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Rude/dangerous behavior at gate

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  • Rude/dangerous behavior at gate

    I have a boarder here who is the best boarder ever--absentee owners who pay on time each month, retired, easy keeper, well mannered, easy to handle--except this one awful behavior. Frequently when you try to get another horse out of the paddock, she will charge the gate. I always chase her back before opening the gate, and sometimes that works, but other times she will sneak around behind the other horse as I'm getting him out and literally shove her way past him. Other times she goes to the other side, where I am with the gate in my hand (it's electric fence) and she chests the gate until it rips out of my hand and she escapes. Waving my hands, shouting "Whoa!", hitting her in the chest, all are to no avail. Once she's decided to go, she goes. Once I was able to bring the gate handle across in front of her to try to hook it up, and she kept charging forward, shoving into my arm and nearly hyperextending my elbow until I had no choice but to let her out or risk injury. It's EXTREMELY RUDE and dangerous. Last night my husband was bringing the horses in from our extra pasture across the road, and she busted through the gate, pulling it out of his hand, cutting her leg on the fence (braided electric rope) and letting all of the other horses out. They came across the road loose in the dark and ran rampant on our front lawn before we got them all back in. I am getting really really sick of this.

    One time she did it to me, I caught her and did some schooling in hand, making her whoa and back up. It didn't help the next time she fixed her eye on that gate. Often I go in with a dressage whip to chase her back or throw out a flake of hay to distract her before getting out the horse I'm planning to ride, but I feel like those are Band-Aids for a more deep-rooted issue. The thing that boggles me is that under ALL other circumstances, she's an angel--respectful, polite, and quiet. How would you handle this?

  • #2
    My suggestion will make it easier on you, but not really solve her behavioral issues. If there's someone else around, have them halter her and clip on a lead rope (chain across nose if need be). Hold her until you and the other horse have exited. If you're by yourself, bring her in to a stall before getting the other horse. It's not worth getting run over to teach her manners.

    Comment


    • #3
      So she doesn't mind being zapped by the electric gate? Are you sure your gate is electrified and isn't shorting out somewhere? Is the problem that she's being left alone in the field and is panicked about being left (turned into cougar food?)

      If it were me, I'd go out there every time with a stiff dressage whip in hand, and I would lash her a good one on the chest if she tried to charge the gate. But you have to be careful that she doesn't wheel and kick! Not just a tap and a WHOAH. I mean go after her and swing that whip with all your might. Leave a whelt on her. Yeah, she's a boarder horse, but she's going to kill somebody or herself with this behavior. I would make it painfully clear to her that YOU control the gate, and that YOU have the ability to light her up like a xmas tree when she charges YOUR gate.

      Normally I like to train, and not go right to discipline, but in this case, what she is doing is dangerous and blatantly rude. She's not respecting you as the alpha of the herd, and she's totally disregarding your direction to stay back.

      If she manages to knock you down and trample you, you could be dead or badly broken.

      Yikes, not a problem I would want to have to fix Good luck and please be safe!

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      • #4
        I second haltering the mare, saying never again to her shoving past and turnign other horses loose in the dark. Baaaad pony.
        www.lisapreston.com

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        • #5
          Ditto to Auventera. If it is a behavior that is endangering humans or other horses, it has to be dealt with. I have been around a gate-charging mare that only took a few days' worth of reinforcement with a dressage whip to change her mind. Most of the time, the noise alone is enough to back them up.

          Hope it works out! That can be a scary situation.
          http://ridingthroughthefear.blogspot.com/
          www.facebook.com/ThaliaFarm

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          • #6
            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.
            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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            • #7
              I have actually been in this exact situation, so I can sympathize. We had a boarder come in, and a few months after he got to our barn, he started bolting to the barn when it was time to bring him in at night. He was a HUGE horse (17.2+ Perch. cross) and knew how big he was. He completely ignored stud chains and dressage whips.

