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For best actor. He had us fooled for a good eight months. Today of course was the culmination of his acting career, when he attacked my BO. I was not there for the incident, but while we were having the conversation about it, things lined up for me in my head. She told me that a little girl was uncomfortable fastening the leg strap for his blanket whilst in his stall, so she stepped in to put it on. She fastened it no problem, walked around him to check everything else was where it should be without so much as a sour look. As she was leaving, she saw a piece of plastic near his door, so she bent down to pick it up. As she stood back up, he pinned his ears and bared his teeth at her. They started a little dance of "my space, not yours" for fifteen minutes. It ended with what Pam (the BO) thought was submission--she thought he was licking and chewing while in the back corner of his stall, so she turned to leave quietly. He apparently lunged at her, grabbed her by the arm, and quite literally tossed her to the ground. I didn't see it, but she says her whole upper arm is purple.

The first thing that caught me was the fact that she'd bent down--If I bend down in the round pen to say, tie my shoe, he'll take it as an opportunity to turn or stop without asking. The second thing was that it was in his stall. Obviously he sees this as his space, for the most part he is right. We did have some issues earlier in our relationship that a respect stick seemed to fix, so that has been brought back out and now stands out by his stall. The third thing that caught me was that she mentioned that he may have been beaten, something I have also thought in the past. When you ask him to move out of your space his head flies up, his eyes roll back, and its obvious he's in "protection" mode, more so than just "bah, get your hand away from my face!"

Let me just say that she didn't just let him get away with attacking her. Of course he won that round, but later she had one of our NH boarders work with him. She said they worked for about a half hour, and really pushed him to throw a little bit of trust out there. I think she follows Parelli, which honestly I could care less about what program specifically she works. I think he's officially been moved from the "horse with a problem" category to "problem horse". He has no trust in people in general, and for myself I'll say that he only has a tiny bit. However, throughout his life I now know that he has most likely learned to comply with what you ask of him, rather than truly be submissive and really want to do it. Behavioral training started today, and it will most likely really start tomorrow. Since Pam knows that I am monetarily strapped, she's worked out with Kristen (new trainer) that its 15 dollars a session with no time limit. Kristen wants to work with him through the week, and probably next Thursday it will be me working with her working with him, and then we'll talk about long term.

I think what honestly bugs me most is that nobody saw it coming, and apparently training isn't everything. I've always known that he has an attitude, and that he is never one to just back down at the wave of a crop. Having said that, he has excellent ground manners, and he's definitely made improvements in his round pen behavior. He doesn't yank me around the yard, nor do I have to yank him. I can stick my hand out towards his butt, and he'll pivot on his front feet in a full circle. Without a halter on, I can hold my hand out as he's walking and say "whoa" and he stops dead. Whether its because he was truly beaten into compliance or what, his "well-trained" demeanor is no indicator of "well-mannered".

So, for anyone who read that whole thing, thank you! I would definitely appreciate some "problem horse" success stories, haha. Needless to say until I get the okay from Kristen, riding has stopped, which is so sad because I love my new saddle! Now lets all hope I get that overnight job I'm in the running for.
 

