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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Well, to me, this is sort of what it is like Chestnut and thanks for your response.... it was almost like, "wow, really? someone else thinks that would be a good idea?" because that is what I get it is also... he worships me.... if I go for a walk with my dog he calls me.... if I call him he calls me back.... but to me what is important is that when I firstly see him after a long absense to feed him or hang out with him, he nickers real soft, walks up with his head down low and stands real still next to me waiting for the question.. then he follows so intently, licking chewing, so happy to see me..... and then wham, would take a bite out of my friend... I meant it when I said scary/sweet.....

When Oliver was a baby I had two geldings I put him with.... my gelding Toby really does push him around to this day and Oliver listens... the other horse was trying to kill him it looked to me slamming him into walls and being like overly mean.... and I let it go on for a while then I removed my colt..... the next time we put them together, my trainer came over to regulate and Oliver barely tried anything..... and if a horse knocks him around he quits right away..... he reminds me of the cowardly lion... he's all tough till you bob him on the nose or something and he goes and cowers in the corner..... he lacks confidence, he's confused, he doesn't know if I'm a horse or a woman and the most important thing of all, he's an orphan..... and it is so interesting to me to even meet people like Chestnut that have been in contact with or who understand orphanness because it is very hard to find any information..... during my studies with Chris Irwin I learned about dominant levels.... Chris said you only have to be one notch up the dominance scale to get your horse to listen to you.... Oliver is a 4 or a 5..... based on a few analysis that have been done in my journey to understand him.... I need to be a 5 or 6 which that is me..... I think my trainer gets nervous when Oliver is being defiant, which to me is what he is, not dominant, he gets pissed and bratty like any horse would.... if i stay calm, ask again and don't get all ballistic but let him think about it, he calms down, goes back to a 5 and we get the job done..... Steve says he's dominanting me and I'm always going around, is he, isn't he.... it's so confusing... but as a learner of herd behavior and communication, this fascinates me..... when I go into my horses area, they perk up their heads, ears forward, Toby waits till I go let him know he can relax and Oliver comes right over and stands with me, approaching with his head low, his eyes soft, his ears forward..... is that not a compliant horse? Honestly you guys tell me if I'm reading him wrong because that is all I care about at this point in my lessons is what is going on with us and our communication and why I came to barnmice to learn more about Chris Irwin. .... when he gets bratty, I do not want to hit him.... I want to merely move his feet around with my energy, my intent and my focus and only hit him as a last resort..... he is so darn nice why am I hitting him... I don't want to provoke him to bite me or kick me..... he doesn't do anything but try and show me that he can stand still by me and wait for a direction.... since I didn't know exactly what to do with him once I caught him I started just asking him to follow me shoulder to shoulder and take walks around our paddock.... he follows me at such a nice distance and goes out of his way not to step on me, to get out of my way, I can push him with a feather.... and then one of you shows up and bam, he'll eat you for lunch, LOL... I love the slowly having people come up to him idea Chestnut, you and I are on the totally same page..... the last time my little neice was here she practiced with me and we were going for Chris Irwin's endorphine release..... when he would see Mackenna outside his pen, and acknowledge us we stopped moving, didn't put any pressure on him and walked around in figure eights together while he softened, lowered his head..... when we got closer we did the same thing..... until he was comfy with us there and we left....... went back and did it again.... I love my patient friends because they do try and help me..... but it takes alot of time and most time I'm alone and live in an isolated area.... today I have a friend coming over not to even see Oliver so I am going to put him in a stall where he can watch but not come up to us, let her do her thing in my tack room to get what she needs and then she can leave... and he will see that he doesn't have to deal with everyone.. they can come and go at no consequence to him..... but I love pressure and release... and something else Chestnut.... Oliver is like this... you can ask him from far away to move or respond... if you get closer he gets stiffer and more concerned... but if you back off and let him think about it, he'll come right to you.... I can even pull him off food with no fight.. he's like so trusting with me..... I don't know... we don't have aggressive communication but I think this horse digs me... and that is part of the problem for other people..... :) I love your suggestions for curing my oliver.. I need someone brave too so that if he comes up and I have to bop him or smack him they don't misunderstand that that is the communication that he is craving for that situation.. I bet if I got him good once, it could be over with.... but approaching him slowly, in my heart, is where I believe the secret lies..... he is not a mean horse... he is a confused orphan horse and he needs strict rules and boundaries but he is really easy to manage with gentle corrections.. he licks and chews right away by just even moving his hind end around in a circle and disengaging... he stops moving, lowers his head, blows out his nose and licks and chews right then..... he is not stupid... he is truly seeking a leader like you say. After one of our sessions where I purposely show him I'm his leader so he will relax, he drops his winky and starts yawning and usually will lay down or roll with me there too.... he's that comfortable... I can sit on him... ..... he loves company, he is curious and he is such a good friend to me I'd love to share him with my friends.... so thanks again for that advice because I think we are on the right track... just in one day of no men around him at all, no leaf blower, no guys in his yard, his eyes are so soft today and he doesn't have wrinkles above them.....

