My fairly new gelding is a 17hh, 3-yr-old draft cross. He has a very quiet and good temperament, but I am experiencing a specific challenge with him that I haven't run into with other horses, mainly because I've worked with a lot of sensitive, tb-type horses. Even the draft cross I used to own before going to university was more sensitive.
Anyways, he is SO pushy. I know this translates into disrespect. It is not out of fear, it is a deliberate dominance type of thing. He does it with anyone handling him. The woman who trained him and broke him before he came to me said he was like this with her in the beginning when he first came to her farm, but then it quieted down. So far this hasn't happened. While he might be a perfect angel some days, other days he is horrible. He has stepped on my feet a total of three times and left some icky bruises. The other thing he does is invade your space with his shoulder or head - pushing against you and trying to get you to move when he wants to move and you aren't letting him or something. I've had enough of it and I'm trying to learn to be more strict because I can be too nice sometimes.
I did get a used copy of the Clinton Anderson NH Ground Manners series and I will be trying those, which I believe will probably help a lot, but I was wondering if people had any other advice/techniques? My trainer's solution is just to use a stud chain on him when handling and not riding him, but that doesn't really seem to get at the root of the problem for me - which is, once again, disrespect for people. I understand he's young and so part of his behaviour can be attributed to that, but I don't want him learning pushy behaviour AT ALL. He's too big to be acting like that.
He is respectful in some ways - like when I'm riding him, he is willing and he doesn't act up. When I go to get him from the field he comes and meets me, doesn't ignore me or anything. But when I'm just leading him or working with him on the ground, that is when his pushy behaviour really surfaces.
I think you're on the right track picking up the ground manners set...its going to be a combination of many smaller lessons to get him to understand how unacceptable and dangerous his behavior is to you. For the short term, a stud chain or rope halter and carrying a crop to give him a good poke if he starts running into you may be your best bet.
i would have to also say a rope halter and a whip.when he does invade your space i would be telling him 'BACK' and make him walk back a few steps, dont forget to praise him afterwards.
my old horse would do that to me,when leading he would drag me along or just barge through you, he was also a dominating boy.
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