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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, I worked with a wonderful mare named Jess who boards at the same stable my mare does. Jess's owner has seen me working with my mare, and said she would be extremely appreciative if I worked with her horse some time. Since all four horses at this stable are turned out together, I get to interact with all of the horses quite frequently, and had never had a bad experience with her.

However, her owner told me that she is "crazy," spooky, pushy, dangerous, and unnerving to be around. She has tried all sorts of calming supplements to calm her down, and brought her to a professional trainer who told her the mare should be euthanized. The BO even says she thinks Jess's owner should just sell her and get a different, "better" horse.

So I took her out today. When I first grabbed her, she definitely was pushy and tried to rush in front of me, but with a few quick corrections she walked politely beside me the rest of the way to the barn. She was antsy when I went to groom her, but I used Warwick Schiller's method of waving a lead rope at her butt whenever she decided to leave me, and very quickly I had a calm companion who ground tied for me to pick her feet and brush her off. I waved around a lunge whip for 5/10 minutes, letting the whip sit still whenever she decided to stand politely, and quickly had a horse who allowed me to touch her all over with a whip while ground tied and snap the whip over and next to her without her budging.

Jess's owner and BO came over to watch me try joining up with her in the arena. It took me about 15 minutes, and was just about as textbook as a join up could be. She blew through a few of my signals to change direction in the beginning, but afterwards, she was doing turns to the inside and outside when asked, and once joined up, followed me around, turned, backed, etc with no issues. Never once did she explode, buck, rear, kick, bite, pin her ears, spook, slam into fencing, slam into me, or any of the other things the owner would have given the impression that she would do when she said "she is a scared, mean, dangerous horse."

The owner and BO just looked at Jess and I afterwards completely dumbfounded. I handed her back to her owner, and Jess immediately was bossy, but the thing is, the owner completely let it happen, and even encouraged it - whenever Jess shouldered into her, the owner would step out of the way, and then go wherever Jess pleased. Eventually I could see this turning into anxiety as Jess didn't have any leadership, and as Jess got worried, the owner got worried, which made Jess even more worried. I stepped in and asked to show her something, took Jess back, and explained - while demonstrating - that Jess needs a leader, and she has anxiety only when she doesn't have a leader. She is a calm, happy horse when she has proper leadership in the form of direction and instructions.

This just goes to show the power of leadership, and also the mentality of "everyone is a trainer - every interaction is training." I am most astonished that the so-called "professional trainer" was so quick to say Jess is dangerous and needs to be euthanized!! She was a pleasure to work with today. The owner said "Just wait until you ride her, she's awful under saddle too." I have a feeling her lack of leadership is translating into mounted work as well.

She said Jess will "lose her mind" when she's away from the other horses. I pointed out that today when I brought her to the barn and in the arena, where she couldn't see the other horses, she was totally fine. She said "Yeah, that's really strange, she will usually do anything to get back to the herd." I explained that is because she sees her horse friends as her leaders, and so when the human is the leader, she is much less inclined to seek leadership (aka: safety) elsewhere.

She is, overall, a wonderful horse from what I can tell. I am nowhere near a professional trainer, but I hope I can do more sessions with her and her owner, because it's not the horse's fault - the owner just needs to be a better leader.

TL;DR: When you are your horse's leader, they feel safe, and will be a much better partner. "Dangerous" horses are only scared horses. Scared horses are only leaderless horses. Do yourself and your horse a favor and be their leader. It might make the difference between a horse's life or death.
 

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Once you have been around a truly dangerous horse you will amend that but in general you would be correct and that is a fine example for many new owners to read and learn from. Keeping in mind there are as many methods as there are horses and horse people need an open mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Once you have been around a truly dangerous horse you will amend that but in general you would be correct and that is a fine example for many new owners to read and learn from. Keeping in mind there are as many methods as there are horses and horse people need an open mind.
I should rephrase and say horses that are dangerous because they are fearful. Which is most. I'm also not saying leadership is a cure-all method, it should just be (in my opinion) the foundation for all human-horse interactions to avoid easily preventable incidents that often arise from a nervous, pushy, or scared horse.
 

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Horses that are fearful can easily become dangerous might be a better phrasing. Aggression in a horse, any horse, is dangerous and does not not always stem from fear but fear usually will wind up as aggression if not handled skillfully. Leadership is just about as cure all as you can get as long as you don't confine your leadership to one specific approach so you would actually be very correct saying leadership is as close as it comes because without a human leader the partnership is based on the personality and innate drive of the horse. Not all horses are fearful. Actually most are not. It depends on how they are raised and the exposure they have had. A horse raised in a herd with good solid dynamics is in my opinion one of the best horses to have as a partner. They are curious and open, typically very willing to give a partnership their all.
 

