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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently started working with a two year old pony. She is being worked with by my trainer. I have a quick question. When se misbehaves, how much is too much or too little of a punishment? I was picking the pasture a few days ago and she kept sticking her nose into the wheel barrow. I told er to knock it off and popped her on the muzzle with my hand...that's what my trainer told me to do is she won't respect me. Se didn't stop poking her nose into it. I did repeatedly try to get her to knock it off without having to use anything other than my voice. Didn't really work. She is a pushy pony. Down right adorable and is used to getting away with a lot becuase of that. I just don't want to over do it. But then at the same time not make any effect on her at all. Suggestions?
 

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When se misbehaves, how much is too much or too little of a punishment? I was picking the pasture a few days ago and she kept sticking her nose into the wheel barrow. I told er to knock it off and popped her on the muzzle with my hand...that's what my trainer told me to do is she won't respect me.
We each have our way of doing things and rules that we want to be consistent with. For me, this is just a horse being curious, not misbehaving, but if she's getting in the way to the point that it's slowing down the work, I would shoo her off/chase her away.
 

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Sticking her nose in the wheel barrow while loose in the field or pen has nothing to do with respect. It is simply curiosity . She was not disrespecting your space if she was just checking out an object. Now if she started knocking down the tools or something then I would simply remove her from the area while I was cleaning (that is a really good time for patience pole tying lessons) . I don't like to reduce a young horse's natural curiosity or braveness by picking at them for being nosy.

It is very different from when you are actually focusing on HER, in a training situation . At those times then you do need to demand respect and do whatever is necessary in an instant (when required) to get the point across that you are not a toy or to be ignored when you ask her to move .
 

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I think the issue is when you told her to stop she ignored you. I would only ever bop her nose if she does something with her nose, good way to make her headshy. I use my voice and if necessary a tug on the lead or a smack on the neck/shoulder. The horses learn to read you. Do NOT nitpick. If it's not working don't keep on doing the same thing, up the ante. In this situation I would "shoo" her away. Wave your arms, clap your hands, use your voice (I usually cluck since that's my cue to move, but as long as you make it clear you don't like what she's doing/move over! it's fine) make her move.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" something us horse people tend to be guilty of! She obviously could care less about your voice because there are obviously no consequences, it doesn't mean anything to her. If she won't move, make her move! Don't be afraid of overdoing it (esp not with a horse like you described) do what you need to make her listen. Standing there and saying "please dont'" isn't going to do anything. Use your body language and be "mean" and "tough" and INCHARGE when she doesn't listen!

I agree though, nothing wrong with being curious if she's not bothering anything. I will ignore them and not change my work (do NOT work around her, if she gets in your way make her move, she will quickly learn not to get in your way. If she gets a faceful of manure so be it, she will learn.)

If she continues to be a pain remove her or give her some hay or something, she's not being bad just annoying so it would be better to find something else to do than repeatedly punish her (and make a training session out of nothing). Most horses give up and wander away but some just don't lol
 

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My now 4 yr. old gelding who was born here is a very curious guy.......it's funny out in the pasture he's a brat but as soon as the halter is put on him he knows it's time to listen up!
I also don't believe in knocking the curiosity out of a horse, you want them to be brave and not scared of everything........I wouldn't worry about it, if it bothered you too much then I would remove the horse for the time being while you were in there.....
 

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"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" something us horse people tend to be guilty of!
Ha! Just had to repeat that bit cos oh so true!

To OP, agree with others. I'd be careful to 'pick your fights' & IMO this is not one I'd bother with. I also think the whole anthropomorphic concept of 'respect/disrespect' and ideas of when a horse 'deserves' punishment because of this are unhelpful, to say the least. I also find that even when it's well 'delivered' and appropriate, punishment can still have 'side effects' so I'd use it very judiciously with full understanding.

So saying all that, I am a stickler for 'manners' and at the end of the day, manners for you & your horse are the ones you personally want. So if you have decided that sticking her nose into a barrow is 'bad manners' then I would a) be totally & utterly consistent about what I allow & what I don't. This will have to include when you're not there, if you don't want her to associate the 'rule' just with you. b)head her off at the pass. Think about how you can change her motivation & redirect her to a 'good' behaviour before she gets her nose in there - teach her an alternate behaviour c) punish her immediately and every time she sticks her nose in, effectively(strongly) enough that she thinks twice about doing it again. d)reinforce/reward her immediately she stops & does something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I guess I should explain a bit more. She was getting in my way and was knocking the manure fork I had in it on the ground. I let it go the first few times, but when it got where she was pushing me over if I would get to the wheel barrow where I was starting to get a bit annoyed. I did try to shoo her off by waving my arms. It only made her back up a couple of steps and then as soon as I stoped, she came right back. I bopped her on the nose only twice. After that I stopped. Trainer just told me a few days ago that if I was going to go in there to make sure I didn't let er push me around. I understand she is a young horse and is going to want check things out, but I would like her to listen to me when I tell her to back off. Thanks for your replies!
 

