Do I need to stand up to my horse's bullies to earn his respect? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 50 Old 12-21-2015, 08:58 PM
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Mine has always been in a herd, even as a weanling. I really think, as someone else pointed out, he is the only grey. The seven other geldings are bays.

It does make it easy to trail ride by ourselves, or get in a trailer and go. No buddy sourness.

The funny thing is, and it is very OT, is he the one the others follow to new areas of the pasture, or down to the creek for water. And on the trails, he is the calm go to boy. But he is the low man in the herd.

As for owning the gate/passage, I would push that little herd all the way out of the passage and keep them out while leading your horse out. Once you establish the (YOUR) rules it doesn't take much to move them out of your way.

Sometimes snapping the end of the lunge whip so it cracks is all that is needed. The sound alone moves them off you. And trust me, even if you have to us the whip on the chest or shoulder, you could not do any damage. Think of how horses teach an 'offender' a lesson; it is swift and hard. Then they all go eat grass.
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post #12 of 50 Old 12-21-2015, 11:23 PM
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I found the hardest thing about boarding was trying to extract my mare from a herd of 11 horses, many of whom tried to rush and kick her when I was leading her to the gate. I brought a whip every time and made them back off every time going in and out. It did take a couple of months before most of the horses just ignored the fact that I was taking her out. It took me longer to convince a particular gelding but I finally did. In fact this gelding tries so hard now to be friends with me, but I ignore him.

Protect yourself and keep them all away from you. Make sure they know you mean business. It should get easier over time when they all get into the routine.

Your size doesn't matter. I have seen 13 hand ponies boss around 16 hand horses.
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post #13 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
I think I will make it a habit of going in with the lunge whip, even if it's just to go in and give him a pat. I was in last week to take measurements for a saddle and since he's so calm, figured I'd just do it in the paddock rather than bring him in and again, a horse charged at him. Next time, I will try to establish a circle of safety around me and try to keep the other horses away. But they can be fairly aggressive, even charging behind us. Today, when one of them appeared to want to do so, I draped the lead rope over Harley's neck and walked a few feet away from him and wagged the lunge rope at the mare who was coming behind us. Harley stood as still as a statue and she moved away so I was able to continue to lead him out without issue. But these horses are not respectful of people.

Also, I'm not sure how the BOs will feel about me getting harsher with the whip, however, since they take a very laid back attitude to it all. Maybe I should just have a conversation with them about it so they know why I am hitting their horses with a whip if it becomes necessary. They are my neighbors and have been wonderful BOs, so I don't want to do anything to damage the relationship.

As far as moving Harley out of that herd, that's not an option. There is no other herd, this is a small private barn with only three horses, Harley being # 4. Oddly, the horse that shows the most aggression is a 30 yr old appy gelding! None of us expected that. The good thing is that the old guy doesn't have enough energy to run very fast so Harley just kind of prances away from him. But the other two now seem to be ganging up on Harley.

sarahfromsc - Good to know Harley's not the only loner! Honestly, he sometimes seems to prefer people to horses. I talked to someone about this recently, and she was saying sometimes it's because horses weren't socialized a lot when they were young. It makes him a highly trainable (and lovable) horse, but I can't help but feel for him when they all go at him like that. We will be moving him to our property next summer and getting a companion/mom horse and I swear, I will find the most placid, accepting, docile horse ever for him! He does seem to do better at one-on-one relationships than herds.

Woodhaven - my daughter is nowhere near these horses. I would NEVER allow her to come into the paddock or pasture as these horses are far too disrespectful. The only thing I allow her to do is close a gate behind me as long as there are no horses nearby. And actually, that's often how I handled it in the past since there are several adjoining paddocks so I could usually isolate Harley and get him out safely, but with winter setting in, that's no longer an option. I feel I need to just let these horses know that they need to stay away from me. They're not aggressive towards me though, they just walk up to me and sniff me, but I'd rather they didn't because I can't have them following me right up to Harley.
Honestly, this sounds like an accident waiting to happen. The fact that you yourself say these horses are not respectful of people makes ME nervous for you! Obviously, whenever you are interacting with horses you need to be cool, composed, and confident without a trace of fear or nervousness, but, the situation is cause for concern. I've noticed the vast majority of horses that are not handled correctly on a regular basis (whether riding or not, if the horses are being handled they need to know their boundaries, and those boundaries be consistent) and are spoiled rotten because their owners refuse to "lay down the law" with them are also accompanied by a sour temperament. If there is even the possibility of the owners being angry for you defending yourself with the lunge whip and taking precautionary measures... let's just say I'm glad to hear you will be moving in the spring! I know how tough the small private barn situation can be. So yes, for now, always carry that lunge whip with you. I like what another poster said about keeping the horses ten feet away, at least. Don't be afraid to be "mean", lead mares are bossy as all get out!

