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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have a 10yr old gelding OTT and recently he has become very aggressive with other horses. He has alway been kind of obnoxious. He is definitely the dominant horse personality. I have struggled with earning his respect for me and recently after several months the 2 of us have clicked and now have mutual respect. Problem is now that he is great whenever I work with him and outside the stall, he has slowly become more aggressive inside the stall toward other horses. Feeding time has led to many of fights with the horses beside him, so much so that a couple of the horses have become injured from kicking the metal wall. The facility that he is being boarded at is now asking me to move him to a new facility for concern over his aggression. Help, I don't know how to fix this problem.
 

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Unless you are going to stand there at all times that he is in the stall, there isn't much you can do. Could he be moved to an end stall so there is only one horse next to him? Then put his feed bucket on the wall away from the other stall.

Some may suggest putting chains on his back legs so when he kicks the wall, the chains hit his legs. It may work but I wouldn't do it.

Are the horses next to him new or is he new to them? If so, it should settle in time but he may still cause damage to the stall, which is what the barn is probably worried about.

Is he trying to protect his feed or is he trying to keep the other horse from its own feed?

About the only remedy for this is for him to be in a stall that he gets along with the horses next to him. You can try disrupting the behavior while you're outside the stall but when you leave, he will probably start again. Just like you can't control how he behaves with other horses when turned out with them. Horses will be horses.
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Usually they get aggressive when they need more food. You could also give him a whooping when he does that and that may correct it quickly.
I might be inclined to try that if you are getting the boot.
IBe never had to hit a horse but maybe something that makes more noise than hurts. You could also try and maybe do something scary and not touch him???
 

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Hey MK, sometimes apparent geldings are rigs (one or two retained testicles in the body cavity) or have testosterone-producing benign tumours - get a blood level done maybe, to rule that out? Because those conditions are associated with extra aggression and antisocial behaviour.

Is the horse getting enough vigorous exercise - and enough turnout? Horses can get quite depressed and grumpy from being cooped up in barns - and some more than others. If you do have to shift your horse, maybe look for a more natural alternative - keeping the horse in a grazing paddock with a shelter, for instance, with cattle is OK for a start if your horse can't yet be mixed with other horses.

I've rehabbed a stallion who couldn't be put in with other horses because he'd take them to pieces, males or females. Gelded him aged 11, lots of trail riding and controlled socialisation (under saddle at first), initially moved from stables with day turnout into a grazing paddock and shelter with a view of other horses, then gradually integrated into a herd. Happy as Larry now, and running with two other horses and three donkeys problem-free. He's my principal riding horse these days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The horses next to him have been around for a few months now. Kam seems to be protecting his food which is silly since since he will not only attack the horse closest to his food bin but also the horse furthest away. He has been getting turned out 3x per week and i go out to see him about 2x per week. I am having the vet take a look at him tomorrow but I don't believe he is in any pain since he always acts fine whenever I work with him. It is so frustrating because he is perfectly fine when he is out of his stall but once he is placed back in the stall he starts rearing, kicking and biting at the other horses. I have suggested placing him in the end stall and feeding him on the opposite side so we see what the owner of the barn say and if that is even an option.
 

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There was one barn I worked at that kept the horses stalled at all times. The horses there developed many vices, and kicking at feeding time is perhaps the most common issue I saw.

I think perhaps it is a combination of being bored, getting too hungry, and being locked up that makes horses aggressive.

Not to scare you, but one place where I took lessons had a horse who always kicked the wall at feeding time. I'm not talking light kicks either. He foundered in one back foot (the side he kicked on) and had to be put down. His owner believed it was the kicking that caused it, as the horse was not overweight.

If you have to move him, look for a place with turnout, as with turnout the problem may disappear.
 

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Three times a week for turn out and two times a week your out there to exercise him, he is probably bored has a lot of energy and has discovered that being aggressive is fun for him.

Horses are designed to walk many miles a day, and graze most likely he just needs more exercise. Since the behavior has just started recently if you could arrange for more turn out his behavior will most likely improve.
 

