simple and easy let me just ask....


What do you think is the reason why a horse is bullyish towards strangers? 


What are your suggestions to do something about it? 


Have you seen any good training videos or tools used to properly introduce a bully horse to new people...



Short background.  My horse, Oliver, he is very docile with me..... and anyone he knows he's sweet... but new people, borderline kind of dangerous... it saddens me to have a horse that I love that I cannot trust with my friends or family and I would love some easy steps to start with as this problem has got to be resolved or Oliver will not ever be able to leave my yard without my trainer.  I'm not sure if I trigger it or not... he is an orphaned horse, I raised him.. I just wonder what is going on with him... he is sweet/scary.....

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The comments Jennifer refers to have been removed and the person is no longer a member here.
thanks admin, had me confused...keep up the good work admin!!
Thank you all for you caring and understanding and thanks to barnmice admin for helping rectify the situation..... the advice of others can go through your head when you are working with a horse and the best thing to have is confidence and focus..... so it is important what information we filter into our training from others.... one bad blog can wreck my whole day.

I can let you guys know not that it is a defense of Oliver that he and I are working on communication, not domination, with many of Chris Irwins methods and my horse is compliant..... and yes, bratty which leads to drama when asking him to be obedient, but I don't give up, I try every day and only fight the battles I can win..... I know not to interfere with his training by not getting what I want... so thank you guys for reinforcing that. :) This is why until I can get a series of ground work done I don't intend to ride him.... or take him around other people...

I didn't understand the part about only putting the horse in at night, but I tried something similar recently in that Oliver just for now, doesn't need to deal with company or kids or my gardners son who brings his friends over... I have no idea what he might have done that riles up my horse but for the summer I am going to handle him and my trainer will too and after a few months of not feeling threatened in his own territory as well as being managed when people are around by a professional, maybe we can help Oliver.... you never know what other people may have done to your animal when you are not around.. I put up do not enter posters around my barn too.... to acknowledge that he shouldn't be messed with....

I meant it when I said he is fairly docile with me.... maybe because he is an orphan it is very very different... if I lower my energy he does better than if I raise my energy.... my trainer of course doesn't agree with that... I like compliant.... before he was downright pushy and I got him over that with me.... he listens at least... doesn't always do it, but he's 5..... he is testy and he is a brat all the way... and he thinks he's funny..... but I am very very consisent even if I make mistakes in trying to get the response I want but he must understand what I am asking and in this way my trainer and I differ... he gets the instant response he wants..... I am more patient but persistent and eventually win in the end and never give up till my method works.... my horse charges is what he does... if you came up to the fence he'd try to scare you away..... you'd never get close enough to touch him... that is a new behavior since he was young... he was curious and you had to shoo him away but he wasn't downright scary so I kicked all the men that are working around my house out of his yard so Oliver can have some peace and some good constructive communicative work.... my trainer would do something much more drastic..... I do what I do with him and he does what he does and we both have a different relationship with Oliver but both of them are good. You can tell Oliver generally likes both of us and while with me I don't always get the response, I am still practicing, the things that he tries with strangers he has never ever ever done to me.... I wonder if he's afraid or just dominant....

I think what bugs me about these boards is when people start to point out the obvious and we act like this person isn't living with this animal, and knows nothing.... even my own trainer yesterday, "well this is dangerous behavior, it has to be stopped, blah blah"... I know... What do we DO? see when you are learning, you have to have specifics... I can play Chestnuts game and I usually do... of moving him where I want him to go, practicing.... even pushing him into his stall, out of his stall... and I do mostly at liberty work with him and try like hell to be a mare..... I have not been easy on this horse ever... and he needs that... it's just that he still needs it and he's 5....

I want you to know that he is basically, and I use that term like a novice..... respecting me.... in other words... when defining my space he no longer is pushy with me at all but very respectful and I can use light soft cues with him and he understands...

but maybe because he's an orphan again..... he doesn't let other people near me.... I saw a male horse once around his mare.... and hed bare his teeth and rush the fence if he though we were going to get to close to his gal..... Oliver is sort of like that.... now my trainer says away from the property where he has been riding him he's getting much better..... with people and horses....

so thank you for encouraging me.... I am not one to give up... :)

sometimes too we have to have a back and forth discussion so we can help each other, not an accusatory one... that is what I have problems with with opening myself up.... be kind.... having horses is hard, being scared and not having fun is depressing, having a little bit of encouragement and not feeling like I have to give my horse a needle is cheering me up... thank you so much....
I am so glad to see you back, Jennifer.
mate, going to be a little blunt here, but keep in mind please that, I am just being straightforward and I support your work with him.. but the work never ends till the day they or we die, we must keep evolving and soaking up any information we can and changing the goal posts to our and their needs

he is not human, he is a horse...and he is your reflection.. the behavior he is giving you, is what you have asked and are giving off with your feelings around him....

at 5 yrs of age he should be watching his manners well and truly, so the first step for you is to stop making excuses for him and yourself and get real about it... this is a horse not a human/ horse years this horse is a grown up..

the reason he is keeping others away from you is because you are not being his leader.. even tho he is compliant to you at most times he is above you in the leader stakes and see's it as his job to protect you as you are not leader enough to do the job for him

if you don't self analyze yourself and your thinking about how you are dealing with this horse, yes it will accelerate and get worse. the first question when anything is amiss should be 'what am I doing wrong?' not 'the horse is stuffing up how do I fix him?'

