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How do I teach a horse to respect my personal space?

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  • How do I teach a horse to respect my personal space?

    I lease my horse. Up until a few months ago, the owner had only two horses, mine and her mare. Now there's a third horse, named Dollar, brought in a few months ago. He's 16 or so. He's been turned out with my gelding and the mare. He bosses the mare and bullies my gelding. If I go out into the pasture, Dollar invariably comes over and plants his big face right in mine. He will NOT move, and you can't make him. He's big as a rhinocerous. He has no respect for my space. If you tell him to back, he merely looks at you as if you're speaking Klingon.
    He doesn't just hog my personal space, he takes it over. He makes ME move.

    He's not my horse. How do I manage to get this tank out of my face so that I can interact with my own horse?
    The best thing to do on a golf course is a GALLOP!

  • #2
    Originally posted by hrsmstr View Post
    I lease my horse. Up until a few months ago, the owner had only two horses, mine and her mare. Now there's a third horse, named Dollar, brought in a few months ago. He's 16 or so. He's been turned out with my gelding and the mare. He bosses the mare and bullies my gelding. If I go out into the pasture, Dollar invariably comes over and plants his big face right in mine. He will NOT move, and you can't make him. He's big as a rhinocerous. He has no respect for my space. If you tell him to back, he merely looks at you as if you're speaking Klingon.
    He doesn't just hog my personal space, he takes it over. He makes ME move.

    He's not my horse. How do I manage to get this tank out of my face so that I can interact with my own horse?
    Does he "respect" his owner's space? If so, what does she do that you don't?

    How far have you gone in "telling" him to back? You could discourage him from approaching in the first place if you carried e.g. a plastic bag or flag on a stick with and waved that at him. He has to learn that you don't want him in your face.

    If you are merely speaking to him, you may as well be talking in Klingon as far as horses are concerned. They have to learn what voice commands mean. Other than that, all they have to go on is the tone - and it's obvious he is insensitive to that.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by hrsmstr View Post
      I lease my horse. Up until a few months ago, the owner had only two horses, mine and her mare. Now there's a third horse, named Dollar, brought in a few months ago. He's 16 or so. He's been turned out with my gelding and the mare. He bosses the mare and bullies my gelding. If I go out into the pasture, Dollar invariably comes over and plants his big face right in mine. He will NOT move, and you can't make him. He's big as a rhinocerous. He has no respect for my space. If you tell him to back, he merely looks at you as if you're speaking Klingon.
      He doesn't just hog my personal space, he takes it over. He makes ME move.

      He's not my horse. How do I manage to get this tank out of my face so that I can interact with my own horse?
      Is he aggressively in your space, like pinning his ears and snaking his neck, and trying to "herd" you? Or is just in your face asking for treats or scratches with no concept of "MOVE, please!"?

      While neither behavior is desireable, I'd be way more concerned about him showing aggression than just being in the way.

      If he's not aggressive and just wants to plant his rhino self in front of you, I'd ignore it and go about my business of getting my horse out of the field. May take a time or two (or ten) before he figures out he's not going to get any attention. If he follows you, just flick the rope at him a few times to tell him to get away.

      ETA: If he's aggressive, it's a whole 'nuther can of worms.
      Last edited by bluemooncowgirl; Jan. 13, 2012, 11:02 AM. Reason: added a thought....
      Alis volat propriis.

      Comment


      • #4
        From hrsmstr's description, I assumed Dollar wasn't aggressive. If he is, I agree with bluemooncowgirl that it would be another ball game entirely.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Dollar is not aggressive. Far from it. He's not mean or aggressive, just a big hog for attention. I think you could clobber him with a baseball bat and he'd just look at you and say what did you do that for?

          His owner? Oh, my. Green as grass with horses. She 'always' wanted a horse and found this one. She has no idea whatsoever on how to handle him...I don't mean to gossip, but she will walk into his stall wearing bathroom slippers or flipflops. She has had no training whatsoever on how to handle horses. I think she's a wreck waiting to happen, but lucky for her, Dollar is not mean at all. He's just a great big horse who knows that the little Arabians and the people around him can no more push him around than they can push a mountain.
          The best thing to do on a golf course is a GALLOP!

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          • #6
            One way to avoid that personal space infringement is to prevent, not get in those situations where it happens.
            Especially with Dollar being someone else's horse.

            See if the situation can be managed differently, maybe keep your horse in after feeding, until you come work with him and are thru and then turn him out, etc.

