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nicfish 12-13-2012 02:43 PM

5 year old horse needs respect for me!
I have had my horse Splash since May 12. When we got him he was very green, unconditioned, and wanted love.

HIS STORY BEFORE US - Splash was born on Christmas Eve. He was owned by cutting horse barn in TN, and the owners last name was Hunter. The lady decided because she loved Splash so much, to name him Christopher Hunter. But Splash was too tall to be a cutting horse, so he was trained to be a trail horse until sold. He was put up for sale at age 3.
Splash got sold to about 7-8 homes between age 3-5. Which is when we got him.
The lady that owned him before us had another horse, who was 24. She has had the 24 year old for 10-15 years. But, she decided that she wanted a young horse to train. So she bought Splash in November of 2011. Between Nov. and May, her husband unfortunately lost his job. She had to get 2 jobs, so she could barely have time to bond with Splash, because she didn't ride him much. (That helped her sell him.) She also didn't have an indoor. It was also getting expensive to keep two horses at her house. She decided to sell Splash.
I found his ad the very first day he got posted. We contacted the owner and set up an appt. to meet him that week!

He was at the trainers for 3 weeks before that for conditioning. As soon as I saw him, I knew he was the one! I LOVED him! He was exactly what I wanted, to the T!
He was very green, didn't know half-halts, and had a very un-balanced canter. But he had talent, heart, needed love and attention, LOVED to jump, and was my dream horse! We vetted him that week, and he passed! So we bought him!


We started lunging him after the first week and a half he was at our barn. He was a sweet heart. After the first week or so he started getting grumpy at me when I would go into his stall when he was eating. (Mostly just ears back). That's all he did. Over the summer my trainer and I trained him. I would love him, ride him, and just have a good time with him. He had respect for me. ( Had respect when lunging, on the ground, under saddle). He would buck when I was riding him sometimes, but mostly when he decided he either didn't want to go, or he was tired. I made him work harder after he bucked. (To tell him misbehaving meant more work). We were jumping, and doing clinics.

His food aggression got worse. When he was in his paddock he would kick at you and lunge, even if you just walked by. Same with him being in his stall.

We knew he was in really good shape (body wise), and we decided it was time to take it up a notch. Contact with the bit. At first I tried it with him in lessons, and he didn't like it at at all, which was expected. So my trainer took over. (This was just after Halloween). She has been working with him since. He is doing better. (In the mean time I have been riding one of her school ponies that needs work and training.) About a month ago I told her I wanted something to do with him, so she said for me to start doing groundwork with him again. So while she was watching, I got to the point in groundwork where I let him off his lead and let him follow me. At first he was good. Then when I changed directions, he lunged at me and bit me. It as only my jacket hood thankfully. My trainer worked with him right after that and explained to me that him biting me was just him not thinking I was his leader yet. I understood.
A week after that I just staring grooming him, for bonding time. One time I was grooming him I asked him to move over, and he started kicking at me, biting, and hopping. I kept my pressure on the same spot the whole time until he stopped. He thankfully hasn't tried to do that again. After a couple days of grooming, I decided I wanted to do some groundwork again with him and see if something has changed. He was really good he first week. The second came around and when I asked him to do something, he would start hopping. (front feet in the air - only like a foot off the ground). This would happen randomly, and he would be fine after with me. I would tug on the lead shank after for disciplining him. My trainer thought that I was just overwhelming him. I continued to work with him, doing the same things but in different orders, length of time, ect. One night I was doing groundwork with him and I was asking him to follow me (even though he had his lead rope on), and I was going in a circle (he followed) and then he nickered at me, gave me a little shove and reared. High. His feet were at my head level ( I'm 5'2). His ears were up when he was rearing. I Googled this behavior and found out this is what foals do with their herd mates. I tugged on the lead rope and made him backup. This has happened 3 times. I don't know what to do! I don't let him get away with anything! Also, his food aggression is worse. He hops in his stall, bucks, kicks, ears pinned, when anyone just looks at him. As soon as I go into his stall with his halter and lead and put it on his head, he is an angel.

I want my sweet horse back.

BlueSpark 12-13-2012 02:57 PM

google clinton anderson, or I really like buck brannamans new dvd's.

you are in some way communicating that you are lower in the pecking order than him. He will have shown many signs before he got to this point, maybe he would step into your space while leading or grooming and you would not correct him.

Horses dont spontaneously develop disrespect. he has been disrespecting you in many small ways for a long time before getting to this point. he needs some serious ground work to build respect. If you dont feel comfortable correcting him yourself, you need to hire a good trainer that will retrain him, then give you lessons so you learn how to handl him properly.

DrumRunner 12-13-2012 03:22 PM

He needs a serious come to Jesus meeting.

The disrespect that can get you seriously hurt is what needs to be addressed first and foremost. If he starts to act aggressive towards you, smack him.. I don't mean tap. I mean SMACK.. He has to know that you are boss and the dominant "horse".. I would keep a long whip or something similar handy when you're around him, especially when feeding. If he's in his stall and shows that behavior don't feed him.. Don't reward the bad behavior in any way.

I'd get another trainer to work with you that has dealt with horses and this behavior before before you get seriously hurt or worse.. Once a horse has figured out this behavior it takes a lot of work to get them over it.