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Just lost a bunch of typing when HF dumped my post. Jolly.

Summarizing then: Most fearful horses are not dangerous horses. Fearful horses may respond in ways that are not helpful, but that doesn't make them terribly dangerous. I've got more experience than I really want with fear in horses but NONE with dangerous horses.

Trust - real trust - doesn't come in 5 minutes, or 10 or 30. It doesn't come from smacking rumps with ropes or from lunging with a whip. That is obedience. Not bad in and of itself, but not respect and not trust. Having a few clear rules and being willing to stand up for them IS important, but it is also very basic to horses. Leadership and commanding are not the same. I spent a few decades in the military. I always had a commander but only sometimes also had a leader.

Trust comes from a horse being around humans who are trustworthy. Being predictable (few rules, but enforced) is a part of convincing a horse you are trustworthy, but I've had a couple of horses who would consider your behavior bullying - and no one trusts a bully! I'm glad it worked with that horse. It will not work with every horse.

FWIW, I've got a horse who will "join up" instantly - IF you can trick him into entering a round pen. And the moment a gate opens, he will race AWAY from the human "leader" because he HATES "join up". My other two horses will become very nervous if you lunge them with a whip. I don't use a round pen with them or lunge them and I never will again. Very little about making a horse move in circles has anything to do with trust.

All IMHO and I'm not a pro anything so no one has to agree with me. My advice is worth its cost....:cool:
 

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Shall I admit now that I've never tried to get a horse to "join up" in nearly 50 years of dealing with horses...yet I have managed to train many horses to ride and some trained to drive too. Have trained everything from barrel racers to jumpers to Dressage to carriage to trail.

Have given lessons to children as young as three and adults too.

I've also never owned a round pen, and rarely lunge a horse.

Horses have personalities that range from aggressive to meek, and different learning styles too. One-size-fits-all training doesn't work.

I don't remember how many times different folks have told me that the horse I was riding was "dangerous" yet some have been my best horses and not dangerous at all.

Glad to hear you were successful with this one horse on this one day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Shall I admit now that I've never tried to get a horse to "join up" in nearly 50 years of dealing with horses...yet I have managed to train many horses to ride and some trained to drive too.

One-size-fits-all training doesn't work.

Glad to hear you were successful with this one horse on this one day.
I never said - and I'm not trying to say - that joining up is the only way to train a horse. I'm also not saying it works for every horse. I'm only saying leadership - in whatever form - is key to gaining a partner that's confident in you.

I'm not trying to say that just fifteen minutes with a horse is enough to "solve" one horse's entire life problem. I was, however, noting the drastic change I saw when she went from leadership to no leadership, and how her entire behavior changed in just 30 seconds from that shift.

I'm also not saying this is some novel idea I just came up with. I have worked with many pushy, scared horses - including my own mare for years - and have seen an identical change when they were offered leadership. I just thought I'd use this story as a clear example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Look guys, I'm sorry to ruffle so many feathers. This isn't what I intended with this post. I wasn't trying to argue with anyone or say that anyone is training their horses wrong. I also wasn't trying to say this one method works for every horse with every problem and is a cure-all for everyone.

I'm not a professional trainer. I'm not trying to seem like a professional trainer. I am simply saying, out of my own observation with many horses (not just this one mare), that leadership is a fantastic foundation to build off of. I was trying tell a very nice story (in my opinion) showing the impact this can make, especially with a mare that was considered for behavioral euthanasia.
 

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.

Trust - real trust - doesn't come in 5 minutes, or 10 or 30. It doesn't come from smacking rumps with ropes or from lunging with a whip. That is obedience. Not bad in and of itself, but not respect and not trust. Having a few clear rules and being willing to stand up for them IS important, but it is also very basic to horses. Leadership and commanding are not the same. I spent a few decades in the military. I always had a commander but only sometimes also had a leader.

Trust comes from a horse being around humans who are trustworthy. Being predictable (few rules, but enforced) is a part of convincing a horse you are trustworthy, but I've had a couple of horses who would consider your behavior bullying - and no one trusts a bully! I'm glad it worked with that horse. It will not work with every horse.

