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More horse help, please

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Lorije1, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Lorije1

    Lorije1 Songster

    Mar 13, 2010
    Buddy, my approx 16mth old foster horse is a bit of a bully. He was gelded in late June and my mare is in heat (even though she is 28yrs old! Buddy brought out the 'cougar' in her).

    He is pretty good in the pasture, leads well and isn't really spooky. But he is a totally different horse at feeding time. Now, I understand he was starved for most of his life, but he has been well fed since March and only recently started getting pushy. Today he kicked me. I put my hand up and blocked it from hitting my face. I took his feed bucket and left the pen. After a few minutes I went back and made him let me lead him by his halter and stand quietly until I fed him and released him.

    I have never had a horse this young and I am afraid of a) ruining him with my ignorance b ) getting my face caved in

    Any help?
  2. Watch the kick-zones and go in there with a lunge whip. It sounds like he's being a jerk. I'd let him have it to establish your dominance and let him know your "space" is your space!
  3. Lorije1

    Lorije1 Songster

    Mar 13, 2010
    use the lunge whip as a threat for him coming too close, or to pop him if he turns his butt to me? or both? Sorry... I have never had an untrained horse. The youngest I ever had was when I got my mare she was 6 - but she had spent the previous 4 years at various clinics (John Lyons, etc) and is a push button horse. Even my starved fosters get pushy with their headbutts, not kicking.....
  4. arabianequine

    arabianequine Crowing

    Apr 4, 2010
    smack his butt again make sure you won't get kicked though he knows how to scare you now
  5. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    I hope you get a horse trainer to come over and watch you work with the horse and show you what to do, and that if you continue to feel overwhelmed, you send the horse back to the rescue organization so it can go out to someone who has worked with and trained youngsters. It is pretty easy to end up with a very spoiled, very dangerous horse no one wants, otherwise.

    Many young horses kick at people, simply because no one ever taught them not to. Sounds like the ones you got before, had already been taught not to, before you got them. Young and unhandled or untrained horses are a whole nother world. In general, though, you should always remember the horseman's rule, 'the only horse that won't kick is a dead one'. Position yourself AS IF any horse could kick and you get hurt a lot less.

    They act like, well, horses, horses that have never been around people. So they think people are little horses, and they kick at them, nip them, do just like they are little horses. At feeding time, in a herd, they kick at other horses so they can keep their food, so they kick at the 'little horses' too.

    If a horse is terrified of someone, he's just as dangerous as one who doesn't have any respect at all and walks over top of the person. A terrified horse is an erratic horse who is going to hurt someone trying to escape him. We don't want a horse to be terrified, OR to be completely unrespecting. We want something in the middle, that makes sense and is safe. Being too harsh or not being firm enough, both are problems. Big problems.

    I would not recommend you hit his butt with a hand OR use a longe whip. Either puts you in a great position to get kicked, and it is very, very difficult to use the typical cheap, floppy, long longe whip with equally long lash, and use it in such a way that it gets the right part of the horse at the right time. It just flops all over the place. It's like a jello whip.

    If you need a whip at all, you need a whip that is long enough to keep you out of harm's way, and fairly stiff with a shorter lash, that you can handle and use effectively, and hit the horse in a place that means something to him...if a whip even makes sense or could even be used effectively right at the moment, which I doubt. How are you going to carry a whip, even if it's not a big old floppy longe whip, and use it effectively while you're feeding? It would be difficult.

    When a horse is loose, and kicks at you, it is far, far better to set up the physical area, so that you don't get kicked, and he doesn't want to kick, than to try and somehow get to him and whip him within the 'horse thought time frame' (one second) - especially if he's loose in an open area with other horses.

    I would NOT 'remove his food' and make him lead quietly and then give him his food some time later. Why? Well, because horses just don't think like that - ever. People will often insist it works because they want to believe it so they kind of make themselves believe it worked, but to figure all that out a horse would need a very different brain than what he has, he just can't figure all that out. The horse won't learn anything from having his food taken away and given back later, even if he does lead quietly later coincidentally(since feed time has passed), he is incapable of connecting all those events up.

    We have to be very careful to not make the mistake of thinking a horse thinks like a dog or person. A horse thinks like a horse.

    To make any sense to a horse, punishments need to be simple, direct and immediate. One second after the behavior, or when the behavior has already been completed, is too late.

    Are the horses all in one pen or paddock and fed together? If they are all milling around at feeding time you have a very unsafe situation. A lot of people do that for years, but when it happens it happens quick. If that's what you've got, try to figure out something safer.

    Horses often do a lot better if tied up during feeding time, and if they are nervous and snappy or kicky at feeding time, a burlap bag hung up so there is a visual barrier between horses, often makes them settle down.

    If the horses are in stalls or tied up, they are easier to discipline and control, and it's safer for you.

    Describing to someone how to punish a kicker is difficult on the internet, and any misinterpretation could lead to a nasty accident. I'll try, but I think you are better off getting someone knowledgeable to help you, right then and there, where they can see what you are doing and what the horses are doing, and how your place is set up.

