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CinderEve 12-01-2010 07:15 PM

Any way to retrain a food aggressive/aggressive horse?
I feed twice a day, and have free choice hay out for the girls. Worked fine for day one. Day two, I see Cindy chasing and kicking at Cinder so she can eat both buckets, and now she's driving her away from the hay as well.

I don't have the facilities to separate for feeding but I'm guessing I'm going to have to figure something out. I brought Cinder out of the pasture this evening long enough to let her eat her dinner.

I did happen to get kicked twice by Cindy the other morning for which I gave her a ten minute ground work session for, only for her to kick out at me again this evening, if Cinder hadn't got in between me and Cindy, I would have had a nice hoofprint on my ribcage. I haven't been kicked in years, and the last time (which was the only time) was because I startled the pony.

I carried a crop with me but this is really behavior I haven't ever had the luck of encountering before. I need advice. The good, the bad and the ugly.

SugarPlumLove 12-02-2010 12:11 AM

Ok so this is what I would do in a similar situation:

Do you have an arena or somesort of good enclosed space?

I would take my horse and put her/him in there. Get a bucket of grain or some hay and a real log lunge whip. A crop isn't long enough and to the horse it looks like your just waving a little stick around! enter the enclosed space with the food and if the horse comes near the food yell, wave your arms around, and if you can wave your whip. Once the horse turns away with its head in a neutral to low position you should stop. Repeat this 2 or 3 times and then when he walks away far enough by himself(about 2 horse lengths) you walk away from the food and let him take a couple bites. Then move in a take over the food pile again. Walk confidantly towards him say 'hey!' wave your arms and your whip. act like your the boss horse and have decided that thats your pile now. if he turns to kick give him a smack(not too hard to make a mark ofcourse!) him hard enough so he feels this. Do this about 2 or 3 times and then let him finish his food.

Repeat this method over the next few days until you can confidently walk up to him and he walks away from his food without a fuss.

Now try it with the other horse together. put down th two buckets far enough away from eachother and stand inbetween. If the "bad horse' comes towards you to take the feed from the other horse say 'hey!' and use your whip to chase him far enough into the field and that he just stops and stares. Walk back to the good horse and just start petting it or whatever and let the 'bad horse' eat it's owm food again. If the 'bad horse' comes to take the other horses food again do the same thing. just repeat until he gets the idea.

This is a more natural way of dealing with the behaviour as the boss horse would do the same thing.

I hope this method works for you! Goodluck!

CinderEve 12-03-2010 12:29 AM


laceyf53 12-03-2010 02:56 AM

I would recommend the same advice, except I would do it in the pen where the horse is being fed, and I would not let the horse eat anything until after you leave. A boss horse would not let the other horse eat while it was eating, so this will send a clearer signal. I learned this technique from a western training expo at JackTone Arabian Ranch in Lodi, CA. The presenter actually said that this technique works for just about any dominance issue because it clearly defines who is in charge. Just be careful, because you are a small person on the ground with just a crop and if she tries to intimidate you, be ready!

mbender 12-03-2010 07:24 AM

Its major body language! But we being insignificant peeons need a little reinforcement. One being the crop. Before doing this though, I would try Sugarplumloves idea. You need to let the boss know who is in charge at dinner. That happens to be you! If you don't establish this first, he will challenge you. That can be frightening and you'll loose. Don't ever let a horse challenge you. I'm sure you know that. I have to stand next to my mare when feeding her grain cuz she is low man. But I will tell you, any horse that comes near gets the language of "Stay Away"! They know better when I'm there. Just use safety and if you have to use that crop, Use It!
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kitten_Val 12-03-2010 09:13 AM

I had similar situation with 2 my girls: when I moved them to my place they were extremely pushy about the buckets AND my alpha qh (who also eats fast) chased away the paint. Part of the problem was they were allowed to behave like that for year in boarding facility (as I couldn't feed them there myself).

First, I did NOT hang the buckets till they stand next to me waiting. If they'd try to get to it through me - smack in chest or (if needed) on nose would be on way. Took them about 2 weeks to learn it's NOT OK to bully me when I have those buckets.

After that 2nd part of training came in place: when my qh tried to chase the paint from her bucket she got a good smack on her butt with the broom, coupled with screaming and hand waving. Two times of this therapy was enough for her to start respecting the rules. Now when she's done, she stands about 6 feet away from the paint and waits till paint's done and leave the bucket and only then she checks it out on any leftovers.

Missdv 12-03-2010 01:28 PM

I agree with all, you have to establish who's boss. When I got my 1st girl Kalila(4 yr old Arab) she was a rescue and had food issues, so I had to run her from her food until she got the idea it was my food to share with her. Try watching the videos on Statline Tack site that Chris Irwin has listed, he addresses feeding issues that worked great with my second girl, Mariah (15 yr Arab) who was an alpha where she was and tried to be boss when I brought her home. She even ran my husband from the food until he tried the methods I learned from Chris's videos, hope this helps.

CinderEve 12-03-2010 03:17 PM

Great! Definitely helps thanks!

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