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That's interesting, I had something similar happen to me last week. Frida is sweet- a bit nosey, somewhat easily distracted, and she can get her mare up once in a while during training. In our training right now, I can't trust her to stay focused, we are still in that phase where I have to remind her to take responsibility for the work she is being asked to do, but I certainly wouldn't say we butt heads or that she resists. Most of the time she is respectfully compliant with me and my trainer. I don't consider myself an aggressive person. She has never truly felt the whip (sure, I graze her hocks and tap her hind) and she has only been reprimanded physically (swiftly) for things like nipping and dancing for the girth. Everyone thinks she is sweet, and for the most part they are right. However, my BO called me last week and said that Frida pinned her ears and half bucked at her when the BO was coming in to take her out of her stall. She then told me that she hit Frida with the halter and lead - and that Fri feel completely down in her stall as a result. She told me this was a sign that Fri is easily intimidated and that I am not aggressive enough with her. I don't know, but I don't think horses plot against us, but I do think they try to do everything they can to try and do the least possible. I went up and showed the BO at least 10 times that I can put Fri in her stall at any time, and that when I want to come in, she greets me at the door. It doesn't matter if there's hay, food or what time of day it is. I trained her to come to the door and put her head in the halter no matter what. Even if I am bringing food, she'll come to the door, and then I say "Go to your kitchen" and she waits by her bucket till I drop the food in. I, personally, don't like to hang out in her stall, or do anything but feed, retrieve, and retire her there. I don't play that game of my space, your space, circling around the stall and confusing the horse. Perhaps it is wrong of me to allow her to think that when she is in that 12x12 stall of hers, she can do the nothing that she so often craves to do.

My trainer once said that we may encounter problems with her only respecting me. i don't know why she said this. I know that it has only been me that has handled her from halter to backing until I moved into a full care facility in December. Perhaps your horse is discerning and won't acquiese to just anyone without gaining his/her respect.
 

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Wow, sounds like a scary situation. My first horse had 'issues' but was always good with me. A 'friend' sold her to me for what she had into her and said I could keep her at her barn for free as long as I paid feed, vet etc... One night she called me on the phone. It was cold out and going to be colder that night. She called me and told me I needed to go out there and put a blanket on my horse because she went to and my horse bit her thigh. Now, I went out there and put a blanket on her with no problem but I'll say this...I saw the other woman put blankets on HER horses and she literally THREW the blanket at/on the horses. I think she just spooked mine and that's how mine reacted.
 

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Just wondering how old is he?

I worked with very dangerous horse before. He didn't attack people but was plain dangerous under saddle and had zero trust in anyone. He was hit in head really bad some time before I started working with him, and I believe he had mental issues (from the way he behaved). I worked with him for over year. He certainly started to trust me. From starving horse he turned to be really nice looking very tall qh gelding I got compliments on all the time. But... Even after all work he still was very dangerous: he reared for NO reason and flipped over all the time. He almost fell on me once (I was quick enough to just jump off and roll away, so at least he didn't flip with me on him), and couple weeks later he sent another person (with tons of riding and breaking horses experience) into ER (also - reared and flipped over the head). After that I just stopped riding him (although I still was feeding and brushing him till I left the barn). He was not mine though. It was VERY sad situation, because the horse was just stunning with the very good bloodlines.
 

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Val, he is 12 years old. Before I bought him, he was living with a very nice woman and four other horses for about a year, and she basically had no interaction with him. They were all on 24/7 turn out and the woman's only function was to provide food. Before that, he was a racehorse.

I feel like I should also add that I'm going to talk to the BO about possibly getting him out of his stall. Although we aren't exactly equipped for pasture board and he's not the friendliest of creatures to other horses, we may have a couple of options as to getting him out in the daytime as well as at night. I'm also going to fill in Kristen on his history, since I don't know what Pam had the opportunity to tell her and see what she thinks...I think being on turnout 24/7 may have spoiled him a little, and its also possible that he just has bad associations with being stalled.

Seahorseys, while for most horses I would agree with you on the "your stall, your space" idea, I think in the case of horses who have respect issues (which he does, or did, or whatever) they can't own anything, and thats just IMO. Its funny that you say that he may have problems respecting her because I actually think thats the case--she said herself she has no interaction with him other than leading him in and out, which he'll do very well for just about anyone because of his racing days, as long as you're sure of yourself and what you're doing. Having said that, as much as I like being the only one who he doesn't give crap to, its not safe since the BO's kids (who are 13, 7, and 4) also help around the property and pitch in as far as throwing hay and feeding and turning in and out. I would feel so horrible, moreso than I already do, if that had happened to the little girl instead of to Pam. Under saddle he is a dream--SO willing and fabulous work ethic, but I think I would rather have a brat under saddle and a sweetheart on the ground than vice versa.
 

