Post Office Box Victor Harbor
Horsemen and Women all over the World, make their
living out of correcting out of control horses for owners'. Mostly
they succeed easily but often, the horses revert back to their
original state. Every week I get letters like this with two today:
"My 15 yr old daughter needs to read this one!
She got the shock of her life last night when her lazy, dead quiet
12 yr old appy came to life during feed time and kicked out at her.
He just connected, not serious but he certainly meant it from where
I was standing!
Maybe now she’ll listen about being too soft on him – I’ve told her
from day one (we’ve had him for 5mths) not to let her guard down
just because he’s soooo quiet, he usually wouldn’t canter more than
4 paces in the paddock to save himself but he had a bee in his
bonnet last night. He’s western trained and slow is what he does
Just the subtle body language such as ears back when she goes near
him and he will try and stand on top of her at the feed bin – not
physically pushy although he’s in her space, he seems to play mind
games. A typical cranky old man look! "
Hello, maybe you can advise? I recently acquired
a 2.5 year old filly and started working on the ground with her. I
can lead her at a walk and trot nicely from either side, groom, and
started longeing with a longe line and whip. She was getting good at
it, learning to trot, walk, or stop at my signals in both
directions. I upped the ante and added a surcingle and she was still
improving. However, this is only in the round pen. In the arena she
does not get it. The real problem is now that, after I was away for
4 days and she was just turned out the whole time, she has been
surly when I longe, clean her hooves, or ask her to do any work. I
spent an afternoon with her just hanging out and grooming so she
would like me, and she followed me around like a friendly dog. But
she is bad when longeing now; even charged me once. I think I had
her respect and some how lost it. I am afraid of being kicked or
charged at in the pen now, but she needs some work so I had her jog
in hand with me for awhile."
This article attempts to point out the most common
causes of horses losing respect for their owners and then the most
effective ways that the owner can regain that respect and hopefully
OUT OF THEIR BOX
So what are the signs that horses are 'above
themselves' and exhibiting signs of domination of the owner?
Crowding gates as the owner enters the yard
Standing almost on top of the owner when
stationary, continually moving the feet of the them.
Grabbing feed from the owners hands prior to
lodging it in the feeding receptacle or helping themselves to
the feed bin as the owner is mixing the feed.
Cutting corners in the lunge ring, staring out
away from the handler as they travel around, changing direction
when they want, not staying on the perfect circle, laying the
ears back, traveling in close to the owner with the rump cocked
slightly in on the circle, half charging the owner as they cut
the corner and pass by, rolling in the owners presence.
Leading the owner instead of the owner leading
them, dictating the direction of travel, hip and shouldering the
owner, moving the owner about the car park as they gossip,
dragging the owner like a bad trained Dog.
Pawing at the tie up rail or swinging the butt
around causing the owner to be forever dancing as they groom.
Laying the ears back and swinging the head
around at the owner, even nipping whilst saddling up.
Difficult to catch, load on a float.
Not following perfect circles on the arena and
veering towards the exit all the time.
Behind the leg.
Rolling in your presence in the Round Pen.
Not tying up properly, digging holes.
Daring to scream out to other horses whilst
Threatening or actually kicking at other horses
and of course No. 1. squealing!!! The most
definite sign of insolence and a complete lack of respect,
normally followed shortly after by the owner being bucked off :)
Searching me for carrots.
LOSS OF RESPECT (the causes)
Allowing horses to encroach, crowd or help
themselves during feed time instead of being made to stand right
back out of the way (10 metres) until being invited in only when
the owner is ready.
Allowing horses to crowd the gate of the yard
when the owner is trying to enter.
Leading horses in Pony Club style and thereby
pushing and fighting with them on the ground.
Allowing horses to dictate direction of travel
Playing about with horses whilst they are eating
instead of allowing the horse it's own space and quality time.
Allowing horses to cut corners during lunging,
allowing them to go around 'flexed off' and looking out of the
circle, away from the owner.
Allowing horses to turn with their rump in the
face of the owner when changing direction on the lunge rather
Owners who end up doing as much lunging as the
horse by continually chasing the horse to keep it going on the
Allowing horses to stand close in on the owner
whilst just standing around and in particular, moving the
owner's feet from their original stopping position. In other
words, herding the owner.
Incessant verbal or whip threatening without any
Accepting second best in work.
Failing to win every single battle of wills no
At least 50% of the horses that I meet, exhibit
signs of disrespect when I regain respect in most cases, inside two
minutes. A complete changed horse emerges. What then could those
owners fail to understand?
A lack of Horsemanship training in the
Curriculum of Equestrian Teaching Organizations
Owners not taking horses seriously or realizing
that they are lethal weapons in the hands of unlicensed people.
The serious misconception that you win respect
with grooming, carrots or other treats. That horses will love
Not realizing that horses do not 'love' but
'respect'. That if we could say that horses love, they really
only then love strong assertive and demanding owners who may
even stretch to disciplinarians. HORSES CANNOT STAND WEAK
That horses are looking for 'leadership'. They
expect it and are happy when it occurs.
A failure to operate with consistency and on the
scales of training based upon levels between zero to ten and
with 'reward and relief ' for a try. An unwillingness to quickly
go up the scale if necessary but always looking to operate down
the scale as a result.
Here are two proven ways for people to take back
control and therefore respect. ( In 5 Minutes)
The challenge is of course to keep
here for the explanation
and here for the
believe it but please don't lose it again after.
Mail: horseproblems at horseproblems.com.au