Don't be afraid to be aggressive towards him.. I know a lot of people are against smacking or "hurting" their horse but if you watch horse's behavior in herds you can see how they know who is dominant over the others.. Kicking, biting, rearing, chasing.. You'll have to do those things to let him know that he is no longer boss and you don't tolerate it.. If one of my horses were to act aggressive towards me we'd have that "come to Jesus" meeting and afterwards they'd not think about trying that again. You have to be quick and efficient about it, don't put it off.. Right when he shows that behavior smack him.. Horses don't think about how you feel about things, he knows he's gotten you to that point and he's going to keep pushing.

montcowboy 12-13-2012 03:46 PM

wonderful topic. good luck. i use to train professionally for years in my younger years.and what got me out of it at that time was 98 percent of the horses i got were ex saddle horses.or horses that has had alot of work done with them.that ended up losing there respect for people in general.but the owner for certain. i really liked what drum said. lets add it up. they weight 1000 pounds and up. smaller horses less..i weight 190. alot of the owners less.and one thing i have learned.and it was taught to me by old horse trainers is. there is a fine line between respect and fear. and once a horse starts actually attacking people. showing over the top aggression over feed. or there space. its basically a ticking time bomb. a horse can perminantly hurt you very very easy. just reading your post scared me.i agree..get a new trainer. there are alot of great trainers out there that just cant handle a horse thats gone to the aggressive side as you have said. i stoped training professionally for a long time just cause of the type of horses i got. i got tired of it. and its hard to retrain a horse like yours. if the owners arent 100 percent behind you. there fixable.trainable. but its hard. and will be pretty hard on the horse too. now i just hand pick what horses i train for clients. the untouched young ones are my first i really do hate training out bad trainers problems in the horse. good safe. and might if you can have his back and neck checked out.the bone structure. out of all i worked with one actually did have a problem with a pinched nerve in the neck. and i figure that is what put him over the edge.pain. so good luck..ride safe.have a happy holiday season..

DrumRunner 12-13-2012 03:52 PM


Originally Posted by montcowboy (Post 1797984)
i got tired of it. and its hard to retrain a horse like yours. if the owners arent 100 percent behind you.

Very good point.. OP, if you send your horse to a trainer who is willing to work on this behavior with you you HAVE to back that trainer and do what s/he tells you, that is very, very important.. You can't have the trainer doing one thing and you doing another or not doing what the trainer tells you to do. It's super important to have a good understand relationship with your trainer and discuss your long term goals before hand.

nicfish 12-13-2012 03:58 PM

Thanks for the quick responses! I dont think he is trying to hurt me, just be more dominant. He has excellent ground manners. I do correct him on the little things, like mving on the crossties, ect...

DrumRunner 12-13-2012 04:04 PM

No, allowing ANY aggressive behavior is encouraging that behavior. Correct it now, letting him be aggressive, at any time really, is just reiterating that behavior and it will get worse with time. You may not think he's trying to hurt you and really he may not be trying to hurt *you* but accidents happen and you can get caught in the cross fire.. It doesn't matter if *he* wants to be more dominant, he needs to know that YOU are dominant and him questioning your "authority" is not acceptable. Once he figures out he can push you he'll keep on pushing..

Anything he does on the ground is considered ground manners - Like being aggressive in his stall when feeding. If he figures out that you won't come in his stall when he's showing that aggressive behavior.. Huh.. If I do this she won't come in my stall.. So he could eventually associate that with you coming into his stall period. That is *his* space to him, you need to be welcome in his space because you are the dominant being. Not him.

montcowboy 12-13-2012 04:10 PM

nicfish. horses arent born wanting to hurt people. its not in any aggression displayed towards people is learned behaviour . that he hasnt hurt you yet is not the point. is he or isnt he trying to hurt you..hmmmm. not really important.that he hasnt yet learned to hurt you is the big one for me. seems he hasnt learned that yet.but its coming.unless things change pretty fast. the difference between a killer horse and a horse standing in the pasture is only that the killer horse kicked at the owner or trainer..and it connected.. was the horse trying to kill..nope..i dont believe he was. they dont think that way. he just wants you to do what he wants you to do.its pretty simple.stay away from his food. dont make him do this. or that.sooner or of his aggressive behaviors is going to connnect with you or someone just walking by.and then every one thinks you have a killer horse. or one that intentionally hurts people. i said.i dont believe horses think that way..its fight of flight for them. normally flight.once one starts fighting more the flighting.. then eventually it happens. i trained a horse that killed a cowboy once. found him to be just like every other non respectful horse i ever worked. so good safe. keep us posted..

BlueSpark 12-13-2012 04:12 PM

Watch horses in the herd. Dominant ones bite( sometimes severely) kick and charge less dominant ones in the herd. For horses this means bruises, scrapes and occasional broken bones.

For a human it can mean broken bones, internal injuries, ER trips and being traumatized. I know a lady who had her face distroyed by a disrespectful kick.

Please don't fool your self. He is TRYING TO HURT YOU. He thinks he's the boss. You are not getting the memo. He is obviously commited to using whatever means at his disposal to get his point across.
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BlueSpark 12-13-2012 04:17 PM

To clarify, by "trying to hurt you", I'm not saying he wants to inflict pain, rather he is trying to get his point across, in the only way he has learned how.
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