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The amount of turnout you've reported there is enough to drive any lively horse insane. It's kind of like keeping a battery chicken when they are confined to stables. Horses have a natural need to roam and become frustrated and experience health issues when they can't. As an off-track TB, I'd expect he's probably also used to more regular and vigorous exercise than what an average riding horse gets, and this can make them so cranky. He won't necessarily misbehave under saddle when he feels that way either.

I'd be looking for a place with way more turnout. In the interim, putting him in the end stall at least reduces his kicking to one side. 4Horses has pointed out that repeated kicking can cause him damage and that's a definite concern. Hairline fractures can occur as well. We had a little mare once who used to kick out in the horse float on the way to competitions. She ended up fracturing her hind leg on track - it literally blew to pieces underneath her while she was exercising - and having to be put down. There was no accident, uneven surface or extreme speed involved - but a hairline fracture from kicking would have set her up for that - and they don't necessarily show up as lame with one either, they just cave under ordinary pressure later.

So now, we put a rubber pad behind any horse that kicks out at the float while travelling.

Also watch that there is nothing in the stall partitions the horse can hook himself up on when kicking. Sometimes they can get their hooves caught between bar partitions, for example, and this can lead to enormous injuries.

A slow feeder net and an ulcer check may also be helpful: But getting him into a more natural living situation would be my number one suggestion.
 

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I have a 5 year old racing bred TB mare, she never raced. If she had 3 days turnout and 2 days excercise she would be a basket case....I learned the hard way (of course lol) to excercise her 6 out of 7 days, or else id wind up calling the vet for some big booboos. The last one was a fractured splint bone ......she healed well thank god. She also has 7 day turnout 8-3.

Your boy needs more excercise, the aggression is only the beginning!
 

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I agree with more turnout, but even that may not solve it entirely.

My horse picked up food-related stall aggression early this year when an already food-aggressive horse was moved in to the stall behind him. At the time there were no other empty stalls to move that horse (or mine) into. By the time they were able to move him, my horse had picked up the habit and continued it with every other horse they put next to him.

24/7 hay, stall toys, mirror, etc. did not solve the issue. It got somewhat better when the BO put a lunge whip by his stall so she (or whoever was feeding at the time) could smack the wall when he tried rearing at it. When I was there I'd keep his food until he calmed down and had his ears forward so he started behaving better when I was there, but I know he was still bad for most others up until I moved him to another barn about a month ago.

The arrangement there is quite different, with much more turnout and a 42' run on his stall and the BO has not had any problems with him charging/rearing at his neighbor (or bucking or kicking) at feeding time. I go each night to give him a mash with his supplements in it and while he gets excited and walks in circles while I'm mixing in the supplements and putting into a feeding pan for him, he hasn't made any aggressive moves towards the wall where the neighboring horse lives. I've been experimenting with putting the feeding pan out in the run where he can see the other horse. When it's up against the far railing (as far from the neighboring horse as possible) he's fine and doesn't even pin his ears. Moving it a few feet over, he will still charge and rear. I'm hoping that by slowly moving it closer over time he'll calm down...
 

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I'd say combination of what others have said. Too much stall time=too much energy+aggression over "their" place. I know dogs are not horses, but my GSD growled at strangers if they tried approaching her while she was on her dog bed. My horse used to be aggressive to others, but now she has turnout 24/7 and is given plenty of food and moderate exercise (I ride about 4 times a week). I also started moving her off of her food and making her wait while I stood over it, this got her more respectful but it wouldn't solve a horse aggression problem, because as others have said, the minute the leader leaves (as in human handler) the next leader steps up, which is whatever lead horse is at top, and then herd hierarchy continues.

The simplest solution is plenty of grass hay to eat and more turnout/exercise. Most boarding stables do not feed enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone for the advice. Update on Kam. I decided it was best to move him after all. Arizona doesn't offer many barns with large grass turn outs but I managed to find one! He will now be getting turned out everyday for about 6 hrs with other horses in a very large grass turn out. So far so good, he seems to be adjusting well and seems happy. Fingers crossed but his aggression has decreased as of now
 

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awesome :D

So many horses are getting far from adequate turn out, and huge issues(like this one) start showing up. I bet he'll be doing 110% better in a week or two with the new arrangement.
 
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