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This is a follow up to my last post, linked here:
https://www.horseforum.com/horse-ri...-horse-has-become-suddenly-aggressive-814869/
I encourage you to read it before reading this.
The horse I am talking about is 19 and is WAY too old for this behavior. I've known Louie since I was three, and have been around him since then. He hasn't ever shown any signs whatsoever of aggression. Never pinned an ear at anyone. He was the sweetest and most affectionate horse I've ever known.
I'm the only one who rides him, and for the last month or so that I come out with a halter, he usually either just pins his ears, steps forward a little, and walks away. After that, I can catch him just fine. As soon as I get the halter on him, he's fine. I want to preface this by saying I am only 14, so I am in no way advanced in riding. I like to think I know what I'm doing though.
But, on the other hand, he has also turned his butt, and turned his but and kicked out at me. He has also pinned his ears and come at me.
So, here we are. I haven't ridden him in about a week, but haven't had him up or been around him in three days. I went out to out pasture to take off a fly mask of one of our older mares, and it was just her and Louie. No other horses around. I was nervous when I went out there, and to be honest, I was scared of him. I hate to admit that.
As I was walking over to the mare, all Louie did was pick up his ears and step towards me. And I immediately turned around and walked back. I was not going to be kicked or bitten today. I know that I shouldn't have done that, it was so stupid of me. I should have walked confidently up to both of them, including Louie, and just pet him, and show him that I wasn't going to do anything.
As I'm writing this, I feel so defeated. I was closer to this horse than I was to the people I considered my best friends. And now I can't even walk out to him. If anyone has something or anything that could help me and my horse in this situation it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

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Can you get someone more experienced to help you? It was a good idea to listen to your instincts and not challenge a horse that you aren’t sure you can stand up to and follow through. But now you need to fix it by getting a trainer out to show you how to do it. Don’t beat yourself up about it - you are still young and you need some guidance. I am much older than you and I avoid such confrontations with horses I am not sure I can win against. I personally mostly leave it to professionals unless I know the horse well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can you get someone more experienced to help you? It was a good idea to listen to your instincts and not challenge a horse that you aren’t sure you can stand up to and follow through. But now you need to fix it by getting a trainer out to show you how to do it. Don’t beat yourself up about it - you are still young and you need some guidance. I am much older than you and I avoid such confrontations with horses I am not sure I can win against. I personally mostly leave it to professionals unless I know the horse well.
My family can't really pay for a trainer as of now, especially in these times, but the person who taught me what I know has been around horses her entire life, quite literally, and is quite a lot more confident than I am. I've started having her out with me, and I've been carrying a small whip with me when I go to catch him.
 

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Hi again,

The horse I am talking about is 19 and is WAY too old for this behavior.
No, no horse is 'too old for this behaviour'. It has nothing to do with age. Excepting that if he's just suddenly started this & is 19yo, then I'd say there's an even higher chance it's due to some physical discomfort. Horses are horses. As said in the other thread, he may be doing this because he's trying to communicate to you something is wrong. He may have also learned that it works just to get out of something he doesn't want to do. And you CAN teach 'old dogs' new tricks.

I've known Louie since I was three, and have been around him since then. He hasn't ever shown any signs whatsoever of aggression.
So I presume he belongs to a parent or close relative? What's different lately - is it that you have started dealing with him by yourself lately, or asking more of him or anything? And where's his owner? Can they not help you?

As I was walking over to the mare, all Louie did was pr1ck up his ears and step towards me. And I immediately turned around and walked back. I was not going to be kicked or bitten today. I know that I shouldn't have done that, it was so stupid of me. I should have walked confidently up to both of them, including Louie, and just pet him, and show him that I wasn't going to do anything.
No! You were far from 'stupid' to have done that, and you 'shouldn't' have just walked up to him if you didn't feel safe doing so. Do not knock yourself for that! It's called 'self preservation' - listen to it & stay safe, first & foremost! Yes, from a training perspective, what you did was not helpful, but your safety should always be the no.1 priority.

As I'm writing this, I feel so defeated. I was closer to this horse than I was to the people I considered my best friends. And now I can't even walk out to him.
Don't feel defeated, just remember, it's a 'learning curve', something for you to learn better about, so that you can have better - and safer, more effective relationships with horses in future! Remember, these beasts don't think like us, and there is SOOO much to learn - it's often a case that we don't realise we need to learn more until things go wrong.