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Under saddle he is a dream--SO willing and fabulous work ethic, but I think I would rather have a brat under saddle and a sweetheart on the ground than vice versa.
I'm not positive it's better. :D

It's a tough situation. Some horses just need that constant reminder who is the boss. Unless your BO will be serious EVERY time he shows any aggression he probably not gonna change. And I agree with you - it's better for smaller kids to stay away from him. All I can say good luck trying something new (like pasture board)! I really hope he'll change to the best.
 

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Originally Posted by justsambam08
Under saddle he is a dream--SO willing and fabulous work ethic, but I think I would rather have a brat under saddle and a sweetheart on the ground than vice versa.
I would rather work with just the opposite. I would rather start off with a horse that knows that once the saddle is on, it's time to work and nothing else matters. I like working with horses that have problems on the ground but are all work when being ridden. Unfortunately, most of the horses I get to work with are just the opposite.
 

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I'm not positive it's better. :D

It's a tough situation. Some horses just need that constant reminder who is the boss. QUOTE]

This is extremely true!!! I stated a while back in a post, basically the same thing. They constantly test you, and it's like "dude, seriously, not kool!" lol :evil:
 

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You have a truely rare problem. Most people don't think about thier horse enough but I think you think way too much. You can't spend so much time disecting everything your horse does that you don't get anything done. If he tries to bite you then deal with it but then move on.
 

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They started a little dance of "my space, not yours" for fifteen minutes. It ended with what Pam (the BO) thought was submission--she thought he was licking and chewing while in the back corner of his stall, so she turned to leave quietly. He apparently lunged at her, grabbed her by the arm, and quite literally tossed her to the ground. I didn't see it, but she says her whole upper arm is purple.
IN MY OPINION - if a horse is "licking and chewing" without a soft eye and body, that means the horse is thinking about USING his teeth and mouth, not that he's submissive…
 

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You have a truely rare problem. Most people don't think about thier horse enough but I think you think way too much. You can't spend so much time disecting everything your horse does that you don't get anything done. If he tries to bite you then deal with it but then move on.
I guess we'll see won't we? I'm not sold on Parelli working for him, but at this point I figure what the hell? For 75 bucks for a week, we'll see what kind of horse Kristen can turn out. While he's never tried to bite ME specifically, this is the third time he's bitten another person, although he's never even pinned his ears at a child. I will say that yesterday he WAS much softer, quieter, and more responsive....which is essentially what we all aim for in a horse to begin with.

However, a while back (when I was looking for someone to put miles on him) I realized that I'm probably throwing him off balance...my left leg is a quarter of an inch longer than my right, and I'm left handed to begin with. Then while I was watching Kristen work with him, I realized I was clenching my jaw and hunching my shoulders a little bit. I've known for a long time that his trot makes me tense, along with the above observations on my timing and my forgiveness.

Ever so slowly I'm learning :lol:
 

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IN MY OPINION - if a horse is "licking and chewing" without a soft eye and body, that means the horse is thinking about USING his teeth and mouth, not that he's submissive…
In a dark stall, and without having the knowledge or the eye to see how he was positioned, etc (I don't know how he was either, I wasn't there) it would be easy to make a mistake like that. Kristen is also working with the BO to make sure things like that don't happen again.

Although it was human error, he still shouldn't have felt he needed to be hostile with a woman he's had daily contact with for nine months of his life.
 

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I think you're going the best route with this guy. I know I can be a supporter of harsh discipline, but you have to pick your battles and the fact that this guy has learned how to hide his "anger" is a scary scary situation. It's easy to deal with "dangerous" horses that hate the world - it's downright terrifying dealing with an animal that has perfected the sweet and innocent act and then takes you when you least suspect it. I can guarantee that attempting to hit a horse for behaviour like this is likely to get you killed - they have learned they can beat you, and they aren't afraid to fight back with everything they have.