            Your horse will get some hours of peace from the pushing around and you won't have to go out there and be mugged for attention.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by hrsmstr View Post
              Dollar is not aggressive. Far from it. He's not mean or aggressive, just a big hog for attention.
              Glad to hear that.

              So how's your horse handling? In your situation, I'd want to teach the horse to yield nicely so that you can move him out of your face readily. He will be easier for his owner to handle too. Which brings us back to my original question about what it actually takes to make him move. If you can move him - by whatever means - you can teach him to do it on cue. It'll probably take a few shortish sessions but it will be worth it. If you need to be a bit unsubtle at first (I don't mean anything rough or nasty), you may want to do it when the owner isn't there to watch.

              ETA: The above is what I would do. It isn't necessarily the right thing - as Bluey has pointed out, Dollar belongs to someone else who might rightly feel annoyed by someone "interfering".

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              • #8
                Originally posted by hrsmstr View Post
                I don't mean to gossip, but she will walk into his stall wearing bathroom slippers or flipflops.
                Not sensible - but then I have caught loose racehorses wearing slip-on sandals (Hereford, 1970s), so I am one to talk!

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                • #9
                  If you tell him to back, he merely looks at you as if you're speaking Klingon.
                  well, from his point of view you probably are. You could try teaching him what the words "back" and "move over" mean in a gentle, non-confrontational way. Horses don't speak english.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fburton View Post
                    From hrsmstr's description, I assumed Dollar wasn't aggressive. If he is, I agree with bluemooncowgirl that it would be another ball game entirely.
                    I drew the conclusion as well, that most likely he isn't aggressive. I'm glad to learn he isn't, especially with a newbie owner.

                    Because I've been the owner with the pushy aggressive horse, I know how disconcerting it can be to be the one that gets to hear how HORRID Dobbin/Cujo was to another owner. NOT PRETTY, and obviously horses like that need to be handled in a different manner. I sold mine! And he is now living happily ever after with an owner that can handle him and his "self" quite well.

                    At any rate, there's some solid advice here from the other members. As far as the bedroom shoes/flipflops... well...
                    Last edited by bluemooncowgirl; Jan. 13, 2012, 01:14 PM. Reason: it's spelled C-U-J-O... not C-U-G-O! I think...
                    Alis volat propriis.

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                    • #11
                      A crop can be your friend, here.

                      It's an extension of your arm and you can "tap" the fellow when he gets to limits of your space.

                      This might horrify an FNK but if that's the case turn the whole thing into a educational experience.

                      Some folks have the ability to convey through body language what the the limits are, but not eveyone is equally skilled at this.

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                      • #12
                        He's big as a rhinocerous. He has no respect for my space. If you tell him to back, he merely looks at you as if you're speaking Klingon.
                        I just love this description. I know some draft crosses like this - not a mean bone in their big ole bodies, but they remain supremely convinced that the space, it all belongs to them. I own one of them, so I know.

                        With mine, I just had to convince him that, while I am flattered he considers me a mere slip of a girl who requires only a couple of cubic centimeters in which to exist, I really, really mean for him to move his big self out of my way. It's more a mental thing than getting rough or violent. But firm. One must be very very firm.

                        I'd probably carry a long lead rope with one of those heavy square ends to er, "flick" him out of my way. But I like the bag on a stick idea, too. Just don't give any of those little ayrabs a heart attack! I've seen some arabian barns that train their halter horses to have a conniption at the sight of a plastic bag.
                        I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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                        • #13
                          We have one of these at our barn. In the same pasture with my horse. Amazingly unresponsive to twirling lead rope/smacking him with end of lead rope to get him out of my space. So now I just ignore him and that seems to be working well. He generally has lousy ground manners and is not yet under saddle. Nobody works with this horse so that's probably the reason.
                          What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think the trouble in such situations is that the OP is not the horse's trainer or the owner's instructor.
                            That makes the situation a bit touchy, how much can or should one say to another person about their horse and what you want to do to it.

                            On the other hand, your own enjoyment of your activities is curtailed by the hippo impersonator, so something has to be done.

                            Are you diplomatic enough to tell the owner her horse is a pest, without getting her on the defensive and try to work some kind of agreement on what you can do about it?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by fburton View Post
                              Not sensible - but then I have caught loose racehorses wearing slip-on sandals (Hereford, 1970s), so I am one to talk!
                              I go out barefoot with mine, and I'm not green (or black and blue either for that matter). Not advising anyone follow my lead, but my horses are right outside my door, and I'm lazy.