I know the feeling personally. And I believe the vast majority of us do, that have been around horses for any length of time. You believe you have a good thing going, you believe you have a decent basic knowledge about horses/behaviour. Then 'suddenly', everything goes to pot, for no apparent reason. Yes, it can be upsetting, especially if we have no one to turn to, to help us make sense of it.

Again, I urge you to find experienced hands on help if at all possible, and not to put yourself in danger. Not knowing the exact situation & behaviour of the horse, the way you do stuff, etc, we can only give 'generic' sort of advice here, so it may or may not be most appropriate for your specifics. And as mentioned with regard to HLG's post in the other thread, it can potentially make an aggressive horse more dangerous, if you 'retaliate' yourself. So I hesitate to recommend it. That said...

What I would likely do...

First, if it's possible to do so - eg. you can remain behind a fence or otherwise safe, so that the behaviour will not be effective, I do believe that 'Wrong' behaviours, including 'aggression' are often best just ignored rather than retalliated against. If for eg. he came at you with his ears back & you were able to just stand your ground, so his behaviour didn't work to get you to back off, he would, after a few tries, give it up. If you were also able to reward(with a treat or such) alternate/opposite type behaviours, such as approaching nicely, standing 'politely' with his nose to himself, this would make the Wrong behaviours stop all the more quickly.

But if it's possible/likely that you need to actually go in with him, in order to elicit the 'rude' behaviour, do whatever you need to, to ensure you stay safe. And that likely means NOT just ignoring the behaviour, but punishing it, strongly & effectively. Carry a Big Stick(ie an actual stick, a broom, a lunge/driving whip... etc). You're not going out with the intent of walloping him in the least. But if he comes at you or turns his rump on you, you can crack him one, from a safe distance, to ensure he learns it will be very unpleasant for him to do this to you.

**Don't fluff around with it. Don't waft it at him or tap him softly, but make it undoubtedly meaningful from the first time. The definition of punishment is that it is a consequence that is undesirable which makes that behaviour less likely to happen in future. If it's not unpleasant enough to do that, then it's just likely to 'nag'(annoy) the horse, but not cause it to rethink it's behaviour. So while I do believe in the principle 'be as gentle/soft as possible' and I also find punishment to be best avoided/used as little as possible in training, you must be prepared to use it strongly enough to make a big impression, when it's necessary. Better/clearer/more humane IME also, to give one-few good wallops, rather than having to continually 'niggle' at the horse about something too.

And don't forget to reward whatever 'Good' behaviour you do get. Even if, to begin with, because you're too worried to get too close to him, it means tossing him a bit of carrot or such, when he's just standing looking at you with pr!cked ears. Remember, horses learn from instant associations, so punishment/reward must happen *at the time of* the behaviour you want to effect. And horses do what works, quit doing what doesn't work. So if every time you see him being 'polite' with Good Manners you reward him for it, that's what you'll get more of.
 

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My family can't really pay for a trainer as of now, especially in these times, but the person who taught me what I know has been around horses her entire life, quite literally, and is quite a lot more confident ethan I am. I've started having her out with me, and I've been carrying a small whip with me when I go to catch him.
That sounds like a good plan. One thing that also came to mind is to take the mare in first and see how he behaves then. And if he let’s you catch him, don’t make him work every time. Take him in, groom him (if he enjoys that), give him carrots and take him out again. At the moment he thinks he will have work every time you get him (please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong and you don’t only catch to ride).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That sounds pretty smart, the part about putting the mare out, but, since this mare is elderly, we kept her up, and hasn't been out with him since two days ago. He has still shown the same behavior by himself, with the gelding my grandfather rides when we keep them up, as well as with the rest of the herd. And yes 90% of the time I go to bring him up, I ride him. So, I will definitely give your idea of catching, grooming, then turning out, a go. :)
 

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Another thought: if he is turned out with other horses (and it appears he is) - don’t try catching him food. That can turn into a horse fight real quick. I never take food out into a field because I saw a few times how quickly it can turn ugly, even with very experienced handling.
 
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