              With the owner's permission, I started using a rope halter on him (one with a leather popper) when bringing him in. It wasn't the halter that made the difference, but the lead rope with the leather popper. I think it stung more than the dressage whip - plus it made a sound that seemed to get his attention. It took a long time, but eventually he started to settle down and listen. We never, however, let our guard down around him when bringing him in. Too dangerous.

              Comment


              • #8
                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.
                I am the "natural horsemanship" crowd (sort of), and that's exactly what I was going to suggest.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would contact the owner and get permission first, but there are several things I would try.

                  1. I would put up a solid normal gate. One you can easily handle and get horses in and out of. One she can't run through.

                  2.( with owner permission) I would put up a post to tie her to out in this field ( near the gate) Put it down deep and solid and when you want to mess with other horses TIE HER TO IT for the whole time/ every time. Or just bring her in and tie her in the barn and leave her while you work with the others. She may just decide after a while it is more fun to be left in the field than standing tied for hours.

                  3. even when moving horses from another field,tie her. It may seem like a pain but I would rather take the time to restrain one horse, over catching a whole field full of loose ones.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Get after her, and MEAN IT

                    Ditto AV2... I would get after that mare with some vengeance.

                    I think (at first at least) I would halter her, so you have some control (on wheeling and kicking), and just get after her the moment she tries to barge the gate.

                    I would get a halter on her, and wait for the moment when she tries for the gate and go after her like a wild banshee.

                    I would use a LOUD voice GEEEEEET BACK NOW!!!!!!! with shanking to get her backing as quickly as possible. I would incorporate the whip depending on her reaction. If she immediately tucks tail and starts backing, I would just waive the whip for extra affect. If she doesn't set on her hiny right off, I would use the whip. Depending on the horse, I sometimes just strike the ground violently with the whip some (like my mare) react to this with wide eyes and respect. If she is really alfa, you may need to use the whip on her chest.

                    From that moment forward, EVERY time she thinks about charging toward the gate, it has to illicit the same reaction from you. YELLING, shanking, invading HER space, and making her back. At first, I can't imagine you could do this with much control without a halter on.

                    If all goes well (mare now has a healthy respect for you as alfa), you should be able to get the same reaction without a halter, the moment you start to yell at her.

                    She needs to think she raised the Devil in you. Kicking, biting, and dangerous habits like this demand a strong response. And honestly, it is nothing worse then what a herd member would do to her. If she charged into an alfa mare, she would be met with bared teeth, spinning, and a double barreled kick. The alfa mare would also demand that she set on her tail and get out of her space RIGHT NOW.
                    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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                    • #11
                      Aah, the sneaky deek around the other side of the horse you are trying to lead in!

                      I'm not sure of the yelling, since I can't yell, but whatever system you use, it should be done several times a day, not just at feeding times. A real horse trainer could do it alone, I would take a second person, thin halter, and lots of back-up.
                      Take the time.

                      We had a dream horse in every way, but because he was older he had one trick up his sleeve, and that was it! But he was not hard core, and we got a handle on him pretty quickly. Those draft crosses, much pushier.

                      There are times when a horse has to be left in the field, so bringing him in first is only half the answer...but safer.
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Get yourself a good solid whip and use it frequently.
                        Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                        Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                        VW sucks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                          Aah, the sneaky deek around the other side of the horse you are trying to lead in!

                          I'm not sure of the yelling, since I can't yell, but whatever system you use, it should be done several times a day, not just at feeding times. A real horse trainer could do it alone, I would take a second person, thin halter, and lots of back-up.
                          Take the time.

                          We had a dream horse in every way, but because he was older he had one trick up his sleeve, and that was it! But he was not hard core, and we got a handle on him pretty quickly. Those draft crosses, much pushier.

