managing dangerous disrespect
In a natural approach how do you deal with dangerous disrespect when trying to build respect? My 3 year old gelding has recently started blatently disrespecting me by striking at me with his front hooves and charding at me. He does it while lounging and the circle game and the yo-yo game. He doesn't respond to the flag on the ground as much as he should and we are working on that. He works ok while I am on the fence but on the ground he tries to strike. He isn't usually a dominant horse and is the lowest in the herd rank. I've tried getting him to move out of my space but then he tries to attack me. I know how my old trainer would handle this. But I want a natural approach. I will gladly answer any more questions and all advice is appreciated.
I had problems with this, so I know what you mean...
Though a lot of Natural Horsemanship goes AGAINST hitting on horses, you have to remember that if your horse was doing that to the leader in the wild, he would be pushed around. A horse would chase that horse around the arena until it gots so tired it just listens to you. But when something happens that crosses the danger zone, life threatning, you have got to forget doing the right, most "natural" thing. Protect yourself!
To him, he is leader. Tell him he is NOT the leader. A great way is hours of lunging. Since he is young, he could catch on quick. When he strikes out at you, you could actually scream. Horses squeal. Chase him. I chased my horse around when he got edgy with me, and it helped a lot. Make him WORK.
But you have to remember, if you want your horse to love you, spend quality time with it by making little horse sounds.
Tell me what you think. :)
Well you could wait for a natural approach and get killed while you are waiting. Horses will smack each other around to keep other horses in line. If your horse is striking at you, you need a crop/whip handy to give him a nice reminder who is in charge.
Doing that is a far cry from 'beating' the horse and there is nothing wrong with it. I seriously suggest you find a trainer to deal with this issue before you or the horse gets hurt.
This is tricky, basically it is a mindset that has not been yielded yet. The horse is being dominant and has not yielded to you as the authority. He sounds like a stubborn 3 year old kid pitching a tantrum!! I have had a few like this. The horse I am working now was like this. Just curious but what kind of horse is he, is he lazy and dull or is he very flighty? This last horse I had was lazy and laid back. So when I asked him to move he did not like it and fought back.
The trick is patience and persistance and CONSITANCE. You have to be consitant with your cues or you will confuse the horse and this can aggravate him to a point of frustration, resulting in striking. If you are consistent in your cues then its his attitude that must change. What you CAN'T do is quit when this happens.
Basically what I have found is to ignore the attacks and work through them. By ignore, I mean do not get mad, scared or frustrated. Try to remain calm and in control. I don't mean to ignore the behavior, that has to be fixed.
Can you move his forequarters and hinquarters seperately? When lounging on a lead if and when he runs in at you or strikes at you pull his head in toward yourself. You must remain at a safe distance however. Anytime the horse strikes or defies you INCREASE the pressure on the horse and when he moves out decrease. I have found that in a session the problem will escalate to a point and there is a moment where the horse is as defiant as he will be. IF at this point you continue what you are doing the horse "breaks" and it is a very visible sign. You can see the horse give to you. Their whole demeanor changes. The head lowers, the lips move, the tounge moves, his whole attitude relaxes. This is my favorite time because you realize you are getting through.
If you are not comfortable training you should find someone who is because being confident and even keeled is very important. If the horse is scaring you, you should find someone to help you.
Does this horse back from the ground?
Giving advice over the computer is hard and alot of things just can not be explained. I hope this helps in some way.
Cayuse's advise is right on! I've dealt with this same problem myself. I have a 3 yr old that I recently adopted. I don't know much of his history but it's obvious that someone let him walk all over them. My colt wanted to be right up on me, in my space. I had to teach him to move away from me first from the lead rope. Ask him to move his shoulders away from you. You'll probably notice that he'll move away, but then come right back. Keep asking him to move away until he moves and stays, then pet him a lot. This is a sort of authority game with horses.