    If the horse is in a stall, and he turns his rump to you in the doorway, and perhaps also lifts his hind leg as if to say, 'I'm warning you, don't come in here', you say 'get over' and if he does not start moving over, then hit him on one side of his haunch, being sure you are giving him some place to go over TO, and not hitting him so hard he panics and starts tearing around the stall - JUST enough to make him move his rump over.

    Use the SAME command, SAME tone of voice, SAME words, and exactly the same punishment if he does not IMMEDIATELY start to move over the FIRST time you CLEARLY say the word. If you hit him directly on the back side he will jump forward, be sure you touch him enough over to one side that he REALIZES you want him to move his rump OVER, not leap forward.

    When his rump is not pointed at you, approach him, say 'Good boy' and if he can be given a treat without causing more problems than it solves, give him a treat. Then pat him, exit the stall, and repeat. NEVER use even one iota more force than you need to get the job done, and never decide to work with a horse when you're angry. This is training, not the Spanish Inquisition(as an old cowboy I knew would say). He has to understand what you want. The command has to be the same every single time with you expecting him to do exactly the same thing every time and folllowing through exactly the same way if he does not. You have to be almost like a 'robot', of course it's not 100% the same because one has feelings and cares about the animal, but the CONSISTENCY has to be just like what a robot would be.

    Too, there's no good in repeating and repeating. If the horse does it right a couple times, even if it doesn't really work out totally, a couple times is enough. Horses learn in threes. If what you're doing doesn't seem to be working, think it over and try again tomorrow. Don't keep going at it.

    Try to always have him move over ONE direction(the same direction) when you go into the stall. So if his door is on the left, say, have him move over toward the right, away from the door, say. Try to make everything as exactly the same as possible, every single time.

    If you are brushing, handling, cleaning feet, with the horse tied up, and he threatens to kick, people vary in how swiftly and firmly they will punish. Some will have already put a chain lead shank over the nose and will yank it very hard, once, and cause the horse to sidestep and move away or even back up a little bit. That also puts more weight on the horse's hind legs, making it harder for him to kick. It is important, though, to have a word you use and THEN punish the animal. Eventually, the word alone will be enough to make the effect. Always say that word in exactly the same way. At first, you will assume you have to say No - and immediately shank him. But after a while, test it out, say the word, see if he reacts, if no reaction follow through immediately.

    I would NOT, recommend hitting him on the neck, shoulder, body or rump with your hand for kicking. I think that puts you in a very dangerous position. Shanking tends to work well while keeping you in the 'safety zone', next to the shoulder.

    It IS possible for a person to train a group of horses to ALL position themselves head-toward him in a paddock or at a gate, so their hind quarters are turned away, but that takes an awful lot of skill and timing, and a very quick eye, to teach and reinforce. It isn't really something that is easy to explain or teach. But I have seen a few folks who could walk in a paddock, and ALLLLL the horses would slowly and calmly and 'magically' turn around to face him and keep turning and facing him every where he walked.

    PLEASE BE CAREFUL. Get help if things are not working out, and most of all, not getting kicked is about how you position yourself, how your facilities are set up, and how good you are at reading what is going to happen before it happens.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  6. Lorije1

    Lorije1 Songster

    Mar 13, 2010

    He is fed in a seperate pen in a loose tub. He seems to be trying his boundaries... we recently dealt with a bout of exploratory lipping. He stopped that and then started pushing into my space when leading. Got past that and now he is an %&*% at feeding time. I have him through the county because we don't have livestock shelter while they are in county custody - they go to fosters.
    I know a big part of the problem is I have not been messing with him as much (see my "Rooster vs Lawnmower" thread), so that will need to change. I also have closed the pen to seperate him from my mare by more than just a fence (now they have a small field between them).
  7. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    the rooster lawnmower thread sounds fascinating![​IMG]
  8. muddyhorse

    muddyhorse Songster

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bloomsdale, MO
    wesmuler has some very good points. why have you moved him away from the mare ? he needs to learn manners the best teacher is a cranky old mare. I worked for a paso breeder every spring we would turn the yearling studs out with the breed mares. those boys quickly learned to respect them and us. keep in mind horses are not kind to each other. they say something once and make it memorable. the first time we introduced the pony Rodeo to the herd, the lead mare Sailor told him to move away from the hay. he said no (pinned ears) she bit him five times before he got away and was spitting out pony fur each time. she has not had to repeat they lesson in three years.
  9. HyLinda

    HyLinda Chirping

    Jun 14, 2010
    Warrens, WI
    I highly recommend "Round Pen Reasoning" you can find it on John Lyons web site. It's a method that lets your youngster know that you are boss mare without hurting him or getting yourself hurt.

    I've subscribed to your Lawnmower rooster post - Love it.
  10. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    don't put him in with the mare unless you want him to become a daddy. if 16 months isn't old enough, 17 months probably will be.

    oh. one of the best cures for stud colts nipping and kicking is SNIP AND SNIP!
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010

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