mystic2013

Becoming Dangerous

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My 19 year old morgan mare has developed an agressive and pushy additude. When I am working with her she goes crazy and starts bucking and trying to kick me. Shes gotten dangerously close and I havent seen any improvements. I have recently started doing parelli but I dont know how i am going to continue with this because she seems like she is just getting worse. I really need some suggestions of how i can keep her out of my space and get her to respect me more. Thank you very much:)

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Welcome lilmilford2013 :D

well it sounds like your mare thinks she is boss, in their eyes, you are part of the herd.. and if you don't establish you are the boss. she will become the alpha mare and treat you like an underdog. That is how the pecking order works. Do Not let her get away with pushing you around!

EVERY time she tries to come into your space, act aggressive towards her, rush at her, act like you are going to kick out at her(maybe even do), do whatever it takes to make her move out of your space! but be careful to stay away from her hooves and teeth. Do this EVERY time she tries to be in your space. Once she is out of your space and a little ways off relax alittle.. and then purposely go into HER space and make her move away out of your space again.. That is how alph mares treat the horses under them in a herd... Every time they walk up to a horse they pin their ears, bit, kick...etc to establish that they are still the boss.

Once she is not aggressive and dangerous to be near... every time you are around her, push her around with your hands, make her move her feet, get her off balance. Even saddling her up, push her chest around, make her back up..etc, do that 3-4 times every time you are around her... that is one way to keep them thinking that you are the boss.. There are alot of other things to do whenever you are around her that would go along and help with that also, like submitting to pressure is one... But whatever you do don't let her get away with pushing YOU around!.. she will go right back to thinking she is boss.

Hope that helped!!

I have a bossy alpha mare (towards other horses) and I learn alot from just watching her with whatever horses I have in with her.

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So, how do you respond when she does this?----

I usually try to stay calm and keep focused on what i was trying to do before she acted up. Even though i try its still hard to stay completely calm when her feet are comming toward me.:(

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Hi, are you saying this horse is actually trying to strike you? If so , it's past becomming dangerous. This horse means to hurt you bad. Is there someone that can help you manner this horse? She needs to think she picked a fight with the Tasmanian devil.

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Keep her one her toes. Keep her thinking. Show her *you* are boss. And never underestimate her! I made that mistake with my fiances previous mare. I thought I had gotten through to her about who was boss and when I turned my back on her she plowed into me and stomped on me a bit. Honestly if my dad wouldn't have run in and whapped her with a board he found laying on the ground she might not have stopped. However, the fight that ensued after between me and her, well she learned I was boss (I was to angry to even realize I was hurt). About 2 weeks later I sold her crazy butt, she adores the guy I sold her to and has never acted a fool for him.

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She only acts like this when I'm working with her, she gets laZy and then stubborn when I'm not working with her she is completely different she has never tried to kick me then.I think that her kicking is her trying to intimidate me to get out if working? She is very responsive when I ride her.

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I also think that she hasn't had a very good groundwork training done with her. Because I don't back down like she's used to in the pasture with the other horses she gets frustrated that she's not in charge any more. Do you think this is the case? And if so do you thing that when she realizes she's not goin to win with me that she will stop being so defiant?

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Iam sorry, but this horse knows exactly what she is doing and there is no confusion on her part who is in charge. She shouldn't even think about kicking or striking to intimidate you. Let alone follow through with it. Just your logic and reasoning concerns me how you are reading this horse. Please get someone that can deal with this now. I mean this sincerly.

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Not a problem =) hope you will be able to fix her attitude.

keep working with her.. but stay out of reach of her hooves.. she will learn. Might take time.. if getting her way and being the boss is what she is used to..

about what I said earlier.. Do the pushing her away thing out in the pasture too, when your not working with her, randomly walk up to her and push her around a couple of times..

what you said, it does sound like she thinks she can get out of working by throwing a fit. Don't let her have her way.. in fact after she throws a fit, make her harder because of it?

how long are your working with her times?.. maybe you should cut those shorter, and end them when you see the very first signs of her getting annoyed? And just do ALOT of pasture pushing her around. until you have her respect you more then go back to longer working times? idk.. maybe switch up your work routine? Maybe she is bored with it after awhile?

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how long are your working with her times?.. maybe you should cut those shorter, and end them when you see the very first signs of her getting annoyed?

Shani, perhaps you worded this wrong, but NO, you do not end the lesson when the horse shows the very first signs of being annoyed. If you do that, the horse just got rewarded for being annoyed!