until you man up to this horse and create a person that he can lean on and turn too he is going to keep taking the lead role with all other people

if you need to understand where I am coming from and my understanding of the situation read my mares blog about her behavior Si'Ann's Blog

I do think you have the right Idea and it is truly wonderful to find another person who can see the soft side of cues and working with horses but there is a medium where you can be soft and be a leader and you haven't found that spot yet and he is seeking it desperately
I know what you say is true.... thank you for your honesty... I promise I do not take this lightly and I know that he is a reflection of me and my feelings.... if I hadn't learned that, we would not even be where we are...... he would still be trying to knock me around..... but yes, my dear, there is more work to do... this is I why I ask for help.. not because I think I have all the answers but because I know it is a journey..... but when a person is down, while a horse may kick us, I hope as human counterparts trying to help horses we can speak in a way that is encouraging, not mean.... toughening up has been a hard lesson for me for 5 years..... and until I can rectify the situation comfortably around other people I can't do it... I either have to let my trainer do it or I have to have a person that will not be scared of him while I do my thing..... but it will happen.. for now he's not in a position to be tempted at all to scare anyone or to be dominant... and for today that is what I shall do..... the minute I see my horse in the morning till at night I do not let him get away with anything... but reinforcing ill behavior infront of others I must admit has been my mistake and my downfall..... thanks again for your comments and I will go and read your mares blog Shaiarabs... .....and Hello Jackie... my friend... :)
you can do it mate.. I look forward to hearing about your progress!!
I have been in communication with Jennifer by e-mail for a while, so maybe I am getting a slightly better picture.
Several months ago Jennifer sent me a picture of Oliver. I looked and looked at it, my mind was telling me something was wrong, but it took me a while to see it. Then it leaped out at me--Oliver's eyes look really small and sunken. This can be a sign of GREAT PAIN.
Jennifer has researched this (with help of a person sensitive to horses), and they think that Oliver has TMJ pain, which can be very severe. I do not see how in any way that Jennifer is responsible for this head pain, even in the foal photos his eyes look sort of small.
I have come to respect Jennifer highly. She has managed to get a good handle on a horse with (for right now) intractable pain issues. Every time there has been problems she has gone to the professional who sold/gave her Oliver to raise. She has gone to every source she can to learn how to handle this horse. She has never given up on Oliver, even when the professional did, temporarily at least. All during this time she HAS learned how to handle this horse, and taught him to act in a civilized manner around 2 people.
Having lived in South America as a girl I have some experience with the way some Latino men think, and some (not all, by any means) Latino men think it is fun to instigate bad behavior in a horse--just for the hell of it. I think this happened to Oliver and Jennifer is trying to deal with this.
I have owned and handled horses for over 40 years, some of them quite challenging (2 stallions, one crazy mare.) I mis-judged Jennifer at first. When I realized what the main problem was (great pain) I apologized.
I think that Jennifer is showing signs of becoming an excellent horsewoman. I admire Jennifers bravery, commitment to good horsemanship, her refusal to give up on a horse that can scare even experienced horsemen. I feel very honored that she considers me a friend.
agree with you there totally Jackie...she is doing great..
Hmmm... I'm not sure the chasing others away is a lack of respect for Jennifer. I've seen horses who desperately want a leader find one, follow it and keep others away from it. The horse practically worships the chosen one (for lack of a better description) and has a "MINE!" reaction to other horses. Orphans can be worse (the ones I've seen) as they are often not properly socialized with other horses and don't really understand herd dynamics. If the "chosen one" disciplines the "MINE!" reaction, it will disappear (it may resurface briefly when a new horse joins the group, or possibly when one leaves).

Chuck a new horse out in a herd and see who chases it first - very often it's not the leader - unless the leader is insecure and one of those desperately looking for a leader worth following. When you have a good solid herd leader, those horses in the middle of the group order tend to chase first, then the bottom group, and finally once that's done the leader will wander over and check out the new horse and then make it plain who's boss hoss.

I would very carefully set up situations with other people coming around (gradually getting closer, and coming over to talk to me, and later pet the horse) and then specifically teach my horse what acceptable behaviour is in those situations. At the first sign of the horse sizing up the new person I'd have the person stop where they are and I'd do some active moving feet groundwork to get his attention back on me before asking the person to come closer again. You'll need some patient friends for this, ones who will do what you ask without question or hesitation so that you can get them out of harms way quickly should Oliver be taking the long way round to listening to you.

I would push him a little harder for a quicker response - persistence is a good method, but you must be careful to ensure that he does respond faster and faster with less and less disscussion over time. Patient persistence followed by a sharper insistence can do wonders if you time the sharpness well. Be sharp, get the response, praise and then done, and back to the patient persistence for the next thing. Gradually move the sharper insistence earlier in the process and the horse becomes more responsive. Time the praise right and the horse becomes more willing to respond.

If pain is a factor and you can relieve it, he will very quickly become a happier horse and very likely easier to handle in every way. Do look into that, but at the same time don't cut him any slack because he's in pain. Even while in pain horses must learn to stay within the acceptable boundaries of behaviour because they can so easily damage humans who are trying to help.

Good luck! Glad you came back. :)
see where you are coming from... but.. I do think that the others chasing would only be at the alphas discretion...
Of course it is. I did say that in my post above. I do tend to get quite detailed in an attempt to be clear and end up writing a lot. Sometimes little points like that are easy to miss in the flood of words. ;-)


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