Question about aggro horse in stall... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 08-14-2015, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Question about aggro horse in stall...

FIRSTLY I Just want to say thanks to you guys that encouraged me to go volunteer - I have found a place I'll be volunteering at for 3/4 days a week. I am surprisingly (to me) not the oldest volunteer that has applied. The owner of the stables is REALLY nice and is planning on teaching me the basics, including some groundwork activities, explaining pressure and release. If anything she was eager to have someone that's interested and might be able to work a few select horses for her regularly.

SECONDLY I wanted to get an opinion on how to deal with a horse that is disrespectful or aggressive/fearful in their stall. It's the ONLY thing I'm actually super concerned about while volunteering and didn't think to ask when I was there. The yard has quite a few stallions (which I am well aware increases the risk of anything bad happening). There might come a time where I have to deal with a difficult horse and will struggle to catch him, even in his stall or have him bite my bum every time I reach for his girth or even bite the hair off my head (this all happened when I was younger). I was never appropriately trained then but how would I, a stranger to the horse, work around this situation?

Many thanks again for your amazing input x
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post #2 of 44 Old 08-14-2015, 04:20 PM
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The first horse I ever lessoned on would try to bite when the girth was being done up. I was always told to smack them, and have in the past. That worked, but now I usually back them out of my space and keep them away until satisfied that my space is respected again.

Any tips for keeping a grey horse grey would be greatly appreciated! ;D
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post #3 of 44 Old 08-14-2015, 04:41 PM
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Stall aggression usually first begins at feeding time. It often is happenstance the first time but the person feeding usually leaves the stall quickly. A horse is quick to think, "if I flatten my ears, food comes quickly" and it escalates from there. What I am going to suggest is you do the feeding. You want him to know you are coming with his goodies and watch his reaction as you approach. He'll probably be quite impatient by now so what I want you to do is turn your back and slowly start walking away. You are allowed only a quickly peek to see what he's doing. He may start banging and really carrying on because he's confused. This is what you want. When at a distance he can see you turn and wait for his carrying on to stop. The moment he does, walk toward him. If he starts again, walk away again. He's trying to figure out how this works. Patience on your part is vital. In desperation he may move to the back of the stall. That again is when you approach. I had a mare start banging on the gate and I did as described. It took two feedings with my walking away for her to figure it out. After that she'd call, then start walking away, then I'd call her after her feed was in place and she'd come back. No more gate banging.



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post #4 of 44 Old 08-14-2015, 05:34 PM
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I doubt the facility will have you doing anything they have not fully trained you for. Also, you can refuse to do anything you are not comfortable doing-anything.
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post #5 of 44 Old 08-14-2015, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natisha View Post
I doubt the facility will have you doing anything they have not fully trained you for. Also, you can refuse to do anything you are not comfortable doing-anything.
Remember that you are just starting to learn the correct way of handling and working around horses, and I am sure you will initially be working with the "easy" ones until you gain some knowledge and confidence. If you are unsure about anything, don't do it or ask for advice first. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Some times the answer to what may seem like a dumb question can be very helpful.
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post #6 of 44 Old 08-14-2015, 11:40 PM
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Always be aware of your surroundings and have an escape plan if things go south. That means also being aware of the horse and not letting it get between you and your exit. You may never need to use that escape plan and I hope you don't but always have it.

As far as getting nips in while your in their biting zone you just need to learn to read horses and experience is your best teacher with that. Pay attention, listen to and watch the woman showing you the ropes.
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post #7 of 44 Old 08-15-2015, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by JCnGrace View Post
Always be aware of your surroundings and have an escape plan if things go south. That means also being aware of the horse and not letting it get between you and your exit. You may never need to use that escape plan and I hope you don't but always have it.
Especially if/when you're asked to handle the stallions. People say don't ever turn your back on a stud but I've found there are situations in which that is unavoidable. The trick is to remain vigilant of the stallion's location and attitude at all times. And yes, that can mean having to develop "eyes in the back of your head".

The wisest horsewoman I've ever known told me to treat every horse as if it's a stallion, and every stallion as if it's a horse, because while things are statistically more *likely* to go wrong with stallions, they can also go very, very wrong with mares and geldings, too. So if you're vigilant and aware, and treat every horse with firm, tactful fairness regardless of its gender, you're far less likely to be hurt if/when things do go wrong.

