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Old 02-05-2008, 09:55 AM  
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Horse that turns its back to you and threatens...Help!

One of my horses has developed a nasty habit of turing their back to anyone who comes near her. She also pins her ears back and is acting very threatening. Nothing bad has happened to her but she is just being very nasty, especially in the stall. This is not so much with me as with my inexperienced business partner. What can I do to get her to cut this behavior? I don't want anyone to get hurt and I certainly won't be able or willing to sell a dangerous horse. I have never experienced a horse with an attitude like this and it is very frustrating.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:59 AM  
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More ground work for sure.
I had a very large mare that started this and it escalted to charging and kicking, esp at feeding time.
I feel that this is so dangerous, strong measures are required. I started carrying a stock whip.
If the mare was facing me, I worked with her and the whip in her face (or a tap to the shoulder) if she moved toward me in the stall. If she turned her bum to me I would tell her no and tap her until she would face me and stand quietly. She only tried rushing me once and got soundly smacked across the chest.
Given your partner's lack of experience, I'd be hestitant of having him handling the horses, esp this one much as they are going to take advantage.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:09 AM  
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Your saying that even when she turns her rump towards me to use a crop..I think she will kick if I do that. I have been doing tons of groundwork with her as we are waiting on the dentist before I do more riding. I have been working on the rushing, when she charges or rushes out of the stall or into a paddock...I make her back up about 5 steps then try again...we repeat this until she walks out calmly and stands still when I turn her loose. The kicking is really what makes me nervous, she is doing it in a viscious way.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:15 AM  
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My horse started doing this "show his butt" thing last year. It started in conjunction with me doing a lot of groundwork, like 5-6 days a week. If I was going to get him, that meant groundwork and he caught on to that right away. His "butt showing" was his way of saying, no more. I guess I was overdoing it with work and not compensating with anything enjoyable for him. So, I cut back the work part to 3-4 days and one day of just brushing or other non-work related activity. He stopped his butt showing behavior right away.

I too was afraid he'd kick me and couldn't really see a good way to reprimand him for his behavior. Luckily, he stopped it on his own once I modified his work routine.

Also, how old is your horse and how long has this been going on? I remember a thread about a horse that copped a bad attitude and it was because she had an ovarian cyst or some related problem. Maybe she has a hormone problem.

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Old 02-05-2008, 10:16 AM  
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How big is the stall.? Can you move her around from the outside of the stall with the whip while she is inside it.? If you can, just lightly start tapping her with the whip -increase the pressure until she moves though. If you can find an old John Lyons video on ground work, he shows a very effective way to do this.(The John Lyons, SR)
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:47 AM  
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Round pen time - and I don't mean for exercise, I mean for respect..

Sorry, but I can walk out into our pasture with mares, babies and stallions and they will all turn and face in.. If they do not, we take a trip to the round pen, and remind them that this is unacceptable behavior..

Safety - Rule number 1... only achieved with respecting you as the herd leader........
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:14 AM  
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I've only seen this develop in mares who feel threatened during groundwork.

What I mean by that is when a dominant mare is being worked with, the handler is chasing her around the round pen, instead of standing stationary and simply turning with her in place. Or there's constant pressure from the lunge whip (the whip wagging at her to "keep" her going, instead of just at transitions, or the tip continually up instead of against the ground until needed)

Horse's are sensitive to the body language being sent to them through the human, specially dominant horses. Sometimes they take ground work as a direct threat to them, and they turn aggressive instead of respectful, because they're not being handled respectfully.

There was a mare who was perfect under saddle. But she didn't have ground manners, she hated being groomed, she wouldn't lunge, and she'd turn her butt to you and offer to kick in the stall. When someone took her to into the round pen to teach her manners, they were firm and mean, chasing her about. She went to heel kick, got a smack on the butt. She then turned and reared, with the intent of just pounding them into the ground. Being chased around the round pen made her worse.

Now, same mare with a quiet but firm handler, who really was great with the body language. It was like a silent battle going on for the first 20 minutes. But no outward threats to either one, just little tests. She did fantastic. Until the owner took over again and chased her around the round pen with that whip.

Think of a ping-pong match between two people. What makes it fun is tapping the ball back and forth, neither player using any more force behind the ball than the other.

Then one player taps a little harder, almost sending the ball across the basement (this player is the horse)

The second player taps back in kind, but a little more forceful.

This ticks off the first player, who then just slams the ball across the room totally missing the other side of the table. This would be the heel kick from the challenged horse.

If you continually challenge the mare, she'll get worse. Sometimes a reminder smack in the rear is enough to set them straight again. Sometimes it makes them react in anger with those heels. If they really mean business, they come at you reared up, ready to smash you down with the front.

You don't challenge a dominant mare. You earn her respect. Retaliating with physical force can get you seriously hurt if you pi$$ her off from a direct challenge.

If you see her getting worse, there's something in the technique of how you're going about it that makes her feel the need to fight you and disrespect you. But getting into smacking matches with an angry, dominant mare is bad news.
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:15 AM  
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I'll second or third the round penning for respect.

I'll also say you need to think like the alpha horse here. If your mare were to start swinging her butt toward a horse that was higher up in the pecking order than her, do you think for a second that the higher horse is gonna let her get all lined up for a double barrel? Heck no - as soon as her butt starts to move towards him, that other horse will pinn it's ears and make a face at her butt - if she doesn't move her butt away, that horse will nip her butt, and if that doesn't move her butt, it will get bitten hard, and she will be chased around the pasture for good measure.

