Can you fix an aggressive pony? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 12-13-2016, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Can you fix an aggressive pony?

Hello, first time on the board, thought id hop on a forum to ask this because I really need some aid on this.

I live on a farm with 3 horses, a belgian and 2 ponys.

One of my pony's has started to become very aggressive lately and I know male pony's from what I understand like to be a bit domineering and try to be boss.

The issue of late is the pony is biting a lot and not nicely either.
I was working repairing fencing in a field and the pony started aggressively biting and after trying to push him aside several times,
he then decided rearing was something he'd like to try out on me.

This didn't end well for me as I ended up stuck in the field for a bit with the pony trying to bite my coat and feet off.
He may have thought this was some fun game bite and stomp on the farmer, but being stuck in -10c in a field was no fun for me.

I;m worried as I have 2 small children, I bought this guy as a long investment into making him somewhat of a petting pony to leisurely enjoy his days without much stress. (hes 5 i think)

Is this sort of behavior something that can be corrected, or are there pony's that go to the dark side ? ( I was told this one was a bit of a rescue, it had lived in a field like a cabbage for several years with no training so i expected a fair bit of work )

Is this something I can correct, or is there something I should change about my behavior to get this under control?

Thanks kindly to anyone that reads this and can offer some tips.
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post #2 of 20 Old 12-13-2016, 06:38 PM
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This pony needs some serious lessons in respect IMO. You can correct it if you do so, instead of letting him attack you, and I'd suggest you get help from a trainer or someone more experienced if you can't do it yourself.

Being a male does not give him an excuse to be aggressive. Is he a gelding or a stallion? If a stallion I suggest you geld him. That said though a friend of mine has about 8 full sized horse geldings out in a field along with mares and I can walk out into the pasture, none of them will come after me. If one did, he'd get sharply corrected.

Carry a crop, whip, or something else. If he tries to bite (and I'm not sure what you mean by "not nicely". No biting is acceptable.), let him run his nose into your elbow. Then if he continues, smack him with that crop or whip. As soon as he got any inclination to rear at me he would have been aggressively backed and/or chased off with that whip or crop until I told him he could stop. I've had to do that with a mini donkey stud and two year old filly before, one for nipping/pushing and one for rearing.

Letting him get away with it is the worst thing you can do, as it will only escalate. Whip his tail into shape now before he does become a lost cause. Do not let him being abused be an excused either, that will just lead to someone getting hurt because the pony was allowed to get away with it due to worrying about his past.

Don't judge someone's horse or skill because they don't compete or work with a trainer.

Sometimes they're the most in tune with each other.
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post #3 of 20 Old 12-13-2016, 10:07 PM
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how did you react when he came and started to bite you? did you try to move away from him? did you try to back away, or run away, or just push him off?

had you done anything to invite him over, such as hand feed him?


such apparently unprovoked aggression does have to be dealth with, and whether or not it can be changed will depend on the trainer (you or a pro) and the temperament of the pony himself.

like others have said, aggression from equines cannot be indulged nor fled from (except where you fear for you life). you have to stand up to it right away, with a lot of obvious bluster, so the pony gets the message real clear.

the nice part is that he isn't as big as a hrose. a horse rearing at you is a LOT more intimidating than a pony.

you need to chase him off if he comes close. I'd start by moving him off any time he came near, just to establish the FACT in his mind that you ARE capable of moving him around any time you want to. once he knows you can move him, he may not approach you uninvited at all, but if he does, and he proceeds to bite, you'd get after him immediately.

no, you don't let him get to the actual biting stage . you see his little ears pin back, and his mouth get tight and mean looking and his face go all stink-eyed, you then go move him off pronto! you address the mere though in his head of biting you.

you can have a whip, (one long enough to keep you at a safe distance), or a rope that you can swing the end of it in a propeller fashion. I have used my hat, if that's all I had. I take it off, step toward the hrose in MY aggressive manner, and wave it toward his face. beleive me, they move off.

just be very aware of staying toward his head, not his hind. if he swings toward you, and you CAN, whale on his hind end with the rope or whip, becuase he's THINKING about kicking you, and that's all he needs to do for you to get in there and interrupt that bad thought with a rope swinging at him, or on his hiney.

it's not so important that you do hit or not, but rahter that you do something big and hard, and loud enough that it startles him out of that bad thinking.

and don't ever back away . push HIM away! (with the pressure from your whip or rope)
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post #4 of 20 Old 12-13-2016, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
how did you react when he came and started to bite you? did you try to move away from him? did you try to back away, or run away, or just push him off?
I was repairing the fencing . He came over all curious like so I though ok just curious about the drill patted him on the head kept working, he kept on trying to eat the drill pushed him away several times, then started biting my arms and back of coat, he even went for my head at one point, I tried to push him back again then he started the little shoving match and wouldn't give up. tried yelling at him and this continued until he started rearing and wanting to stomp on me. at that point I got a little alarmed and climbed up the fencing to be taller and be out of the way then he started trying to eat my feet and ankles.. I didn't want to bash him, I just ended up having someone distract him and open another paddock so I could get out. I know I did the wrong thing there from what im reading.

I should just carry a crop with me and tap him on the head or smack him on the nose if he does that again. hes very stubborn. for practice tonight. I worked with him in the barn I moved him back a couple times then started getting a bit shovy again. Ive learned flicking him on the nose if he tries to nibble seems to help. if he starts pushing back, whats best there do i dig 2 feet in and have at it, or is it better to knock on him with crop a bit?

Id like to get this horse under control and workable. Im a big guy so im a little nervous of hitting any living creature, that being said if i have to use a crop to asert some authority, and its to the shoving stage what do I do there? I am very new to horses, and I appreciate all the comments and tips ive been reading.