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post #8 of 44 Old 08-15-2015, 06:25 AM
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I was going to ask isn't it different when handling a stallion?
I heard it was bad to hit a stallion as this can make them more aggressive? Obviously people do it to discipline them but I was told you have to be really careful..
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post #9 of 44 Old 08-15-2015, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Rainaisabelle View Post
I was going to ask isn't it different when handling a stallion?
I heard it was bad to hit a stallion as this can make them more aggressive? Obviously people do it to discipline them but I was told you have to be really careful..
In theory you shouldn't hit any horse unless it's an absolute last resort. If you go straight to hitting to correct a misbehaviour you're likely to make a horse sullen, withdrawn and upset - and stallions will usually fight back because they have more testosterone than geldings or mares.

I'm not into natural horsemanship but I am a BIG advocate of the adage, "Do as little as possible, but as much as necessary."

So, if I want a horse out of my space (for example), I ask very softly first, in the body language equivalent of a whisper. If I'm ignored, I ask a little louder. An ask. If that's ignored, I tell. Then I demand. And then I promise. And "promise" is BIG - huge energy, huge dominant aggressive body language, and yes, if needed, a crack across the chest (or butt) with a dressage whip. 99% of horses will react to the final "promise" phase with a big "WHOA OKAY Imma get out of the crazy lady's space she means BUSINESS" - which can take the form of quite a violent spook - but 99% of horses will then not need me to go that far again.

Edit; it's not something you want to do in front of people though because it looks quite horrible. You want the horse to honestly believe the devil is at his heels if he refuses to respond to the lighter cues. The difference between this approach and abuse is that in this approach you have given the horse plenty of opportunities to respond to gentleness first, whereas with abuse, people just go straight to thrashing the horse if it doesn't do as it's told. If, for example, I was asking a horse to yield its hindquarter, I start by just giving that part of the horse's body a certain look. With an attitude of "You're going to move and I mean it" - this is the whisper phase, you have not yet given a physical cue, it's all in the attitude. Then you ask by touching the hindquarter and pressing lightly against it. Tell is a repetitive tapping motion for three seconds. Demand is a firm repetitive open-handed slap - not belting just showing that you mean business. And then Promise is all he!! breaking loose. And THE MOST IMPORTANT PART is to COMPLETELY stop and just stand there the instant the horse yields.

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Last edited by blue eyed pony; 08-15-2015 at 06:49 AM.
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post #10 of 44 Old 08-15-2015, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue eyed pony View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainaisabelle View Post
I was going to ask isn't it different when handling a stallion?
I heard it was bad to hit a stallion as this can make them more aggressive? Obviously people do it to discipline them but I was told you have to be really careful..
In theory you shouldn't hit any horse unless it's an absolute last resort. If you go straight to hitting to correct a misbehaviour you're likely to make a horse sullen, withdrawn and upset - and stallions will usually fight back because they have more testosterone than geldings or mares.

I'm not into natural horsemanship but I am a BIG advocate of the adage, "Do as little as possible, but as much as necessary."

So, if I want a horse out of my space (for example), I ask very softly first, in the body language equivalent of a whisper. If I'm ignored, I ask a little louder. An ask. If that's ignored, I tell. Then I demand. And then I promise. And "promise" is BIG - huge energy, huge dominant aggressive body language, and yes, if needed, a crack across the chest (or butt) with a dressage whip. 99% of horses will react to the final "promise" phase with a big "WHOA OKAY Imma get out of the crazy lady's space she means BUSINESS" - which can take the form of quite a violent spook - but 99% of horses will then not need me to go that far again.

Edit; it's not something you want to do in front of people though because it looks quite horrible. You want the horse to honestly believe the devil is at his heels if he refuses to respond to the lighter cues. The difference between this approach and abuse is that in this approach you have given the horse plenty of opportunities to respond to gentleness first, whereas with abuse, people just go straight to thrashing the horse if it doesn't do as it's told. If, for example, I was asking a horse to yield its hindquarter, I start by just giving that part of the horse's body a certain look. With an attitude of "You're going to move and I mean it" - this is the whisper phase, you have not yet given a physical cue, it's all in the attitude. Then you ask by touching the hindquarter and pressing lightly against it. Tell is a repetitive tapping motion for three seconds. Demand is a firm repetitive open-handed slap - not belting just showing that you mean business. And then Promise is all he!! breaking loose. And THE MOST IMPORTANT PART is to COMPLETELY stop and just stand there the instant the horse yields.
Of course in theory you shouldn't go straight to hitting first I should explain more basically what I am asking is do stallions tend to be more aggressive when it comes to corrections of any sort ?
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