Brand new member, but long time reader here. Have watched you guys give a lot of good advice, so decided it was time I asked for some help!
I have 5 horses in my paddock who all have a very clear pecking order. My problem is that the dominant horse is a little too aggressive towards the other horses for my liking. He has no problems whatsoever respecting my space both in and out of the paddock, but will beat the living daylights out of any of the other horses if they catch him in an off mood! I understand that he's the Alpha (when I'm not around that is!!), but I have had just about enough of the fresh teeth impressions and hoof prints left on my other horses! :-x
Cheers guys! :-)
Your best bet is to separate him from the rest before any more serious damage occurs to the other horses. I board at a facility where the BO has had to move horses around when they didn't get along or fence off smaller sections to deal with more aggressive horses.
There was a situation with two dominant mares that cornered another mare and kicked her until her back leg was broken. It's better to act now and get the horse moved away from the others before something really bad happens.
My biggest problem is that I am agisting just 1 paddock off a friend! What you spoke about with the mares is exactly what is concerning me! I might have to talk her in to lettting me pen him somewhere.
agisting? I'm not familiar with that word.
The problem might be the area these five horses are in, is too small anyway. How big is the area? I would definitely talk to the friend about moving at least him.
Agisting is when you pay a person to keep your horse at there place haha. :)
if you only have 1 paddock available then try electric fencing to fence the 'alpha' away from the rest of the herd, he wont be able to hurt them but then at the same time he wont get lonley.
The issue here is that while he respects you when JUST with you, he doesn't respect your leadership AROUND OTHER HORSES. He still takes on that Alpha role, but when you step into that paddock YOU are Alpha of the herd and no to little dominance games should go on. That's how it is with my horses, when I enter the picture all that stuff stops. That's how it should be :) So the best thing to do is to take a lead rope/training stick (not a lunge whip b/c that can sting) and when he starts acting aggressive toward other horses drive him away assertively and do not let him come back until he has a nice look on his face. Invite him back and ignore him, but drive him away again if he starts acting aggressively. You are basically taking on the role of lead mare in the herd, driving the snotty troublemaker away from the rest of the herd until he changes his mind.
The word "Alpha" gets used around horses a lot and means something different to each person.
You can have a horse that is dominate over the other horses and it does not mean that the horse is a leader.
The horse can just be a bully and not really a leader at all or is just a bad leader.
The combination of the herd can put stress on the other horses and this is not always good.
It has been my experience that many horses are not good leaders at all and are just in the position of being on top with no skill to actually lead.
I have a mare here that is truly a leader and is NEVER challenged by anyone at all.
The seas part as she walks calmly through the herd.
There is no violence and everyone knows their place.
Wherever she is placed order is restored and the herd is calm.
The order of a "balanced domestic"group of horses can be deeply and drastically upset by a junior bully's and this in turn can effect the harmony of the other horses and also effect their sense of well being.
I have seen many behavior problems come from bully's beating up on a more submissive horse and that horse becomes defensive and mean.
This is precisely the brainwave I had last night, and then the next thought was pretty much "DUH"
Its what I do with the horses at my work and I didn't even think to do it with him too. Sometimes, I guess you just need to stop thinking in your head and put it on paper...or the internet in this case. Thanks heaps Spirithorse! And everyone else for their advice.
Oh and in the case of whether he is a leader of just a bully, he really is both. As all the other horses do his bidding without the aggression, he just throws it in for what looks like the fun of scaring the living daylights out of both me and the horses.
Haha, I know what you mean! It's strange, we can solve issues with OTHER horses, but sometimes when it comes to our own we have a big 'ol brain fart lol! Good luck with him! :)
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