You end the lesson when the horse shows signs of complying with your requests and is not annoyed. That way, you are rewarding him for listening to you and acknowledging that you are the leader.

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I'm definitely with Wild Rose! Never. never, never reward bad behavior. Escalate the punishment in the severity of the infraction. While in a safe area I work a horse with as little distractions as possible. Pinned ears- I step into and force the horse to move away till the ears come up. If a horse tries to bite or strike-I go after the horse with all I've got. If you have any doubts in your ability, please get a professional. It is not about beating the horse physically as much as mentally. Get help before you get seriously injured! On a scale of 1 to 10, she sounds like a 7. Have I seen a 10?? Oh, YES!!

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Frankly if this horse was around me I'd give her a really good smack with a dressage whip as soon as she raised a foot to strike.

Odds are it would surprise the heck out of her, she'd likely test the water one more time, and then realize that it wasn't going to be tolerated.

Some would go a step further and let the horse have it as soon as she pinned her ears or made a threatening face. Can't say I disagree with that either.

It might sound mean, but really, one or two good spankings is way better than you getting hurt, and a horse who learns she can really get away with this stuff. Don't worry about hurting her feelings - horses LIKE boundaries. No, they don't like being smacked and that sort of thing, but they LIKE knowing what the hierarchy is, they actually feel less mental stress when their place is clearly defined. Really. This is a way to let them know quickly and strongly what their place in that hierarchy is. If you are fair * about it, and time it properly, this is a CLEAR and FAIR way to get your point across. (I also agree with graywolf - this is more mental than physical - it's not just about the smack but also about dominant body language, and an IMMEDIATE strong response from you the second she thinks about any of these behaviors)

I know that doesn't jive with the Parelli system, but I think fixing the problem quickly and clearly will be less confusing to your horse, and safer for you.

The things she's doing are very dangerous. It doesn't matter if her intent is to hurt vs. intimidate - these things should not be allowed at all.

* by "fair" I mean well timed and not excessive (the second she does something dangerous or bad, you give an IMMEDIATE strong response, with NO delay, for about 3-4 seconds. THEN you go back to whatever it was you were doing, as if nothing happened. If she tries it again, lather rinse repeat - if you are FAIR and consistent she will understand that, unless she's a particularly aggressive type of horse).

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I usually try to stay calm and keep focused on what i was trying to do before she acted up. Even though i try its still hard to stay completely calm when her feet are comming toward me.:(

Really, this is your main problem. You need to not stay calm when her feet are coming toward you. I do not advocate losing your temper, but your mare needs to think that you are literally going to kill her next time she does this.

And if you are unsure or hesitant about this, I would advise getting someone experienced to help you or work with her for a bit.

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Frankly if this horse was around me I'd give her a really good smack with a dressage whip as soon as she raised a foot to strike.

Odds are it would surprise the heck out of her, she'd likely test the water one more time, and then realize that it wasn't going to be tolerated.

Some would go a step further and let the horse have it as soon as she pinned her ears or made a threatening face. Can't say I disagree with that either.

It might sound mean, but really, one or two good spankings is way better than you getting hurt, and a horse who learns she can really get away with this stuff.

This is what I would do. This isn't mean, this is exactly how another horse would treat her. If she tried that with an alpha mare she would get one heck of a bite or kick and probably loose some skin and hair in the process...I don't think a welt is any more mean.

Edited by Desert Lane Training

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My 19 year old morgan mare has developed an agressive and pushy additude. When I am working with her she goes crazy and starts bucking and trying to kick me. Shes gotten dangerously close and I havent seen any improvements. I have recently started doing parelli but I dont know how i am going to continue with this because she seems like she is just getting worse. I really need some suggestions of how i can keep her out of my space and get her to respect me more. Thank you very much:)

I quoted the OP just to refresh the topic.

What we don't know is if this mare ever had an honest work ethic and a steady job. We also cannot assume what "working with her" means now verses what the owner used to do with this mare.

To me it seems fairly clear that your seasoned mare is not interested in "working" for you and she is simply trying to suggest you get lost. She liked things better when she just ate, hung out in the pasture and stayed with the herd. This is the problem and she is of course, a horse. She has a routine and changing that and her work ethic is going to take more effective handling in order to get this mare's respect and a willing attitude. The more you "nag" at her and fail to get her to yield, comply with your requests and pay attention to cues, the worse she will continue to get.

