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Rude/dangerous behavior at gate

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  • #21
    I have always been the "boarder' and not a boarding farm owner. I know that most BO's LOVE boarders that pay board but never use the facilities. However, I have also noticed that the horses with absentee owners usually become the most obnoxious animals because they aren't handled often enough, don't get exercise, or have enough "rules" that they have to live by. They seem to become a bit feral. We have one in the pasture with my horses. She is a problem because no one can catch her, worm her, treat an injury on her, etc. Our B.O. deals with her as best she can, but the horse can be a menace and is aggressive to the other horses. I ended up with a vet bill and lost show fees (in total about 1K) because she kicked my horse by the gate during the feeding time "frenzy".

    Personally, I would ask the horses owner to help you with this. They need to come out and bring her in during feeding time, or help with handling her while you're bringing in the others. I'd also want them to come out and just handle her more often.

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    • #22
      Do you think (or know) that she would try this behavior if you faked her out... entered the pasture and pretended to get another horse? If so, then I would do just that. As you pointed out, you are handicapped by the job at hand. So her training sessions have to be set up to put you at an advantage -- no horse in hand to get in your way. Have a halter with you (that you can drop when the come-to-Jesus begins!) so she thinks it's time to be an a$$, but get after her as soon as she takes so much as one step toward you and the gate.

      Be sure to be focusing on another horse (but not haltering) so the message is clear: "I AM NOT HERE FOR YOU SO GET LOST!"

      It's a pain but you'll really have to have training sessions, frequent ones at least at first, above and beyond your regular daily routine. You can add elements once she starts getting the picture -- if she stays back when you pretend to get another horse, move to actually haltering the other horse but don't go anywhere.

      Good luck and please be cautious. This is an awful behavior to have to put up with. Your description of the whole herd crossing the road in the dark gave me the heebie-jeebies. She must be retrained by whatever means.
      Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
      Starman

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      • #23
        I dealt with a VERY similar situation. Naughty horse waited until you had Good Horse in hand and the gate open and then would come crashing from behind and BAM...through the gate. In an ideal world I would have had partner to help train a "boundry" around the gate. I teach all my horses that no one is allowed within a 10 foot radius of the gate when i am there unless we are attached via leadrope. All the other horses would stand patiently at a distance until I went to get them. Then this horse joined the herd. Egads! If I had a partner to help train here is what I would do:
        1) Have partner equipped with lunge whip and dressage whip. Draw a line in your head as to where the invisible boundry line is. Tell partner where the line is. Halter another horse and begin walking to the gate. Partner stands quietly until mare approaches the boundry line. If she is casuallly walking a simple "Ack! Back." is sufficient. Partner uses body language to communicate that forward is not an option. If horse starts charging partner uses HEAVY verbal correction and takes a swing with the lunge whip. Contact is fine and if horse looks aggressive contact should be HEAVY and leave a friggin' mark! LOL If horse continues then partner should continue using heavy verbal and smack the crap out of horse with whip until he/shes gets out of the "boundry circle" and then stop immediately. Horse will soon learn that this circle exists and he should stay out of it if he values his life! Make sure when horse is out of the boundry circle and standing calmly you use verbal praise to make a clear "Yes and No" definition.

        After you get through step one with your partner move on to step two. Step Two is also the place I start if I don't have a partner (and this is what I did for dangerous charger in the past and now have a quiet, patient horse who waits for me to come and get her! LOL) Important to remember: While you are training this new behavior remember to not allow the Naughty horse ANY opportuniy to break through or show charging behavior. If that means tying her up in the pasture, bringing her out first to put her in a stall, etc then do it. If she gets through once you'll have to start all over! No fun!