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Personally - I would never punish my horse for curiosity. Yes they should back off when they tell you to, but when you walk away they are free to go back to the object. If you think of it in terms of herd order with a piece of food - the higher rank animal walks over and backs the lower one off the food, if the higher rank one walks away, the lower one has full rights to go back and eat it until the higher one returns. So what she's doing is 100% acceptable in herd mentality and nothing deserving of punishment.
If her natural and good behavior is annoying to you you can tie her up with some hay while you clean or put her somewhere else.

In my case, I've taught all my horses to "station" on a mat outside or at a jolly ball hung in their stall. I use this while I clean or when I'm bringing food out to the paddocks.
Here's a little video on training horses to station - it's the method I used (and use for everything) but it also points out the value of the skills. This isn't me it's just a great video I found. :)
 

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I did try to shoo her off by waving my arms. It only made her back up a couple of steps and then as soon as I stoped, she came right back. ... but I would like her to listen to me when I tell her to back off. Thanks for your replies!
She did 'listen' to you & responded by backing up:wink: Just make sure that behaviour 'works' for her & she's rewarded for it & she'll do it more often & get reliable about it.

Agree with Punks, except that if the horse is actually pushing you around, getting into your space, I do think it's important to teach them not to, rather than just tie them up or otherwise keep them away.

Oh & another disagreement Punks, 'stationing'?? I don't at all disagree with the principle & exercise, but the name?? What's wrong with 'stay' or 'stand'??:lol:
 

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When the horse is pushing you and in your space thats not curiosity thats being disrespectful. I dont care if their loose no horse pushes me around while loose.

That horse deserves a good whack with the pitch fork right upside its neck. Think people have curiosity mixed up with flat disrespectful. One thing if they come over to check out what your doing another when their pushing you around.
 

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Agree with Punks, except that if the horse is actually pushing you around, getting into your space, I do think it's important to teach them not to, rather than just tie them up or otherwise keep them away.

Oh & another disagreement Punks, 'stationing'?? I don't at all disagree with the principle & exercise, but the name?? What's wrong with 'stay' or 'stand'??:lol:
Oh I'm sorry if I misstated that - if a horse is being rude or invasive to your space they certainly need to be taught never OK. But if they're just being curious of an object you're personal space bubble isn't encompassing then they're not "breaking a rule" - worthy of punishment. If they're just being curious and playful and you don't want them to do this, rather than punishing them, avoiding the situation may be more ideal.

As for the name of the skill - I didn't choose it :p I think they wanted to separate it from "Standing" (without an object to stand on) or ground tying or "stay" like a dogs. I think they just ran out of name options that were unique :p I just tell my horse to go to their mat or go to their ball and they "Stay" or "Stand" or "target" on the object. I don't really care what people want to call it :p
 

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When the horse is pushing you and in your space thats not curiosity thats being disrespectful. I dont care if their loose no horse pushes me around while loose.

That horse deserves a good whack with the pitch fork right upside its neck. Think people have curiosity mixed up with flat disrespectful. One thing if they come over to check out what your doing another when their pushing you around.

I didn't see anywhere where she said the horse invaded her space - just got in her way (between her and the wheel barrel and knocking things out of the wheel barrel, but not touching her) unless I mis-interpretted the situation?
If the horse is invading her space and being pushy I would agree she needs to be corrected and trained what is and isn't acceptable.
 

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If the horse is invading her space and being pushy I would agree she needs to be corrected and trained what is and isn't acceptable.
Key important words IMO.

The problem with labling it as 'disrespect' and the ensuing assumption that it 'deserves' punishment I think is best considered if you think of the horse as a human toddler. If a 2yo child did something 'rude', I'd absolutely be *teaching* them that this was unacceptable & giving consequences to the actions. But it's got nothing to do with 'respect' or 'deserving' punishment(let alone with a pitchfork:-() if the child has never been taught it's unacceptable in the first place.
 

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Key important words IMO.

The problem with labling it as 'disrespect' and the ensuing assumption that it 'deserves' punishment I think is best considered if you think of the horse as a human toddler. If a 2yo child did something 'rude', I'd absolutely be *teaching* them that this was unacceptable & giving consequences to the actions. But it's got nothing to do with 'respect' or 'deserving' punishment(let alone with a pitchfork:-() if the child has never been taught it's unacceptable in the first place.
Completely agree.
 

