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Discussion Starter #1
Give a sharp downward tug on the reins or pop your horse on the nose, shoulder, neck, etc. when he is disrespecting you?​

Today, I got my horse out to lunge and hack and he was just fine lunging, but when I went to put his saddle on, as stated in previous posts, he totally disrespects me (this is when NOT in the crossties). He tries to eat, won't hold still, and today, he tried a new one. Where I was tacking him up today, because I was in a hurry I went to the closest ring that will soon be turned into an indoor. The walls of it are built up, so it forms a type of cliff. I was in the ring, with my saddle laying on the shortest cliff part (about up to my knee or thigh) and my horse was like "ooh, how convenient, it is the perfect grazing height! I barely have to put my head down!" I just smirked, and was like, ok, and then encouraged him to bring his head up. When he stopped, I reached over to grab my saddle, and heard a big WOOSH! He jumpd up the freaking cliff! I was like what has gotten into you?!​

I then proceded to climb up, and I calmed him down and was like, "Alright, lets try this again" Once again, I reached for the saddle (now ontop of the cliff) and went to put it on him. He began side stepping, and backing up. Then he started pulling up and down with his head, so I gave him a firm NO! Then when he wouldn't stop, I popped him in the nose. After that when he continued, I had about had it, so I gave a really hard downward tug on the reins. That stopped him for a minute (after he gave me a very offended look) and he began backing up again, this time a little nervously, so I cooed to him and gave little squeezes on the reins, and he rocked back on his haunches like he would rear. I thought, oh no you don't, and a few moments later he calmed down and allowed me to tack him up. I then praised him.​

Our ride was very pleasant, he was very uphill, and responsive, but I was so worked up over the whole thing, I had tears welling up in my eyes.​

I felt so bad about smacking him and being harsh, but it was so irritating! I know here I made him sound like a devil horse, but this is so out of character of him. The cold weather has been getting him excited, not to mention all the horses in the pastures were running around like crazy.​

I don't think he was scared or anything, at least not until the end when he got a little too worked up, it just seems like the cold weather has got his tail up his butt!​

I just want to make sure that I will not scare him or hurt him by doing this. So, is it ok to get tough and pop him or pull on his reins every now and then if he gets a little too rowdy?​

After our ride he was fine, and before and after our ride he was even following me around at a trot while I jogged beside him. So it couldn't have gotted him too feaked out.​

Thanks in advance! I am SO sorry how long this turned out!​
 

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IMHO, I think you were well in your rights to reprimand him, but then again, I'm not an expert. I will be lurking to view more responses! ;)
 

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Sounds like he had it coming. Don't overthink it. You did fine. If it were horse to horse discipline he'd have been bitten, or kicked. A little thwack won't crush him.
 

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Your horse out weighs you by hundreds of pounds. You can't sugar coat everything you do with him. I don't think you did a thing wrong.
 

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Let me start by saying that I have no reservations about "popping" a horse if he's being an idiot. 1,000 lbs of idiot is not funny or safe. On the nose is not ideal, the neck or shoulder is preferred, but it sounds like under the circumstances you did what you could, and I probably would have reacted similarly.

That being said, I am a firm believer in "the power of groundwork." My advice to you is to bait him into the behavior that you described, and correct it on your time. For example, my horse can get grabby for grass while I'm latching/unlatching gates, or just standing and holding him. So, I stand with him on a loose lead, and expect him to stand calmly at my side, his head at a comfortable level. If he goes to graze, I'll give one fairly sharp tug on the halter and a sharp verbal "AACHT" (best when he first moves, a lighter touch achieves the best result here. If he goes all the way down, it takes more to get him up, plus he's likely rewarded himself with a nibble already) Usually, his head pops up, and he looks at me, and stands quietly on a loose lead (when I say loose lead, he's for all practical purposes ground tied), so I praise him. If he doesn't feel like standing still, I move his feet. Moving is actually a wonderful idea, but we'll move the way I want to. Take his idea and turn it into yours.

To take the scenario you gave: He started to sidestep and back up when you went to saddle him untied. I would have essentially told him (I'll even talk to mine in English as a matter of keeping myself focused and calm, but your body language can tell him all he needs to know) "Going backwards is a fantastic idea! Lets do some more!" and backed his bum across the arena until he was less than eager to continue, and then three steps further. Then, allow him to stand nicely. If he does, praise. If he doesn't, do exactly what he wants to do times 10 again, and give him another opportunity to stand nicely. If he's really good about tacking up tied, I would personally only tack him untied until he gets the drift that expectations have not changed.

