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Hoofbeat 10-29-2010 05:08 PM

Bolshy Cob getting dangerous, Help please!
I have a 15.2, cob gelding aged 8. He is reasonably good under saddle although he can be a bit stroppy. However he has no manners on the ground and can, at times be a danger to himself, other horses and surrounding people. In a daily routine I will get him in and he will happily come up to me, put his head up to sniff my face in an affectionate way and then try to bite my face. Biting seems to be his way of showing some sort of affection (although it's the weirdest sort of affection I've ever heard of). Then when I stop to close the gate to the field he will drag me to the nearest patch of tasty looking grass. By the entrance to the yard there is a hay bale and he goes to eat from that (dragging whoever is with him along). When he led with another horse he lunges at them, and there is a walker by his field and he lunges at the horses walking round. Today in the yard when he was tied up a little while away from a pony. He spun round and kicked her, fortunatly she was ok. When in lessons he has charged and attacked nearby horses, especially mares and ponies. When a bridle is put on him he chucks his head up and it takes 2 people to put his bridle on but when the bit is in his mouth he is as good as gold. He often charges of when I am trying to mount and can be very strong when he puts his neck against you. I need urgent help with how to give him an attitude makeover as the yard manager says if his behaviour continues he may have to leave the yard incase he does some serious damage. After all that complaining I would like to add that he is a lovely horse underneath his behaviour and really can be very affectionate at times. If he does not improve I will have to sell him as I am only a 13 year old, 7.5 stone, 5'1 girl (I share him with my mother who is 5'4, slim build, middle aged) I really hope you can help as I am at my wits end with him!

Thankyou for your time! :wink:

mbender 10-29-2010 05:31 PM

Ground work. You shouldn't allow him anymore to get close to your face. Biting is never allowed! Check his teeth for any problems. With ground work, start lunging him and make his feet move. Back him, make him move both ways sideways. If you don't already, use a crop to reinforce your cues. When he pulls you, pull him back, abruptly! Make him think twice about pulling you. The aggression he has towards the other horses is his way of saying he is boss. Not much you can do unless you put him by himself. He does not see you as the leader and you need to step up and be that or he will continue to get worse. If you feel he is just not safe, maybe it is a better idea to sell him and find one that shows more respect.
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mbender 10-29-2010 05:33 PM

Double post. Make sure whatever you do to correct this that your mom does the same or he will only be confused and working with him won't work.
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tinyliny 10-29-2010 11:32 PM

sounds like a challenge
Hello from Seattle,

You have a lot of trouble to deal with. That's a shame because at your age you shouldn't have quite that much on your plate to deal with. I have some thoughts on the matter, but you are young and if you don't have someone there helping you get some respect from this fellow, it might be best to look for a nicer horse.

The very first thing that pops out is that you cannot let him bit you. Ever. So, you must not allow him to come up and nuzzle you in the face, at least until there is a big change in his overall attitude. Forget all the huggy, lovey stuff. No hand feeding now, either, ok?

When he comes up to you, you tell him when to stop, and it's when he is a good 2 meters from you. You firmly tell him with voice and raised hand and even can stamp your feet and say, "Whoa!", telling him he cannot approach you that close. YOU will approach him when he has stopped. YOU enter his space, not him into yours. Don't let him nuzzle you. IF he does, quickly and sharply tap him with two finger (use your index and middle finger together) , and tap him sharply. this tells him to stay out of your space, the boundary that YOU set. If you need to, tap him on his cheek or muzzle. It will NOT cause headshyness, and once he feels this annoying tap and learns what it means, all you will have to do is raise your hand with those fingers ready to tap and he will back off.
He may act surprised and move off in a huff. Don't worry, don't apologize and don't go all mushy on him . He is in school now and no messing about.

When you go out into the field and he is dragging you all over the place, one thing you can do , if you can catch him before he gets turned away from you is to move his feet around. I know this sounds vague. You back him up, you ask him to circle around you, you keep him busy.
You can even back him through the gate so that when you are there and need to close it, he is still facing you instead of outward into the tempting field.

But for now, try at least setting distances. Don't let him walk into you or up onto you too close, and don't let him nuzzle your face.
YOu have to be firmer to be kind to him. Be his leader, not his lover.

I think this sounds like a lot to ask of a 13 year old. Take what you can and see what happens. I hope you can find someone there to help you.

Alcatrazjmpr 10-29-2010 11:54 PM

He needs to be told who's boss, from what it sounds like he doesn't feel as though he has one, so he has taken over. As tinyliny said, I would take away hand feeding, put his treats in his food bucket, people should NOT be nipped at, at any time. My horse was a dragger, I used a chain, wrapped around the nose band, if you don't know how to use one properly, please ask someone, as it can be dangerous for the horse if misused. Anyway, if he walked ahead of me or dragged me I would make him back up, I would walk at him and use the chain, at first. Eventually he learned I just needed to walk at him and he backed up. He now leads with no chain, and I can lead him with no pressure, he knows to stay behind my shoulder. Definitely try lunging him, make him move where you want him to and respond to your voice and cues, and make sure they are consistent. Hope any of this helps, good luck with your situation!

Hoofbeat 10-30-2010 08:14 AM

Thank you so much for your help, I'll put your ideas into action straight away.

I do realize I was to soft on him at first and too "lovey-dovey" so I realy do hope I can put this mistake right!

mbender 10-30-2010 08:30 AM

You can make it right. Realize he will be confused. But stay on top! I have a filly who is very lovey dovey but when I want her out of my space, I move her and she repsects that. She is still lovey dovey, so don't think that once you start being a little firmer that he won't be. He just needs to understand his boundries and once he does it will be back to love love! ;) like I said though,,, Make Sure Mom Does Everything you do with him and no changing. Vice a versa. Stay committed and consistent. Good luck dear!
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phoenix 10-30-2010 09:24 AM

I agree with everyone, do ground work. My gelding is a treasure to lead, to be put out and he's only ever run over me once (and it was mostly my fault). I do tonnes of ground work, i lunge him, i free lunge him, he free jumps. I also agree with no more treat s by hand, make sure everyone who comes into contact with him knows this, maybe put up a sign on his door or something. I have with my boy because he gets to nipping if people feed him by hand too often.

If he's not scared of them maybe try carrying a crop with you when you lead him, if he tries to nudge you out of the way give him a little tap on the shoulder; we had a horse at a barn i worked at that was a nudger. He'd invade everyones space and push people around with his shoulders. Because he was so big pushing back really did nothing so we'd carry a small crop and as soon as he started to move in for a nudge he'd get a light tap and he'd back off.

It might take a little time to get his respect but he'll thank you for it in the end. Just act like the leader, be confident when you're with him and be consistent.

Good luck with him.

xxBarry Godden 10-30-2010 10:10 AM

Hoofbeat - from the way you have described yourself and your horse, you don't need help, you need a different horse. The yard owner is correct in that the animal represents a danger not only to yourself but also to the other horse owners.

As a start get 'middle aged' Mum to hire some professional help to teach the horse some good manners but then hope that you can follow up on what the trainer teaches the horse.

BUT when a 100lb slight young girl fights with a 1000 lb horse, the girl will inevitably lose.

Hoofbeat 10-30-2010 02:11 PM

Thank you to every one who has given ideas and strategies, I put these into practice today when I rode him and he is making improvements already.

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