I wish I was more versed in the Parelli exercises to make suggestions for exercises that you might already be exposed to. The most important thing for you to change I suspect is your determination to be taken seriously and your consistency. If you are going to change this mare, you must change first. Make up your mind what it is you would like to accomplish and how much time you will be able to give to this horse. Several days in a row are much more effective than every other or every few days for training. Your mare must learn to interpret your body language just like she can read other horses. For this to work, your body language must be intentional and consistent. What I mean here is that we humans are strange animals. We can be thinking about one thing but our body language can say something else entirely. You want a clear head and focus when you work with a horse. When you show "active" body language you want something to happen. You need the mare to move back or away or in some way remove herself from your personal space. Conversely, when you display "passive" body language a horse is invited to relax and stand still. They need to respect you enough to watch and to pay attention for this to work. You gain respect by making requests for movement and having the horse respond correctly or at least try. You LOSE respect when you take steps back or yield your position to your horse. They are keenly aware of this distinction I assure you. When the horse moves in response to your cues, you change back to "passive" body language and drop whatever pressure you might have had to use to be taken seriously. Don't use more pressure than needed. Pressure is just energy. It can be generated with a hard stare, a pulsing hand, a twirling rope or a bull whip. By asking softly for every request first but then escalating the pressure with rhythm we make a horse more and more "uncomfortable" and interested in making this stop. The moment they respond with the correct answer, you must drop the pressure instantly so that they associate their response with the request you made. This reward is what teaches and it is the practice that makes it work.

What I often suggest to people who would like to improve their horse's ground manners is to find new and easy ways to incorporate simple ground work exercises into their daily routines. Backing into and out of stalls for example. Grooming and tacking your horse while they are "ground tied". Sending your horse through gates and lunging them in a great variety of places aside from the "training" pen. Having your horse change sides for you instead of you walking around them. Develop the mental discipline that your horse is keeping score and remembers every time you ask him to move his feet or you move yours instead. Keep yourself still and make more requests of him or her. Like an hour glass, you are either gaining respect from your horse with every passing moment or you are losing it. Each and every moment you are with a horse is a training opportunity. It is only a chore if you let it feel like one.

Now how do you suppose the average horse feels about all of this? It has been my observation over the years that every horse exposed to this level of effective consistency improves almost instantly. The reason for that I feel is that our guidance and responsibility to lead is very Alpha and quite horse like. As a species, horses are hard wired to follow an effective leader but they don't just give away that trust. They test each other and they test us, often at first, but I don't think they really want to win. More likely they test to believe and trust that the "leader" is consistent and taking their role seriously. During a crisis is a bad time to discover the creature that you look to for guidance is not worthy. So, they test to be sure their faith is deserved and correctly applied.

I hope this can help to define your role in the relationship you mean to have with your horse. Right now, the mare is doing your part. For her to learn to be a good follower, you must learn and show her that you are a good leader.

William (historyrider)

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to add a little about her reactions its not as much as her trying to kick me its more of just bucking and throwing a fit. I have seen her in the field and this isnt the same kind of kicking she does out there.

HistoryRider- i will definately try to change the way i go about this, but im not quite sure how.

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You are going to need some kind of guide lilmilford in order to pick up some useful techniques and knowledge to become more effective. An experienced horse handler at your barn or nearby who you respect would be great to guide you in person. Observe how they handle their horses but even more importantly, notice how they handle yours. They will be a stranger to your horse possibly but that doesn't really matter as long as they can "speak" horse. It's that body language and good feel for the timing of pressure and release that I want you to notice. I'll bet your mare doesn't struggle with someone else as much as she does you right now. You see you are "acting" differently with your mare than she expects and if you continue down this road of course this will be even more drastic. She is "used" to the old you. The one that probably hasn't asked her to do any work. The "you" that brings treats and nice scratches. The "you" that every time you show up she gets something good or really easy. If you ride her, I suspect you only go where she has been many times or where she is comfortable. Now, you are making requests. You have a training stick or a long rope in your hand and you are "telling" her to do things. This feels like work and you are pushing on the boundaries of her comfort level. "Who are you stranger?" "This isn't our relationship!" "Stop waving things at me or I'll go crazy and start kicking out at you!" "You do not out rank me."

Do you see what you are up against? A stranger would get more respect quicker simply because that human is not familiar so she will not have any preconceived notions. Now all of this doesn't really matter at all for what you mean to fix. I just wanted to help you understand your mare's perspective. The quicker you become this "NEW" person, the better and once done, going back to your old routines will only create more confusion.

