How do you stop a horse from being pushy? My Shetland x Quarter horse always nudges me on my arm or stomach when she thinks I have treats for her, whether I'm leading her or standing still. It's not just a soft nudge, it's like a headbutt. And today I had a carrot in my hand when I went out to catch her, but I wasn't going to give it to her until I put her halter on. Well, she knew I had the carrot, and while I was trying to get her halter on, she just kept back up. What can I do to stop this? She really has no respect.
I had problems with this with my 17hh beast of a mare. Obviously, with that kind of height, I can't afford for her to be pushy. I learned that if you pinch their neck (kind of like you do when you ask them to back up by their chest) they will leave you alone and back up. Also, I make a loud noise at them. They nudge me and I say "NUH-UH" in a low stern voice.
It is not acceptable for my horses to rub on me, nudge me to get treats, or anything like that. After a couple of pinches, they usually get it.
It's not my favorite way of doing it, because some horse can become head shy, but unfortunately it's the only I found worked to fix my last horse's habit of nudging. He used to do it pretty hard to the point where he would physically move over. Another option is to keep a crop with you and smack her hard on the shoulder if she does it(tho I find this useless because the horses I have met could care less).
Took me a week to fix that issue.
Did you give her the carrot? If you did then you, essentially, rewarded her for being bad.
My current horse was a total a** when it came to being caught and being pushy, you need to teach her respect fast.
We did a few things, and it really helped us, hopefully it'll help you.
Once we had him caught, we would take him into the paddock and basically just lead him around, stopping every minute or so to take the halter off and then put it back on rewarding him, when he was good, with pets and love. We did this over and over again with first the halter then the bridle, and now he's a total gem to catch because he has the RESPECT for us in that aspect.
(I had to ad that in, because it sounded like you're having some halter issues as well).
You also need to teach her to respect your personal space. My horse adores me, he follows me around the field waiting for love, and would practically walk on my heels. Not fun. One day I just got sick of it and took matters into my own hands. I was walking out with a treat for the ponies and he was on me again, all I did was make sure he was at arms length AT ALL TIMES.
Push her away if she gets too close, if she's not being violent, she'll get the point. Teach her patience, and once she's being good then give her the treat. You need to establish yourself as boss, and though there are many ways to do it that work differently with different horses, that's how I did it with mine.
Thanks for your ideas everyone! I will have to try pinching her neck and see if that works, as that is one technique that I haven't tried. M2G- I think I am partly to blame for her bad habits because I always hand feed her treats, unless it's at her dinner time when sometimes I give her a small amount of oats in a rubber dish along with her hay. I've tried tapping her on her nose and saying "NO" but she doesn't have the respect for me to listen. I guess I need to work on her getting some respect. alexis- I did give her the carrot, but after I got the halter on. The thing is, I don't think she wants to be patted and loved. It sounds weird because I know that all horses like to be rewarded and patted, but whenever I go to pet Snapple on her nose or whatever, she always turns her head away and she walks away from me in the pasture most of the time. I don't have many issues with catching her, sometimes she walks away but I follow her and she stops. When I have her halter on, she does follow me.. and when I'm in the arena and I take her halter off she follows me then as well. She is 26 years old, so I don't know if it's too late to teach her respect and stuff but I am getting tired of her lack of respect for me.
I had to work on this with my foal, not because he was searching for treats but because he just didn't know how to respect a person's space. When he would walk into me or nudge against me, I would do whatever I had to do to get his feet moving backward as fast as he could. I would bump him with the halter, pop him in the shoulder with a lead rope, push my thumb into his chest and make him back 8 or 10 steps then just go on like nothing happened. One afternoon of that and he quit invading my space. He still occasionally has a forgetful moment but one reprimand of running backward and he remembers.
Your horse doesn't seem to have a lot of respect in that sense, so start her respect training again.
With the haltering issue, alexischristina's point of taking the halter on and off and rewarding her when she does well. If she really is that much of a problem, I'd suggest leaving the halter on when she's in the field.
As for the nudging and pushing, that is NOT acceptable and needs to be corrected. When she nudges you, you could give her a smack on the nose (or shoulder), as My2Geldings suggested, but to avoid her becoming headshy just make up for it with twice as many rubs and caresses at other times. If you do this, she'll learn that when she nudges, she gets hit, but that you are perfectly kind and gentle otherwise. Since she does this when you have food, you should show her that YOU are boss, and YOU decide when and what she eats. I don't think you do anyways, but do not give her the treats when she does that-that's just telling her that pushing is the right thing to do. Whenever she's eating, go up to her and take her away from it, for a short walk; make her stand looking at it, whatever, just show her that you are in control of her eating habits.
When she's pushy and invading, get her away from you. Send her away out of your personal space forcefully. Not angry, just aggressive enough to get your point across and make her move. This is a little technique that works all the time for me. I wave the horse back away from me (to the end of the lead rope, or sometimes I drop the lead and make them go farther) and make her stay that far away from you until YOU invite HER back towards you. If she does try to come towards you, back her up again and keep her out until she gets the picture. (Also try turning, or walking a few steps to show her that this is NOT the cue to come closer.) Under no circumstances should she be allowed to come up to you until you clearly invite her.
Sorry for the long post, but I hope at least some of it is useful.
As for her age. It's never to late to teach them manners, it just might take longer. You know what, unless she absolutely needs it for weight or health reasons, I would completely remove any form of treat out of her routine. I would remove everything completely for however long until she slowly stops looking for them and give yourself and her a break.
Slowly re-introduce what you actually need, or what benefits her health and very -extremely- quick on punishing her if she starts up again with her current behavior. Correcting, can be anything from saying "no" to pulling her halter back and backing her up, to a good smack on the nose and the list goes on. It really depends on what she actually does.
But yes, you can definitely re-teach her to behave herself instead of pushing for what she wants.
Thanks for the post smrobs! There are a few techniques in there that I will try.
Thanks ily! That was a very helpful posy. I don't really have an issue with haltering, but I think some of those things will help teach her respect. I'm going to try giving her a quick smack on the nose when she nudges, and hopefully she will get the message that it is not ok. I don't give her treats when she nudges but I do when I get the halter on, which I guess I shouldn't do. When I take her out to let her graze, I think maybe that's like a reward to her so maybe if she nudges well we're out, I might just take her back to the paddock. I took her for a walk around our yard, and when we got to the grass, she was pulling my arm trying to put her head down to eat, I was trying to keep walking but she kept pulling so I made her wait until we got back to the fence to eat. That's a problem too though, her pulling my arm off all the time when we're near grass. I do try and push her away from me, but she just doesn't seem to care or get it. When I try to get her out of my space she always walks back toward me. I try to give a quick yank on the leadrope for her to stay back but she just comes back up to me. How do I make her stay back?
thank you again, M2G! I know hand feeding can cause big problems, but I just did it anyway because I know she likes carrots and she loves mints. I think cutting out treats is a good idea. She will learn that she doesn't get a treat everytime I go to see her. And she doesn't need them anyway. She could lose a few pounds.
It is good to know that it is possible to train her and make her gain some respect.
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