Best way to correct?
What would you say is the best way to correct a pushy horse? How do you clearly let them know that pushing and nibbling on you is not going to be tolerated?
You're going to get quite a few different answers on this one.
For myself, to deal with nibbling and/or biting, my horses will get one hard slap on the mouth within 3 seconds of the offense, as well as me yelling a very firm "NO". Then I will continue on with whatever I was doing as if nothing happened. The key thing is that you have to react immediately within 3 seconds. If 3 seconds pass, don't even bother reprimanding them because they won't correlate it with the wrong behavior.
My horses are not head shy. And my horses do not nibble or bite. They know better.
As far as being pushy, this comes down to how you allow your horse to handle you at all times. If you let them be pushy just once and let me get into your bubble, they are going to think that is okay. So this means whenever you handle your horse, they have got to respect your space.
If I have the halter on and they crowd me, I'm going to stop and back them up away from me. If I'm just with them in the pasture and they come to close, I am going to use my body language to drive them away and out of my bubble. LIke I said, this is something you have to be consistent with and always demand respect and space at all times, with respect being key.
The thing with any training is that you have to be firm, fair and most of all, consistent.
When leading a horse that continually pushes into my space I will carry a hoof pick and if he pushes into me I will hold the pick against his shoulder so that should he come onto my space it hurts him. He does it not me. Takes all of 25 yards for them to learn that one.
As for the nibbling or grabbing anything in their mouths than they will get an open handed slap across the flat of the muzzle. This will make a good resounding slap and will be hard enough to sting. I accompany this with a correction word.
if he even half tries it then the slap will be as hard as if he actually had!
I insist on manners at all times. When entering a stable the horse has to move back to give me room. When leaving the stable and I open the door the horse has to wait until I invite him out. He has to move over when I say so and if he moves forward without being told then he has to go back to the original spot - every single time!
We had a horse that like to nibble and bite, even after the slap on the nose, so one day when my gf was bent over and checking her feet, the horse bit her in the butt, she just stood up and bit her right back, horse was so in shock it didn't know what to do, but the problem was solved
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the last mare we recently bought was seriously headshy so i would never smack her. she used to be very pushy in your face and very nibbly. when she does this i back her up fast and very demanding till she starts licking and chewing. at first it was a lot of backing now one or two steps will do.
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I have a gelding who can be pushy and was mouthy. I worked a lot on responsive leading. I control direction, pace and location. Anytime, he took a step past me or did not slow down fast enough in response to my slowing down he had to move backwards and we started again.
Nibbling and biting not cool ever. So, first step was no more treats for him. His reward for good behavior is a scratch on the forehead. He tried to bite a few times, the result was a giant smack on the nearest part of his body I could reach with all I had in me. Once its over i.e. bite- my response then its over and we go back to what we were doing. Its slow process but once you have a plan don't deviate. No matter what the discouragement/punishment is (a smack or moving his feet) you have to do it for every infraction.
I would first & foremost work on teaching the horse 'good manners'. Train the behaviours you *want* and particularly 'manners' which are conflicting to 'rudeness' - eg. if you teach him to put his head down & take a step back, well he'll find it difficult to do that & push/nip:wink:
I use 'clicker training' *principles* a lot in my training. The very basic principle of effective training is to make sure the behaviour you want 'works' for the horse - is reinforced - and the behaviour you don't want NEVER EVER works for them. So for eg. if you're using food treats as a reward & the horse does something deserving, but goes to take the treat with his ears back & teeth bared, REALISE YOU WILL BE REWARDING/REINFORCING THAT, so DON'T DO IT!
But especially if this 'bad' behaviour has worked for him before, the horse will perservere, may try harder at the behaviour that's worked in the past and you'll no doubt have to use punishment as well. Horses learn by *instant* association, so punishment needs to happen *at the time of* the 'offence'. 2 seconds after the behaviour is too late. That goes for reinforcing 'good' behaviour too BTW. The best way of using punishment IMO is to set it up so the horse effectively punishes *himself*.
Eg; Carry a wire brush or hoof pick in such a way that if the horse pushes/leans on you *he runs into the sharp pressure*. Wave your elbow or hand sporadically(not directly at the horse) when leading, so the horse learns to stay at arm's reach to avoid getting himself in the way of a swing. If walking in front of a horse that crowds you, randomly changing into an energetic reverse & make like you're going to run over them if they don't move(pretend there's a snake just reared up in front of you!) will teach them not only not to crowd, but 'listen' closely to your bodylanguage to know when/where to move. With nipping, again, holding a wire brush, or pinching their lip when they attempt to.
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