Dangerous situation developing - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 01-24-2015, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Dangerous situation developing

This evening I was feeding one of our rescue horses and he was being pushy so I shooed him off until I could place his food down. He did go but in the course of moving off he aimed a kick at my head and came closer than was ok.

Unfortunately my hands were full, I had no crop or whip, and he was out of range so I couldn't get to him w/in 3 seconds. So he got away with it.

This has happened with the owner once, and another volunteer. I think the volunteer was actually kicked. I don't believe he's ever gotten any correction for this so now he's been trained that kicking at our heads gets him his food.

So two questions.

1) how do you correct a problem when you can't make it w/in 3 seconds?

2) We need to fix this or someone is going to get hurt. From what I've read a trainer would attempt to get the horse to repeat the behavior and issue a correction at that point. Trying to get a horse to kick at my head is above both my skill level and my pay grade as a volunteer. Any suggestions on how to proceed with this?
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post #2 of 36 Old 01-24-2015, 09:18 PM
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I would not recommend setting him up to kick at you, that is just giving him one more chance to practice his aim.

Carry a whip with you when you go in with the horse at feeding time and don't let him into your space at all. One hand for the bucket and one hand for whip, if he gets to close slap the whip at him, if he continues give him a good whack and drive him away, don't give him time to retaliate, just get after him. Then go back to what you were doing, if he tries to come back do it again, then dump the feed and make him wait a few seconds then leave and let him eat, he will learn quickly to stay out of your space.

Make sure it is a long training stick or whip, a crop or dressage whip is short.
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post #3 of 36 Old 01-24-2015, 09:27 PM
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Carry a lunge whip with you and send him away before he gets worked up about food being nearby. If you can, feed a little earlier than normal so he isn't already anticipating it being dinner time. Bring the grain with you to his pen but set it down a little distance away. Then enter his pasture and send him off. You want to cluck and point then drive him away. If you just immediately go to send him off without a softer cue first, he could learn that a person enters my pen = run away and he would become hard to catch. You want to shoo him off pretty far from the gate and where you normally feed. If he tries to come back to where he is normally fed, just send him away again.

When he is standing off at a distance, then go ahead and set his food down. You also need to get other people that feed on board with his. Over a few days he will learn to quietly leave the area when you ask so you can safely feed without him nearby.

If you are worried about your timing and getting kicked another option is to feed through the fence. You will still want to bring a lunge whip and shoo him off while you are outside the fence. Then you can slide his grain bucket in while you stay on the outside of the fence.
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post #4 of 36 Old 01-24-2015, 09:50 PM
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I tape the lash of the lunge whip to the handle then enter, swinging the whip side to side at waist height. If he steps into it and gets a whack, too bad for him. If he keeps coming raise it a little and deliver a good one. He'll think twice about crowding you again. A friend, ignoring my advice to carry a lunge whip, came very close to losing her life because her Precious double barreled and almost got her in the face. It was her quick response that kept me from attending her funeral.

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post #5 of 36 Old 01-25-2015, 12:52 AM
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Firstly the 'Within 3 seconds' is a dog thing, where behavioural studies have shown that dogs can often still associate cause and effect within 3 seconds, max. Same type studies with horses show it's only 1-2 seconds at the outside. So always aim to punish/reward *at the time of* the behaviour u want to effect, and realise its already too late to bother after 2-3 seconds.

Others have given good advice as to being prepared & keeping him away, but I would add also teaching & rewarding him for 'good' behaviour, such as staying back & being 'polite'.
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post #6 of 36 Old 01-25-2015, 01:01 AM
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In your situation I would have thrown the feed bucket aiming for the side of the butt the kick came from. It's my go to move for a horse being rude at dinner time because I don't carry a whip around. Oh, and that feed bucket doesn't get refilled either. What they can scrounge for on the ground is what they get and if it happened to fall in a pile well I do a little kicking of my own to make sure it's scattered far and wide. Most of the horses that I've had to do this to learn in one lesson how to be mannerly. I did buy one old mare that I have a feeling was used to getting her way that it took 2 lessons before she realized I was serious. That bucket flying through the air and hitting them on the butt seems to startle them more than a whip even though it probably doesn't hurt as bad.

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post #7 of 36 Old 01-25-2015, 01:58 AM
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I'd throw it sooner . don't wait for them to turn their butt to you. if they are thinking "NO, I think I'll keep coming at you. " to your "BACK UP away from me", that's enough to throw something. if you 've asked and told, then hold nothing back. once theyve turned their butt, they already set up to kick you.
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post #8 of 36 Old 01-25-2015, 02:20 AM
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I would not put the feed in until the horse is back away a distance. Some ornery horses
will back up and kick even with being whipped. If you have a whip and hay, or a bucket you are at a disadvantage. Since this horse is fed by different people, you will need to get everyone on the same page on how to treat this horse.
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post #9 of 36 Old 01-25-2015, 03:00 AM
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You were not 'unarmed' you had the feed bucket in your hands and I would have wrapped that bucket around his head and followed by chasing him round and round, bashing him with the bucket until he showed signs of submission.

If the bucket had broken and was on the floor then I would have chased him with arm waving, keeping him to the outside of the stable and kicking the bucket under his feet.

This is a very good explanation of teaching a horse feed manners.

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post #10 of 36 Old 01-25-2015, 04:14 AM
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Foxhunter - I would have done exactly the same thing! You have to exert your authority and be the dominant thing in the field.
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