.
If the horse has had a lot of practice being reinforced for this behaviour, she has learned that it works for her, and discouragement will make her initially just try harder(Like a whiny kid in a lolly shop). The more practice she's had, the more likely it will get worse before it goes away. You have to weather this 'storm' and stay consistent until this response is eliminated.
If her crowding behaviour is 'difficult' - eg. you use your elbow or sharper(could try holding a spur...) whenever she's in your space, and you ensure the behaviour never works for her(it's never reinforced), she'll eventually stop it.
If you also train a conflicting desirable behaviour, such as take a step back & stay at arms reach, making sure that this behaviour is often reinforced, this will make the process of eliminating the 'bad' behaviour quicker & easier, as well as reinforcing to the horse that you're still a nice person to be around.
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