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TruCharm 08-17-2013 09:48 PM

Bipolar behavior?
So last year I got a gelding from my BO who could no longer afford him. He had his eye injured by his pasture mate kicking him which something in this horses hoof punctured his eye causing an abscess he can see, but things that don't bother him on one side bother him on the side where his eye has healed from that abscess. It looks like hes got a blue piece of iris or a foggy contact lens for us humans sitting just to the right of his pupil.

On to what I wanted to ask. I've been constantly working with him hes improved, his previous lack of handling and bad behaviors were never dealt with for his 8 years of life. When he charged his previous owners? They gelding him. When he didn't want to be fooled with, they left him alone.

Hes a spazz for food I did try clicker training but he ends up finding out how to get ahold of them and breaks them. Usually by biting the clicker, making it click, then looks at me like "Where's my treat?"

He is extremely intelligent. Which is the problem I believe. He has these, "Bi-Polar" moments. One day he's calm, behaved (as best as he can be) these days he really does TRY to learn what I am teaching him. Then others, like the last time my farrier was out, he showed his butt. Didn't want to listen to me at all. It was like I wasn't there at all. He jerked his feet from the farrier, bounced/jigged a bit and would stand. Then when his feet were finally finished and he seemed to be cooperating. His age old habbit of refusing to enter the pasture started up again.

When I first got him, he would walk out the pasture with respect. But REFUSED to re-enter it. Even with his pasture mate about to loose his own mind. It was a totally refusal, braced, legs apart and wouldn't move but would eat grass. Now, my friends tried "Hey lets get food to get him back in" well, then hed about run people over to get into the pasture. I don't want to encourage that. Not at all. I have been doing the click then treat when hed come closer to the gate. Like "Look that was Really good, heres a cookie. Now do it again :D"

I just wanna know is it normal for a horse of his age to be ok one day then showing his butt the next day and seemingly reverting back.

** Note on this, the day the farrier was there and he refused, we were about 10-15 feet Away from the pasture and he didn't want to go any closer to the pasture, his crazied buddy sour pasture mate or the gate, my farrier tried to "move his feet" to assert some dominance. My gelding literally backed up one time. Then stood there, no matter what my farrier did. The guy even whacked him the butt a couple of times with the lead rope and my gelding looked at him with normal look then started eating grass. He was 100% un-phased by all of it. But he'll move his feet for me if I have a lead rope or dressage stick. No hitting or even touching involved. My farrier's father is a horse trainer, and apparently a pretty good one at that, he's watched his father and worked his own horses and he stated "Now in my life have I seen a horse do that before"

But yes, if someone has some Great experience with deal with older horses. I'd appreciate some feed back on tip on things and the bipolar question.
Also would like some tips on teaching him more respect for my personal space. Hes ok with it, but he's still a pushy thing even when he gets disciplined for being pushy.

Sorry if this was kinda jumbled,

- T

Saddlebag 08-17-2013 10:01 PM

Think about how you are dealing with this horse. He has no respect for you. He decides to cooperate one day then tests you the next. Horses test each other all the time as they squabble for a superior position in the herd. You need to learn to be consistent in not allowing him to get away with small things, a little crowding, a little grab for a treat. He needs to respect your space, at least 3' from your body. Back him up hard every time he invades it. If he's grabs for a treat, bump his mouth with the back of your hand. Any time you let him get away with something you have become inferior in his mind and he'll start bossing you, or the farrier. Put the horse on a long line and have a whip handy. Pick a good spot to lunge. Lift a hoof and the moment he jerks it, drop it and chase him out on the lunge like you plan on murdering him and make him hustle at the trot. Three circles or reverses are even better and try again. Continue to do this until he realizes he can stand like a gent or work hard. Usually by the 4th time the dumb ones have caught on. Do the other front. By the time you get to his hinds me may decide that kicking or fussing isn't worth it.

DancingArabian 08-17-2013 10:16 PM

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Originally Posted by TruCharm (Post 3384898)
Hes a spazz for food I did try clicker training but he ends up finding out how to get ahold of them and breaks them. Usually by biting the clicker, making it click, then looks at me like "Where's my treat?"

I'm confused by this. What do you mean by clicker training? You should be holding the clicker in your hand and using it. How is he able to grab the clicker away from you and break it? That's an incredible invasion of space and can lead to all kinds of dangerous behavior.

I think the horse simply doesn't respect you. Smacking him with a lead rope obviously isn't working. I would recommend looking up groundwork techniques and methods and working him regularly. If he doesn't want to enter the pasture, back him up HARD and fast or make him just move his feet and then give him the opportunity to make the right choice and enter the field. If he barges past you, move his feet hard and fast, take him out, and enter again - repeat as often as needed.

TruCharm 08-17-2013 10:39 PM

Usually he gets the clicker when I sit it down. I don't leave it right where he can reach it, but he finds ways. I sat outside the fence and he purposely reached through the fence and grabbed it. Last one I handed it to a buddy of mine and he stole it out of her pocket. He finds ways to get things he shouldn't, even if he gets shocked by the fence, he still tries.

Thanks for the advice though. I'll use it to start getting him to respond properly instead of a jerk one day and a golden boy the next. I used training like that before, just not "Chasing him like I was planning on murdering him" someone did that with my thoroughbred mare and shes now terrified of the stock and lunge whips.


JCnGrace 08-18-2013 02:52 AM

Is the pasture mate he has now the same one that kicked him in the eye? If so I can't quite blame him for not wanting to go out with him. It also quite possible he has a blind spot in that eye from scarring which would explain his spookiness on that side.

The rest of the issues are like everyone else says, he needs to learn respect. Sometimes you have to think outside the box for one that is very intelligent. I have one that is and you can get him to do anything you want as long as you ask and don't demand. I found that getting him to understand the words "no" and "good boy" worked very well for him. If he's doing something unacceptable then a firm "no" will stop him in his tracks and a "good boy" will keep him doing the right thing. It doesn't take long to teach them those words and while in the learning process accompany the no with a downward tug on the lead rope and the good boy with a rub on the neck (or wherever your horse likes to be rubbed).

Palomine 08-18-2013 03:36 AM

Horse is spoiled. Quit letting him get by with things, and NO horse should be getting things out of pockets ever.

You are making this horse worse by your inability to properly handle it.

And horse is not bipolar. You are, by doing one thing one way on one day, and then completely the opposite the next.

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