FWIW, I've got a horse who will "join up" instantly - IF you can trick him into entering a round pen. And the moment a gate opens, he will race AWAY from the human "leader" because he HATES "join up". My other two horses will become very nervous if you lunge them with a whip. I don't use a round pen with them or lunge them and I never will again. Very little about making a horse move in circles has anything to do within.)

I do agree with trust not coming in 5 minutes or from or from smacking with whips. However, the initial 'meeting' has a lot to do with it.

A horse that is hyped up, looking around, constantly moving, walking into you corrected with a firm correction of a jerk on the halter, or a flick with the lead rope, will look at you in a different light.

I have told about a WB mare that attacked me meaningfully, trying to grab me with her teeth and hand she contacted would have done me serious damage. I was grateful there was a gate between us! I had to move away as I had nothing to warn her off.

I returned in less than a couple of minutes, when she charged me again she was hit with my twitch, made from a broken pitchfork handle. I hit her HARD, straight down the front of her face. It hurt her, she galloped away and stood shaking her head.

After I had put the feeds out, she came over, when I approached her, she ran away. That was fine by me, she learned that if she tried to hurt me I would hurt her.

This is something that would happen in a herd issue, being hurt by a higher positioned horse is how they get their pecking order.

I couldn't catch her the next day so let her follow the other two mares into the barn where I could get her into a stable.
I worked with her in the stables, just grooming and assessing her. A couple of little tries to frighten me corrected with either a finger poke or voice and she was fine. Next day she was first to the gate to be caught.

After getting permission to ride her and initial napping by rearing right up, to frighten me.

During this Riding issue, I never used my legs, let alone a whip or spurs to get her to go forward. I just let her tire herself out. Then when that didn't work she gave me her all.

I had that mare's trust.

Dealing with difficult horses does not take forever to get them to change their attitude of respect. It takes confidence in the handler, consistency and clarity of what is wanted.

All to often I have come across horses that do what is wanted, they are compliant with day to day handling/work but, ask them to do something different and they will resist.

The OP did well and I would say that as long as she she isnas confident and consistent when she rides the horse, it will be calmer and more confident.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Trust - real trust - doesn't come in 5 minutes, or 10 or 30. It doesn't come from smacking rumps with ropes or from lunging with a whip.

I've had a couple of horses who would consider your behavior bullying - and no one trusts a bully!

FWIW, I've got a horse who will "join up" instantly - IF you can trick him into entering a round pen. And the moment a gate opens, he will race AWAY from the human "leader" because he HATES "join up". My other two horses will become very nervous if you lunge them with a whip. I don't use a round pen with them or lunge them and I never will again. Very little about making a horse move in circles has anything to do with trust.
I don't use join up as a bullying method. Perhaps you have had a bad experience with join up - and I can agree there are a lot of people who abuse it and don't do it correctly - but I don't use it that way. I should equate it closer to very basic liberty work. I wasn't chasing her in endless circles or hitting her at all. When she ignored my body language, I asked her to move her feet, and as soon as she was attentive, I took the pressure off. I don't agree with chasing a horse until they put their heads down and lick their lips and point one ear at you (as the traditional join up would say). I just need a sign she's listening - such as, if I get in front of her drive line, she needs to turn. If she tries to blow through it, I'll be right there in front of her waving my arms like an idiot to say "Hello, you can't run through me or ignore me!" I used the lunge whip as an extension of my arm to make myself look bigger so I was harder to ignore. I did not hit her with it. If she was afraid of me OR the lunge whip, she wouldn't have followed me around like a puppy while the whip was still in my hand.

My corrections during leading never involved hitting her. When she turned away from me and swung her butt towards me, I swung the lead rope at her, not onto her, not making contact. She is a sensitive horse, the visual cue is more than enough. And it really did make a difference in calming her down. This is exactly the method I used, just not with a flag:

 

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...A horse that is hyped up, looking around, constantly moving, walking into you corrected with a firm correction of a jerk on the halter, or a flick with the lead rope, will look at you in a different light...

......That was fine by me, she learned that if she tried to hurt me I would hurt her. This is something that would happen in a herd issue, being hurt by a higher positioned horse is how they get their pecking order....

...Dealing with difficult horses does not take forever to get them to change their attitude of respect...
As I pointed out in my post, "Having a few clear rules and being willing to stand up for them IS important, but it is also very basic to horses....Being predictable (few rules, but enforced) is a part of convincing a horse you are trustworthy..."