                              When I boarded and had to deal with a herd of other people's horses, I would just twirl my leadrope - aggressively, if needed. That worked to back most horses off.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I was a WS at a barn that housed carriage horses, so I know what InhabitTheSpaceAlltheSpace is about.
                                Cleaning stalls with some of these mongo horses housed inside was..erm..challenging?

                                Have you tried just using a gentle push to back RhinoBoy out of your space?
                                Horses twitch if a fly lands on them, so they darn sure know when you touch them.
                                Just a finger to the chest, applying gentle pressure, while repeating "Back" until horse does as little as shifting weight back will eventually give him the right idea.
                                I would not reward for the proper response with anything more than a release of pressure, a pat & "Good Boy"
                                *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
                                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                                • #17
                                  My DH's "new" horse is just like this. We've had him a year. Sweet as all get out but walks right into your space. I have been working on the back command for a year with a crop, or the lead line. He's finally getting it, for a few seconds, then he walks right back up. I've made him back and back and back and stand and if I move, he moves. Since I tie up his buddy because she's dominant, and feed him in the field, I don't want him near me until I put the food out and walk away. You would think after twice a day for 6 months he would get it. He'll stand about 2 feet away and stretchhhhh his neck out looking. What a dumbo, but so nice.......
                                  ********
                                  There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    I just love this description. I know some draft crosses like this - not a mean bone in their big ole bodies, but they remain supremely convinced that the space, it all belongs to them. I own one of them, so I know".
                                    That's Dollar. He is as stolid as a rock. The only thing that seems to motivate him is food. You can touch his chest, push on it, get a block and tackle and try to pull him back...and if he doesn't want to move, he doesn't. He sounds just like Bank of Dad's horse (I wish I's had a Bank of Dad...!!!) I've tried asking, saying back with a push on the chest and get merely a blank stare from him.
                                    A friend of mine on another forum told me about Clint Anderson's means: that of using a stick (one of those expensive white ones) and desensitizing it until he licks his lips in submission. Then to go on and tap on the lead rope until he backs up. I think I will try it, but it's going to take time.
                                    And that's the problem: I only have so much time to work with MY horse. Arrrgh.

                                    The problem with the owner is she works nights, and the owner of my horse and the farm works days, so seldom do the two meet. I think Dollar's owner would be willing to allow me to try and train Dollar, but she seems to be the type who wants you or someone else to do it ALL for her.
                                    The best thing to do on a golf course is a GALLOP!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The game is, "Who moves whom?" The first one to step back from pressure from the other one loses the game, in horseworld. If he comes one millimetre into your bubble with the "Hey get out!" 'tude, don't back up at all, but rather back HIM up.

                                      How to do that: Have at least a 9' lead rope & I highly recommend a rope halter with knots strategically placed, to give yourself some leverage with this horse. His flat halter only encourages him to lean & pull on you, thus win the game! Also do have a carrot/handy stick/wand/ or some kind of "extension of your arm", as well. 1. Play friendly game with your new tools, be sure that you can rub him all over with them with him unafraid of them. 2. Teach him to yield from pressure, from steady pressure: rub a spot on his neck with the tip of the stick (friendly first) then slowly press tip into his neck in 4 phases: hair, skin, muscle, bone. If you have to go to bone, keep it there till he moves even a miniscule amount, & when he does, instantly release all pressure. (I've never seen it take more than two days, that's a word of wisdom from Pat). Voila, you've got the start of your horse yielding to your pressure. You'll want to get him yielding from his nose (using your hand), chest, & hindquarters, as well, doing same process, & all eventually with only pressure on the hair. After this is installed, you go to the driving game, which is rhythmic, non-contact pressure, with rope or stick, where he'll end up yielding to your suggestion. The trick is that you kindly do it in phases, & maintain "passive persistence in the proper position", because another fave game of horses is, "Who outpersists whom?" If you get frustrated & give up, horsie chalks up one for himself.

                                      There are a whole lot more steps, but it's all in Parelli Natural Horsemanship. Good Luck! Oh, yes: PNH has 4 main "horsenalities", & the dominating, food-motivated horse is a Left-brain Introvert. One deals with these horsenalities in different ways, much more effective than dealing with them all in one way.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Bring a dressage whip with you.
                                        When you tell him to "back" (or indicate thusly with body language), if he doesn't, tap him with it with increaing insistence until he moves. By increasing insistence I mean, "tap, pop, WHACK!", not a death of a thousand taps.
                                        He'll move (and you may not even have to go further than the "tap".)

                                        You say he's not aggressive so probably just a wave of the whip will do you plenty after the first time.
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