now if he came up to me with his head all up and all pushy, or started running for me, I have a crop, a whip or even my garden hose that I carry at all times and I back him up harsly or push him around meanly if he displays any pushy attitude but if he comes up soft and sweet, I'd rather just join up with him and go for our little walk with no drama, nice and calm...... my trainer rides him bareback with no halter.. I mean this horse has his great awesome points......
You are showing good progress.
One alternative to getting slightly nasty physically that I use is to loudly and sharply go "AH, AH" (no softness in my tone), the horse usually looks a little taken back, and I repeat as needed.
When I do this the first time if the horse backs down at all I end the session. Too much repetition of this sound will dilute its effectiveness. Since Oliver likes having you around he may actually figure out what is happening if you leave him be after he is taken aback (just a tiny, tiny, tiny movement backward, the horse does not even move his feet.)
When the horse is trained to this it serves as a useful correction, and unless you have laryngitis you always have it with you.
I think you are effectively working with Oliver. It is so wonderful to see you making good progress!
Sorry if I'm not writting well, I'm tired. I rode for 45 minutes today! First time in over a year.
great to have more info from you mate.. I can see more detail...

quote jennifer'I need someone brave too so that if he comes up and I have to bop him or smack him they don't misunderstand that that is the communication that he is craving for that situation.'

a suggestion.. you might not even need to bop him one.... just own your friend and send him back...but as you said your friend is going to need to be strong, have faith in you and your control and stand their ground.. once you own your friend then get your friend to be large and move him off as well if you think he will deal with it.
hahha thanks I must have missed it...;-P
Can't put a video up here on this page can I?
I think you have to put it up somewhere else (like youtube or vimeo) and then put a link here for us.

Shaiarabs put it well when she said "own your friend". That's essentially what I was describing in the disciplining his actions and teaching him what is acceptable behaviour.
Hi Jennifer,
Yes you can add a video from YouTube just by copying and pasting the embed code, as I have done with this example video.
Alternatively I think you can add a video from your computer just by clicking on the "file" icon at the top of your reply box . It will take you to a page where you can browse your computer for the video then double click to add it.
I've never tried that, so you can be my guinea pig! :)


Thanks Guys.. Oliver and I had a great morning...... now I'm at work having a not so great day but I don't care cuz he and I did so great....

I get the owning my friend... did that before and he got all jealous..... but I've done it more than once...... I will keep doing it though because I do own my friends and it pisses him off... I own my other horse too.... and I protect everyone from Oliver..... :) I think if I calm down when other people are around and don't give off the scared of oliver feeling he won't feel it either... :)
well done mate you are on to it well and truly...as cesar milan says calm assertive...you go girl!!
Hey Barnmice.. here is a video I made of me and O.. on his birthday with my trainer.. he said I did okay.... :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5Fys3ymOAY

It's kind of long but I think it shows some of Olivers personality.....
Hi, Jennifer:

I just watched your video, which was really helpful. Here's what I saw:

1. The flicking lead rope drove me nearly nuts, in a little over three minutes of watching it. It's a big cue, probably a lot bigger than the horse really needs, it's distracting, and often not terribly effective. I found it often confusing, especially when coupled with your stance.

2. There were too many treats compared to not nearly enough performance. I do believe in tangible rewards for horses, but Oliver is more focused on the treats than the job. Have you considered clicker training him? That allows you to build a reward system with him which is not based on food rewards, and would likely lessen his pushy behaviour.

3. Oliver looks well cared for and loved. However, does he ever get real physical exercise, and if so, what does that consist of, what's the duration and frequency?

4. I"m not clear on the handler - was that you or the trainer? I did not see a horse who was particularly respectful. He knows his tricks, and he performs them well enough, but not with enthusiasm. In other words he looks basically bored.

Now that I've jumped all over you, let me say some hopefully helpful things:

1. Oliver, like all horses, needs to work hard physically on a regular basis (at least 3 times per week). I think I understand from you that you don't ride him, is that right? How about longeing him? I think you need to try to change the position/sizes of obstacles, etc., to challenge him to a much greater degree.

2. Your body language is often confusing - you invite him in and then chase him away. I think you are a very gentle person, and your approach is a little too "soft". By that I don't mean that you need to be "hard" with Oliver, but you could be more definite in your stance and in your body language. Do you ever watch Cesar Millan, with dogs? It's the same principle; I get the feeling that you need to give yourself permission to be Oliver's leader, rather than Oliver's friend. Horses feel safest and most confident with strong and confident leaders, and if you can be that for Oliver he will challenge others to a much lesser degree.

I didn't see an awful horse, or a really aggressive horse. I didn't see a horse I'd consider dangerous, at least based on the video, but he needs to have a lot more respect for you, your space, and your requests. He's obliging, and as I said in my response to your initial query, he's reasonably compliant. However, he's not really obedient, and he thinks he's your leader, rather than the other way around. All in all, I certainly would not say that you're doing a bad job, just that you can do more. I've seen VERY much worse, and many times!

