Another concern we have with the herd-bound behavior is how rowdy they get (especially Brandy) when we're turning them back out to the rest of them. Any tips on that?
I do but, I’m in my 70’s. I learned the method from my grandfather, who was a kind and fair horseman but also no nonsense:)
Others may have a better idea that is equally as effective.
The way we kids were taught to make a horse go thru the gate like a lady or a gentleman was to take one wrap of the lead rope around the lower nose.
You need to stay close to the part of the rope that’s snapped to the halter.
It takes some doing but it is possible to lead the horse and be able to tighten down on the rope a little with one hand, or quickly grab the rope and pull down a little with the left hand.
And while you’re doing that with one (the right hand:), dig that same shoulder into the horse’s chest and firmly push back while firmly saying “WHOA”! If the horse stops completely, all well and good, and it’s then up to you to give the cue to “walk”.
If the horse slows down, keeps its head to your shoulder, while peacefully walking to the gate, also well and good.
If the horse gets antsy and tries to Bull it’s way thru you, this is when you can quickly take your left hand, grab the pulling/tightening end of the lead rope and tighten down a little, dig your shoulder into the horse’s chest and make it spin in a circle because you are still holding the halter with your right hand.
I was 12 years old and 5’2” when Granddad taught me that trick. You don’t need brute strength but you do need some strength and to be quick on your feet. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to do that, generally with the same horse if it hadn’t been worked in awhile.
The reason you need your left hand basically free is to open the gate as you won’t always have someone with you.
Once in the pasture, face the horse toward its buds (NOT facing the gate you just came thru) because you don’t want to be in the way when the horse no doubt will whirl and kick out.
Then make the horse “hold still” to get the halter off and if the horse does tend to kick out, know which hind leg it uses so as to avoid it while you holler “I’m gonna send you down the road one of these days!” :)
Unfortunately for me, nearly all my Keeper horses have kicked out with the left hind but only one of them ever needed gate charging lessons. He is now 26 and will still occasionally try to push the gate but all he needs is a “NAH!” in his old age, lol
The worst case scenario would be if the pastured horses are waiting at the gate. Then you need a buggy whip. Snap it hard on the gate and firmly holler “BACK UP!”
If you can do that with the horse you’re holding behind you, the horse will learn it is not the one the whip wrath is aimed at.
That was all probably clear as mud. Sometimes, if you’re by yourself, you need six hands to handle one horse and a lot of creativity.
To reiterate, someone else may have a better idea, so long as it isn’t a namby-pamby poor poor Brandy idea. Judging by her desire to rearrange Wrangler’s face, she is a horse that may need thirty seconds of “I’m going to kill you” every once in awhile. Lol
Just make sure she isn’t in some sort of pain - she is allowed to tell you she hurts but she is not allowed to hurt you while she’s telling you:):)