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JustinaMarie 01-12-2014 01:48 PM

Pony that's Getting more aggressive
Not sure where to put this but I have a gelding pony that's getting very aggressive and I was out in the field today throwing hay out and I was bent over and he come up behind me and bit me I didn't know if he kicked me or what till i got in the house he knocked me down. Any ideas what to do? I don't know why hes been getting more aggressive.

Cherie 01-12-2014 09:28 PM

The reason he is getting more aggressive is because you did nothing to punish him for being aggressive the first times he threatened you. Horses never do things like this to begin with. They do little things that show disrespect. And if a handler does not put them in their place (below the handler on the pecking order) they get a little more disrespectful and more and more and more. This can go on for quite a while with some horses. More dominant horses may step up aggression pretty quickly.

Horses give off small signals to start out with. An experienced horseperson will see a little toss of the head or an ear flicked back or just a step toward a person and will immediately make the horse back up or get over or do something to 'yield ground' to the handler. Now, if the handler, instead, backs up a step, the horse will consider it a complete surrender.

A horse that is dominant by nature will very quickly 'up the ante' and try to 'drive' you out of their herd of two. This is what this horse did when he ran up behind you and bit you and knocked you down. He just reaffirmed that he was waaay above you on the pecking order.

Just watch horses when someone puts out feed. The 'lead' horse will walk up to the first tub of feed and all other horses will walk away. If they do not yield ground quickly enough, that boss horse will dive at them and take hunk out of their butt. That is what he was doing to you.

You need to work this horse -- hard -- and make him move his feet when and where you want him to move them. Then, more important than anything else, you need to make this horse back up while you very aggressively make him back faster. Backing up is a complete expression of submission. [This is how he takes you backing away from him, too.] You need to do whatever it takes to get this horse's respect. You MUST be at the top of his pecking order or he will get more and more dangerous.

If a horse surprises you with an act of aggression, run at him, scream at him, throw whatever is handy at him, chase him all over the pasture. I've thrown bucket of feed, snow-balls and chunks of ice, clods and sticks at a horse that dared lay its ears back at me. You can bet that he knew it was a mistake even if i did not have anything at hand to really punish him with.

Thunderspark 01-13-2014 01:59 AM

what did you do when he bit or kicked you? You should have turned around and chased him off yelling NO at him......he thinks he's the one in charge right now.....not you.....

loosie 01-13-2014 07:06 AM

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Agree mostly with the above, except in the case of getting after the horse, to some degree. Firstly, safety - we don't know how experienced OP is, or the horse in question, how 'established' is his attitude, etc, so OP 'challenging' him could just cause him to 'up the ante' & become dangerous. Timing is vital & I'm not adverse to punishment, esp in this sort of situation, but if, say your horse knocked you over, by the time you get up & get after him, it may be way too late to associate it with his behaviour, for an effective punishment. And as Cherie says, there are a multitude of 'early warning signs' that need to be dealt with, so you can head the attitude off before it gets dangerous. I suggest you find experienced help, to assess what's going on & help you change it.

Cherie 01-13-2014 07:46 AM

It sounds to me like this pony has just been working up to this level of aggression. They start out with warnings and small aggressive moves and work up from there. It does not sound like he has gone to this level before or she surly would not have turned her back on him or even gone in there.

I don't see him attacking face to face until he has been able to chase people out several times.

Studs can get very aggressive very quickly. Mares can at times, but geldings have to work their way up to that level of aggression. I think that she just missed the early signs. Had she turned around and screamed and yelled at him, I'll bet the worst thing he would have done is kick out at her as he spun around and left -- and that would have been a defensive move like a horse in a herd situation kicking out to keep from getting a hunk bit out of their butt.

On the other hand, if she ran from him, she would have been inviting him to chase her and bite harder, paw at her or run over her. I think it would have been much more dangerous to NOT turn and run at him.

JustinaMarie 01-14-2014 10:03 AM

He knocked me over so i didn't get up and chase him and I'm still really sore and hurting.

Palomine 01-14-2014 10:14 AM

You need to be more aware of your surroundings. And you need to get someone to help you that knows how to work with horses.

This pony is running the show, and you are going to get seriously hurt, or even killed if you don't get some help.

All sorts of things that we know how to do to correct this, but if you don't have the inner guts to deal with this? You are only going to make it worse I fear.

Foxhunter 01-14-2014 10:39 AM

I agree with Cherie on this, the little beggar needs a good talking to.

I would live to meet him and go out to feed him his hay - set him up to go for me and he would soon know exactly his position in the herd and he would think it was buried under the muck heap.

Dustbunny 01-14-2014 10:48 AM

How long have you had this little rascal? I am curious as to his pecking-order position with the other horses...if there are other horses.
One thing is clear. His position needs to be BELOW yours!

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