Just after a little advice :) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 09-14-2019, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Sep 2019
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Just after a little advice :)

Hi, I have a beautiful black Anglo Arabian, but his nature is almost as dark as his color, He is very bossy to the other horse and also he is a bit of a temperamental fool. I have never been around a horse like him, he will be fine for a while then just snake his head around and threaten to bite for no apparent reason, he has been like this the 2 years that I have owned him, I yell at him the min I notice the ears go back and he stops and doesn't make contact. He did make contact once and I immediately hit him (softly) across his nose near his mouth and it turned into a hit for bite fight lol he didn't back down for ages but in saying that he did no damage. Just took ages for him to back down. The other day I went to take his rug off and he threatened to kick, again I yelled and he stood there unhappily while I did it, He is just such a grump, what is the best way to remove the threats, how should I teach train him to remove those threats because I must admit I do worry if and when it will turn into the real deal, and I dont want that to happen, I'm just not sure what to do, any advice will be greatly appreciated, Thank you :)
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post #2 of 20 Old 12-04-2019, 03:10 PM
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Gosh this is an old post - the horse forum seems to be very quiet lately!


Hi Donna2019, I know that you have probably forgotten that you even posted this but I am going to chime in anyway. The best advice I can give you is to look up Warwick Schillers YouTube clip: a suggestion for horses that are mouthy and nip


I have to tell you that since I found Warwick online my attitude to horses has changed dramatically. We are so quick to decide that a horses behaviour is disrespectful and deliberately willful but Warwick has lead me to look at things very differently. What if most of the behaviour issues we see in horses that can not be attributed to pain are actually based on anxiety instead? Yes there are definitely some head strong horses that have been taught to believe that they have to be in charge but I have come to think that in the case of most horses if you can be a strong leader without being a bully then they will gladly follow you.


Just take a look at your horse and ask yourself could he be anxious? And if he is, how can you demonstrate to him that he is safe in your care?

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A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.D Adams

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post #3 of 20 Old 12-04-2019, 09:01 PM
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Your horse is a more dominant type and people have taught him that he is in charge. If he has a little display of dominance, people will back down and bow to him so he gets his way.

I'm definitely NOT for hitting or abusing animals of any size or shape. That said, you need to put this young man in check. How do you do that?

Every time he is lazy, disrespectful, pushy, dangerous or whatever you work his bum until he is about to drop dead or pass out.

On the other side of that you'll find a cooperative willing horse that has respect and manners.

I can just anticipate the hate mail I'll get for saying that, but its the truth. ONCE he respects you and is a good boy, you can love on him and give him kisses or whatever. If we coddle badly behaved horses, they only get worse. That is true in my opinion of kids, horses and dogs as a general rule.

Last edited by loosie; 12-06-2019 at 06:36 AM.
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post #4 of 20 Old 12-04-2019, 09:31 PM
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I agree with jgnmoose about making sure he's put in his place. However, I'd probably do it a different way. I think that making him work his butt off until he's about to pass out is just begging for a fight to break out and a fit to be thrown since he's already so headstrong that he "won't back down." You will probably exhaust yourself before you exhaust him, and he'll probably completely forget about what he did by the time he gets that tired.

Instead, I would scare the absolute poo out of him when he does something disrespectful. My favorite tool is a plastic bag tied to the end of a crop. Keep it in your hand while you're working with him. When he acts like he's going to kick or bite, wave that crop and bag around like you're on a stranded island and you're trying to signal to a rescue helicopter. Don't hit him with it, but really be dramatic! Be so quick about it that he'll jump away from you before he's even realized what's happened. No chance for a fight. It's immediate.

Don't do it while he's tied, obviously, you'll get him or yourself seriously hurt. Ideally, I would let him loose in a round pen and groom or tack him without a lead rope and wait for the moment he pulls something. Only wave the crop and bag around for a few seconds, but really go crazy with it, and then stop and proceed like nothing ever happened.
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Last edited by loosie; 12-06-2019 at 06:40 AM.
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post #5 of 20 Old 12-04-2019, 09:35 PM
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Horses that are playful and mouthy/nippy, kiwigirl's recommended video would work great. But I don't think your horse is just being playful, or else he would be seeking that attention constantly, and it wouldn't be accompanied by ear pinning and kicking. There is a huge difference between playfulness and aggression, you just need to read their body language. Real aggression can't be coddled over. You won't be a bully by scaring him, but you probably will be if you make him work his butt off for a long time.
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post #6 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgnmoose View Post
Every time he is lazy, disrespectful, pushy, dangerous or whatever you work his bum until he is about to drop dead or pass out.
No 'hate mail' from me but I will tell you why I disagree with this theory...

First I do agree that we must give *consistent & effective* consequences & sometimes this means punishment. Horses, thinking like horses, need *instant* consequences, in order to link the 'crime' with the punishment(or Right behaviour with reward for that matter). They cannot associate 'causes' abstracted by more than a few seconds, with 'effects'. That means that if you cant punish(or reward) a horse instantly, then don't bother.