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I let it go the first few times, but when it got where she was( pushing me over if I would get to the wheel barrow where I was starting to get a bit annoyed.


Re read this part of post sorry thats called DISRESPECT PERIOD!!! no matter how you look at it. Sorry but no horse of mine will push on me without a serious come to jesus meeting. If horse is a 2 year old should already have learned to respect your space.

When i go into corral to dump hay all 3 horses know they dam well better stay away. I dont want to get kicked one well placed kick and your dead. So your horses better learn early on whos the leader, if your not well then you will get HURT....only a matter of time.

Not dealing with a puppy dog here its a 1000 pound horse who is capable of killing you. Maybe no one agrees with my ways but they work. My horses are respectful and no they dont FEAR me either.
 

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One of my horses is curious about everything, to the point he'd never have survived in the wild. One day snow fell off the barn roof in a big whump. I witnessed three very different reactions from three horses. The qh/tb ran a couple of steps, turned and looked. The curious one immediately had to check it out. The arab "I'm outta here" and took off. What's great with the curious one tho is it takes something very much out of the ordinary to spook him and it's not much of a spook.
 

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Key important words IMO.

The problem with labling it as 'disrespect' and the ensuing assumption that it 'deserves' punishment I think is best considered if you think of the horse as a human toddler. If a 2yo child did something 'rude', I'd absolutely be *teaching* them that this was unacceptable & giving consequences to the actions. But it's got nothing to do with 'respect' or 'deserving' punishment(let alone with a pitchfork:-() if the child has never been taught it's unacceptable in the first place.
A horse is a horse not a 2 year old child so comparing them in my book doesnt make sense. For one iv raised a child who is now 15 years old. So i know how to teach respect and disapline.

My now 15 year old daugghter is an A honor roll student very respectfull and polite hard working girl. She didnt get that way by chance either, so id say iv done something right. No i wasnt mean or unfair ever because to this day she likes being with her mom. She also knows not to disrespect me to.

We are talking about a horse who doesnt have the ability to reason. A 2 year old horse should already be respectfull of your space if their not then, i guess youv failed in your training.

And just so you know iv NEVER have hit my horse with a pitchfork i dont need to they know iam in charge. Sorry but i could never think of a 1000 pound horse as a child. They are animals not humans and OPS horse is disrespectfull.

Any horse that pushs me around is going to get it dont care if they know better or not. If you dont call being pushed around by a horse disrespectfull then what is it? It sure isnt a respect thing. If you like being pushed around by a horse so be it but iam sure not going to tolerate it.

I label it as disrespect because thas what it is no two ways about it. A 2 year old horse should already know whats acceptable and what not by then, if not its call youv failed as a trainer period!!! Were talking about a horse not a humane toddler two totally difrent deals here. My horses are treated like horses not humanes.


There again no one will agree with what iv said think what you want but iam not here asking for training help. My horses are respectful and when i go into corrals i know iam safe,because i wont be mobbed by my horses.
 

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I let it go the first few times, but when it got where she was( pushing .....

Re read this part of post sorry that's called DISRESPECT PERIOD!!!
I disagree, period. If OP has 'let it go' in the past, when considering, in your words, horses cannot reason, the horse has been inadvertently taught that this behaviour is acceptable. Just that it's not & should be corrected, which both of us agree, doesn't make it 'disrespect' in my book.

A horse is a horse not a 2 year old child so comparing them in my book doesnt make sense.
Yeah perhaps I wasn't clear, meant that in respect... pardon the pun ;-) of learning & 'manners' & 'respect'. Maybe compare the horse's being allowed to get in a person's space with a child in the lollies aisle whining to their mum & her giving in. Repeatedly. Now I personally consider that 'bad manners' and on principle(even if I had been planning on spoiling them) would say no to a whiny child in that sort of situation. But I wouldn't blame that child or lable them 'disrespectful' because their mother has taught them that behaviour works.

A 2 year old horse should already be respectfull of your space if their not then, I guess youv failed in your training.

And just so you know iv NEVER have hit my horse with a pitchfork
You were the one to say about the pitchfork. OP is asking for help, it's obvious that she didn't know the answer, knows what she's doing isn't working & is trying to learn better(hopefully we all know that feeling), so telling her she's a failure isn't very fair, let alone helpful.

Agree fully that a 2yo horse should have good, safe manners, but many don't, be that due to inconsistant handling, lack of handling, whatever. Or perhaps they were a well trained horse that has learned in later years that pushiness & 'mugging' works. Whatever. I don't hold it against them, just teach them better. ;-) Perhaps, pitchforks aside, our actual tactics with the horse may be very similar, but I believe the mindset/intent behind the actions are very important too.
 
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