Aggressive horse who won't give up
Hi there, I have a SB x QH gelding who can be extremely aggressive mainly in the paddock. Natural horsemanship people have told me he is very arrogant and I need to act more dominant around him, and the more dominant I've been acting, the more aggressive he becomes. He certainly does not like being challenged. He also pushes around my two older mares and bites them a lot, he is definitely the dominant one there so it's in his personality. He is lovely when I ride him, but has always been a biter when he's not in a good mood, but never a kicker. I have looked all over the internet for things to help me but none of the horses in videos seem to be as persistent as mine at being dominant, or the people are just more dominant perhaps! :) when I pat my horse, put his rug on or brush him he always puts his head around to bite me, or just bites my foot on the ground. Even if I pushed his head away a thousand times he would still do it. I have had his saddle fitted more than once and his back isn't sore (I hope, can only go off what I've been told).
But the main problem is that when I'm in the paddock with him, just patting or scratching him, if he turns around to nip me I push him away and chase after him, making him back up or run in circles around me until he stops and faces me, licking and chewing. Often at this point he is listening to me well, and will follow me around or move his hind end away from me if I chase it. But sometimes, when he stops and listens, I go up to him after a minute and he will have another sneaky bite, so I start the whole process again, but this is when he becomes aggressive (or he may be aggressive the first time I chase or push him away). He puts his head right up in the air with his mouth hanging open ready to bite, and if I walk a step closer to push him away he will lunge at me and take a chunk out of my arm (as he nearly did today! Didn't lose any flesh though, a little bit of blood haha). This happens even when I'm standing there waving my arms at him and stomping my feet trying to get him to move back without having to touch him - he seems to become even more irritated by it and just won't give in and move - just lunges at me instead. The other day he even kept swinging his back end round at me and throwing it up in the air, threatening to kick me, but he never kicks! I've been watching videos on youtube and at this point, when the horse is standing with its head up high ready to attack, the person pushes the horse away and that fixes the problem; the horse leaves them alone and the person gains some respect. But I can't even touch him without him attacking. If I pick up a stick or rope from the ground he listens to me slightly better and his aggression lessens, although still with his ears back, but I know his is just respecting the rope and not me. If I went through this process every single day, making him respect me with the rope, he would just be exactly the same the next day. I feel as if I need to win his "fight" for dominance without a rope at the point when he has his head up and ears back ready to attack, to be able to gain his full respect. But it is scary and quite dangerous! I wish I was brave enough to keep waving my arms at him or even get closer and push him away but I know that I will just get hurt.
I would be more than grateful for any help or ideas, because I am always trying to act like an alpha mare and push him out of my way if I'm walking past and have worked on getting respect when I lead him etc., but I feel as though this is pointless when he still disrespects me enough to want to fight me (how he acts when he is at his worst looks to me what horses do when they fight each other for dominance). We would have such a better relationship if he got over his need for power! Again, thanks so much for reading and hopefully you can give me some ideas! :-)
Flat out he doesn't respect you for more than a few seconds. Obviously standing there, waving your arms and yelling at him isn't working. Normally I don't recommend using a whip but in this case I think it would be a better tool for you.
I truly don't like hitting on animals but I'd make an exception in his case. Biting is just sooooo not on. I would beat that horse really good the next time he bit me. I would make him afraid to even think of opening his mouth.
Flame suit on!
I'll probably get a lot of hate mail for this, but what I would do is carry a club out to the paddock and the first time he came at me with teeth I would club him into next week. I would hit him as hard as I could on the side of his neck. A quirt or longeing whip just isn't going to do it. One of those Clinton Anderson type training staffs might do the trick, but I'd take something like an old axe handle.
Now before you all fly off the handle, think for a minute how horses work this kind of problem out. When two are trying to sort out who is Alpha, they bite, kick, and really get after each other until one gives up and submits. They are not gentle with each other. They hurt each other, but seldom cause permanent injury. He is showing you he is the Alpha. If you want it back, you're going to have to get after him in a strong way.
Now after I let him know that biting me will get him hurt, I would try laying him down. There is a great video on youtube about it. Wish I had the link. Search "laying down a horse" and I'll bet it comes up. I've never had to do it, but it is training method of gaining submission from a horse in a manner that does no physical harm, yet puts him in a submissive position that he cannot fight his way out of. You'd probably have to get a good trainer to do it.
After you get submission, you can start being nice to him again.
I'm sure there are other ways to fix the problem, but that's what I would do.
Thanks for that advice :)
I only wave my arms about when I'm too scared to go up and push him when he's being really aggressive, and it isn't working is it :( it's probably better to give him a smack with a whip than do that.
I don't like hitting horses either, but sometimes he makes me so mad! A couple years ago a lady told me to hit him when he bit me, so I did for a while because it was so bad, but it made absolutely no difference :( it is all that I can resort to sometimes though. My only thought about the whip thing is that he may not even be naughty when he sees me with it, and he might still be just as bad if I go into the paddock without a whip after using it for a while. I definitely will try it though, thanks :-)
I agree with you thenrie, he needs something drastic for this to stop! He never seems upset if I hit him with anything, I'd never do it to my mare who is a bit nervy and sensitive, but he's much different and if he's going to do this he can't expect me to give nothing back :( I actually saw that video on laying down a horse today, it looked really interesting. I will try anything, but I'd get a trainer because no doubt he would freak out about it at first!
Another thing to try would be a small umbrella. You
Could mostly tuck it away and when he goes for you open it quickly. A bright umbrella "jumping" open at him just migh scare him enough to step back long enough for you to regain control.
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The moment he swung around to try and bite he would get my hand across the side of his muzzle as hard as I could. It would make a resounding slap and sting his muzzle. He would get this every time he tried it on.
A case of bite me and it hurts you.
If that failed then he would get the stave.
Whiffle ball bats are good. They make a loud pop, have a lot of surface area, and you are not going to hurt him. Brooms are also nice.
Another thing I would do is stop petting him if there is bad behavior. If he bites wollop him, and leave it at that. Don't pet him afterwards. Once you get him thinking to respect you do NOT give him an inch. Don't let him put a foot out of place or back an ear.
Be the mean drill seargeant.
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