But while that is a good first step, it also does not establish trust. Establishing "I can and will hurt you" has ZERO to do with respect. Or trust. It establishes "You must obey my rules." Prisoners in a prison obey their guards (usually). Not because they trust and respect their guards, but because the guards can and will hurt them if they do not. Obedience. Compliance. Not respect and trust.

The horse also needs to know what is expected BEFORE it can be breaking the rules. If it knows the rules, disobeys them, and you flick the lead rope, the horse will understand. If the horse doesn't know the rule FIRST, then the horse becomes confused. For example:

The trainer who worked with Mia was used to horses trained to back up at the shaking of a lead rope. She tried to teach it to Mia. When Mia didn't back up, she shook the rope more. She "got bigger" in terms of the NH approach she was using. Soon the rope was thrashing back and forth while this woman stomped and tried to convey emotion - and Mia started to melt down.

From Mia's perspective this previous sane person was attacking her. For no reason. So I asked the lady to stop, then walked over, took the lead rope, walked next to Mia, said "Back" while giving a little tug and Mia backed away. After 50 feet, we stopped. Mia stood next to me, expecting me to protect her from the crazy woman. The crazy woman - a very nice lady - decided Mia knew a way of backing and maybe didn't need to know the shaking lead rope thing. By the end of the lesson, Mia had forgiven the lady her temporary insanity - which is how Mia viewed it.

But even if Mia knew the meaning and had obeyed, it wouldn't mean she trusted the lady. Trust and obedience are not the same.

So yes, as I said, "Being predictable (few rules, but enforced) is a part of convincing a horse you are trustworthy..." But it is a small first step.

And if those rules are enforced with excessive force, you will get obedience even while you drive away trust. In my limited time around a "stable" - we don't have "barns" in Arizona - I've seen as many people overreact as underreact. That includes professionals. I saw more people get upset with a horse who didn't know their rules than folks who would make sure the horse knew the rule first. And one of my three horses was free because he was TAUGHT there that humans are irrational, mean animals who punish horses for no apparent reason. Years later, his trust is still skin deep. I doubt he'll ever fully trust a human again.

It works both ways.

From post #1: " "Dangerous" horses are only scared horses. Scared horses are only leaderless horses."

I disagree. Scared horses aren't particularly dangerous. They are not mean. And while I've met horses who are scared if they don't have a leader, the two I've spent the vast majority of my time with were/are self-sufficient horses.

Bandit is never a leaderless horse because he's always there. He IS the leader. Put a dominant rider on him demanding obedience and he'll buck and fight. I'm TOLD if you can ride the bucking fit out he'll then obey. But he won't have changed his mind. And he won't "trust" or "respect" the person riding him. Work WITH him though, and he's a very sane and helpful horse. A trustworthy horse.

From a cavalry officer 150 years ago:

The French say, when speaking of a horse that shows restiveness, "il se defend" - he defends himself...There is much truth in this expression, and it is one that riders should constantly bear in mind, for insubordination is most commonly the result of something having been demanded from the horse that it either did not know how to do or was unable to perform...

...There is another thing to be considered with regard to the horse's character - it loves to exercise its powers, and it possesses a great spirit of emulation; it likes variety of scene and amusement; and under a rider that understands how to indulge it in all this without overtaxing its powers, will work willingly to the last gasp, which is what entitles it to the name of a noble and generous animal...

..Horses don't like to be ennuye, and will rather stick at home than go out to be bored; they like amusement, variety, and society: give them their share of these, but never in a pedantic way, and avoid getting into a groove of any kind, either as to time or place, especially with young animals. It is evident that all these things must be taken into account and receive due attention, whether it be our object to prevent or to get rid of some bad habit a horse may have acquired; and a little reflection will generally suffice to point out the means of remedying something that, if left to itself, would grow into a confirmed habit, or if attacked with the energy of folly and violence, would suddenly culminate in the grand catastrophe of restiveness...

......The first impulse of the great majority of riders whose horses bolt is, to put a sharper bit into their mouths, or at least to shorten the curb, and perhaps rig the horse out with some sort of martingal or running-reins that gives them a good hold of the head, to secure which more effectually they plant their feet firmly in the stirrups, probably at the same time throwing their own weight as far back as possible towards the horse's loins. Energy is an admirable thing, but the energy of stupidity seldom avails much; and the above plan of proceeding is nearly sure to make matters worse, and convert a terrified animal into a vicious one. For whether the anguish the poor horse endeavours to escape from has its seat in the hind quarters or in the head and neck, severe bitting is sure to aggravate it, and a rude hard hand will do the same. The best, in fact the only, remedy for a bolter is, a very carefully fitted and well adjusted bit, a perfectly painless curb, a light hand, and last, but not least, a very firm steady seat, somewhat forward with horses that have weak hind quarters...