        2) Pick the easiest/quietest horse in the herd. This will be your "training horse". Take that horse out of the pasture (remembering to secure your charger or get her out first! LOL) and begin training him to accept the following.
        a) To lead forwards while you are walking backwards at his shoulder on both sides (basically this allows you to be facing naughty horse and Good Horse should still be able to walk forwards even though you're facing the wrong way! LOL) I lead this horse with the lead rope over his neck so when I have to run to the back it's not dropped on the ground.
        b) Stand quietly while you flail a lunge whip and make horribly loud noises and movements behind him and to his sides. I used a cue word that meant "stand here and ignore everything you see and hear!" and I used it right before I "went off" on Naughty Horse. I used treats and slowly built my Good Horse up to the point I could lead him walking backwards, stop instantly when I stopped and stand like a rock while I flew to the back of him yelling and flailing a lunge whip. Make sense?
        c) Once Good Horse is confirmed to allow this crazed behavior of mine we put it to work in the pasture. Multiple times per day I would walk out to the pasture, halter him and begin leading him backwards...my eye on Naughty Horse the whole time. When she started to make forward steps towards us I used a verbal "ACK!" and gave her firm body language and eye contact. The first few times she didn't even approach my invisible boundry she was so confused about this new technique. But after several times she got brave. So I drew my invisible boundry, started walking backwards with my Good Horse and she started her usual approach. I used my body and my verbal "ACK!" and she pinned her ears and start trotting in. I stopped moving with my Good Horse, gave him his verbal "ignore everything I am about to do" cue (who was an angel and stopped immediately when I did and stood like a rock through all of this!), moved quickly to his hip and used BIG body language, BIG verbal and BIG whip swings at her. She instantly flew backwards behind the boundry. I praised her and returned to head of Good Horse and began walking backwards with him again. Got a few more feet and here she comes again. Repeat procedure...move to Good Horse hip, BIG verbal, BIG body language, BIG whip movements...she comes in the boundry and I start screaming and swinging. Marks were left...mare retreating immediately. Praise was given for good behavior. We did this two more times and that mare has never come across that boundry line again. When she stood quietly with NO intention of approaching my boundry I would leave Good Horse standing there, walk quietly to her and give her a pet and a treat before returning to Good Horse and leading him out of the gate. Once through the gate I give an "OK!" verbal cue that means...you're all free to go up to the gate or walk away, etc.

        LONG but I hope that it makes sense and helps! I have a HUGE problem with being crowded by a herd of horses at gates or in run-ins so my herds are always taught a boundry line this way. Lots of praise and if they aggressively challenge it they are met with the fear of death. Good luck and keep us posted as to what you do and how it works!!
        Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.

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        • Original Poster

          #24
          Originally posted by Keg-A-Bacchus View Post
          I teach all my horses that no one is allowed within a 10 foot radius of the gate when i am there unless we are attached via leadrope.
          This is such an excellent, excellent horsekeeping idea in general. Why doesn't everyone do this?

          Comment


          • #25
            As an alternative idea, You could set up a small portable fence paddock and put the mare in it while you take the other horses out. I know this does not train her to do anything but it would make the situation safer. Perhaps a bit of hay in there that she could munch on while you take care of the other horses.

            Does this mare get any interaction at all? Maybe she would like some attention! It certainly sounds like she needs some ground training.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
              At the risk of raising the ire of the "natural horsemanship" crowd you've got to teach this horse some respect before you get hurt.

              Just how you do this will be up to you, but the situation has deteriorated to the point that the horse will physically challenge you and has learned that they can. This is an extraordiarly dangerous habit. It will transfer to other humans. It's only a matter of time before you'll have a lot more trouble than you do now.

              If it were up to me this horse would be removed from a pasture, put into a small paddock with a very hot fence, and would be handled daily. ANY disrespect or disobedience would be met with serious consequences (I'd not go near the horse without a crop, maybe even a dressage whip, and I'd be "spring loaded" to use it).

              You've lost enough control of the situation to allow the formation of a dangerous vice. It will take some real effort to undo the vice.

              G.

              ^^^^^^ Absolutely. Separate her for a bit into a smaller field or paddock. This behavior is UNACCEPTABLE. It is lack of respect TOWARDS people and the herd.

              There are 2 at my place who act like this for their owners. I NEVER have a problem with them and in my presence, it does not happen. All I have to do is be NEAR the fields and they behave.

              You can do this. Even if it takes a CTJM.
              Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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              • #27
                I just checked out your website. 5 acres, 1/2 acre 'paddocks', all electric fencing, 7 or more horses on the property, 2 stall stable with one extra smaller stall.

                Simple solution - put the mare in a paddock by herself. Problem solved.
                Last edited by 5chestnuts; Oct. 13, 2011, 09:29 AM. Reason: Just looked at OP's facilities on their website

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                • #28
                  Frankly, I don't care if there is an alligator in the pond in my horse's pasture threatening to eat him or her. He/she MAY NOT BULLY THEIR WAY past a human under any circumstances, ever. Ever.
                  Click here before you buy.

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                  • #29
                    DH solved this problem by accident. He backed up, touched the fence and the pony at the same time and the shock discharged to the pony. He said it hurt like blazes but the look on the pony's face was priceless.