Any and all groundwork will probably benefit you. Try some grooming and showmanship type tasks from both sides. Clinton Anderson's lunging for respect, yielding shoulders/hindquarters, circle driving, etc. can be awesome tools to have in your arsenal, as well as Parelli's 7 Games, and Dennis Reis' Tasks. Just move his body around in ways that are not necessarily his idea. The more able to move his feet you are, the more respect you probably have. Gaining respect doesn't mean that you have to be mean about it. Just expect that he respond, and don't take no for an answer. Be the annoying salesman who follows you around until you buy that flatscreen tv. :wink: Be a fly in his hair until he responds.

Also, be sure that none of your tack is frightening to him. You might try some sacking out to test this. By what you described, though, it isn't a fear issue.

OK, that got longer than I thought... sorry for the novel, and cookies to you dreamrider if you read the whole thing! :lol:

Good luck!
 

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I love ScoutRider's response, and think it contains lots of useful tips.

AND I think your horse is testing you, trying to figure out who is really the alpha in the relationship and what he can really get away with. You were entirely correct in asserting yourself and correcting the behavior.

I do have one small quibble - I think in general it's a bad idea to discipline a horse through the bit, and in particular with the downward tug. The downward tug puts pressure directly on the sensitve bars on the horse's mouth, the thing we want most to preserve as a communication route. I do understand you were dealing with a bad situation with what you had at the time; so no criticism of past actions here, just a suggestion that there are more positive ways to deal with it going forward.

Piggybacking on ScoutRider again, I thinking teaching backing on the ground is an excellent way to establish submission and obedience - similiar to a long down when training dogs. If your horse is constantly in your personal space, it's an excellent way to teach a little bodily respect.
 

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To me it sounds like he needs more ground work. Also from your description of events, you frightened him and caused him to react even worse by reacting as strongly to him.

If you cannot get your animal to respect you you need to either work on his ground manners and ground tying, have someone else hold him while you tack, or tie his head so he isn't tempted to eat and ignore you.

I would recommend the first, It seems to me like he is just untrained in proper ground tying and needs some more work.

Oh and NEVER jerk on your horses reins, his mouth is way too sensitive you can cause irreparable nerve damage with very little force, not to mention you can teach him to be resistant to the bit and being bridled if he thinks he will be hurt every time you have a bit in his mouth. Also, the pop in the nose method isn't good idea either, noses are really sensitive, that would only be an appropriate response for biting to move his head away from you because you are in immediate danger. A shoulder smack should suffice for an attention getter, there is no reason to do all three, especially if he was frightened already to the point of nearly flipping. You punished him for being frightened of you when you kept reprimanding him, not for disrespect.

Mind you, I have no problem using physical force to get respect form a 1000lb animal, but I think you went beyond a reprimand.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
See, that was what I was worried about. I mostly felt bad about pulling on the reins because of his mouth, so now I know not to do that. And also the nose thing, although I basically poked it, so nothing serious there. I lunge him everyday, so it should be fairly easy to apply scoutriders method of baiting him into the behavior he was showing. I will definitely work on that tomorrow, although I don't thing I'm riding, just lunging :-( Maybe I'll just hold him in the grass for a minute and work on that.:wink:

Honeysuga, I guess I explained it bad, but he didn't rear or anything, just raised his head and backed up. Also, I didn't keep punishing him after he stopped, I punished him while he was acting up, and once he stopped I immediately praised him. Sorry about explaining it wrong...

So I guess from now on I'll go for a shoulder smack, and I knew that was better than what I did, but I was in a desperate position.

LOL, and also, as explained in previous posts, this seems like a huge deal to me because I'm always getting yelled at for being too nice :wink:
 

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The best thing you could do is get him good enough with his ground work so you can stop it from happening in the first place. If you know your horse wants to graze and pull you all over while yo tack him up, don't try tacking him up where there is something to eat. As has been discussed in other threads, it is better to prevent the bad behavior than to try to fix it. If you want to cure the behavior then work to prevent the grazing and don't try saddling him at the same time.
 

