Do I need to stand up to my horse's bullies to earn his respect? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 11:38 AM
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Yikes, that sounds dangerous for YOU! Be careful!
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post #22 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 02:49 PM
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Don't know about it earning respect from your horse. It can help your horse to trust you more. I ride lots of different horses with different personalities, and places in the herd structure. I want each of them to know that together, we outrank every other horse we meet. This is on the ground, or mounted. We go about our business and loose horses are not allowed to come near.
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post #23 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 03:30 PM
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I will tell you something about my 'outsider'. He is very much an instigator of pasture mayhem and a pot stirrer.

Sure he has that innocent face with the big brown eyes and white eyelashes that say, ' I am innocent! They are bullies!"

Watch the herd for five hours in secret for a few days in a row. Mine in all his innocence, will run through the herd kicking at one while biting the others. Then he jumps the creek and runs through the trees and starts grazing on the other side of the pasture.

He is the most agile fast thing in the pasture and no one can keep up with him. And he knows it.

Now the one true bully in the herd is just that; a bully. With my own eyes, I saw this horse walk up to mine,who was flat out sleeping, and bite him on the back and as my horse was scrambling to get up was kicked in the stifle. That ia a bully, and not normal herd behavior in my opinion.

Moral of this tale is sometimes the 'innocent' isn't always. But it takes the effort and time and patience to watch the herd and your horses role in it day in and day out.
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post #24 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 03:46 PM
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Acadian I know that you would never put your daughter in harm's way, you are too careful a person to ever do that.
Maybe when you go out to ride Harley you could set aside some extra time for pasture/paddock training with all the horses. Just work with having Harley with you and keeping the other horses back at a safer distance. At first don't be going through the gate, just work on keeping the other horses away from you. It will be time well spent as horses are creatures of habit and once you set up a routine (and stick to it) everyone know what they are supposed to do. Is should only take a few times until everyone knows their position and the other horses will keep their distance while you get through the gate.
I had a slightly similar situation when I bought my new horse and bringing them into the barn all 3 were at the gate to come into the barn. I have to open the big gate and they have to stand there and wait until I can fasten it half was open so it doesn't swing back into them when they come in. The new horse started in and when I said whoa, she just walked over me into the barn. Well this did not suit me at all as my sister had a leg injury and if she had to let the horses in she could be knocked down so the next day I had a crop in my hand and when I said whoa to her and she ignored me and started in, she got a good swat across the chest and that got her attention right fast. I made her stop and move over to the other side of the gelding and wait until the gate was properly open. All it took was one good swat and after that she listened to me and was much more polite. The point of this rambling story is that it just took one correction.
I know some people hate to see horses hit like that but for me that's all it took and I think that is better than a lot of smaller corrections and nagging at the horses.
Good Luck and work at this safely.
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post #25 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 04:05 PM
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Be careful walking through a barn when hirses are in and the Dutch doors re open on top. Horses will bite your horse when leading your horse through. Guess how I figured that grew of wisdom out.

I'm swinging that lead rope as I'm walking mine through the barn.
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post #26 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so here's what I did today. Because we were going out there close to feeding time, as soon as the horses saw me come through the arena, they came running. I waved them away with the whip and pushed all three in a portion of the paddock, shut a gate, then got Harley out safely as they all looked on with envy. After the ride, I shut the gate leading to the arena, then opened the large door. This way they can't rush in. I then walked out and went all madwoman on them, waving the whip and even cracking it on the ground when the big percheron x got too close. I opened the gate and continued to push the three horses away. I got them to move ALL the way to the furthest part of the paddock but to my dismay, Harley just stood in the doorway. I kept this up for about five minutes, clucking to Harley and coaxing him out, but to no avail. As soon as I stepped out of the paddock, all three charged in and chased him out again. Within a couple of minutes, they were all settled down and eating.

So while I intend to continue to send a clear message to the horses, I think next time I'll try to release Harley into the paddock from a side gate wher he would be less vulnerable.

Also, the BO has been trampled twice by the mare so it's not like they're just doing it with me. I would never keep horses like that around, personally, but she just shrugs it off.
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post #27 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sarahfromsc View Post
I will tell you something about my 'outsider'. He is very much an instigator of pasture mayhem and a pot stirrer.

Sure he has that innocent face with the big brown eyes and white eyelashes that say, ' I am innocent! They are bullies!"

Watch the herd for five hours in secret for a few days in a row. Mine in all his innocence, will run through the herd kicking at one while biting the others. Then he jumps the creek and runs through the trees and starts grazing on the other side of the pasture.

He is the most agile fast thing in the pasture and no one can keep up with him. And he knows it.

Now the one true bully in the herd is just that; a bully. With my own eyes, I saw this horse walk up to mine,who was flat out sleeping, and bite him on the back and as my horse was scrambling to get up was kicked in the stifle. That ia a bully, and not normal herd behavior in my opinion.