Now, give yourself a pat on the back for having done many things well, and resolve to do everything better and with more assertion!
Well putting up a video sure does open yourself up which quite frankly is scary.... I watch myself and I watched my video and I see very much the same things that you do..... you are funny. I didn't mean to drive you nuts. I guess I will answer the questions..... and I know I'm confusing. I'm learning..... :) Practice aint' pretty. I don't know which trainers you follow, but the rope swinging is real popular with some.. :)

Oliver goes on trailrides four times a week with a professional trainer. The person that was sitting with me..... :) I hope that is considered good enough exercise.... I also push my horses around at liberty. I am not a lunger...... maybe I'm not phsyically fit enough for this horse I don't know... I might not be able to ride him myself ever but I don't know... because I am so physically unfit I wanted to raise a gentle horse.... It makes me a little sad that you say that he's bored.... for purposes of Utube there is no way I'm going to put up anything but me being gentle with my horse and him being gentle with me.. I don't even like utube because it is way too public and then I'm exposed to criticism from other people besides just you and whoever might be here... and trust me, I've been criticized for over 5 years about everything I do with this horse so I really have to learn and take things with a grain of salt and remember that this 5 minutes is not where I started with him but where I am now....

:) As far as if he's obedient or not, I hope you understand this and it makes sense..... I am not saying that I disagree with you in any way. When I read your comments I did not get all offensive or anything. I just said, yep it's true... everything she said. A year ago though I did not even have his attention.... and the reason my I gave him treats was because it was his birthday and yes, he would be an excellent candidate for clicker training... but with CT you do have to treat and then click.. so the treats is the beginning part. When I first started reading about clicker training (have you read the book?) there was no way I could go into that pen with that horse with a bucket of grain tied to my belt... so to start the thought process I needed to be able to let him know that it was not okay for him to hover around the food..... and that he must not take it from me...... or run me over for it.... step one was to get him to respond to the food, then the clicker.... so yes, I am into clicker training. He will love it.

so anyway, I'm glad you saw the video. I don't put up videos to say, oh, okay, I'm so awesome and I'm done now...... look at me and my horse... this video was just to document his existence here on the planet for five years...... I'm glad you think that he looks healthy.

my trainer is really hard on Oliver and really makes him mind and he tells me the same things you do..... that I am not assertive enough.... he also says things like we use communication not domination. That's confusing to me.... then Clinton Anderson and Chris Irwin don't teach anything alike. That is confusing to me.... then you put up a post and get a bunch of different suggestions, that is confusing to me... so honey, if I look confusing, I totally get that. I am confused alot of the time. Right now I was using Pony Boy's theory of spending time with my horse and asking him to follow me... practicing pulling him in and pushing him away. It's energy work. Relationship training.

I open myself up because I hope other older people like me that want horses will see that it's okay to get help from outside sources like these chatrooms.. but honestly, the help I get the most is from Oliver.... I let he and I work things out and a year ago I could not go in that arena with him without him really being all over me.. remember, he's a orphan... at least now, I do believe if he needed to be evacuated I could get him in a trailer.... I think if I needed to tend to his body or wounds or anything I could.... my confidence is caring for him had to come too. I was really not even used to or had never even been around a horse in 45 years of my life....

I've roundpenned him, I've driven him, I've pushed him around at liberty... those are not the video I put up today.. and no, in this video I was not being very assertive... which I'm not really. The fact that horses need so much discipline is sort of a drag honestly.... but I am working out, I've lost 10 pounds, and I quit smoking because apparently I need to be more assertive which takes physical ability I guess......

I like learning about energy work, so that is what I try with my horses and telepathy.
So many people have suggested Cesar Milan... I guess I better watch more.. I've seen about 5 shows and I guess it's okay for people to suggest him though I usally get alot of flack that dogs are not horses.. so the parallel is confusing to me.

The bottom line is, if you've been into horses along time.... it might be different than if you are old like me trying to learn... and assertion is this years goal....

Has anybody else really ever been scared of a horse? Run down by one? to go from that to where I am, I am happy... I do pat myself on the back. A year ago my trainer told me that I did not trust Oliver..... and that he knew it. Now I trust him more... I know that I am supposed to worry about what Oliver needs but I was way below confidence. I was scared of him and I was really focusing on myself and my safety and my ability to get braver.... .... if I walked side by side like that he would hit me in the face with his nose, or he would charge me... and that was because he could feel my fear.. I guess the purpose of the video was to show Steve that I trust my horse.... now when my trainer comes over he shows me what wimp I am and that I have to get more assertive and how he does it..... so that will come.

The method that Steve uses is to move his feet when he needs to be corrected and I had no forward motion. He would stand around and scratch himself and blow me off... at least now I have his attention.... I think things can at least start to happen now.....

I'm willing to keep working on myself..... :) and body language is important to me... I practice every day. I confuse my horse every day... but my patience with him has paid off in that he is patient back with me.... :)

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