As far as him being more trainable and more meek due to lack of socialization, the opposite was true for my horse. She was extremely aggressive around strange horses (not barn buddies), and the aggression stemmed from complete nervousness and fear as she did not know how to act around them! She was always expecting an attack. This went on for years and my only way to manage it was to keep four eyes on her and always keep her feet busy when we were off barn grounds. Then she spent this past summer in a large herd of mares, and she's a different horse. Same sweet, playful, curious personality, highly smart and trainable, but minus the aggression and nervousness that made her so difficult. Well socialized animals tend to be much healthier mentally. When they are not so well socialized I find myself waiting for the next meltdown or anxiety attack when they are around other animals. This has held true for cats, dogs, horses, etc...

"You can do something wrong for thirty years and call yourself experienced, you can do something right for a week and experience more than someone who spent thirty years doing the wrong thing." ~WhattaTroublemaker
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post #14 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 12:27 AM
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Do I need to stand up to my horse's bullies to earn his respect?

Agree with the above. This is why I walk in loud and large, so the pasture horses know I'm there and see that rope twirling. It's a bold statement that leaves no doubt as to who is in charge. If I went in with a whip, swatting at individual horses, I don't think that would convey confidence in the same way. They are prey animals and this lets them know I'm a predator they need to be fearful of.


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post #15 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 06:31 AM
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I agree with always having the lunge whip handy and not being afraid to use it hard across their legs. You are not only trying to protect your horse but also yourself.

Once they have had a few hard whacks across the legs they will know you mean business and a form word and arm wave will be enough to drive them away.

It is not size that counts - a 6'6" football player wouldn't stand a chance - it is your presence and attitude that they will learn to respect.
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post #16 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 09:01 AM
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It seems that your horse is trying to cooperate as best he can under the circumstances but it is still a dangerous situation for you. One additional thing I would do is inform the BO if he/she doesn't already know. I don't mean that you should approach them as a complainer but just making them aware of the problem and How you feel you should handle it. Just protocol IMO, and the BO may even offer you some good advice
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post #17 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 09:35 AM
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I think that standing up for your boy does help him in bonding with you and establishing a relationship. When I got my mare, she was the lowest on the pecking order and got chased and bit a terrifying amount. One day when I was watching her get chased away from her hay yet again, (She was also 200 pounds underweight) I got frustrated since there were more hay piles than horse, so I stood by a isolated hay pile with a longewhip. When the other horses came to chase her away i tapped their legs and chests with the whip until they moved, and continued that vigil every day until they got the hint. That helped gain her trust a lot and break the ice. And I know what you mean by being nervous around horses that don't respect people! When I went to buy my horse, there were six young horses in the pasture with her. They crowded me around the gate and got uncomfortably close. When I made them move their feet and back off, one of the hot heads ran away and aimed a kick at me as he retreated. He missed, but it makes you realize their power when you feel the air move by your ear where his hoof had missed. It sounds like they respect the whip though, so hopefully just the sound and some taps will help you keep them under control. Best of luck! I think it will get better, especially when you can get out and choose who lives with your horse.
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post #18 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 10:07 AM
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My concern would be when you get snow and they area for horses is minimized. Why would they push snow in that area to make turnout smaller.
That sounds like it could be a big problem.
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post #19 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by churumbeque View Post
My concern would be when you get snow and they area for horses is minimized. Why would they push snow in that area to make turnout smaller.
That sounds like it could be a big problem.
They don't push the snow into the area, they clear an area with a snowblower for the horses and they can't do that for the entire five acres. Last winter we had about five feet of snow covering the ground for several weeks. You can't turn out a horse in that. Also, fence lines disappear and horses can easily get over them once the snow gets packed down hard. They seem to be more and more tolerant of Harley so the BO is hoping they will eventually accept him, but I think he will always be an outsider.
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post #20 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Textan49 View Post
It seems that your horse is trying to cooperate as best he can under the circumstances but it is still a dangerous situation for you. One additional thing I would do is inform the BO if he/she doesn't already know. I don't mean that you should approach them as a complainer but just making them aware of the problem and How you feel you should handle it. Just protocol IMO, and the BO may even offer you some good advice
I have and they told me to do what I have to do to get him out safely. But I think I'll have another conversation with them to let them know I may spend some time in the paddock pushing them away.
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