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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clover, huh..... never even see that stuff except in small patches in the cracks of the concrete..... :)

Clicker training really teaches patience on both the part of the trainer and the horse but I am really having a terrific experience with my teachings..... my horse and I have been able to get even closer because he is understanding that good behavior brings good things..... now, instead of pushing into the gate that separates me and him from Toby to which I used to chase him away but that brought more bad behavior because he wanted the attention, .... when I'm with Toby, I can see Oliver standing back about 5 feet from the gate, ears forward, patiently waiting for me to notice that he is being good.... which a clicker is kind of cool because you can click and they can hear it from whereever you are..... because my first trick was to ask him to back up and quit being in my space, he is thinking backing up all the time now.... he is backing up from everything that he used to be pushy about... wow, not that is some serious behavior modification... I wonder if this will work when friends come over.... this is the reason I started this whole thing;..... to see if i can teach him to "think back up".... instead of charge forward..... :) Have a great day!! other things we are working on is haltering without him biting the halter and taking it away, and not turning to the outside, but staying to the inside when we are on line... in otherwords, keeping slack in the rope and his body curved in and soft instead of braced and pulling the rope away and running off.... he is frankly eating this stuff up and loves the positive reinforcement and attention... and I do too because when he is so bratty I just don't want to deal with him... but changing a bratty horse into an obedient horse, now that is really proving to be a fun project... :)
Oh boy!...instead of Oh no! can make a world of difference in our attitude and our energy.
You sound so much happier Jennifer! Happy for you things are going so well.
The other day I was riding Cash inside and he was dragging and did a big spook and just didn't want to go.
I was feeling so defeated. I decided to go outside. O rode him down the lane, trotted back and forth a few times and within 5 minutes I was beaming. His whole demeaner changed that quickly just by getting outside. I rode him around the outdoor arena just once and called it good. Got off, gave him a kiss, told him thankyou, loosened his girth and took him in to get his tack off. Then we grazed after I gave him a sponge bath. Things can change so suddenly...for good or bad.
Ya-hoo! Keep having fun!
Shirley, I have been sad for so long with a horse that just didn't want to do anything but be a brat that you are right, I am so much happier.... I want a relationship with my horse that isn't awful..... :) You are inspiring how you keep working with Cash too... thanks for participating on my thread..... Oliver gets very very excited..... he gets goofy and happy with new things and he's a showoff... I do not want to change his fun personality, but he does need to pay attention..... now he looks for me and wants to hang around with me... before he was so disconnected...... man, there s nothing like the connection.. it does make me happy... I look forward to hanging around with him too instead of dreading him.....
I am so glad your horses are responding so well.
I really appreciate reading about the effectiveness of the clicker training in comparision with the other methods you have used. It is SOOO important to give a clear signal, then a release, then further reward (doesn't have to be food, when riding it can just be giving the horse the room he needs to do what you asked for.)
You were ready to learn this next step. You knew you needed to learn this next step. Good work Jennifer, after all your study and hard work you deserve success!
Thanks Jackie!! I really love it when you feel like it's okay to take the next step, or actually you want to I guess is more like it...
I also have a gelding that was orphaned at 4 months of age, he didn't belong to me at that time, I purchased him as an untrained/unbroken three y/o. We broke him to the saddle and he's very much ridable. He's not aggressive toward anyone, however, he's very hardheaded constantly testing my authority. What I've read here has really given me some things to work on and given me hope; my husband has been talking about selling him.
Sarah, I searched for so long for information about orphans.... mostly what I got was that nobody really wanted to deal with them..... they are very special... I guess I decided to blog just to help others that didn't have any better luck than I did finding out information for an orphaned horse.... so many people on this board have helped me.... :) It can be so frustrating to be tested every day...... even Chris Irwin said a horse like mine would not be a horse that he would want to train because of the constant reinforcement needed...... :) I was very frustrated and Oliver was a huge reflection that maybe I just had the wrong horse for me.... but now he's really comin around... if I can be of any help to you, please let me know... this is why I talk about it... I know 3 people now with orphans... it is a small group... :) I'm glad you found the thread and I'd love to hear more about your gelding.