                    I have electric gates as well in the newer pastures but we started out with a solid gate for exactly this reason.

                    You could make an additional cheater gate strand that is hot all the time and a little long, or jump the existing gate strand and whip it into this horse's chest but it will take timing and probably help to stand by. It's nasty but this is a really dangerous problem.
                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                    Incredible Invisible

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                    • #30
                      Maybe one of those electric pig/cow "come along" paddles would be a handy implement.

                      Simple solution - put the mare in a paddock by herself. Problem solved
                      You mean "problem avoided". Doesn't teach the mare a darn thing about respecting humans.
                      Click here before you buy.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                        Maybe one of those electric pig/cow "come along" paddles would be a handy implement.



                        You mean "problem avoided". Doesn't teach the mare a darn thing about respecting humans.
                        Absolutely. Plus, I venture she will still try to bully her way past humans. Nip this behavior in the bud. You are the boss, she is not.
                        Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                          Agree with A2, guilherme and the others. Time for the wrath of God to fall upon the mare. Unacceptable, dangerous, and she needs to have her head handed to her, as many times as it takes, to demonstrate that pushing through gates is TOTALLY unacceptable in all circumstances.

                          How one goes about it can vary, but it is sort of an attitude thing and adopting a deadly serious "you WILL NOT" attitude.

                          Shaking a lead rope at a horse that hasn't been conditioned to see this as the beginning of an escalation that leads to punishment is not helpful. Rope-shaking is great IF a horse has been taught that it is the sign of worse things to come. I wouldn't shake anything at this mare, I'd clobber her with something. Repeatedly. Until she learned that she must not get anywhere NEAR my space until invited. Haltering her when it's her turn is her sign that it's time for her to come out.

                          One horse psychology point that might be worth mentioning, though, is that if this mare is the boss of all the other horses, she may fully expect that she is entitled to go through the gate first. One option here is to just take her in before the other horses, but that does NOT solve the problem of her apparently forgetting that ANY human is superior to ANY horse.

                          This. And know that if you're having this kind of problem in the field, she is NOT the angel you think she is at other times. She's being disrespectful in other, likely smaller ways, as well. Count on it. She does NOT recognize/respect your bubble. She may walk a little too close when led, not back quickly enough if you walk into her bubble, may be pushy for food/treats...there is absolutely no way that this is the only behavioral problem this horse has. A long history of retraining problem/aggressive horses and dogs has taught me that the BIG problem (pushing through the gate) is ALWAYS an indicator of many smaller problems. Addressing the small issues simultaneously is the only way to truly extinguish the whopper. And, a pleasant consequence of honing in on the smaller issues is that the big one often shrinks rapidly away seemingly on its own.
                          "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                          http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

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                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            Originally posted by JackieBlue View Post
                            This. And know that if you're having this kind of problem in the field, she is NOT the angel you think she is at other times. She's being disrespectful in other, likely smaller ways, as well. Count on it. She does NOT recognize/respect your bubble. She may walk a little too close when led, not back quickly enough if you walk into her bubble, may be pushy for food/treats...there is absolutely no way that this is the only behavioral problem this horse has. A long history of retraining problem/aggressive horses and dogs has taught me that the BIG problem (pushing through the gate) is ALWAYS an indicator of many smaller problems. Addressing the small issues simultaneously is the only way to truly extinguish the whopper. And, a pleasant consequence of honing in on the smaller issues is that the big one often shrinks rapidly away seemingly on its own.
                            I know no one will believe me, and I wouldn't have believed it myself, but she seriously has no other behavior problems when being handled. In fact, I've often commented to others that she's one of the most polite, easy to handle horses I've worked with. Leads well, ties well, stands like a rock (seriously does not move a muscle) when being groomed or when I have to treat an injury/wrap a leg etc. Excellent behavior for vet, farrier, worming, etc. It's just this gate thing.
                            WELL, Okay... if she's loose in the field, she will walk deliberately away from me if I go to fly spray her or brush her or something, but she's never pushy. And once her halter is on she's all business. I wonder if that is one of the issues--since she's not haltered, maybe she feels she can do whatever she wants? She was a competitive driving horse for fourteen years, and I've often wondered if her stellar behavior when haltered is some sort of holdover from her driving training, since those horses can NOT act up or set a foot wrong once in harness.

