HELP!!! Is my gelding being aggressive?? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 23 Old 09-20-2017, 01:39 PM
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Creating an easy-to-catch horse from a hard-to-catch one is a process. You need to know what you are doing, and you need to be patient. There are several methods but the walk-em-down one is the one I have used successfully. You'll need a large paddock (an acre is too large, a round pen too small), and a number of free afternoons, and a lot of patience. Keep the horse moving -- not running, just moving. When they finally turn and face you, walk up, give them praise and a scritch, put the halter on, and then take it off and let them go. Keep doing that until the horse always just lets you come up.

The first lesson of horses is that when you are with your horse you are ALWAYS TEACHING THEM SOMETHING. And they are also teaching you something.

Probably the last lesson too.

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post #12 of 23 Old 09-20-2017, 02:53 PM
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If you reward for being caught, it must be after the horse has allowed himself to be haltered.
Also, you can confine a hard to catch horse in an area he does not have all the free food he would like. You then halter him and take him to a pen or stall, or whatever, to eat. It is amazing how quickly a horse figures out that in order to be fed, he must be haltered.
Mine know that when they are brought into the barn, they are usually tied up by a feeder, and get some beet pulp. In winter esp, they volunteer to stick their head in that halter, with a 'take me, not him', attitude!
I never use a food treat as a bribe.
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post #13 of 23 Old 09-20-2017, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ashnicmo View Post
I was worried this was a dominant behaviour. What would be your suggestion to stop this? The previous owner is shocked he is doing this. Is he just pulling my leg or is it just me?
I'm inclined to think that he's testing you at present, to see if he can intimidate you and you failed the test when you backed away.
If the treat makes him easy to catch (I have no problem with that as I realized when I was a teenager that running horses around until they get tired or bored is usually more wearing on the human) then his attitude doesn't necessarily mean you stop using the treat for that purpose - you just only give the treat when the halters on him and he's been led out of the paddock. That way he's worked for it and you're in control of the situation.
I'm not a fan of just going into the field to say 'hi' and handing out treats because they come for one.

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post #14 of 23 Old 09-20-2017, 03:22 PM
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You must remember that every time you are with your horse, you are teaching him something. Even if you just let yourself into the stall, pet him a while, and leave, you are still teaching SOMETHING. If he is respectful and you reward that, either by giving him attention or a treat or a rest or whatever, you are rewarding him being respectful. If he is disrespectful and you reward that, you are teaching him to be disrespectful.

My Appaloosa Dreams came to me completely wild. You couldn't even touch him. It took me a week to show him that I wasn't going to attempt to murder him, and by the end of the week he'd decided that humans were alright. That's when the attitude came out a bit. He was testing me, trying to establish a hierarchy by pinning his ears, trying to push me away from his hay, crowding, etc. He did this for a few minutes on ONE DAY and I let him have it. I didn't have anything to hand but when he pinned his ears I smacked him on the jaw with my hand. When he crowded me I kneed him in the belly. Trying to push me away brought a sharp elbow to the neck. In the space of 5 minutes he had stopped trying to take control, because every time he did I told him in no uncertain terms that that sort of behavior was completely unacceptable.

That was the only day Dreams ever tested me. He is now a perfect gentleman, can be led without a halter, is respectful of personal space, etc. I hand feed him treats but he knows better than to try to lip me or push me around for more. He developed a habit of nodding his head when he knew treats were forthcoming, so I turned that into a trick and taught him to nod his head "yes" on command. Now any time he hears a word that sounds like "Yes" he will turn and nod his head hopefully. lol

So my advice would be to come into your gelding's stall or living area armed with a crop or whip next time, and the second he tries to get aggressive or pushy AT ALL I'd let him have it. Every time you allow him to get away with those behaviors, they will get worse. Try to make one big correction, if possible, and then move on like it never happened. If any of my horses do something that requires a smack, I do it as hard as I can, once, and then forget about it. If you correct him firmly enough, you will not have to do it again.