When you go into a space with the mare, take control from the start. When her butt even thinks about moving in your direction, waggle your crop or whip at it. If the butt moves away...good. If it doesn't, pop the butt with the crop before it's pointed at you...and then pop it quite firmly if that doesn't move her, and follow that up by backing her up a good many paces (like 15 or 20) Get right in her face and make sure she knows that's not acceptable behavior!
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:29 AM  
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http://horsemanship101.com/Horse-Tra...-in-Stall.html

This is the video or book I was talking about.

Here is an article about biting:
http://horsemanship101.com/John-Lyon...ng-Horses.html

Here is where I found it. He has some that has articles attached.
http://horsemanship101.com/Topics/?g...FQGnPAodRUyKfA
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:35 AM  
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She just turned 5. She is the head of my small heard. She bosses MVP around and Frostie hides behind her. The ground work I do with her is not much, I have been working on getting her to respect me. Just with calm grooming session, working with her blankets, asking her to walk politely while on a lead or just with a lead around her neck. Working on voice commands. I do not use a roundpen. When I do lunge her in the arena, I do not use a whip and I make sure that when I am not correcting her there is no pressure on the line. I lunge off of voice command and body language, works fine with all my other horses. I will try carrying the crop with me to repremand this behavior.
I fear it is a result of too many treats. My partner took care of the horses when I was gone for a few days and he brought tons of treats and they all started to get a little pushy about them. I think she is responding the end of the treats, as in give me a treat or I'll kick you so you learn to bring one. It is very frustrating, we were making progress and it all seems to have disappeared
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:38 AM  
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I think she is responding the end of the treats, as in give me a treat or I'll kick you so you learn to bring one. It is very frustrating, we were making progress and it all seems to have disappeared


I had to laugh at the thought of a horse kicking someone until they learned to bring them treats. Too funny

I agree that sometimes the overuse of treats can create new and undesirable behaviors.
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:42 AM  
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I agree with the round pen. My paint mare had no respect for me until this fall I started her in the round pen. She used to turn her butt to me all the time. In the pasture, she would come at me and turn her butt and kick out, I used to carry the lounge whip with me anytime I had to go out in pasture. Started her in the round pen last fall, she tested me about 3 times, and quickly realized she had to work harder if she acted that way. We now have a pretty good agreement, she has not turned her butt to me again. And she is perfect in the pasture. I didn't really believe the respect/round pen, until I did it for myself. I wanted to sell this mare, but I think she will be around a long time.
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:20 PM  
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Is there a way to stop the treats until she behaves herself?

Sounds like you're approaching her good, but if she's getting spoiled elsewhere it could be where the issue is coming from.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:08 PM  
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I have stopped all treats to her. I also informed my partner that he cannot give any more treats.

Her stall is 12x12
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:14 PM  
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Originally Posted by gbarmranch View Post
Round pen time - and I don't mean for exercise, I mean for respect..

Sorry, but I can walk out into our pasture with mares, babies and stallions and they will all turn and face in.. If they do not, we take a trip to the round pen, and remind them that this is unacceptable behavior..

Safety - Rule number 1... only achieved with respecting you as the herd leader........
I'd have to agree here. It has to do with the herd dynamic. Unfortunely when I had my horse I didn't know how to round pen but I made sure that I had the lead rope ready and if my mare turned her butt and attempted to kick she was getting a quick smack with the lead rope. She soon learned that turning her back like that was not something to do to me. Round penning is probably the most affective and best way of dealing with the problem.... but I can't say from experience.
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:16 PM  
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I'll second or third the round penning for respect.

I'll also say you need to think like the alpha horse here. If your mare were to start swinging her butt toward a horse that was higher up in the pecking order than her, do you think for a second that the higher horse is gonna let her get all lined up for a double barrel? Heck no - as soon as her butt starts to move towards him, that other horse will pinn it's ears and make a face at her butt - if she doesn't move her butt away, that horse will nip her butt, and if that doesn't move her butt, it will get bitten hard, and she will be chased around the pasture for good measure.

When you go into a space with the mare, take control from the start. When her butt even thinks about moving in your direction, waggle your crop or whip at it. If the butt moves away...good. If it doesn't, pop the butt with the crop before it's pointed at you...and then pop it quite firmly if that doesn't move her, and follow that up by backing her up a good many paces (like 15 or 20) Get right in her face and make sure she knows that's not acceptable behavior!
I agree 100%! One of my mares will do this when she is in heat. It's as if she's saying..."Fix it!!!". This isn't out of mean-spiritedness (is that even a word) like it is with yours but it's still very rude & dangerous & she gets a good smack on the butt when she does it...from a safe position of course. As always, round penning cures most bad behaviour!
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:33 PM  
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Anna's mare, Portia, did this in her stall when I first got her, and would refuse to let us halter her to get her out of her stall. I tried patience, treats, etc, to get her to turn around, but finally one day I got fed up and whacked her on the behind. Not saying this is the best way, but it did cure Portia's problem and she doesn't do that particular thing anymore.
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:35 PM  
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Once again, I am without a round pen. Any other ideas?
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:38 PM  
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Lunge line will allow you to do the same thing - as will a halter with a long lead.. make that horse move back, sideways, forward, etc. when YOU ask.. and being tied for a while to think about things is another trick we use..
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:39 PM  
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Once again, I am without a round pen. Any other ideas?

how big is your arena?? you could turn her loose in there, and you AND your partner can 'round pen' her, taking turns keeping her moving when she's in your area. unless the arena is too big for just too people
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