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Yank on the reins - no

smack on the face - no

both of these can physically or mentally [emotion] damage a horse, but sometimes it's hard not to do one of these things!

using your voice can be an effective reprimand - my horse has learned that when I call "good boy!!" that I'm pleased with him and is learning that if I hiss, or growl that he's doing something I don't want him to do...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, I will definitely not pull on his face, and the nose poke was because he was see-sawing with his head, although a shoulder smack would have gotten the job done. I did start with numerous no's, and they didn't help, so I proceded to physical contact. Like I said, I'm not actually riding today, so I'll lunge him, bring him up to a grassy spot, and work on getting him still.

Kevinshorses-I agree with your saying of avoiding the situation altogether, but the thing is I HAVE to tack up in the grass when I lunge, or else it would take forever for me to walk all the way back to the barn and then down again. Our barn is layed out sort of weird because our actual arena is down the hill, and our one closest to the barn isn't actual dirt yet, since it is not yet built :wink:

Thanks for the advice everyone! If you have more feel free to share!
 

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Sounds to me like he "doesn't want to" and has found a way to get what he wants. Respect is the key--lots of ways to achieve this but all take time and hard work. Striking a horse in the head is a no no. Using the bit as a reprimand is pretty usual but one has to have respect before it will do any good.
 

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Tack him up in the stall? I dont tack up near grass ever, it usually leads to a pulling match, and makes your bit dirty. When a horse acts up I ask them to back up a few steps back, scolding them in a firm tone. If a horse is acting dangerously I will give them a smack on the shoulder. Not the neck or face.

My mare knows my tone right away. I dont even have to lift my hand. Shes very responsive to me. On the other hand my weanling isnt yet. He tries to pull me around sometimes. He dosent yet fully understand the idea of ground work, so if I smack him he wont even know why. He'll just get upset.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm happy to say today I brought him out and took him in the grass like I was going to tack up. Just like scoutrider said, I expected him to do what he was supposed to, and he began trying to walk in a circle around me. Again, taking what scoutrider said, I said, "oh, you want to circle? Great idea, we can do that!" I then proceded to sending him in a circle around me by holding onto part of the rein. He stopped shortly after, stared at me, and that was the end of that. I then dropped the reins completely, keeping a really close eye on him, and started moving all around him, rubbing him everywhere, talking to him sweetly, poking him, and he just stood there. I was so happy I prasied him for like ten minutes and let him know he was such a good boy.

So yeah, he was fantastic today, I only had to raise my voice :D

5cuetrain-Like I said before, I didn't smack him in the nose, I tapped him with the tips of my fingers, almost like a poke. I'm sorry for the confusion, I know in the original post I said I popped him, but I didn't :wink:
 

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I agree...you had to wake him up somehow. Next time, though, don't argue with him...if he wants to move, then by all means MAKE HIM MOVE!!! Ask him to back up the entire circumfrence of the pen, or simply put him to work longing...no lolly gagging though, make his butt move quickly! if he wants to move, just make that stupid idea your idea; I know it's not always convenient to work him on the ground more, but it will convey to him that standing still IS easier than fidgiting :D
 

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Where I was tacking him up today, because I was in a hurry I went to the closest ring that will soon be turned into an indoor.

Do you see anything in what your wrote here that stands out? "Because I was in a hurry." There's a good chance you set yourself up for his reaction. When you're in a hurry, you're sending nervous energy to your horse through your posture and movements.

To answer your question, I never think it is appropriate to strike a horse, but correcting him by backing him off with a lead rope or your body language is perfectly acceptable. Horse's definitely need boundaries, but they also deserve calm, consistent leadership as well.​
 

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Where I was tacking him up today, because I was in a hurry I went to the closest ring that will soon be turned into an indoor.​


Do you see anything in what your wrote here that stands out? "Because I was in a hurry." There's a good chance you set yourself up for his reaction. When you're in a hurry, you're sending nervous energy to your horse through your posture and movements.​


To answer your question, I never think it is appropriate to strike a horse, but correcting him by backing him off with a lead rope or your body language is perfectly acceptable. Horse's definitely need boundaries, but they also deserve calm, consistent leadership as well.​

I agree with this esp. the body language....Sometimes all I have to do is put on a mean face or what I tell my geldings "my mare face" and that seems to work.
 
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