-- Kai
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post #15 of 23 Old 09-20-2017, 04:25 PM
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You've had him less than a week. He is out in a pasture. He went from not coming when you enter the pasture to coming to see what you have for him. All you have done so far by your original post is hand him treats and pet on him. Where was your other horse during this exchange? In the pasture with you or had you haltered this horse and removed him from the pasture? I am reading this - horse came to you, you reward him for coming, you proceed to pet him and he lets out a squeal that says "Hey buddy where are you?" (or "Hey buddy lookie what I got!") , then he proceeds to let you know you're in his way as he needs to be back with buddy. I feel I am missing part of the picture. I agree with what everyone else said. No human vending machines. He gets a treat because he earns it and not just because you walked into his house with them. How many times a year he was ridden is irrelevant. Someone had to take care of him if he was in a round pen. I see two issues here and both need to be worked on. One is that he has determined you are below him on the pecking order and two he has decided talking to his new friend over rules your actions. Just like with a kid in a classroom that has decided his convo with his neighbor is more important than what is happening in the learning environment this needs to be nipped in the bud.
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post #16 of 23 Old 09-20-2017, 07:52 PM
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When I go to get my lease horse, out in the pasture, I do carry a treat. And, I hand feed (but as someone said, I already have good respect from him, or I wouldn't do that). But, he gets his treat only after he is standing, waiting next to me, and the halter is on. Nowadays, he is so good, that I can feed him his treat first, and he will stand patiently and not try to leave.
I could have NO treat and he would not leave. That is because the first few times he tried to walk off and leave me, or tried to run away, I used the technique commonly called "walking down a horse" to make him allow me to catch him. In fact, I now have it such that he comes to me. Of course , the treat helps, but he knows that if he turns his back and walks off, I will put pressure on, and he will turn around and come back.

It's counterintuitive, in a way, but basically, when you approach the horse, out in the pasture or paddock, if they turn away from you and walk off, you make a little bit of a commotion. This puts a bit of pressure on them and makes that choice they made, to leavey you, feel uncomfortable.
They will usually jump a bit, stop and turn around to look at you like, "What the heck????!!"
When they do, you pause. Don't come closer, just stand with your body facing cocked off at an easy, relaxed position, not staring hard at them. you are becoming 'inviting' to them. if the come toward you, you can even back away a little to further invite them.

If they say, "oh, it's only her. I'm not interested", and they turn away from you and walk off, you repeat the small commotion (that means things like slapping your thigh with the rope, smacking the ground with the rope, kicking some sand. you aren't really driving them directly so much as making enough noise or activity to make them turn, stop and look and rethink . Then you offer the calm/inviting stance and wait for them to choose again; you or away.

If they walk off, you follow a bit, and make that interrupting commotion, stop and wait when THEY stop and wait. They will eventually realize that things are quiet when they stay looking at you, and difficult when they don't , and they'll allow you to approach without changing their mind and leaving. If they do, you know what to do!!
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post #17 of 23 Old 09-20-2017, 11:08 PM
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Please, let us know what kind of progress you're making. Good luck.
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post #18 of 23 Old 09-21-2017, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
It's counterintuitive, in a way, but basically, when you approach the horse, out in the pasture or paddock, if they turn away from you and walk off, you make a little bit of a commotion. This puts a bit of pressure on them and makes that choice they made, to leavey you, feel uncomfortable.
They will usually jump a bit, stop and turn around to look at you like, "What the heck????!!"
When they do, you pause. Don't come closer, just stand with your body facing cocked off at an easy, relaxed position, not staring hard at them. you are becoming 'inviting' to them. if the come toward you, you can even back away a little to further invite them.