Best of luck - I'm not a huge supporter of natural horsemanship, but in my opinion, it's THESE situations where it can come extremely in handy for reintroducing a horse to respect when he's learned he's bigger then you.
 

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I think you're going the best route with this guy. I know I can be a supporter of harsh discipline, but you have to pick your battles and the fact that this guy has learned how to hide his "anger" is a scary scary situation. It's easy to deal with "dangerous" horses that hate the world - it's downright terrifying dealing with an animal that has perfected the sweet and innocent act and then takes you when you least suspect it. I can guarantee that attempting to hit a horse for behaviour like this is likely to get you killed - they have learned they can beat you, and they aren't afraid to fight back with everything they have.
We do have one of those horses on our property, and SHE is a scary b*@$#. The first day she arrived on the property, the on-site trainer was almost killed because the mare reared up in her stall and then proceeded to turn around and send both back feet at her....This trainer is 5'5" and weighs maybe 120 lbs. Yesterday when we took her turn out buddy away from her, she crashed through three fence boards in order to get to her and then took off around the property. She's been at the barn almost two months and while she is much better than when she arrived, she still knows she can kill a human, and has no fear of them at all.

The saddest thing, and probably the funniest too, that I saw with Ice yesterday was the look he wore while working with Kristen; very soft, a little confused, but alert and attentive and willing and then how his look changed when I approached the fence line (at her request)...he looked like something out of a pound! Still soft and willing but just a little defeated and sorry for himself. He knows he's done wrong by me, or he thinks he has, and the way Kristen described it was that he's always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
 

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This is just my experience with Hoover, but it may help in some way:

Hoover was first an Amish horse, and they beat him all over. His legs, his head. After that, he was owned by a nice man who kept him as a pet, and pretty much let him do what ever he wanted. When I bought him, he was confused. He didn't know his boundaries, or his "place" in his human "herd." He never knew if he was about to be beaten, or be allowed to be alpha and push everyone around.

After about six months of having him, it all came to a head. I was brushing him in stall, and he pinned me in the back corner, came at my head snapping and dancing. He scared me so bad I socked him in the nose (only time I have ever used a fist on him). He rocked back in surprise, then came back at me. I managed to get the door open and dive out into hall, but he had bitten my arm purple. My BO and trainer went in and gave him a piece of his mind, and Hoover kicked at him.

I put him in training with my BO, and the turn around was amazing. After a month, he calmed down. He is happy and content, because he knows his position and what is expected of him. He had been confused, and that made him scared, which made him act out.

So hopefully, your experience is similar to mine and the trainer will do wonders with him. Hoove was trained by a form of natural horsemanship, in which we teach the horse we can make them move, and then that it's lets work to listen to us. We never use more than a cotton lead rope in training generally, or hands and voice. Hoover is now so mortified if I raise my voice to him he hangs his head and refuses to meet my eyes for a moment, with a look that is so apologetic like "I'm sorry mommy, I do know better...I love you..." Heh. Then I hug him and tell him I still love him, I just don't like it when he acts that way.
 

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^

Perfect example. The average horse hasn't learned that you are any different then the "lead mare" - heck, I bet most horses think we're SCARIER then the lead mare! When put in a situation where they feel like taking advantage of you, getting a fist to the nose is usually a pretty huge deterrent.

To a horse that's been beaten half his life, and learned that you really can't hurt him unless he's hog tied on the barn floor, attacking back only provokes him because he knows he's "free" and he has the ability to finally win this fight.

It's unfortunate because with horses like this, it's almost always the NEXT owner who bears the brutal brunt of it, the one trying to help and not hurt. The first owners are smart enough not to ever give the horse a chance to strike first, because they know they'll be in pieces around the stall. :-x

Huge congrats with Hoover anyway, so happy to hear you brought him around and gave him a new lease on life!
 
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