Donkey is ruining my new horse!! Help me! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Donkey is ruining my new horse!! Help me!

First off, Im brand new to this forum. I just bought my first horse, Dozer, about a week ago. He's an 11 yr old appaloosa. He's been used in the rodeo for roping cattle and in childrens camps. He's been handled by young kids as young as 5. The second I laid eyes on him I had to have him! He was perfect for me since I havent dealt with horses in many years. Hes a little lazy, which is what I wanted. He's been rode bareback and saddled with no prior problems. The prior owner had him from birth and said hes never bitten or bucked or kicked.
So, I get Dozer home, and the donkey Jack, whos been in the pasture alone for quite some time didnt take too well at first, tried to kick my Dozer twice but soon got past that. Now they are inseparable, which is good and bad. Dozer went from coming right up to me, to now being stubborn and hard to get the halter on. I cant get him out of the fence now without that stinkin donkey being right there! Dozer seems to act like he thinks Jack is the boss!...that hes supposed to do and go where Jack says.
I rode him once since Ive had him home, soon as I got near the fence where Jack was, he bucked with me on him twice! He is now starting to nip at hands also, but Im almost positive its because my sister in law is sneaking and hand feeding him after I specifically said not to. Dozer has never been hand fed before. The prior owner told me it would cause him ti nip and bite at hands, which is proving true.
I cant even get in the pasture to do anything with Dozer because of Jack, Im scared of the donkey. He came at me kinda fast once when I was haltering Dozer. I used a crop to pop his nose when he got too close and he backed off enough for me to get Dozer out but now Dozer is terrified of it. He went crazy when my cousin popped the donkey with it so we could get him back in with him the other day. I thought he would jump the fence to get in to Jack.
Everybody Ive talked to said the donkey needs to go and either put in a smaller, younger donkey, a goat, cow, or another horse in with Dozer that will be a companion yet nonthreatening when we work with Dozer. Im so frustrated with this donkey its unreal, but hes not mine so I cant get rid of him. I feel like he's ruining my horse. Dozer acts more nervous when Jacks around and we are too. He has been a gentle, well mannered,easy horse up til being in with jack the past week.
Jack hasnt kicked at me yet, but Im afraid that if I go in and halter Dozer or brush him while he's in there he might kick me.
I got him for pleasure riding. It seems pointless to keep him if I cant work with him though, yet I dont wanna get rid of him.
What are your suggestions? How can I get this donkey to back off?? I have a farrier coming next week to trim Dozers hooves, I got the halter on him and plan to leave it on til the farrier comes. Im open to any suggestions here!
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 03:52 PM
Green Broke
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Separate them..............

100% Anti-Slaughter and PROUD of it!
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 03:56 PM
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Your horse is herdbound with the donkey, which doesn't surprise me.

You took him away from the home and animals he knew, and put him in a strange place with only one other animal for company. It's perfectly normal that he'd glom onto the donkey.

Jack is obviously the alpha, which means your horse sees him as the leader and not you.

The donkey is the only other equid he knows at this strange place, so of course he's going to freak out when you try to take him away from his buddy. He has no clue what you're going to do to him next.

It's not the horse's fault. You've only had the poor thing a week, and you're expecting him to act as if his whole world hasn't been changed around.

He doesn't know you, he's in an unfamiliar place, and for some reason you think he's supposed to be the laid back guy you saw at his previous owner's? Sorry, but that's unrealistic.

I don't usually ride my new horses right away. I let them settle in and figure out the pecking order in my little herd and get used to me, the place, and the routine.

Whether or not you realize it, you're the one who set your horse up for failure. It's fixable, but you're going to have to go slow with him and you can't put a timetable on it.

Give him time to acclimate to his surroundings. Let him just be a horse and spend a lot of time with him. Don't just leave him out in the field with the donkey until you want to ride him. You're going to have to build a relationship with him from the ground first.

You're also going to have to learn to deal with the donkey, and assert yourself as leader. Otherwise, your horse just sees you deferring to Jack, which means you're lower on the pecking order.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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How exactly do I do that with this donkey? I realize itll take time, but the donkey is what makes me so nervous, not Dozer. We have the big main pasture and then a smaller separate section. I usually take Dozer to the separate section to groom him and walk him. Hes done well with that part.
And how do I reverse this new nipping that he's doing? Ive told everybody not to hand feed. I think its being done when Im at my house and cant see them doing it. I know people hand feed Jack. I tell Dozer "No" when he did it to me. I would have loved to have brought home one of the other horses Dozer had been with prior but I could only afford one horse, and he was it.
What signs do I need to be looking for with jack as far as what he may do? Im having a hard time telling if he sometimes comes toward me because he's curious or because he doesnt want me in there. His ears are usually up instead of laid back when he does this to me. And he doesnt understand what No means usually.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Ps, Jack does let me brush him, I usually do this thru the fence or the gate because Im too nervous to go in beside him yet. He seems to like it. He wont let his owner do any brushing on him anywhere. Could this be a positive sign? Or just coincidence?
also, Ive seen Jack nose Dozer away from me and away from places he doesnt want him to be at. What would make him do this? Is he jealous? or what?
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by shodge22 View Post
Ive seen Jack nose Dozer away from me and away from places he doesnt want him to be at. What would make him do this? Is he jealous? or what?
No, it's not jealousy. As I stated, Jack's taken the herd leader position.