                            OK, rambling, sorry. Also, she is not the boss mare. She's actually closer to the bottom of the pecking order.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Take a lunge whip out there with you. And use it. Leaving a few marks is probably what this mare needs. You don't want to end up with a damaged arm or shoulder or run over, and the mare could end up hurt too if this continues.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by JCS View Post
                                I know no one will believe me, and I wouldn't have believed it myself, but she seriously has no other behavior problems when being handled. In fact, I've often commented to others that she's one of the most polite, easy to handle horses I've worked with. Leads well, ties well, stands like a rock (seriously does not move a muscle) when being groomed or when I have to treat an injury/wrap a leg etc. Excellent behavior for vet, farrier, worming, etc. It's just this gate thing.
                                WELL, Okay... if she's loose in the field, she will walk deliberately away from me if I go to fly spray her or brush her or something, but she's never pushy. And once her halter is on she's all business. I wonder if that is one of the issues--since she's not haltered, maybe she feels she can do whatever she wants? She was a competitive driving horse for fourteen years, and I've often wondered if her stellar behavior when haltered is some sort of holdover from her driving training, since those horses can NOT act up or set a foot wrong once in harness.

                                OK, rambling, sorry. Also, she is not the boss mare. She's actually closer to the bottom of the pecking order.

                                You said it yourself, "Well, there's the walking away when I fly spray her..." and I PROMISE you, there's more. You may not even recognize her minor transgressions as such, but they ARE there. It's just not possible that the gate behavior you describe stands alone. There's no way.
                                "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                                http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by slp2 View Post
                                  I have always been the "boarder' and not a boarding farm owner. I know that most BO's LOVE boarders that pay board but never use the facilities. However, I have also noticed that the horses with absentee owners usually become the most obnoxious animals because they aren't handled often enough, don't get exercise, or have enough "rules" that they have to live by. They seem to become a bit feral.
                                  ^^^^^^^


                                  This has been my observation over the years at many different boarding barns. In fact, most savvy BOs I've spoken with don't want horses where the owner rarely or never shows up for exactly this reason.

                                  Horses that aren't competently handled on a regular a basis are not a joy to have around and develop dangerous vices like this. Then strong arm, abusive tactics must be employed to deal with it so the care taker doesn't get seriously injured or killed. It's the neglectful owners that need a whipping, IMO.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Yup, the two most obnoxious horses at my barn (gone now, thank God) had an absentee owner. I think I saw her once in two years. They were a menace in the pasture.
                                    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by JCS View Post
                                      Also, she is not the boss mare. She's actually closer to the bottom of the pecking order.
                                      Yikes! Where does that put you?
                                      I had a horse on extended layup try this nonsense once. I did two things. The first thing was to aggressively run him off the gate before I did anything else. It was a solid gate, so it started with slapping the gate with the whip, then once in the pasture I established the 'me' space, and it was a biiiiiig space. The next thing I did was address the root of the problem. In his case, it was the lack of personal attention. I started taking him out of the pasture every few days, putting him in the ties and grooming him as though he were in full work. That seemed to sate his desire for attention. When they feel needy, they don't care if it's positive or negative attention, they're like teenagers.
                                      ETA: I do use my outside voice a lot, and it always works. I also make use of nasty faces. They know what it means when you stretch your lips over those mean ole predator teeth and wrinkle your nose.
                                      "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
                                      http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/

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                                      • #39
                                        what on earth does this have to do with "respect" or being "alpha mare"? the horse wants to get out, for whatever reason, and has figured out a way that works to get what she wants- sneak up and bull her way out. You can either change her motivations (it's not fun to get out, or it's more fun to stay in), or convince her that bulling her way out doesn't work. Since she knows full-well that she can indeed bull her way out, changing her motivations might work far better. If she has an absentee owner she probably doesn't associate getting out with working or other unfun activity.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          In referring to my own parenthetical comments on the situation, I think it has very little to do with the mare being "alpha" (especially since this particular mare is NOT) except that an alpha mare is potentially more used to being "first" in her group and that might include being first through the gate, all else being equal.

                                          WHICH IT IS NOT, since there is a human in the equation when horses are being moved, and in that light I'd say it has EVERYTHING to do with respect. Because this mare is telling this handler to eff off, and that only happens when a horse has no respect for its handler. A designation that is, sadly, earned. No "disrespect" to the OP. It's not her horse, but it IS her problem, unfortunately. She needs to re-establish the pecking order, demand this mares respect and obedience, and the behavior will disappear.
                                          Click here before you buy.

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