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SPINOFF: Boarders' horse manners - discuss.

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  • SPINOFF: Boarders' horse manners - discuss.

    In a spinoff from the "Putting horses in stalls" thread, I noticed many people commented that they handle their horses differently than those that belong to boarders.

    Why are boarders given a free pass on putting manners on their horse? The sense I got was "Owner will be pissed if I have a CTJ with Dobbin about how to walk politely into his stall, thusly he is allowed to continue misbehaving."

    Example: At my boarding barn, manners are required, period. My BM will put manners on a horse if it comes in without any, or the horse doesn't stay - no exceptions, no discussion.

    She had a 17 yr old WB come in who was basically green-broke, and a biter, who steamrolls over his owner to this day. She didn't let ANYONE else turn out, feed, etc. for the first 8 weeks because he was just an ass. He is a sweetheart that would have been a FABULOUS horse, owner just never trained him.

    BUT WB has learned (even at his ripe old age) that manners are definitely required, and furthermore, while still biting at owner when she (rarely) comes out, knows what he can and cannot get away with in terms of barn help and other boarders. Owner understands BM's reasoning, just chooses not to reprimand him when she is working on him

    WB is in the stall next to my horse (who is on 24/7 turnout), so I always feel awful about the attention & loving that my guy gets rightinfrontofWB. I always spend a couple minutes scratching & talking to him through the bars after I put my guy back out. He tried nipping me once; a flick of the nose and a sharp "no!", and he's never tried it again. I just genuinely don't think he is used to the attention.

    So whether it's prior laziness (ReSomething) or lack of knowledge (Superminion), once it has been brought to their attention that Dobbin is being a cow, why in the world would an owner fuss about someone teaching their horse manners? It becomes a barn safety issue (casper324).

    Hope that clarifies it a bit
    Last edited by 2horseygirls; Aug. 28, 2013, 01:38 PM. Reason: clarification of question
    "Let's face it -- Beezie Madden is NOT looking over her shoulder for me anytime
    soon . . . or ever, even in her worst nightmares."

    Member, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous

  • #2
    Hmm. I don't quite get the question. Are you asking why horse owners bring bad mannered horses in to boarding barns and make the staff have to teach the horses? Well that's pure laziness, and some entitlement maybe, like parents whose kids can do no wrong. Owning a horse merely requires a checkbook, you don't have to learn a darn thing from anyone if you don't choose to, and that includes common sense that 1200lb Poopsie running people over is going to get Poopsie whomped on or kicked out altogether.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


    • #3
      Where I board, there are some horses that *I* would consider rude, but their owners don't seem to have a problem with it. It's a bit different of a situation than you are describing, since it's self care so everybody handles their own horse for the most part. If I have to handle one of those horses, I expect him/her to behave. They all do. I refuse to be pushed around, knocked into, or bowled over.

      From observing the horse/owner relationships at this barn (and others) it seems to me that it's just a lack of experience when it comes to knowing HOW to handle a pushy horse on the ground. A lot of people are afraid to say no, or get after their horse for fear of pushing the line...simply because they don't know how. OR they have a tendency to go overboard in the wrong way and just make the situation worse.

      I expect my mare to behave for everybody who might have to handle her. From my 18 month old DD to the 70 year old "BM". IMO if she ever has to be sold, having good ground manners is just one more thing on her resume that will assure her a good home. That and she's 17.1. I'm 5'3, I will NOT put up with shenanigans.


      • #4
        The problem is most owners don't know their horse all that well. They visit to ride and maybe spend an hour or two where as I live with the animals.. I cant tell you how many boarders don't even know what their horses eat let alone know how it is at dinner time. I had one owner with a big pushy draft mare whose owner would only use a collar on her because she didnt like a halter "hiding her pretty face". After the 3rd time of this mare breaking away from the owner and taking down fence to get back in the pasture they were given 72 hours to find a new place. I was not taking the chance of being run over by this opinionated mare.


        • #5
          Originally posted by casper324 View Post
          The problem is most owners don't know their horse all that well.
          Agree. Many of us boarders know our horses only from our own brief encounters (grooming, riding, fussing) and don't see the way they actually live outside our influence.

          My horse, generally a saint for anyone handling him, including vet and farrier, occasionally got it into his head to push or drag his way back to the barn for dinner. When the groom informed me, I told her to show him no mercy. Sure enough, I never heard of his misbehaving again, and I'm grateful to his daily caretakers.


          • #6
            and most owners view their horses as their children, and god forbid another person reprimand their precious innocent child!!
            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


            • #7
              Originally posted by GrayTbred View Post
              Agree. Many of us boarders know our horses only from our own brief encounters (grooming, riding, fussing) and don't see the way they actually live outside our influence.

              My horse, generally a saint for anyone handling him, including vet and farrier, occasionally got it into his head to push or drag his way back to the barn for dinner. When the groom informed me, I told her to show him no mercy. Sure enough, I never heard of his misbehaving again, and I'm grateful to his daily caretakers.
              Ive always said a barn full of horses at dinner time that need to be walked in to eat was a wake up call even to "us" horse lover's. They can and do become a different horses when it is time to eat and they need to wait their turn to be brought in.