......Rearing would occur much less frequently if it were well understood that it is almost always the last stage of disobedience, and very seldom if ever the first. In fact, its occurrence is evidence of injudicious management of some kind, either from untrained horses being brought into positions for which they are as yet unfitted, or from something being demanded of them that was beyond their power; or from the rider not knowing how to recognize and subdue the very first symptoms of disobedience; or, finally, from his using violent and intemperate methods of doing so.

- On Seats and Saddles, by Francis Dwyer, Major of Hussars in the Imperial Austrian Service (1868)
 

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...This is exactly the method I used, just not with a flag...
Just what is supposed to be wrong with the horse in the video? Look at the video from 1:30 on. There was nothing wrong or frightened or anything else with the horse. Once the handler gave a little slack, the horse calmed quickly.

That was NOT an anxious horse. It was a calm horse being overcontrolled.


That advice from Tom Roberts was key to changing how Mia thought. And because she was a self-sufficient horse, changing her mind was key to changing her behavior. To gain control, sometimes you first need to lose it. A lot of bad behavior is rooted in too much control. Too little is bad as well, but the horse world relies too much on control and too little on letting the horse control himself. If you felt trapped, you'd get "anxious" as well.
 

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April....I appreciated your story. It was easy to mentally watch you work with this horse. I hope the owner adopts your methods and they end up making a good team.

I've had horses for decades. Every one has been an individual and every one has taught me something. The horse I'm riding now (probably will be my last horse) is a 21 year old Paint mare. She was a broodmare for most of her days prior to coming here. For many, many years I had Arabs and Arab-Xs so she has been quite a change.
We really have no issues on the ground (other than often she has the sensitivity of a tree stump) but there is periodically a trust issue in the saddle. It comes down to not forcing but rather asking and often getting off and walking with her to whatever has her frightened. By the way, she is not just being stubborn and willful. I'm assuming we will be working on this until we come to complete retirement or one of us crosses over the Pecos. Until then, she's a good girl, I'm thankful to have her, and we are both still learning.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Establishing "I can and will hurt you" has ZERO to do with respect. Or trust. It establishes "You must obey my rules."

The horse also needs to know what is expected BEFORE it can be breaking the rules. If it knows the rules, disobeys them, and you flick the lead rope, the horse will understand. If the horse doesn't know the rule FIRST, then the horse becomes confused.
There is a big difference between "I can and will hurt you" and "If you hurt me, I'll hurt you." For example, if a horse kicks at me with no warning and nothing I did to provoke it, it'll get a good smack on the butt. In a herd situation, that's exactly what a leader would do to de-escalate a disrespectful younger horse. For example:


The foal was disrespectful and kicked mom. Mom kicked back, no fuss. The foal was upset and scooted away, but then came right back to say "I'm sorry I kicked you," and mom said "I forgive you, but don't do it again." This is how corrections should be made. No overreaction, but certainly not just standing back going "well, if I hurt the horse, I'm going to lose its trust, so I'm not going to correct that behavior."

I never said anything about trust in my posts. Not because I don't think it's important, but because leadership needs to be established before trust - IMO. I can't trust a horse that willingly bowls people over. That needs to be corrected before I can start trusting the horse, and the horse can start trusting me.

I would like to know how one can establish rules without corrections. For example: I can't explain to my horse, in words, that pushing me over isn't okay. I can push her shoulder away from me when she crowds me, but a lot of horses don't pay attention to that. So I will use that as a one-time warning. If they crowd my space again or push me over, they're going to get corrected - not aggressively, but they're going to get some type of pressure that pushes them away from me. I personally don't like cracking down on the lead rope to pull on their face because I think that promotes insensitivity to the lead rope/halter, but I will swing the lead rope at her (again - not making contact, unless she moves into my space while it's already moving) to push her out of my space bubble. Horses in a herd also have space bubbles, and will enforce that with kicks and bites. So I see a little lead rope swinging in the air as relatively harmless, and since their natural reaction is to move away from the thing that's swinging, they shouldn't be confused by that cue and that shouldn't make them lose their trust in me. Then the visual pressure releases when they step out of my space bubble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just what is supposed to be wrong with the horse in the video? Look at the video from 1:30 on. There was nothing wrong or frightened or anything else with the horse. Once the handler gave a little slack, the horse calmed quickly.

