So Cooper, my OTTB, now has my DH's number ... and is being a bratty pig around him! I have been sick, battling a sinus infection for the past month. So, DH has taken on the barn chores for me. After feeding in the morning, he has to turn everybody out from their stalls into the field.
We have three perfect gentlemen ... and one who seems to have forgotten his manners! Cooper has taken to barging through the stall gate as soon as DH unlatches it and zipping out the barn door at warp speed. Which, obviously, is dangerous. Apparently he nearly ran DH completely over yesterday.
So this morning I dragged my sick sorry arse out to the barn to see what's going on ... and of course Mr. Cooper is the brown-eyed angel. He bats those big eyes at me and stands perfectly still, slides his nose right into the halter, and practically escorts me out on his arm. He whispers in my ear, "DH is lying, do not believe a word he says. I am always perfectly well-behaved like this." Okay -- he didn't actually whisper, but he was certainly showing no signs of being anything but a perfect gentleman in every way.
Any ideas on how I can either 1. get DH to quit asking the pretty horsies pretty please, and getting run over by the one who is not so generous; or 2. get Mr. Cooper to behave even when I am not there?
Have you taught DH what to do when stuff like that happens? Maybe he needs a class on "if this happens then you do this". He probably needs confidence that he's going to make the right response to any given situation.
Agree w/ poster above. Also, if possible, figure out a way to watch without Cooper seeing you, so that you can see what is happening directly.
If your normal routine is a bit laissez-faire because your other critters are really polite, I might go back to leading them in and out one at a time in a halter, if that's not what you are doing right now, as well.
I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09
IIWM & my DH, I'd tell him to be in a position to close & relatch that stall door if Mr C gives the teensiest indication he is going to do anything more than behave like your other 3.
Is Cooper last to go out?
If not, I'd deal with Cooper 1st since the others will most likely be OK with going out after the Bad Boy.
DH can take his time:
1- bring C's halter to the stall.
Perhaps C s/b haltered while he's eating - chances are he will not leave his goodies to make a Break.
2 - once haltered & done eating, unlatch stall keeping an eye on C's body language:
Antsy? Barging at stall door?
Anything other than standing politely, stall stays latched.
3 - once C stands quietly, unlatch door but be prepared to relatch if C thinks this means Push On Through Puny Human
Another way would be let the others out.
Do this when DH has some time to kill.
It won't hurt Cooper to be left in until he figures out anything other than Saintly means he doesn't get to join the herd.
DH can take 5 then offer again.
Bargy behavior means C stays in.
My $.02 FWIW
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
Thanks for the advice -- I finally got out on Friday to watch what was actually going on. I suddenly realized, though it's hard to explain, that the way DH had things set up -- he was actually doing a pretty darn good replication of a starting gate! Ha ha! I mean it, really. As I watched, I thought -- Oh. My. Gosh. Cooper is just bursting out of the gate, breaking for daylight -- exactly as he had been trained!
I made a few changes in the set-up and in DH's routine: When DH approaches Cooper's gate, he is to start talking to him (while walking up) and remind him that we all need to be calm and settled. If Cooper is still pushing on the gate, DH should not open it, but say calmly, "Cooper, back up." When he does (and he does, very easily), unlatch the gate and open it (I say to go perpendicular to the stall, not all the way open) and invite Mr. Cooper to walk out.
Now, Cooper strolls casually out into the field. No muss. No fuss.
Note: If you walk into the stall with a halter and lead rope, Cooper is perfectly controlled. But DH is still nervous about haltering, and gets all fumble-fingered. So, he is trying to just let the horses walk themselves out. Previously, he had sort of set things up like a chute. Cooper would press against the gate, ready to burst out the open door. Now, he has to wait and calm down, back off from the gate and when DH opens it slowly, Cooper just strolls calmly outside.