                          There are times when a horse has to be left in the field, so bringing him in first is only half the answer...but safer.
                          I'm not sure what a "sneaky deek "is but would not be yelling either it will just make horse more frantic and run through you faster!
                          I second the solid gate.
                          Also halter and lead with shank that horse, plus put halter on horse you are bringing out (as long as horse you are bringing out is not scared of horse you want to stay in) hold back horse staying in and bring other horse through gate then close gate let go of other horse.
                          I have had to do this numerous ( actually thousands) times in fields with babies, when 1 goes out they all want out.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                            I would contact the owner and get permission first, but there are several things I would try.

                            1. I would put up a solid normal gate. One you can easily handle and get horses in and out of. One she can't run through.

                            2.( with owner permission) I would put up a post to tie her to out in this field ( near the gate) Put it down deep and solid and when you want to mess with other horses TIE HER TO IT for the whole time/ every time. Or just bring her in and tie her in the barn and leave her while you work with the others. She may just decide after a while it is more fun to be left in the field than standing tied for hours.

                            3. even when moving horses from another field,tie her. It may seem like a pain but I would rather take the time to restrain one horse, over catching a whole field full of loose ones.
                            I think this is a good idea......although my preference would to have small paddock 12 x 12 or 16 x 16 that had some very hot wire on it and put her in there while you deal with the other horses.....I don't like tying a horse to a post when in a field with other horses that are loose.

                            Dalemma

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Enter gate, whip in hand she takes a step towards gate you say " I'm the alpha mare!" WHACK!! " she takes another step towards gate " i'm the alpha mare! " WHACK!! Repeat as needed.

                              I would make sure that she knew if you didnt put a halter on her, it was not her turn to come in. When time for her to come in, I would give her a treat and put halter on her so she knew it was her turn.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Yeah, I know... NH and all that. Rope halter with longish lead rope with nice heavy snap. Every single time she misbehaves, shake the lead rope hard - she needs to think she is going to die if she does not do want you/alpha want her to.

                                Fluffy whoa's will not sink in.
                                You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something… S. Jobs

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  To clarify a couple of points--the gate is not hot when she's pushing on it. It's set up so that when you lift the handle the circuit is broken, so if it's open it's not "on." A solid gate is an excellent idea. Second, she's not being left alone in the pasture--there are four in the herd, so she's always with at least two or three others. Honestly, I can't figure out what she gets out of this. She doesn't come in to be fed. Two others do, but she is fed outside, so it's not like she's trying to get to her dinner faster. When she does break out, she doesn't even go anywhere--she wanders in the driveway and then either comes right to me or goes in a stall. WTF mare.

                                  Anyway, I do agree with you all that a few well timed whacks with a whip are in order, but here's my question--logistically, how do I go about doing this? When it happens I invariably have a horse in one hand and the gate handle in the other. Often she's on the other side of the horse I'm leading, so it would be hard to get to her quickly enough.

                                  My husband seems to have reached an understanding with her--he goes into the paddock with a stick--like a 1x1 stake--and chases her back with that before he even gets to the part about opening the gate. He really gets in her face. I thought he was being a little over the top, but maybe he's on to something. (FTR, NO, he never hits her with the stick, it's just as a threat. I think I would be more comfortable with a whip, if only because I COULD hit her if I needed to.)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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.
                                    Click here before you buy.

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                                    • #19
                                      You may need two people. One to manage the horse you're trying to remove (if that's how you're going to set up the situation), and one to make Wicked Mare see the light. Wear gloves and carry a whip that is serious, as in raise a welt serious. If you use it, you need to USE it—she needs to think she just got double barreled.

                                      Just be deliberate about addressing it. Plan out how you want to set her up so you can correct her promptly and emphatically with the least amount of danger to yourself.
                                      Full-time bargain hunter.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Ahh - a functional DH!!! Given all the recommendations and his success here is my thought: Take a weekend or whenever you have a couple of consecutive times when both are there. Have him retrieve the behaving horse and YOU take over his process of scaring the bejeesus out of this mare so that she respects you as well as (or more than!) him. THEN tackle the process w/ just you.
                                        We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

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