Once I was able to get my colt to move away on the lead rope we moved up to lunging (as I don't have a round pen). He went fine for a while but then started running right at me. I admit it's scary having 1000 pounds bearing down on you. You have to pull that head towards you and get the hindquarters to disengage. Once I got him stopped I wouldn't let him come close to me. I had to jerk on his head pretty hard in order to do that. Normally I hate that and would never do that but in this case my colt had only been castrated a couple months prior and still had a lot of testosterone running through him. To him having to stay away was punishment and when he did what I wanted I let him come back in to me and pet him. That approach worked wonders. All horses are individuals though. You have to feel it out. Also, your horse's behavior sounds pretty aggressive, is there any chance he is proud cut?
Everyone - and every horse has a different solution .
I had a 3 yr old KWPN stallion who simply had to be shown who was in charge and it was real easy - all we did was tie him up in his box when he was ' bad ' and ignore him for 1/2 hour.
The 3 yr old anglo-arab gelding was completly different - when he came to me I was the only one who was allowed anywhere near him , and I had to carry a big stick for self preservation , I don't agree with beating a horse up , but after he shouldered me onto the floor and ran me over steps had to be taken.
In the end it took about 15 mins. We were trying to have a lunge session and as in your case he kept facing me off and charging at me . I decided that enough was enough and with a really long lunge whip and line proceeded to hit him on his front end ( shoulders , chest and legs ) untill he moved away .
After about 15 mins of continued ' pressure ' from myself a change came over him and he decided that he wasn't the boss after all . Now he can be handled by everyone.
All I would say is that if you get into a situation where you are having a ' fight ' with your horse the important thing is to not give in untill you have won . Any submission on your part will only make things worse.
Well said saddler. A well placed smack across the front legs of a striking horse isn't going to do damage. The horse will one, not kill you and two, learn that he can't get away with that.
You're dealing with a serious issue here. If you aren't able to deal with that kind of discipline for the horse's sake and yours, definitely find someone that can. Just keep yourself safe.
I try to have a ' natural ' approach - watch two geldings in the field you will clearly see them facing each other off and charging and striking out untill one backs off.
A horse I have found , dosen't see me as human but as one of the herd so I try to interact as a horse would , To me this means either isolating the offender to make it feel vunerable - then letting it re-join the herd , or having a face off fight untill I win and come out as herd leader.
I don't know about the US but in the UK too many people who have horses are too soft on them - and get walked over . I love all my horses but as they weigh severall hundred kilos I must maintain my position as herd leader at all costs.
"If the horse is afraid, then work with him and show him that he has nothing to fear from you and he can depend on you for support. Never punish a horse for spooking or being scared because it will only make the problem worse. If the horse is aggressive or spoiled, often there will come a point when the only choice is you or him. Many times, that means hurting him before he hurts you. Although, once he stops the undesirable action, then you must stop the reprimand."
Sometimes, you do have to show a horse that even though it is a partnership, you are still the majority stockholder and make all the decisions. An agressive horse is dangerous to everyone and the longer the actions go on, the harder they will be to break.
When I got my gray mustang, he was a 3 year old stud that had never been touched except when he was put in a squeeze chute to brand and vaccinate him. The people that adopted him had very little horse sense and everytime they would go into the pen with him, he would start by fleeing. When he figured out that he couldn't get away, he became agressive and started charging them. They enforced the habit by running out of the pen every time he did it. Before long, his flight instinct in that situation disappeared and he would stay on the fight. It was very touch and go for a while when I first got him and there were some times that I really had to hurt him to get him to stop charging. When he figured out that I wasn't going to run and that I was the alpha, he relaxed and his training went without a hitch from then on.
That being said, it is true that not every method works for every horse but if you are not equipped to deal with this problem, I suggest that you find someone who is because this is a VERY big problem that needs to be dealt with NOW before you get hurt.
I agree. IMO, getting after a horse in this type of case most definitely IS natural.
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