Nasty in stall? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 11-10-2014, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Nasty in stall?

I'm new to horses totally, I've ridden when I was younger but have recently started riding English at a barn - I also groom and volunteer different days but I struggle with the horses being nasty occasionally when I go to groom them in their stalls. They go to bite/kick and so on. When this happens, I'm not sure what to do exactly. I used to back out of the stall because I was scared but the owner said a good thing to do is grab the halter and make them move/reposition them so they know that they should listen to you but sometimes this doesn't work and they're still nasty. Is there any tips or ticks anyone has? Is it maybe a confidence thing? I try not to act scared but sometimes it is a little scary, haha.
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post #2 of 32 Old 11-10-2014, 08:48 PM
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Carry a lunge whip or a dressage whip, whichever may be easier for you to use.

When they go to kick or bite, whack them good for the bad behavior, let them know you're in charge and not to be messed with.

Make them face you and submit to you, do this each and every time they act nasty and go to kick or bite.

If they let you get close and then try to bite, have a smaller whip in your hand and have the handle of the whip facing them, as they go to bite, bring the handle up and let it hit them in the mouth a bit, not forceful, let them run into the whip handle themselves. They tend not to like the feeling and will stop.

Also if you are unsure of using a whip, make sure you're fast enough and use your hand, a nice hard smack to the shoulder, hindquarter or neck and a loud reprimand like a loud 'NO!', or a buzzer like sound also works.

Instead of the whip to the mouth thing you can also deploy a nice stiff bristled brush for the same maneuver. Let them run into the hard bristles, again, they don't like the sensation and tend to back off.

Finally ask the owner if you can work with the horses out of the stall to work on ground manners and you being in control, if he says yes, then get a lead rope, a lunge whip or dressage whip and begin leading and moving them, make them move, let them know you're boss and bad behavior will be reprimanded.

I worked with a horse with nasty habits, nobody worked on correcting her until I started it, she'd try to run over me during leading, she'd get an elbow jab to the neck or shoulder each time she came over on me.
If she pinned her ears at me coming into her stall, I'd stand there whip in hand and not let her eat until she submitted to me, if she came at the bucket, she got popped and moved back. This applied to being in the field as well.

"They see me rollin, They hatin, Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty"
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post #3 of 32 Old 11-10-2014, 09:27 PM
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i would not allow a person new to horses to handle 'difficult' horses in the first place, and the owner of these horses should know this. if these horses are truly going to kick and bite at you then you need to change barns. being put in danger, especially when you are scared and unsure of what to do, is not safe at all.
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post #4 of 32 Old 11-10-2014, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Horseychick: Thanks, I'll have to try some of your suggestions. I'm hesitant about using a whip as most other girls at the barn say to never hit the horses? I think I might try letting him go at the brush.

EdmontonHorseGal: Honestly, the horses are great with the owner and day time people, they can do whatever they want to them basically. I think its just us more inexperianced people that have trouble, haha. Could be that I'm doing something wrong and I think it's more threatening to bite/kick than actually meaning to do so but its still scary! haha.
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post #5 of 32 Old 11-10-2014, 09:39 PM
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using a whip inside a stall can be asking for trouble. especially if you do not really have the confidence to know how to insist on obedience.

you are new to horses, so no one should expect yoiu to be albe to do what the barn owner, or long time riders can do. they need to show you how they get obedience.

I do not like tacking or grooming in a stall, but I know that at many barns, they do this, so you must live within the parameters of your barn.

ask to shadow the BO and watch what she does, and mimic her, in every way. the very way she enters the stall, or asks the horse to move over will set the total tone. with the very first interactions she is telling the horse, "I am in charge", thus, she never deals with the nastiness becuase the hrose does not feel he/she should act that way with her. by mimicking her, you can start setting the tone of "I am in charge" from the beginning, and will hopefully have more of the same outcome that they have.
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post #6 of 32 Old 11-10-2014, 09:50 PM
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If I have a horse that's invading my space, I usually have pretty good luck stepping towards them with confidence/intent, raising my hands while opening and closing them (at approximately their eye level) and letting out a load "PSSSSH!" If a horse doesn't back off from that, then it's probably not a horse they should be allowing anyone but experienced people to handle. I'd take in a whip for a horse like that, but not something I'd tell a beginner to do.

Horses are pretty good at sensing insecurity/inexperience and some will try to take advantage of it. Most horses will back down once they realize you're willing to challenge them back.

The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will. - Buck Brannaman
"Nothing forced can ever be beautiful." - Xenophon
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post #7 of 32 Old 11-11-2014, 01:46 PM
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If I am working in a stall with a horse I don't know or feel I can trust, I would have a halter and a lead rope on the horse. With out this, if the horse acts aggressively toward you and you correct it with the crop, it can wheel and kick at you and you would have no way to stop this.
If there is a bar or ring at the front of the stall I sometimes run the lead rope through this and hold the end so it is almost like having the horse tied but you are holding the rope. Work with the horse and make sure it is listening to you and does what you want. Brush the horse and clean the front foot and if you feel safe enough do the hind keeping yourself on the side where the door is so you have a way out if things go bad. Then move the horse over so you can do the other side with you being still by the door.
School horses are handled by a lot of people, some inexperienced and they are quick to pick up who they can intimidate. Once they recognize you as a person in command they will probably stop this behaviour. You could have the BO come with you to help you overcome this disobedience for the first couple of times.
Good Luck
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post #8 of 32 Old 11-11-2014, 01:53 PM
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Dittoing what others have said...it is not right or safe for the manager to put you in a dangerous position like this...horses biting or kicking can do real injury...also maybe its just me but ive never seen this kind of behaviour when going to groom a horse, i would have the horses owner look into why they are doing it...biting and kicking means that something about it aint making them too happy and something just feels off to me about the situation...

good luck and keep safe!!!
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post #9 of 32 Old 11-11-2014, 02:05 PM
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I is wrong for you to be put in this position.

You need to be able to get a halter on the horse and tie it up before you do anything else.

Please ignore the advice to carry a whip into the stable with you - this could well put you in a very dangerous position.

Horses will sense your nervousness and some will respond by trying to be frightening. It doesn't mean they will follow through but if you stand tall, shoulders back look them directly in the eye and use a deep growling voice, they will have respect. Waving an arm directly at them will help.

Insist that you are shown how to halter each horse,
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post #10 of 32 Old 11-11-2014, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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The horses DO all have halters and lead ropes on in their stalls. They're tied up in there while we work with them and some are let free overnight. I hardly ever deal with them without a halter.

I have a feeling that some of the problems with not wanting to be groomed stems from little kids dealing with them and perhaps being too rough when grooming. I try to be as gentle as I can to make it more relaxing for them, it's just the initial going into the stalls and their ears are back and threatening to bite.

I honestly don't think these horses are dangerous and its just me being too timid and then they take advantage of that. There's a couple that I can deal with fine and if they act like they're going to bite me, I laugh it off because they actually won't. I guess there are just others that intimidate me more.

Thanks guys for all your suggestions, I'll be sure to try and put some in motion when I visit on Thursday! I am getting better over time, but some are just very intimidating, haha.
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