I have a lot of hours in a day to work with the horses so I can put the time in.
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post #5 of 20 Old 12-13-2016, 11:21 PM
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IMO you should have sent him off when he started biting your tools. That doesn't mean aggressively at first, but as soon as he even put his mouth on you the first time you should have sent him off firmly. Just pushing him lightly over and over doesn't do any good.

Like tinyliny said, moving away is ALWAYS the wrong answer to a horse's aggression unless you fear for your life. He just learned that by being aggressive he can move your feet, meaning he's dominant over you. Also you will never win a shoving match with a horse, so that is bad as well, as it only makes both of you frustrated and in the end the horse will win. If he shoves into you it's best to get him moving away from you immediately, as it teaches him that by pushing he gets HIS feet moved, not vice versa. It really shouldn't get to the shoving stage because you should send him away as soon as he tries to invade your space.

I get what you mean by being a big guy and not wanting to hurt him, but it isn't a problem tbh. No, you don't want to beat the life out of any horse, but you also don't want them to get aggressive and walk all over you. They're a lot bigger than us and a decent smack from a crop or pop with a lead rope is nothing compared to being kicked by another horse. Being nervous of doing something with this horse doesn't help either, as they can sense that and some will take advantage. Go into his pasture confident and KNOWING that he will comply to what you tell him, just have the means to back it up.

I really think having someone more experienced help you is a good idea.
secuono and Horseychick87 like this.

Don't judge someone's horse or skill because they don't compete or work with a trainer.

Sometimes they're the most in tune with each other.
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post #6 of 20 Old 12-13-2016, 11:30 PM
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I'm not a big guy, but I"m big enough. there ARE horses that make me say, "you win, I'm out of here". but , that rarely happens, and I doubt it would happen to me now that I have more skill than before. just saying that there ARE horses that are too dangerous to work with. your pony is not one of them.


yeah, a good flick on his nose is ok to start with. if he acts surprised and insulted, so be it. that's kind of what you want. you need to shake up his world, and reorder his idea of who is in charge.
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-14-2016, 01:05 AM
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What I see:
This pony is obviously lacking respect something huge.
When you "corrected" him, you were nagging him. (Pushing him away.)

I would carry a stick, club or crop and really put some spice in that little arsholes life. Pony or not, this kind of behaviour is COMPLETELY unacceptable. Especially since you have small children.

Your correction needs to be swift, severe and consistent.

When he tried to bite you, club him a good one or boot him in the mouth. Hard. Stand around like it's none of your business and wait.

He shouldn't do it again. If he does, you didn't hit him hard enough.

Personally, I'd sell him. Buy a child friendly pony that you don't have to fight with.
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post #8 of 20 Old 12-14-2016, 01:20 AM
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I'm going to add because my response seemed a bit harsh.

If you have to correct a horse(or pony in your case) more than once, you're not doing it right.

I keep getting mixed signals. Sometimes he seems like a lippy pony, and other statements make me fear he's gotten away with too much and the situation is escalating.

Going at your head, biting your ankles, shoving in an aggressive manner and rearing is an ABSOLUTE no go for me. These are all things that can and will escalate into something even more dangerous.

He needs swift justice. I bought a pull pony from the states who was a wicked kicker, about two years or so ago. I had no knowlege of this as he was tranqed when I bought him as a cart pony prospect. I was told he was 3, he was nine. He was head shy, had awful scars on him, and was the nastiest little creature ive ever seen wrapped up in a 10hh package.

When I found out about all this, I was working with Trouble in the round pen, turned him out and had this tiny pony charge at me with what I thought were curious intentions. I was wrong. He stopped short of me and started pawing and striking at me, then moved in with his teeth.

Regardless of his past I walloped him a good one. I punched that tiny pony right in the mouth because he was biting at me face and head. If he tried that with a horse he would get kicked in the face or bitten, and hard.

He would be fine for a couple weeks then try again in a different way. I always had to be on my game, but after a few months of getting a solid, consistent licking whenever he bit or kicked, he quit. If it takes carrying a stick all the time, do it. That is not an animal, no matter how small, to have around children right now (obviously you know this) and it has to be dealt with right now.
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post #9 of 20 Old 12-14-2016, 06:59 AM
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I would get a professional out there to do this right, especially as you have young children. The kind of discipline this pony needs is more than likely more than you can handle right now - that's not a mark against you, but you need to be safe and you do not have the experience to handle a problem pony.

Where did you get this guy from?
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post #10 of 20 Old 12-14-2016, 08:24 AM
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It is absolutely cureable but it needs someone with experience and good timing.

His being curious is fine the rest of it isn't. You need a long whip a lunge whip is ideal. If he Comes over fine, if he gets to close then you wave the whip at him giving him warning to back off. If he doesn't then you use the lash of that whip hard across hos chest or front legs. Do it right and it should sound like a gun shot.
Watch out because his reaction might well be to spin around and double barrel you with his back legs and, if he does spin be fast to move to the side and whack him hard across hos backside or back legs, this will drive him away and for good measure give him another crack to let him know that you mean it.

Then, when he has moved away continue with your fencing. If he comes over let him but the moment he starts to get to close, warn him with the whip. If you got him right first time he will move away at the threat. If he doesn't, repeat.

It might seem harsh but the lash of a whip will do far less harm than another horse biting or kicking him. Do not go softly softly go in hard and fast and mean it.

Ponies are astute and will try things on faster than most horses. To me it sounds as if he is bored out of his tiny mind and needs some real handing and work to give him something to think about and to learn respect.
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