Aggressive Gelding Went After Me in Pasture, What Happened and What do I do Next Time
I am posting in hopes that those of you with experience can tell me what I did wrong and what I can do today when I go back in pasture, because two days ago when I went to catch my horse, I was run down by a very aggressive gelding who kept coming back after me for more...
Here is what happened, pardon the details but usually "the devil is in the details".
Went into pasture with a herd of 6 and when entering, this 4 years old gelding Joey, was at the gate. He is new to the farm - he usually walks away when he realizes I am not taking him, but this time he aligned his shoulders with mine, stayed to my left side about 8 feet away, and matched me stride for stride for about 2 straight minutes - about 1/2 way through the pasture. If I slowed, he slowed - but it wasn't a good feeling like when I am leading my horse. I stopped walking b/c I wasn't sure what the hell to do. His right eye hadn't left me the entire walk and when I stopped, I saw him snake his neck down and towards me - the only time I have ever seen this posture was when I saw one gelding attack another. I said "joey, shoo" and that was it. He spun on a dime, kicked out with both back legs, so I got pounded with mud and rocks in my face. I kind of spun around and the hit the outer wall of the run-in, while Joey ran down to the end of pasture and ran the entire herd toward me. When they ran by, he was looking at me, ears pinned, lowering that head and he took another kick at me as he went by the run-in.
Finally, the barn manager hears me screaming and he comes out, so Joey decides to go after him. Jazzy, my filly, was smack behind me scared as I was and Joey saw us walking and he came after Jazz. The barn manager had only a lead rope and he somehow intimidated Joey enough for me to get out, while he got Jazzy for me.
Then I stood there shaking and wondering: what the heck just happened and what the hell did I do to set that horse off?
When I went to put Jazzy back in pasture, alone b/c the manager wasn't there anymore, I took my lunge whip. Joey was at the gate and I smacked the ground in front of the gate with the whip, I hit the gate with the whip; everything but him - he backed up, when he felt like it, about 10 feet. Then I waited and he finally turned around and walked away so I could let Jazz in.
I will no longer go into a pasture without something in my hand I guess; Jazz follows without a halter/lead so I usually hang mine on the gate, go get Jazz, we stroll on back and I halter her to walk her to the barn/arena... besides that, I am really at a loss as what I am supposed to do when I go back there today.
If you have a moment, and can share your thoughts, I would be so appreciative.
Get a whip and keep him out of your space. Personally I would run him off and not let him follow me.
You did good bringing the whip with you!
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I agree that I would take a lunge whip with me and make him keep his distance when I went in the field.
Believe me, I would verbally tell him to back off and if he didn't then I would not smack the ground or gate with the whip I would wrap that whip lash around his front legs and when he spun around he would get another one or two across his back end for good measure.
I do not care if he is not my horse - he needs some manners teaching to him and to learn to keep his distance until invited into a human's space.
I wouldn't go out in the pasture without someone else being at the barn and with a lunge whip.
I agree with Foxhunter. We had a horse at the barn that was very similar, albeit a mare, and she was in the arena for turnout quite a bit because she was injury prone. Well, had to go through the arena to get to the stalls unless you wanted to walk all the way around and then attempt to haul the sliding door open in the back. I actually kicked her twice. She'd look all nice and relaxed and out of nowhere she'd be right next to you trying to bite and bucking. Everytime (unless I has my whip, in which case it hit her everytime I had to use it) she did that, I'd scream an obscenity at her with the angriest body language and kick wherever I could reach on her (not her legs) until she moved. Not once did she ever come back for more that same week. It first started when she was moved to the run-in and got food agressive; she kicked at me while I was cleaning over a round bale she was sharing with two other horses. She barely missed my knee (got my jeans) and I kicked her in her side and whacked the fork off her ass to add to the get OUT factor. I still remember feeling like both horses (26 and 3) and Drew were staring at me wondering what the heck happened, and then they bolted out of the run-in and Drew jumped into the roundbale feeder to avoid them, haha. Never did that mare even pin her ears at me if it involved food, she always lowered her head.
But..after rambling, I agree with both foxhunter and aldebono..It's too easy to get hurt around a good horse, much less an aggressive one D:
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Most horses respond well to a human making it clear their insubordination won't be tolerated. Some horses - I've read, I don't own any - will then up the ante, and they have more muscle, strength and speed to back them up. If you aren't certain which category THIS horse falls in, I wouldn't take any chances.
Agreed! I am always leery of giving people advice to fight aggression more assertively online. I didn't see the horses behavior. I HAVE seen proud cut horses that act studdy and will come right back at you if you are unsure of yourself. It might very well be... and it sounds like it, that he was protecting his herd. I wonder, if he would have acted out at all if you had taken him out first. (not saying you should) Just, in working with horses that are pasture sour (studs in general) that have been left out with the girls, it is safer to remove them before trying to remove a different horse from their herd. Use caution as this horse sounds quite sassy at this point. Just the fact that he walked with you eying you as you approached the others sounds very much like a stud behavior.
How long was he gelded? What did his owner say about it? Has he exhibited this behavior in the past? Maybe he shouldn't be in the general pasture with others. I would talk to the barn owner, you shouldn't feel fear going out to get your own horse.
Quick story about a similar situation (though this wasn't actually mean) and the culprit was my 3 year old Saddlebred filly. She was out in a paddock by herself but the way that barn was set up, people had to go through it to get to the big field where multiple horses were. One day an older woman (60 something in great shape) walked through and my filly charged toward her. The poor woman ran to the edge and slid under the fence. She came and got me and I walked out, saw my filly on the other side of the paddock so I whistled to her. She galloped toward me and did her usual slide stop right in front of me, put her head down to be haltered. The lady gasped and said "I think she just wanted me to take her out." ha ha What Your horse (in question) was doing was not just coming up to you exuberantly, it was threatening. Big difference.
Since the BM witnessed the situation did you speak with him after to see what he intends to do about the situation and/or how he wishes everyone to proceed?
I have the same issue. My bo got a new gelding that is turned out with mine, and he is aggressive. At first, I was going to work it put of him, bit then remembered what happened at my last barn, and decided I was no longer going to train horses for free. Now I keep a lunge whip at the gate, and all I have to do is pick it up and he runs off. The first time I took it out with me, he tried some silly crap, and I wore him out with it. Now, he's nice and walks away when I pick it up.
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I literally act like a horse and use the same body language with both my horse and the mini I'm training. Only in extremes I will lower my and if they don't move off I will actually kick at them just to demand my space. NOW I have never done it with more than one horse around. So I'm not going to condone it but it could be an idea.
And HELL YES use that lunge whip. Practice flicking it vertical so you can make a hit in the case you need to verses just fending him off with a "scary" noise.
Best of luck! And glad to hear your ok!
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