It's common for an alpha to herd the others away from something or someone. It's a power play. It has nothing to do with Jack being jealous.

Neither Jack nor Dozer see you as alpha, which means that Jack has control of the situation, not you. The beta (Dozer) will allow the alpha to herd him away, because he doesn't see you as being an authority figure.

My old guy is my small herd's alpha, but he defers to me when I'm out with them. Which means that he's in charge unless I'm there; then I'm the one everyone has to listen to, including him.

Until you can learn to assert your authority as leader, you're going to continue to have these problems.
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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hmm....Im following...but how do I assert this with Jack? Should I step in and approach Dozer first? and if he comes toward me "herd" him away? Id like to be more like what you said, you're the alpha when present and when not he is. I think Jack would be helpful in some in protection since we have packs of coyotes all over our property. Should I maybe touch Jacks nose and push back a little and say "No" when he does this? My sister in law is dumb enough to just go in right in between them....she also gets behind them which is a big no no! Ive told her a million times not to do that also. Just a matter of time before she gets hurt. When I go in, I dont take my eyes off of either one. I make sure Jack is far enough away that if he comes at me I have an escape route. I dont get cornered. I just want to go about it all in the safest way possible for me and for them.
I have even thought about trying to work with jack as far as introducing him back to a halter. HIs old owner left one on him and the guy that bought him *current owner* had to cut it off of him because he was so resistent. AT one time jack was rideable. I dont know what happened to that?
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-25-2010, 04:39 PM
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Just like if you were wanting to get the respect of a horse, you'll get the respect of this donkey by moving his feet. Dozer views Jack as the dominant herd member, and because Jack disrespects you, so does Dozer. That's why he acts up when he is away from Jack, because he wants to be back with his leader. You have to get yourself in the lead position in the hierarchy. You can do that by moving that donkey's feet, like you would a horse's feet. If you're not comfortable going in alone, carry in a lounging whip, and use it like an extension of your arm. If they donkey comes to you aggressively, run him off! Don't let him approach you until your are ready for him to, and then only if he approaches in in a relaxed manner. If you feel like he is charging you, drive him off again. If you can make this donkey respect you, Dozer will respect you, because Jack is higher in the pecking order than he is, and you will be above Jack in the pecking order.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-26-2010, 01:34 AM
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I agree with PaintedFury. You must move the donkey around. I would take a long whip in with me. walk in with great confidence in your step, no meek creeping. When Jack approaches, if it's a nice approach, (like ears forward), you allow him to come toward you to only about 6 feet away, then you step firmly toward him and put up your hands and stomp the ground and say, "Whoa". You STOP him at a distance. You do not allow him to approach to the distance he wants. YOU set the distance.
If he responds by pinning his ears or advancing at you. YOu IMMEDIATELY crack him with the whip . Don't pussyfoot around. You need to make a memorable impression.

If when you ask him to stop his approach to you he stops and stands with curiousity, then YOU approach him and pet him . If he does the tiniest agressive thing you drive him off quickly and fiercly. If he bucks or acts wildly about it, don't worry. He is just expressing his surprise to find that he is no longer alpha. Let him have an opinion, as long as it isn't directly threatening to you. Never let him move you, if you can help it. When in doubt, move him FIRST. Afterall, he moves Dozer around all the time, for no apparent reason.
Once you get really firm with him you will see a big change in his attitude and maybe he won't be so mean. But remember, he only comes into your space to a certain point, then you go to him, if you want to.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-26-2010, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Wonderful advice! I actually did some donkey behavior research yesterday and tried something new. I went in the pasture with both of them. I got Jack to move away from the gate to let me in, his ears were up. When he moved away to let me in I had a switch with me to pop him with. I didnt take the whip in because I didnt want to scare Dozer, he reacted badly the last time we used it on Jack. Soo....I thought that I would just walk around the fence line for a while and see what they would do. After I was in and started down the line a little ways, I heard Jack behind me. I turned around, put my hand up with my switch and said "Whoa, NO Jack" and believe it or not, he stopped! He looked at me weird but he stopped. I then approached him and rubbed the top of his head and continued my walk. He stayed behind for a while and then the further I got down, he moved down a little bit to see what I was doing. Dozer didnt follow him at first. Later on, he came down too to see what I was doing and his focus seemed more on me than Jack.
After walking the whole fence line and coming back up, Dozer came up to ME without Jacks consent. Jack stayed at the other gate while I petted my Dozer. When Dozer decided he wanted to move on up, he did so and then Jack came back to me. He wasnt forceful or aggressive this time. His ears were up and when I put my hand and switch back up to keep him from getting in MY space, he again stopped til I was ready to pet his head.
I was proud of both of them and surprised at the same time. Jack even let me out of the fence without any problems this time.
I have also figured out why he hangs at the gate, my SIL goes there and hand feeds, which shes been asked not to do.
Dozer did try to nip at me once and I told him NO, he didnt do that again yesterday. I can tell that he is smart, both of them are.
Jacks owner came down too, and said he thinks that hes found Jack a new home. If he ends up moving Jack out, What would be a good companion for Dozer? How long could he be alone while I work on replacing his companion?
I was thinking about maybe 2 goats to go in there for a while.
And overall, does it sound like there might be some improvement based on what I did yesterday? Should I continue to do it? I was thinkin about taking my grooming items in and grooming Jack from the inside of the fence this time also. They both need it because they have somehow managed to get muddy.
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