Okay, so today I went to get Aires out of the turnout and we had a bit of a problem.
Aires walked up to me, like he always does, and stood for me to halter him. He was being wonderful...until two of the other geldings came up. One is a QH gelding about Aires' size named Willie and the other is a short little 2yo QH gelding named Bo. As soon as Willie approached Aires, Aires started to get REALLY nervous, even to the point of trying to run me over to get away from Willie. Usually Aires is EXTREMELY respectful of my space and wouldn't even THINK about getting that close to me. The thing is, when they're just out wandering around in the turnout they get along. There was the initial "who's the boss" "fighting," but they settled that. They aren't "friends," by any stretch of the imagination, but they don't bully each other and basically ignore one another. Anyway, I kept flipping the lead rope at Willie and trying to "scare" him off, but it didn't work. He would just keep coming back after he'd trot away a couple of steps. He wasn't coming after me, I don't think, but Aires definitely was not happy that he was that close.
Bo was just being annoying and wanted me to take him in from the turnout (he gets fed grain at lunch, which is when they bring everyone in from the turnouts). I flipped the lead rope at him, too, and tried to scare him away and he just stood there looking at me (Bo isn't the brightest crayon in the box to begin with).
So, how can I get Aires out of the turnout without fighting all 15.2hh, 1200lbs of him trying to get away from Willie (no one else bothers him) AND keep Willie and Bo away from us? Obviously the lead rope wasn't working at all, and neither was puffing myself up and scaring them away.
I have never had to deal with such obnoxious horses in turnout before. Where I had my old gelding, I dealt with the horses turned out together all the time and so they respected me (lunged all five of them four days a week). If they got pushy, I just had to flip the lead rope at them, stomp toward them, clap and say "Get out of here!" and they'd move away to a respectful distance.
I have a riding crop I can take with me to the turnout, but the only whip that is readily available is a decrepit old lunge whip that has seen WAY better days. I am not afraid of these horses by any means, but I really don't want to get trampled or pushed around, either.
You may have to back up your threats a time or two before the horses take you serious.
I deal with the same obnoxious behavior in my horse's pasture. 30 horses and he has a personal shadow team of one 5 yr old clydesdale and one 13hh paint. They do not leave him alone so I basically have to walk him around the pasture in turns and figure eights until the two get bored and leave.
Sometimes waving a foreign object aka a hat at them will throw them off cause they are probably used to lead ropes and don't feel that is a serious enough thing to yield to.
Growling helps, using a twig instead of a whip helps (heck even a tumbleweed..)
Just don't let them push your horse into you, because for a second he doubted you as herd leader and that can get VERY dangerous VERY fast!
As Kevin says.
If it's a normal lead rope then thats not long enough for me. I've often used to carrying a 22foot rope everywhere i go. I use for everything from riding to lunging to leading horses.
It has no clasp, just a solid round legal ring on the end.
I teach people to approach with the arm out and pointing away first. If the horse doesn't move for them, spin the end of the rope. If the horse still doesn't move, then a quick dash forwards and throw the end of that rope out at their rear end. They'll move. Couple of times and they will keep their distance at a raised finger.
The extra length of the rope keeps you safe, and teaches them you can reach them even from far away. Doesn't usually matter if you miss, its enough to spook them away, but after some years of practice I can hit a fly on a field post! Lol Please not I don't whip them with it or anything like that, it's simply the intent. They soon realise my intent is stronger than theirs.
Another simple alternative is to pick up some pebbles and throw a pebble at its ass instead. Its not about physical pain or anything like that. All it needs is the horse to realise that you can touch it from a further distance than he can. The further the distance the more powerful an effect it has. Also the further away the earlier you are intervening and the less escalated the incident becomes. All these things carry across into everything else you do with your horse.
"I have a riding crop I can take with me to the turnout, but the only whip that is readily available is a decrepit old lunge whip that has seen WAY better days. I am not afraid of these horses by any means, but I really don't want to get trampled or pushed around, either."
Get yourself a lunge whip or a long lead rope. I find your average 6' lead a bit useless for everything, really, but especially for driving unwanted horses away. Failing that, little pebbles like what Doe suggested are free and do wonders. Whatever you use, use it with intention, energy and meaning behind it. Horses are perceptive -- they'll know when you're really bloody serious just as they'll know when you're not.
If your swinging the lead rope doesn't affect them, let the lead rope, not the clasp end, smack them. If they still don't move away, smack them harder.
There's another thread on here that's similar. I'll say something that I said on there. YOUR safety comes first. If I ever felt unsafe because of a horse, I'll do whatever it takes to correct it.
Do you board?
I don't allow my boarders to hit another boarders horse. I am finally getting a couple of horses back to 'normal' after discovering a boarder was swinging ropes at them. They became head shy and nervous ALL the time when anything moved near their head. All it takes is one incidental contact with the shank on their eye and you have a major problem.
Some tactics we have used -
Do not halter by the gate.
Do not treat your horse in the turnout area.
Back your horse into the offender.
Use your elbow in their neck and the word back.
Use your voice. I can growl "people space" and the horses back off.
Most horses will only push as far as they are allowed. If these are boarders horses causing issues, talk to the BO/BM.
Please don't throw pebbles or any other projectile. A friend tossed a small piece of clay at her horse's rump. He turned and got it in the eye and wound up losing his sight.
Personally I haven't had a horse that wont move with just my physical presence and movement in several years, as it is something I have worked on for a long time. However, that's not something one can teach over the internet, nor I am sure will it be the last time I meet a horse I cannot direct so easily.
My concern is that people do not take unnecessary risks. Control the situation and control the risks. It is better to send horses away than to try and halter a horse in a group you do not trust 100%. As I say I cannot remember the last time I had to physically correct a horse. However, should I have to protect myself I physically I would. Then afterwards I would reflect long and hard on what I did wrong to create or allow that situation to occur in the first place.
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