If you can't find someone in person to work with you and your horse than the next best thing will be to get on a program like the Parrelli's to gain the knowledge you need. It's no good trying to teach a horse something that you don't know yourself. What would be great for you is to work with a horse that is already experienced in the program you want to learn while another person with more experience teaches your horse. Ah if only we lived in a perfect world right? If you want to consider another guide that I know you will find easy to understand you might look up Clinton Anderson. He is often recommended in the forum for his no nonsense and easy to follow exercises that will help you figure these things out on your own. I will still say that someone right there with you is best but....

It's very hard to change into a new person overnight but that really should be your goal, at least for the eyes of your horse. I would love for you to test my theories and ask someone you trust with lots of experience to simply handle your horse for you doing whatever it is that you are struggling with. Keep back but observe or perhaps even film it. Then maybe have someone else film you doing the same things. This would be very helpful for you to study.

Best wishes and congratulation for wanting to enjoy your horse more. Make these changes and you will have the partner you have been dreaming about. Owning a horse is a huge responsibility. I don't think I could imagine going through this every day if I couldn't ride my horses anywhere at anytime right out of the stall or off the trailer. I have high expectation for every horse I work with and they rise to meet it and stay there. If you don't trust, don't ask and don't expect anything from your horse, well then exactly nothing is all that you can expect back from them in return right?

Be your horses leader and marvel at what they will now do for you.

William (historyrider)

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I enjoy watching herd dynamics. For instance we just brought the remaining mares from our herd home. The first thing that happened is our dominant mare made sure that everyone knew that she was the boss. Now how did she accomplishin this: She made her herd mates move and stay moving until the LET them stop. Next was her body language she was firm, pinned her ears, snaked her head at them, and if they didn't move where she told them too the other horse got a quick nip or kick in their direction. She stopped when she felt confident that all the other mares knew who was boss. (This whole ordeal took a 4-5 minutes.) She got her point across that fast.

With a horse that is disrespectful you have to be foreceful, your body lanugauge has to show that your are not afraid and not going to back down. Don't stay calm you need to show her that you are angry by how you hold your head up, stand straight, and if you have to yell at her. The dominate horse in a herd doesn't take any flack from any of the its herd mates.

Some horses take longer to "give in" than others. We use many of Clinton Anderson's training tips, with some other that we have learned from others. You need to find what works best for you and the mare. Sometimes that is sending her to a trainer or more experienced horse person.

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Tonto can do it too...he hasn't totally given up his 'tude'...but he knows I know and he knows I have my always ready for him britches on....so he is not horrible or really serious.

But, when I first got him...we had some come to Jesus moments that I was sure was never gonna really ever end.

I got him b/c he was so pushy....and b/c I was willing to see if I could trump him.

I did exactly what everyone here said to do...push his arse around all over...everywhere...constantly...even if he was doing nuthin wrong....he got pushed around. I never let him not know what being around me was like....it meant , to him, I meant business.

The best thing I learned with him is getting him right at the moment he does it...and lose no time.

He will sometimes still kick out or shake head and try to act like a brono bucker when I crack the lunge whip.....and when he does...BLAM...he gets me all in his grill in full charge mode...and I make him immediately roll back and change direction...if he still does it after the change of direction...roll him again...and again....nowadays...he stops pretty much right away.

He is a cutting horse...so his roll backs are a part of his tool box....but...nothing makes a horse's mind go....whwhwhwhwaaaatttt....then a human jumping right in on them when they think they can actually back them off.

He has never been fond of humans...he came to me that way....but he does respect me....and for him...he is the kind that tests the waters...probably will always be...but his tests are few and far between and predictable...so at the end of the day... he knows I am still in charge.

I also moonwalk his butt alot.....He taught me when out in pasture, that he likes to try to take off...and if he even hints to me that he is getting ready to do that...we spin around and moonwalk...ALOT...not just a few steps...but we continue down the path, nice and quiet, smile on my face as if nothing is wrong with it...going backwards.

He is very good at the back up...but all horses will not really want to actually travel that way....so, he decides that he will chill out....and we are fine. I moonwalk his behind into and out of the gates, arena, barn entrance, washrack, or just b/c.....on and off his back. I can forget a time or two...but I have to keep his capabilities fresh in my mind...I have to outwhit him. The more he goes backwards...the more he settles....he is such a bonehead...but he keeps me on my toes. When I ride my other horses...they don't stand a chance...thanks to him.

I think Cricket will probably be the same way...some are just born never caring for humans, I guess....but they can learn to respect them....

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If this is a change in attitude have you checked her for body soreness in her back, neck, shoulders, saddle fit for example. Also teeth and jaw issues like TMJ. She's 19 years old - I just don't see a horse of this age suddenly acting this violent towards people just because of leadership issues.