It also means that the horse 'forgets' why he's being punished very quickly after he stops doing it, if the punishment continues, it will only be associated with whatever IS happening at the time. Namely, 'working' him in this case.

I want to do all I can to ensure my horses enjoy my company & their 'job' as much as I do. I absolutely don't want them thinking 'work' is punishment. I strive to get them thinking of it as (controlled) play! They also get rewarded for 'good' stuff frequently.

I also think it's vital to really consider the horse's motivation for 'bad' behaviour like this. Try to understand the *cause* & address that rather than just punishing him for it. He is trying to tell you something. Maybe the saddle or something is hurting? Is he bored, frustrated, stressed?


Now back to op...
One other thing with punishment is, especially if you give no thought to the motivation for his behaviour, or his personality, you could end up with a horse that 'ups the ante' when you do & he could get(more) seriously dangerous.

Punishment must be strong enough to be *effective*, to have the desired effect of causing him to be reluctant to 'earn' it again. For some horses & situations that may be... quite hefty.

If you swat him on the nose for biting & he thinks it's a game, that's far from effective punishment. Sounds more like a reward/play & that that's the way he saw it. So it's actually encouraged that behaviour.

And on the flip side of 'positive punishment' is positive reinforcement/reward. If instead of focussing on punishing him for 'bad' things, you teach & reward him for 'good' behaviour, you'll find the need for punishment greatly reduced too. Especially if you teach him behaviours that are mutually exclusive to biting etc. If he's being rewarded for keeping his nose to himself then he can't be doing that while snaking it out to bite you...
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 03:58 PM
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I know that we never really get to see the behaviour of a horse through a forum so everything written here is subjective so all that we can do is offer our interpretation to anyone seeking advice.


After reading the replies to my Warwick Schiller video I found myself thinking about flies. The behaviour described by the OP is pretty much a horses standard reaction to bothersome flies. If you watch a horse being bothered by a fly they appear grumpy, they will kick out, bite at their sides, toss their heads around and angrily swish their tails. When we watch this behaviour we don't look at the horse, shake our heads and say "that horse doesn't respect flies" and then have an online debate on how to make a horse respect flies.


None of us want to look at ourselves and realize that to many horses we are just big bothersome flies. Actually here is a fun fact the Maori word for the white man when he arrived in New Zealand was Pakeha which means bothersome sand fly. The interesting thing about horses and flies is that they will all have their varying degrees of tolerance for flies. Some will be endlessly patient with them just giving the occasional impatient tail flick, foot stamp and head toss. Others will be more aggressive. And still others will be traumatized and will try to outrun and escape from the constant torment, bucking and bolting around the paddock.


Here's the thing, we all want to be more to our horses than bothersome flies and yet so much of our treatment of horses is actually just plain annoying. We groom them to look the way we want them to look, we trim, pull, poke and prod them all the while telling ourselves that they like it because that makes us feel better. The truth is we like to be around our horses because it fulfills a need in us and maybe, not intentionally selfishly, we need them to demonstrate that they reciprocate the feelings because we want them to like us as much as we like them.


I know that the next arguments will be about a horse having to respect a person but if you actually entertain the idea that you might be acting like a fly in your horses world then what respect can you possibly hope to get? The point of Warwick's video is to not buzz around like a demented fly but to show that while you are still going to do what you want to do with your horse , it can be in a mutually beneficial way. Is it really in your best interests to chase a horse and swat at it when it clearly it wants to do the same to you?



My mare Phoenix was an extreme reactor to the bot flies that come around in autumn. They literally drove her nuts! Phoenix is the most placid and calm natured horse I have ever encountered - until bot season started. She would become frantic, a single bot fly could lunge her around a paddock until she was lathered, heaving and shaking. It would break my heart to come home from a trip to town to see her head down, obviously exhausted a lathered, sweaty mess and covered in bot eggs, the bot fly having won. Do you think she felt like that bot was her leader? I much preferred being the person who, as soon as I saw her distress in the paddock and recognized that she was being tormented by a fly, she would run to with relief because she knew that I would get rid of her arch enemy for her.

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.D Adams

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post #8 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 04:13 PM
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As an aside, I am so thrilled to see Warwick Schiller, one of the top gurus, start to grow and learn to be more understanding. He is beginning to see the horse, as a horse, with feelings and personality. Not just a tool to work into submission.

It can only be a good thing for him, and all those folks blindly following those gurus.
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post #9 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 04:19 PM
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* A family I knew, that bred and showed Arabians in western pleasure (and a few other classes) used to lunge their horses for EIGHT HOURS(!) so they could act more like a WP quarter horse*

EIGHT HOURS trying to "quiet" an Arabian!

Anyone that tries to work an Arabian with fire in their blood into the ground had best have a lot of extra time to spare...meanwhile the horse gets fitter and fitter...
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post #10 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 07:45 PM
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^^Wish I could click more than 'like' above 3 posts... and at the last!
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