Rip is an Appaloosa, people have told me that's just another strike against him :-/, however I disagree with that train of thought. Not only was he orphaned at 4 months of age, as a yearling he had an accident, apparently he got his head caught in something and part of his face was ripped off. This resulted in even more human contact to get him nursed back to health, human contact without discipline apparently. Then he was just left to himself until I bought him. He has an ugly scar, his forelock covers it and there was no damage done to his optical nerve, he sees things just fine. Like you, everyone I talked to said that, because he was an orphan, his mother wasn't around to 'teach' him manners. I used to work in a boarding/training/breeding facility and know that mares do teach their offspring manners, from what I have learned humans aren't very good at duplicating those teachings to foals and this the reason orphaned foals often grow into disrespectful horses...HOWEVER, I am not convinced that these horses are in some way defective and not worth the time and (enormous) amount of effort it takes to 'catch them up' on the teachings they missed as foals from their mothers...I hope that makes sense. Rip is now ten years old, and yes he's a constant challenge for me...I might add a challenge that I embrace with my entire being. Rip isn't in the least aggressive...just hardheaded, thinks he knows better than me what he should do. He's solid on trails and will do what I ask. I've found that I have to go at things with a little different frame of mind when working with him, being a leader of course, being more of a partner with the leadership title works well for us, not an equal partner...but a partner in the leadership role...and always, always, always being fair with him...understanding his limits and not asking more of him than he can readily give; expanding those limits with small increments of training. I'm new to this site, I belong to two other horse related sites and yes, I've not been given much encouragement when I tell people Rip's an orphan...other than he'll only be a pasture ornament and nothing more. Keep up the good work with Oliver, he'll come around, expect to have to be on your toes at all times and 'the leader' at all times...give him the lovey-dovey stuff once he's back in his pen at the end of your lessons/time together and 'work' is done.
I've decided to incorporate Olivers breed with his orphanness and you can come with me if you want to..... the Indians bred three specific horses because of their nature friendliness with humans and their bond with their people... these horses are the mustang, the appaloosa and the paint.... my horse reminds me of a war pony... when he is close to me other people call it disrespectful... I call it i'm over pushing him away... for 5 years we, my trainer and I, have dealt with him.... he's like no other horse my trainer has met in 45 years...... oh well.... now let's write a book about them and enjoy them and find other orphaned horses and tell their stories..... I'm good at being a horse mom with my horse.... I've disciplined him, and done all the watering hole stuff I can do to be his leader... now I love being his partner.... and he's mine.. period end of story. we dig each other, we are different, we can't fit in the square hole and we are gonna succeed anyway.. he is an awesome, smart, loving, beautiful, sturdy, big tall indian pony...... mustang.... affectionate..... and I learn that the more he understands me the more he loves joining up. The more I relax around him the more he does too... I believe he would knit me a sweater if he knew how... I can see it on his face.. he just wants to fit in and be loved.... he is so confused about who he is, what he is... I'm gonna just let him be himself.... he stands close... people say he's disrespectful... he only seems dangerous when I used topush him away. Now he understands going away and doesn't take offense anymore.... If i let him be close he stands there and falls asleep... ..... I can tell that he will do what I ask of him.... he is doing so great... he's a pickle, but me and my trainer are trying to not make his goofyness go away because it's really fun that he wants to play with us. he is very much into his people... strangers not so much... what is Rip like with new people? that is my big concern right now and what I need to figure out before I ride him around town.... :) In five years, I've never been lovey dovey with him... ever. I don't even do that..... but now that I am trying to be more affectionate, he is loosening up and relaxing more..... I've been hard core and so has my trainer disciplinarian and he's not responding well to me at all..... not that he doesn't respond, he just used to blow me off... now we are connecting better.
