My horse is a bully

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by minna, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. minna

    minna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Burnsville, MS
    I have 3 horses, I adore all of them. Bandit is my first horse and used to be my favorite. He is an elder gelding and it solid black and beautiful. He is huge. I have to do a lot of convincing to get ppl to believe that he is a Tennessee walker. He has always been the dominant horse. I have no problem with that, but he is becoming a bully. He HAS to eat first, ok, I can handle that, but he has started biting, kicking, pawing and even headbutting the other two if the get "too close" he even head butts the dog if it gets in his way. And it's not just food, he cant' stand for me to pet the others and not him, he will push them out of the way. He will straighten up for a few mins if I scold him, but he will go right back to bullying. He is getting older and a little more honory, but come on, it's getting old. He is so big it's hard to physically do anything with him, I can push him back and feed him to get him out of my way, but he also will follow me around trying to stick his nose in the chicken feed bucket. Anyone have any ideas, or do I just need to keep scolding him.
     
  2. kinnip

    kinnip Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I have a goat that does that. I don't know what to do with her. It's gotten to the point that she doesn't mind the negative attention, as long as she's at the center of it.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Scolding isn't gonna do it (as you've noticed) - *working with* him is a better bet. I know you may think he's old, he's been around, he knows everything he needs to know, but truly they get rusty and truly a little more manners are always a good thing.

    So I'd suggest planning some regular (like every day or two) time with him to do manners on the leadline - walking, standing, moving one foot as you desire, step closer, step away from you,"stand", etcetera. Then you will have something you can tell him TO do (as opposed to just telling him what not to do, or pushing him away which really just makes things worse in the long run).

    Also, I would very very strongly suggest that you avoid whenever at ALL possible doing the things that cause him to be pushy. *Don't* let him near you when you have a bucket of chicken food (carry a dressage whip if you need a longer reach -- not to hit him with, just to use the same way you might use it in your groundwork). *Don't* pet the others around him, if at all avoidable, etc.

    Finally you might consider the possibility that part of this could be him getting sore somewhere and/or starting to lose a bit of hearing or eyesight... both can make horses extra grumpy and pushy, and both can cause them to not like having other animals right near them.

    This definitely IS something you want to deal with, because otherwise someone or something is likely to get hurt. (Edited to add: but there is absolutely nothing whatsoever you can, nor should try to, do about what he does with his pasturemates when you're not there. If he gets too aggressive or food-hogging you might have to separate him from some of them, but there is just absolutely no way to train him to behave differently to horses when he is alone being a horse)

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  4. reallemons1

    reallemons1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2008
    Gloucester, VA
    I can relate. I've got one too. He is Moondoggie, a cute 39" grey, well white pony. He has perfect manners in hand, but is a bully to the other ponies in the pasture. Misty, in my avator, disiplines him. He stops when I yell 'ought' but as soon as I turn away continues. I guess in the past he may have had to push for food.
     
  5. helmstead

    helmstead Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    If he were here, I'd have a full vet exam to look for both those things that Pat mentioned AND for hormonal imbalances. Aged horses get all sorts of things amiss - things you might not find without some bloodwork. Pain is also a real possibility...
     
  6. minna

    minna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Burnsville, MS
    He is losing his eyesight, and that is when it started to get worse. But, there is still no excuse. I will try working with him some more and see if I can re-train him a little. He is a wonderful horse, I just can't handle the aggression all the time.
     
  7. CountryMom

    CountryMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 21, 2008
    South Texas
    There is a yahoo group for Blind Horses. Wonderful people to help you as his sight worsens. You will need to plan for him as he progresses. I would try haltering and tying each for dinner. That way he doesn't have the need to fight for his meal and stress out. You may also want to place a bell on at least one of his pasture mates as he gets worse. That way he can find his way. Also you need to do some in hand work with him like he was trained before. Even just leading work - but add in you voice commands. Tell him walk, tell him stop, tell him away or toward and most importantly teach him trailer loading now by using your voice and a trigger word. He is insecure and I am sure fearful as his sight is dimming. Get a full vet exam now and don't let them tell you because he is blind put him down.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  8. minna

    minna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Burnsville, MS
    Oh, I won't put him down. Not unless he is in intense pain. He has lost partial sight in one eye due to an infection. He copes fairly well. He has always had the feeding problem. Another thing I didn't think about is that he is used to be alone in a pasture, or with mares. I have another gelding. Think that could cause the mischief? My dh wants to get rid of the other two, as neither of them are broke and we don't have enough time to give all 3 of them the attention I would like to give them, but I'm attached. [​IMG]
     
  9. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    Get a full vet exam now and don't let them tell you because he is blind put him down.

    I second this! My mare Sweetie (the one who just foaled) is blind in one eye from a trailering accident. i have learned to adapt myself and to always be sure she knows exactly where I am around her because it upsets her that she cannot see me on that blind side. She, too, can be aggressive with other horses, so it has taken me awhile to find pasture mates for her that she is comfortable with. She is with one older mare and my stallion--or was until she foaled. Now she and the foal have their own paddock. For the first day or two with the baby she would get over-anxious when Lovey would stand in her blind spot. Now I am noticing that she has taught Lovey not to stand there but to come to her other--sighted--side.

    So yes, they absolutely can adapt! They just need us to work with them a bit and adapt to their needs so they don't feel anxious or threatened.

    HTH​
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:If he is losing his sight then I will betcha that is a lot of your reason right there, possibly all of it. "No excuse" doesn't really come into it IMO -- you have to start taking different management steps to make him comfortable and safe, and that's likely to involve removing him from group turnout. Many blind or going-blind horses do best with just one very-compatible companion, you'd have to see what horse he gets along best with (if any). Definitely he shouldn't have to be in with horses with whom he doesn't get along. You have to realize how stressful that is for him, 24/7/365, when he can't fully see.

    Training would be good, but it sounds like changing his living arrangements is the most important thing right now.

    A vet checkup to look for other possible sources of pain might still be in order, next time the vet happens to be out for something else.

    Good luck, and best wishes to him,

    Pat
     

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