That was NOT an anxious horse. It was a calm horse being overcontrolled.
The lady at the beginning certainly was over controlling the horse. However, the horse was still antsy and disrespectful once handed off to Schiller. If he did not correct the "I'm walking away from you" behavior, the horse would have just continued to walk and easily dragged the human along with him. To me, dragging a human is very disrespectful behavior. When the horse stands still, he is rewarded with no more pressure. When he reaches the end of the lead rope because he is utterly disregarding the human at the other end of it, pressure is put on him to say "Hey, you're attached to me, and you need to pay attention to me!"
 

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Oh boy BSMS, reading and doing are very different things!

True story,

A friend had a very lame yearling filly that needed to be trailered home for treatment. She refused to load. I was asked to help. I arrived to find several people all wanting to string arm said filly onto the trailer.

I took the lead rope, walked her away behind a shed, spent five minutes with her, just being 'nice' to her and getting into her mind, made sure all people had moved away from the trailer. I led her back stopped at the ramp, let her look and pictured her inside the trailer. She walked straight in.

Now, you can say that it was luck or whatever you like but that filly in a short span of time, trusted me enough to follow me inside.

I had a few interactions with her over the n xt couple of years, just leading her to or from the field, other than that nothing. She then tried to jump out of her field over a large, thick hedge, which she cleared but on the other side was a ditch with a barb wire fence which she landed in. She was a mess.

Treating her injuries required at least two people and either a twitch or dope.

Enter me.

I wasn't rough with her but firm and fair. I was able to change the bandages, treat the wounds single handed. Why? I am sure it was because she trusted me. Certainly I could do things with that filly that others couldn't.

Trust is a two way thing. It can be a bond made in minutes or may take another person years.

AprilSwissMiss, I love that video, however at the end, after apologising th foal wanted to suckle, probably for comfort, and the mare wasn't going to allow it so walked away thus enforcing the 'l'm in charge. '. A good brood mare!
 

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I have a fearful horse, the lowest low horse you'll ever see. He is the omega's omega in herd politics.

I used to be afraid of him. And he probably has an equine form of PTSD from his life before me - but he's not one bit 'mean'. There's not a mean or aggressive bone in him. Quite the opposite. He's reactive out of fear and worry. But if you didn't know better or try to understand where his acting out was coming from? You'd think he was a dangerous son of a buck.

When I finally figured out there's not a bit of meanness in him, that's when a lot of things changed.

Horses will also act nutty and aggressive/dangerous if they're allowed to be rude and disrespectful. We had one like that, that had been allowed to act like a complete b..... her entire life. She was aggressive, rude, disrespectful. She would intentionally rear to try to go over backwards on a rider, she would reach around and grab a rider on the shin with her teeth and try to pull them out of the saddle. She would pin her ears, rush at you to bite, or whip around and offer to kick.

Despite my best efforts, her foal was learning the same nasty habits, because her momma would interfere with anyone - human or equine - that tried to discipline her. It wasn't until her momma was gone off our place for almost a full 6 months before I could get through to Outback. She went from introverted and thinking she could act like her momma, to an in my back pocket and following me around in the pasture horse. She's 18 months now and she will choose my company over that of other horses now.


I don't like to think about what her momma's ultimate fate must have been, but I was glad when she was sold and gone off our place. She was going end up hurting someone and possibly killing them.


And yes, there are only two kinds of horse: A leader or a non-leader in the herd. If you can't be a strong, fair, consistent leader, the horse will assume that job for you. That's how they've evolved. And you do NOT want to be the low horse in a human/horse dynamic.
 

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Look guys, I'm sorry to ruffle so many feathers...
April,I really appreciate your post and also believe Leadership is key, as it is in Many situations. A part of what comes from leadership is confidence. Animals of many types/breeds sense this, and from confidence is when you build trust. If I may... don't take the replies to personally, rather, objectively. I have managed 'many' forums since even before the days of the internet (bbs services), and its important to read through the keys of whats being provided. There is no one meghod for anything in this world, and everyone is still learning (hopefully) until they chose not to. Its all about looking at what comes back as constructive criticism.

My story... as a new volunteer for a horse rescue, I've come in contact with many abused horses, and they all,have different stories. Yet, i've managed to gain the trust of many of them. The next step was respect. I'm in no means a trainer, as I learn from others, like you, and, those within this post. I have trained other animals, and what got me through, was confidence.
 
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