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What Can Cause Aggressiveness? Or, Horse Becomming Increasingly Aggressive...

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  • Original Poster

    Was out at the barn today and I saw BO's DH. I apologized to him about my horse's behavior and he just laughed and apologized to me. As I kind of suspected, his wife was out doing more work at the barn over her vacation. He said that because she isn't out nearly as much as he is, she doesn't really know the other horses. So, she just saw my horse being a horse who wanted to get in out of the cold. It's thought that it is a bit weather related (everyone standing at the gates ready to come in means my horse is more stressed / feels overcrowded perhaps).

    As far as him biting BO's DH, he said that he was just in my horse's space at the wrong time. You can't be a perfect handler all the time though and some things just can't be avoided--everyone is guilty of that, myself included.

    So, it seems as though my horse has not had any major attitude change. He must now seem like a very rude horse but I swear he isn't! As far as turning him out with a bossier horse, we just don't want any of the horses to get hurt.

    I hated having only been out once in the last week but we got over 10" of snow and my car just couldn't handle the country roads with all that snow, plus ice. In the first week of winter we got more snow than we did through the entire winter last year. ugh! I got a ride in on him tonight and will work him again tomorrow, then Saturday and Sunday. So he will be getting back to his usual routine and hopefully that will further help things. Thanks for all your advice everyone.

    I just still wonder: Could the vitamin E have any side effects linked to aggressiveness (if he has been worse over the past week)?
    Last edited by Dressage.For.Life.; Jan. 3, 2013, 11:36 AM.
    Originally posted by RugBug
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.


    • #22
      One way I can tell that it's time for Possum's hocks to be injected is that he starts chewing on his pasture mate. Most of the time he's very non-aggressive, but when he gets ouchy he gets cranky.

      My guess is that you have a pain issue somewhere.


      • #23
        With the weather changes, holidays, off-season schedules, most of the horses at our barn are getting a little 'wild' these days. It seems to happen every year about this time.


        • #24
          This time of year is tough for a high-energy horse... they go outside, eat their hay, and then what? No grass to eat, its cold and boring, and many will turn to "play" and if their buddies don't want to play, they get downright mean. So I would suggest a slow-feeder hay net outside as well, unless he has free-choice hay.

          And to echo what others have said, an alpha mare would put him in his place in a heartbeat and he'd knock it off. We have a 6 yo gelding at our barn that when with one or 2 other horses alone, he's a total jerk. But when he gets out with the whole group, including 2 bossy mares, he is an angel. So he's either out with everyone, or alone.

          I think leaving him alone for the winter is smart. From the set up, it sounds like he can see other horses, so he's not truly isolated, and it will prevent any other horses getting hurt until the grass returns.

          As for the vitamin E, that alone wouldn't make him angry, but there could be something else in the supplement that he is reacting to. Doesn't hurt to stop it for a week and see if he settles.
          Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


          • #25
            We had a gelding who when bought was an underweight 3 yr old who kinda got picked on. We turned him out with out two old men aka 30 plus. Well after a few months of good feed, he was a different horse. He chased them around, bit them etc. So, I decided that had to stop. I put him out with the herd of 3 mares. My mare, ultimate boss, her 2nd hand aka the heavy hitter, and bottom of the totem pole mare. Well the mares did the trick. My mare never lifted a foot but rather she made her heavy hitter do all the discipline. Got him straightened out in a day. He unfortunately climbed over the bottom mare and eventually started to chase her a bit. So, we took her out and she got sold shortly after that. He is one that needs to be with a mare to be kept in check even his attitude under saddle improved once he realized he wasn't big man on campus.

            Herd dynamics are such a funny thing and its awesome to watch them develop. My mare is an alpha, but she rarely fights for it. She is the give a horse a look and they just back down. She will lay a couple kicks if she must, but once she is at the top then she is done. She also doesn't go in and try to take over right away. She waits and works her way up slowly. She was the head of 13 mares at once. I was impressed.

            I realize this doesn't sound like your horses problem and glad to see it was just the BO over reacting. I managed/worked in a barn for 2 1/2 years and you get to know every horses quirks etc and what may throw another person off you just know is the horse.
            I love cats, I love every single cat....
            So anyway I am a cat lover
            And I love to run.


            • #26
              The horse I had who was grumpy at meal times had been ulcery as a young horse - he was territorial about his stall at mealtimes. I always thought it was related to his tummy, even when he was healthy, feed seemed to turn on his juices, or something. He improved with more work and handling. He was never short of hay, on almost no pellets, just supplements, and gaining weight.
              Away from feed times, he was an angel.
              Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


              • #27
                I'm curious about the "wrong place at the wrong time" excuse for being bitten. At my barn, no horse has any excuse for biting any human- ever. No matter what. It's not OK and shows a lack of respect for people, which is dangerous, considering how big hoses are.

                Over the Holidays, I mucked stalls for my BO. One person has brought in young horses to be started and hasn't done anything with them since they arrived several weeks ago. I am not kidding, when I went into the stall to muck out, I had to use the muck fork as a Bo staff against these things. I am very reluctant to hit horses, but I have no qualms about defending myself if they come at me. I figure that's what a boss mare would do. That said, I do not go for their face (unless the situation is dire and I fear for my life) and generally stick to whacking their chest or shoulder. Something to get them moving away from me. When they do, I watch out: I've had some swing around quickly and attempt a double-barrel!

                The point of that story is that when you expect other people to handle your horse, make sure that your horse has exquisite manners in all types of situations with everyone. Otherwise it can be very scary for the people involved.


                • Original Poster

                  Re: "wrong place at the wrong time" -- I think my horse had perhaps been nipping at another horse, BO's DH didn't see this, got in his way and got nipped in the process. Horse got reprimanded.

                  My horse is well behaved in his stall. There are a couple of young horses who behave as you describe at the barn though and they are horrible. One of them actually just bit someone too. But my horse is well behaved toward people even when there is food around. And since I forgot to really say before, he is essentially on free choice hay (in his stall with the addition of the hay net, and in the pasture). He doesn't have a history of biting anyone.

                  ETA: Since it perhaps was never made clear: the rearing, etc. that the BO saw all occurred before before she into the pasture to get the lead on my horse to bring him inside. He was just fine when she entered the pasture and got the lead rope on to bring him in.
                  Originally posted by RugBug
                  Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.