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with ya on this! I actually just posted a post in general horse talk asking for advice and words of encouragement when dealing with my newesr young horse, ive always had alpha type mares but we also worked together fine until this new horse, she always challenges me, when I do natural horsemanship with her she only gets worse and more aggressive, its such a pain! sorry no advice from as im in the same boat. Good luck

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I have a question in reguards to this. My 9 year old gelding actually had kicked me, and made attempts to several times. I ted to have a temper and refuse to give in to anyone, and I applied this same methood to my gelding and it backfired greatly. He turned his quarters to me and I refused to mive and he did kick me! He didn't do it hard, but just hit me in the pelvis enought to knock the breath out of me and walked away. I did the same thing again and he kicked at me but I moved just in time. How do I get him to move out of my space and show dominnce toward him if he is acting like this?

I am afraid if I try to puch him out of my space he will only kick me harder becasue I am trying. But believe me I do grab a small ridding crop and hit him once will all I have, but I don't feel it makes a difference.

SO I guess my question is, how do I show dominance and push him out of my space without getting kicked in the process?

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Welcome to our little horse city. I just hope you are wearing a helmet everytime you work / ride this horse. Please have someone with you when working this mare she could knock you out cold.

Would like to see pics of this horse if possible.

~MH

Edited by hansonmkusa

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Rapid Dreams, you need something longer than a "small riding crop". Get out of reach of those hind legs, and get after him. Please be careful, and don't put yourself in harms way. Print off and follow History Riders advice. he's very wise and knows what he's talking about. :)

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I have a question in reguards to this. My 9 year old gelding actually had kicked me, and made attempts to several times. I ted to have a temper and refuse to give in to anyone, and I applied this same methood to my gelding and it backfired greatly. He turned his quarters to me and I refused to mive and he did kick me! He didn't do it hard, but just hit me in the pelvis enought to knock the breath out of me and walked away. I did the same thing again and he kicked at me but I moved just in time. How do I get him to move out of my space and show dominnce toward him if he is acting like this?

I am afraid if I try to puch him out of my space he will only kick me harder becasue I am trying. But believe me I do grab a small ridding crop and hit him once will all I have, but I don't feel it makes a difference.

SO I guess my question is, how do I show dominance and push him out of my space without getting kicked in the process?

Honestly, most horses don't get to the point of actually kicking AT a person. It's usually threats. But as your gelding has shown he doesn't have any respect for you at all and has become dangerous.

Any how that I have learns the "ropes" quickly. I've only had one who really "tried" me by turning her butt and kicking back at me. We were in the roundpen (which I suggest anyone with sour horses go back to). I had the lead rope (for soft pressure) and my longe whip in there with me. I was using the lead rope to get her going in one direction when she decided, hmm nope don't want to move. Stopped and turned her butt to me, with her ears back. As soon as she showed me a sign of bad behavior I picked up the longe whip. Not only is it a good tool, it can also be used for protection. Of course I asked first for her to continue moving (snap the whip). She retaliated in kicking. So I yelled at her (don't be afraid to be vocal with your horse, people might look at you but now just a well timed "at at" with me worked for putting any horse back in their place) and tapped her lightly with the whip. Another kick, I tapped harder. Another kick, harder still. And this actually esculated for 15 minutes. I didn't back down and had the room to move out of her way if I needed to. You have to realize that moving out of kick distance isn't "backing down" it's being safe. She, however DID back down finally. I haven't had another problem with this filly since. We established our pecking order.

Horses need to understand that any lifting of foot, or putting back of ears any of those regular herd dynamics that they would do to another horse are NOT acceptable to do to people. I have been raising babies for a few years now and every one will test you because they are growing up and learning. The first time one ever offers to do something bad they get the "come to Jesus meeting." I scream at them back them up and try to kill them (of course don't hit face or eyes) for 3-5 seconds. Usually after that first meeting a horse will never try again.

For a horse that has actually been allowed (on purpose or not) to be disrepectful needs more than just one meeting usually. And it needs to be done by a person that is able to be daft enough to get out of the way and stubborn enough to not back down. Usually a person with experience. It's OK to ask another profession to help you. don't be afraid to.

If a horse ever turns it's butt to you in hand you should be yanking their head back to you and backing them up quickly as a punishment. Don't just let that butt be to you and ask them to move it. that's asking for an accident. I also suggest a longer dressage whip so you can be out of the way while disaplining.

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