OH WOW!!! You and Oliver sound sssoooo much like Rip and I. Just like you, people tell me that Rip is being disrespectful of my space when he stands close to me....HA! He's just trying to be close to me, I'm his 'safe zone'. I didn't choose my words very well when I said lovey-dovey, for me that only means standing close to him, saying soft 'love' words to him, breathing in his own unique horsey smell and letting him breath in my unique human smell, stroking his neck and face, touching him with loving touches, communicating to him that "Momma's got you, and when momma's got you nothing can harm you." thing. It's our special time of bonding. Rip has a goofy side too, he's a real clown sometimes and keeps us laughing at his antics. Around strangers he's curious, a bit standoffish, sort of sizing them up before he puts his nose out for a pat to 'investigate' them, I'm always near. The few times I observed from a distance, he wouldn't EVEN get close enough to them for them to lay a hand on him, and when they tried he turned tail and ran away, looking for me. You are one smart cookie to have disciplined him as a many moms of orphaned foals don't. With Rip, I had to start the discipline at three years of age because the people that owned him from birth didn't, I inherited a very spoiled animal. To Rip's credit, he didn't start being rebellious, he accepted the discipline very well actually, again because I was very careful to discipline him as his mother would have, like I saw mares interact with their foals at the barn. I did have to be very careful about how I disciplined him, I don't...let me say WON'T, go knocking around on any horse with my hands/fists, a whip or anything else, that is so counterproductive and I'm glad to hear you aren't one of those types of people. Rip is sensitive to voice and even just the 'look' from me lets him know he'd better straighten up. I found that if I did get too hard core he didn't respond well, much like you said about Oliver, Rip responded...he just didn't act happy about it and I want a happy, obedient horse, one that is happy to be obedient. Oh I agree with you 100% about the Indians breeding/having horses based on their willing attitudes with people. Rip is truly a people loving horse, not to put a human emotion on a horse, I'm talking the way a horse understands loving, when he and my mare are out in the pasture and my husband and I are out there too, they are always coming around to see what we're doing, to hang out with us if you will. Dennis and I will sit out there in our lawn chairs and it's not long before Rip is grazing close by, like he's hanging out with his herd mates, herd mates he respects. Rip and I are making a fine partnership, we only do trail riding, nothing competitive...although I'd love to do some competitive trail riding or orienteering, something along those lines. I think he'd do quite well at team sorting cattle too, they just don't have that type of thing here. I love the way my orphaned foal is turning out, like I said...he can be a challenge...but a challenge I love.
I don't have an orphaned horse but I am into horse psychology ( what makes them tic etc) and I love your story/experience. It's interesting and inspiring that you have both been in for the long haul~~I admire that in a horse owner.
What is orienteering?
JMO, and I'm pretty sure Jennifer would agree, it's a long journey, often very trying...BUT it's been well worth the effort and I wouldn't hesitate one moment to have another orphaned foal. I love figuring out what makes Rip tic, it's really helped to build an understanding of horses in general, a real education.
Orienteering is sort of like a scavenger hunt on horseback. It's a team effort, teams can be from two/three riders to as many as nine or more. Each team is given a topographical map of the area, usually the easiest trail is marked on the map. At least one member of the team must have a compass and know how to use it, a cell phone for emergencies is suggested, there are people along the trail also just in case of emergencies; safety for humans and horses is always taken seriously. At the starting point the time the team exits the camp is marked down, the team must get to the first 'check point', which is marked on the map. The team can get there however it chooses, they can choose NOT to take the easy, marked on the map trail, of course there will be natural obstacles to traverse which must be done safely taking into consideration the abilities of all horses and riders on the team. At the first check point there will be an item to be collected, there will be enough of the same item for every team involved to collect one and it's easily identified as the collection item by a flag. The more difficult rides are often just like scavenger hunts, there's a written clue with a riddle of sorts and the team must solve the riddle to find the collection item. This procedure is done all along the trail at all the check points, collecting all the items. When the team reaches the finish, which is also the start, their incoming time is marked down, they turn in the collected items. The team with the shortest time and the most collected items is the winner. The pace of the ride is set by the team and the abilities of each horse/rider, of course if any horse comes in exhausted/in poor shape, the team is disqualified. If an item is too hard to find and be collected/the riddle wasn't solved so the item wasn't collected, the team can move on for the sake of time, but a penalty is assessed (time is added) for each missing item. These rides take one day, often with an overnight camp out at the start/finish line, camaraderie around a group campfire and exchanging tales of the events of the day. I've even heard that sometimes the easy trail is ridden, just for fun, the next day with plenty of stops and laughs about the previous day. Sounds like fun huh? It's something that, for some strange reason, isn't widely popular; maybe the time to set things up is the reason.


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