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My horse is a jerk

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  • My horse is a jerk

    When you go to give him his feed, he pins his ears back. If you get near his stall when he's eating, he pins his ears back. He never bites but he threatens A LOT. He's been food aggressive since he was very young. When I feed him I try to do it on my terms, like waiting for him to stop crowding me and making faces before I let him eat. Then I stand there, rub his ears, make sure he knows he's not chasing me away from his food. But I can't control what other people do when they feed him. He's been at boarding barns where they just dump his food in a floor feeder and kick it into the stall. I'm sure this hasn't helped, but I don't see a difference with what I'm doing either.

    Recently, he's started to threaten people because he wants treats. So if someone walks by his stall, he comes out all cute until they aknowledge him, then his ears go flat back. He doesn't want you to touch him, he wants a goodie! I have made the decree that he is NOT to get treats, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

    Outside of his stall he is very sweet to me. I can do anything to him, but he doesn't want anyone else's attention. If there's no treat in the hand, he pins his ears. If anyone else tries to pat him, especially his face, he gets so ugly.

    I feel like he's just a bully and I'm sick of it. What can I do?
    What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm

  • #2
    Originally posted by Anteup View Post
    When you go to give him his feed, he pins his ears back. If you get near his stall when he's eating, he pins his ears back. He never bites but he threatens A LOT. He's been food aggressive since he was very young. When I feed him I try to do it on my terms, like waiting for him to stop crowding me and making faces before I let him eat. Then I stand there, rub his ears, make sure he knows he's not chasing me away from his food. But I can't control what other people do when they feed him. He's been at boarding barns where they just dump his food in a floor feeder and kick it into the stall. I'm sure this hasn't helped, but I don't see a difference with what I'm doing either.

    Recently, he's started to threaten people because he wants treats. So if someone walks by his stall, he comes out all cute until they aknowledge him, then his ears go flat back. He doesn't want you to touch him, he wants a goodie! I have made the decree that he is NOT to get treats, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

    Outside of his stall he is very sweet to me. I can do anything to him, but he doesn't want anyone else's attention. If there's no treat in the hand, he pins his ears. If anyone else tries to pat him, especially his face, he gets so ugly.

    I feel like he's just a bully and I'm sick of it. What can I do?

    Well, first of all you're attributing human terms to an animal that has no cognitive reasoning, your title says it all. . . All my horses have different personalities and my one and only horse of a life time would pin her ears and walk toward you, she just wanted her ears scratched, it was just her way of expressing herself. My current mare that took me to the Regionals does not want anyone for any reason to touch her, guess what? We don't touch her. If he doesn't want you to touch him, do you have to? If he doesn't fit into your ideal then maybe you should consider another horse, horses are not people and you can't engage in anthropomorphism. When you say he "gets ugly" what do you mean? You said he threatens people, but all he does is pin his ears?

    Some things to consider: Is he in pain? Have you had his teeth floated lately?
    Have you talked to your vet about this? I ask about your vet because they see and deal with everything. Also do you have an instructor and how do they feel about this? I don't mean to be insulting, but you sound young and maybe in time you will learn that if he keeps you safe in the saddle, jumps without saying no and generally takes care of you that his foibles are worth the quirks. If hes' not biting or lunging at anyone can you live with his hands off attitude? Personally, I like a bit of a "tude" without any real harm.

    My final question is did he come off the track? There is a reason and an appropriate approach to everything and you may not always like the final solution. . . just giving you a heads up. I tend to have my ears back a lot, just ask my husband, so I definitely get the attitude. However, I'm always there when he needs me.

    I'm kind of in his camp as I'm a cranky person and don't like anyone touching me and do not get close to me in the grocery store!!! An escalating dangerous behavior may require some intervention, but I really don't see anything horrific in what you wrote. The caveat is since no one here can see exactly what is going on, it would be difficult to take advise from us including me
    Last edited by Eventer55; Jan. 26, 2013, 09:36 PM. Reason: Ear pinning in portions of response to OP
    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

    "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

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    • #3
      He's a HORSE. There's nothing inherently wrong in his behavior. He likes what he likes and he doesn't like what he doesn't like. Put him in a stall where people won't pass by him all of the time and let him be him. Or figure out a way he can't stick his head out (stall guard?).

      I bet after you stop stressing about this nonissue, he'll become better.

      (I know, he's your baby and you wish he was "nicer" but he's who he is and you need to love him for all of the good things about him)

      Comment


      • #4
        My horse is such a good girl, except when it's meal time! Then she does the "ghost horse kick", gets very wound up and silly. I will go into her stall to give her grain, but I wouldn't say it's a fun process, and I'm outta there as soon as I can be.

        She likes her treats, but I've taught her "ears" for when she pins her ears; it is the signal to put her ears forward like a good girl. And I will back her up if she doesn't! Or if she gets grabby. Or if she bumps into me trying to get to her food.

        To some degree, it's just her, and she's better than she used to be (no more charging the fence or stall when it's time for grain!) And so sweet in other aspects of her life, that I am willing to put up with the silliness over grain.
        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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        • #5
          Mah Navu anyone?
          "Aye God, Woodrow..."