If they say, "oh, it's only her. I'm not interested", and they turn away from you and walk off, you repeat the small commotion (that means things like slapping your thigh with the rope, smacking the ground with the rope, kicking some sand. you aren't really driving them directly so much as making enough noise or activity to make them turn, stop and look and rethink . Then you offer the calm/inviting stance and wait for them to choose again; you or away.

If they walk off, you follow a bit, and make that interrupting commotion, stop and wait when THEY stop and wait. They will eventually realize that things are quiet when they stay looking at you, and difficult when they don't , and they'll allow you to approach without changing their mind and leaving. If they do, you know what to do!!
I highly recommend this. I started with treats (but my horse wasn't testing me, he was terrified of us) and soothing talk, got him to trust me first, began weaning him off the treats and only rewarding with praise and physical affection. Keep in mind, this was just to get him to the point he wasn't afraid of me. Your horse isn't afraid of you, it doesn't sound like.

Trigger is to the point he USUALLY comes at a trot when he sees me, but from time to time he tries to 'flirt' and prance around and run wide swinging arcs around me... neener neener! Can't catch me!

When he does that, I throw my arms up (I usually have a catch rope or a heeling rope these days, no halter and lead needed), stomp at him, SSSHHHH or HA! (as in GO then, FINE. I didn't want you anyway) and he will almost always stop acting a fool, immediately turn and give me both eyes and come to me. He seems to think: WHOA! Hang on here! Wait just a darn minute! HEY LADY. That's not how... no no no... nooo, you're supposed to chase ME not drive me away!

He was the untouchable, uncatchable horse in April of this year. Now I can't run him off, he just can't stand it - but it took almost 6 months of almost daily interaction to get him 'easy to catch'.

Be prepared to be patient - but also be the top b#*$*h in his pasture (That doesn't mean be the meanest or an abustive *(&(^%$% in his pasture btw or you could create an entirely different sort of monster), in his life, and right now, it sounds like he doesn't think that's you.

You mentioned your other gelding was never like this... well.

That's your other gelding.

THIS gelding IS like this. (we have 6 horses and each one is as different as a fingerprint - each and every one of them rides different, has different spooks, different personalities, they are individuals, just like we are).

He's not being a bad horse mind you - he's just testing the herd dynamics, which is perfectly normal. That's what horses do - they constantly test one another to see who's the high horse. If he thinks he's got his bluff in on you, you're going to be in a world of hurt if you don't change the dynamics and quickly.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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post #19 of 23 Old 09-21-2017, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post

It's counterintuitive, in a way, but basically, when you approach the horse, out in the pasture or paddock, if they turn away from you and walk off, you make a little bit of a commotion.
When this happens and my mare walks away as I come to the pasture (after my initial disappointment), I walk parallel with her until I pass her shoulder, then I approach her. Cutting her off at her drive line will make her stop, doing so calmly will make her figure out what's up. As soon as I get two eyes I stand still and wait...then she'll come in with lowered head and say Hi! without fail as if to say, "Oh, it's YOU! Didn't recognize you there for a sec!"

On the other hand, I can also lead her back to the barn without halter and a lead rope draped loosely around her neck.
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post #20 of 23 Old 09-21-2017, 08:16 AM
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I mostly agree to all of the above. I do agree that if youre not sure of what youre doing or timing etc, find experienced help and dont hand feed.

But i am one that, esp with a horse i was just getting to know, one that was hard to catch, be it fear or just saying 'bug off', i likely would use treats as *part* of my approach.

And depending on the situation i might not expect the horse to go as far as being fully 'caught' & haltered to *earn* a treat.

Its the association, the emotion that sticks with them best in most lessons, so if you can create 'this human is good to be around/its worth coming when called', do it, with whatever works best.

Remember, horses learn from *instant* associations, so giving a treat more than a couple of seconds after a behaviour has stopped will not teach the desired lesson.

Likewise, ANY instant association with Good Stuff/what works will be reinforced so ensure you dont ever inadvertently reward the Wrong behaviour - like nuzzling pockets for eg.
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