Moral of this tale is sometimes the 'innocent' isn't always. But it takes the effort and time and patience to watch the herd and your horses role in it day in and day out.
It wouldn't really surprise me if Harley was playing a game sometimes. The way he prances away from them and looks over his shoulder smugly is like a kid going Na-na! you can't catch me! But at the previous barn, his paddock mate beat him up all the time and I truly felt sorry for him. The paddock was too small for him to be able to get away and every day he had nasty bite marks on his rump. Never once did I see him try to defend himself. Between fight and flight, he will always choose flight.
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post #28 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 05:55 PM
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My barn is notorious for switching around herds on a nearly weekly basis. I work out there, and it's amazing to see how the universal herd will just establish itself. While some cases take time, others are fairly quick. In this case, I would say that you should try to spend either more time observing or interacting with the herd your horse is in. This gives you two advantages;
1. You'll get to know the big bosses and the pecking order for the rest of the herd. This way, you'll have a better sense of who to move. If you gain the respect of a boss enough to move him, you'll in turn get respect from other horses, making them all easier to maneuver around.
2. You'll get to see where your horse lands in the system. This too will help you approach the herd as a whole and make your job much easier.
In your case, the aggression from the other horses is hard to deal with; you can't handle all of them at once. I would suggest placing him in a paddock with a lower-level horse that can teach him to share and maybe even buddy up with. Continue to introduce more horses, if the situation is safe, and eventually he will be acclimated enough to join the herd. Your horse will take time and patience, so be supportive and helpful to him.
Finally, try to ease up on weapon use. Right now, I understand that it is a safety precaution and keeps you and your horse in the best conditions. Again, I'm gonna hit on the fact that all of this takes time. As your horse grows more accustomed to a herd, you too need to become at least a joint part of it. I partially agree with Avna that badassery in the field can help, but it can also hurt. If you become known in the herd as a jerk who comes out swinging a whip at everyone, the respect is lost and replaced with fear. I have had coworkers who were new and used whips, and their connection to the herd was never as strong as mine. There was even an incident where the big boss in the herd reared up at her because she had a whip. The woman was only trying to turn him in, and from what I could tell, had no negative energy around her, but she still had the whip. In a horse's mind, that takes priority- the fact that the whip is present- and not who the holder is.
All in all, give this time. Be aware of your surroundings and use your "vibes" as I call them to feel out the presence of your horse in the group and your own presence. I wish you the best of luck!
Email me with any other questions at [email protected]
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post #29 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ReinDancer2015 View Post
My barn is notorious for switching around herds on a nearly weekly basis. I work out there, and it's amazing to see how the universal herd will just establish itself. While some cases take time, others are fairly quick. In this case, I would say that you should try to spend either more time observing or interacting with the herd your horse is in. This gives you two advantages;
1. You'll get to know the big bosses and the pecking order for the rest of the herd. This way, you'll have a better sense of who to move. If you gain the respect of a boss enough to move him, you'll in turn get respect from other horses, making them all easier to maneuver around.
2. You'll get to see where your horse lands in the system. This too will help you approach the herd as a whole and make your job much easier.
In your case, the aggression from the other horses is hard to deal with; you can't handle all of them at once. I would suggest placing him in a paddock with a lower-level horse that can teach him to share and maybe even buddy up with. Continue to introduce more horses, if the situation is safe, and eventually he will be acclimated enough to join the herd. Your horse will take time and patience, so be supportive and helpful to him.
Finally, try to ease up on weapon use. Right now, I understand that it is a safety precaution and keeps you and your horse in the best conditions. Again, I'm gonna hit on the fact that all of this takes time. As your horse grows more accustomed to a herd, you too need to become at least a joint part of it. I partially agree with Avna that badassery in the field can help, but it can also hurt. If you become known in the herd as a jerk who comes out swinging a whip at everyone, the respect is lost and replaced with fear. I have had coworkers who were new and used whips, and their connection to the herd was never as strong as mine. There was even an incident where the big boss in the herd reared up at her because she had a whip. The woman was only trying to turn him in, and from what I could tell, had no negative energy around her, but she still had the whip. In a horse's mind, that takes priority- the fact that the whip is present- and not who the holder is.
All in all, give this time. Be aware of your surroundings and use your "vibes" as I call them to feel out the presence of your horse in the group and your own presence. I wish you the best of luck!
Email me with any other questions at [email protected]
I will try to spend time watching the herd, but that will be difficult because of time constraints. What I've observed so far, and this is supported by the BO, is that the older gelding is possessive of the mare and does not like other horses getting near her. He shows the most aggression towards Harley. The mare was actually put in with him initially (just the two of them) and they became friends pretty quickly. The percheron X will run after Harley, but does not appear threatening, ie, he doesn't bite or kick at him, just runs up to him and sometimes they sniff noses. The older gelding will chase him away from his hay and the mare is quite friendly with me (I've handled her the most so she may just be familiar with me), but she gets buddy sour and this has resulted in the BO getting trampled twice, once badly enough that she could barely walk for a week (the mare stepped on her leg).

As far as separating Harley or creating mini-herds, that is not an option because as I explained above, they have to share a winter paddock because once the snow gets deep, they won't be able to get out to the other pastures. Unfortunately, I have no control over this.
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post #30 of 50 Old 12-22-2015, 06:25 PM
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Can you lead Harley out to the passage with the whip and still manage to chase the others off? That may be what you need to do.
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