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks for responding.
            I am not young, except at heart I guess. He's not off the track, I bred him myself. He is fine with me. I love him to death, but he scares people. He gets "ugly" by pinning his ears and threatening to bite people. He's not in pain. Somehow he learned to associate aggression with food. I was hoping someone would have some advice, as he is not mean, but may develop a reputation for aggression and I don't want that for him.
            What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by quietann View Post
              My horse is such a good girl, except when it's meal time! Then she does the "ghost horse kick", gets very wound up and silly. I will go into her stall to give her grain, but I wouldn't say it's a fun process, and I'm outta there as soon as I can be.

              She likes her treats, but I've taught her "ears" for when she pins her ears; it is the signal to put her ears forward like a good girl. And I will back her up if she doesn't! Or if she gets grabby. Or if she bumps into me trying to get to her food.

              To some degree, it's just her, and she's better than she used to be (no more charging the fence or stall when it's time for grain!) And so sweet in other aspects of her life, that I am willing to put up with the silliness over grain.
              I've actually started working on this. I think "ears" is a good cue word. I was even thinking about clicker training him to put a more pleasant face on before I feed him. lol
              What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm

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              • #8
                Mah Navu older sister maybe. I just don't have the energy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Is this a choo chooo thread and I'm too tired to see it?

                  P.S. Whats a Mah Navu If it has dairy I can't eat it. . .
                  RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                  "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Long Spot View Post
                    Mah Navu anyone?

                    Definitely not. OP sounds like she more or less knows what she's doing, even if some think she's overreacting. Mah Navu was a one woman wrecking crew.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My gelding does the same thing (tho he wouldn't dare think about bumping my arm or touching me in any way, shape or form) when he's fed. I stand and tell him ears, until BOTH of those ears come forward. I have had day where I stood about an hour waiting. All I can say is consistancy. And nobody feeding him treats unless they are in his bucket. And again, those ears are forward. It may take him a little while but he will figure it out. At least if he wants to eat, he will.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Long Spot View Post
                        Mah Navu anyone?
                        Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                        Mah Navu older sister maybe. I just don't have the energy.
                        Originally posted by Mara View Post
                        Mah Navu was a one woman wrecking crew.
                        Stop saying that or you'll conjure her!

                        OP, my barn has quite a few characters that kick and gnash their teeth. As long as they are prevented from harming anyone or any other horses, there isn't a problem. Having said that, I did unload a horse after owning him only five months, and one of the reasons why I just did not like him was that he was very territorial at dinner time. So I understand it can be very off putting.
                        A helmet saved my life.

                        2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks to those of you with helpful comments. As usual, I regret posting anything at all since the majority of responses are snarky. I never knew how hateful horse people were until I came here. Back to my cave.
                          What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Anteup View Post
                            Thanks to those of you with helpful comments. As usual, I regret posting anything at all since the majority of responses are snarky. I never knew how hateful horse people were until I came here. Back to my cave.
                            Surrounded by jerks!
                            Cothers and your horse walking hand in hand.
                            ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                            Originally posted by LauraKY
                            I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                            HORSING mobile training app

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yeah, I don't know why this place has gotten so snarky. It use to be a lot more helpful (except for a few issues that always have and always will turn into train wrecks). There wasn't anything "Mah Navu" about your post OP. One thing I did with my guy is train him to turn his head away from me when getting fed or entering his stall. I'm not sure how easy that will be in a boarding situation though. Good luck! My horse is a jerk too (although I prefer the term "ass" ).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Pony has done that and I just let him be and keep away. He doesn't get to be nasty while I'm in there putting the bucket up. He's in a pen when he does it and he can come over the top. Never does it in when being bucket fed in the pasture.

                                In a stall he's in the solid sliding door type with a grille. No lunging there.


                                It's funny, I've met horses that are all nasty faced until you acknowledge them but never the reverse. Pony is just territorial under certain conditions.
                                I agree that if he's a top athlete and kind under saddle his stall manners may just be what they are. If he gets nippy though you'll have to do something, a door guard or whatever.
                                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                Incredible Invisible

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                                • #17
                                  I had your horse - but he had a history of foal lulcers.

                                  Does he get his hay first ?

                                  If he is boarded it is hard to expect a change - many get like that when they want their food NOW but the cart is still at the far end of the aisle.

                                  I don't like it either. We found we could momentarily distract him from this behaviour by taking a crop in and tapping him backwards, by tapping on the wall with something, even a sweat scraper, or my husband even used the clip on his hand held phone to click and it grabbed his attention.

                                  With regular handling, work and complete attention to detail, without wavering in our system he got a lot better, and as he grows up we expect him to learn some better manners. I don't withold food, or get excited or violent.

                                  Just be sure he is well.
                                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I had your horse - but he had a history of foal lulcers.

                                    Does he get his hay first ?

                                    If he is boarded it is hard to expect a change - many get like that when they want their food NOW but the cart is still at the far end of the aisle.

                                    I don't like it either. We found we could momentarily distract him from this behaviour by taking a crop in and tapping him backwards, by tapping on the wall with something, even a sweat scraper, or my husband even used the clip on his hand held phone to click and it grabbed his attention...sort of like a mental half-halt before dropping in the food.

                                    With regular handling, work and complete attention to detail, without wavering in our system he got a lot better, and as he grows up we expect him to learn some better manners. I don't withold food, or get excited or violent.

                                    Just be sure he is well.
                                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                    Comment

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