              • #8
                Then there's the issue I have with my big chestnut TB mare (go figure!).

                She came to me off the track, where she was treated like the princess she believes herself to be, with horrible ground manners. We fixed those post-haste, and now she's very well-behaved. Until she comes across someone who is uneasy with her (her size, breed, etc.). The instant she senses someone's fear, she becomes a pushy a$$.

                It's not something I've been able to fix, because she only pulls this stunt with people who aren't going to have a CTJ meeting with her. With me, or anyone else not impressed with Her Highness' antics, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.

                I try to figure out which barn workers may have a problem with her, and tell them to get after her if she misbehaves, but....
                "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive


                • #9
                  It can go the other way, too. The daily caretakers at my barn are great, but they allow the friendlier horses, like mine, to rub their heads against them and poke around looking for treats. The Barn Owner doesn't allow this, but she usually isn't the one turning out, picking stalls, and feeding.

                  Rubbing and poking around for treats are Not Acceptable in my world and are safety concerns for farriers, vets, and little kids. I really like my farrier and vet, so I would prefer not to give them reasons to not work on my horses.

                  I spend roughly only 10-15 hours a week at the barn and absolutely would appreciate daily caretakers who have the same high expectations of polite and well-mannered behavior and handle boarders' horses accordingly.

                  I realize I may be an exception here - there are a number of people who think their horse is their 1200lb snuggle bunny bff and are just fine with rubbing and poking around for treats.


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by beowulf View Post
                    and most owners view their horses as their children, and god forbid another person reprimand their precious innocent child!!
                    Have NEVER understood that! People we are close to know they can snap my child back in line (but I know they have the same expectations as I do), so I wouldn't expect differently with my horse, and have told BM to treat him as she would one of here (with the benefit of someone else paying the bills LOL).

                    And that's ANOTHER spinoff thread about brats at the barn!
                    "Let's face it -- Beezie Madden is NOT looking over her shoulder for me anytime
                    soon . . . or ever, even in her worst nightmares."

                    Member, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous


                    • #11
                      I'm one of the folks who may have mentioned that too.

                      In my case, unless it was a place that I was also on the payroll as well as keeping my horses there then the only corrections given would have been for the actual problem and not retraining to fix it. Step on me, crowd me, drag me, etc...instant correction and continue on.
                      As a BM or employee: poor behavior = instant correction AND instant lesson/repetition until behavior improves.

                      Over time I've noticed that if you're "just another" boarder even if the horse lands on you with all 4 feet, tap dances a minute, picks you up and shakes you and then drags you 5 miles...an elbow to the chest is ZOMG TEH MEANEST THING EBER YOU ABUSER I'M CALLING DA COPS AND SUING YOU HE WAS ABUSED!

                      Kinda ain't worth it sometimes. Because the law frowns on people putting a lip chain on another human and shanking some sense into their vacant emotionally fakakta drama-loving brain-cases.
                      You jump in the saddle,
                      Hold onto the bridle!
                      Jump in the line!


                      • #12
                        My horse has his moments of being pushy. I sometimes have to remind him to pay attention and fly right. He also has a kick in him. More a flick of the foot but a kick non the less.

                        When I moved him to my current barn I told BO that he does have a kick in him and if he kicks her or at her KILL HIM. I told her to feel free to use a chain or thump on him a little if he is being rude. I expect him to have manners and generally install a decent base. He knows what good manners are so a good solid reminder is not a problem. That being said I had boarded another horse with this BO for 6 years so I knew that she was going to properly punish Finnegan not abuse Finnegan.

                        While the kicking doesn't show up much I warn anybody working around my horse he has it in him. Last summer he kicked at the vet. Vet was checking for EPM and doing the sideways pulling on the tail quite hard. Finn really didn't like this. Vet dropped the tail and when he went to pick it back up Finn flicked a foot. I growled at him and got after him. But because I warned vet he was in a safe place.

                        I don't like dog owners and horse owners that when asked about how their pet is say oh he is fine. Dog snaps and then it is "Oh, he has nipped at people before but....excuses, excuses".

                        I had one dog that if she felt trapped would threaten to bite and if pushed would bite. She generally warned first. I always told the vets you may want to muzzle her. Regular vet didn't need to but ultrasound techs and vet did. They commented they were glad that I had warned them.

                        Nobody likes to say no to their kids, pets or horses. So less manners all around.
                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                        • #13
                          I know I don't have the time, and I'm certainly not paid to train boarders horses. Yes I will make corrections and will lead most with a chain but it's not my job to retrain 20 horses for free. I do wish the BM would do as the OPs did but as her horses are some of the worst I'm not holding my breath.
                          Please support S. 1406 to amend the Horse Protection Act and Prevent all Soring Tactics to the Tennessee Walking horse!


                          • #14
                            well, as a boarder, I
                            a) was never there when the farrier came, so I don't even know how my horse was for the farrier.
                            b) was never the one leading him in at dinner time, and in fact was never there when that happened, so I have no idea how he behaved. He lead nicely for me when I went to collect him for riding.


                            • #15
                              It is a fundamental issue of "child-rearing philosophy". Some people expect to raise well-mannered, polite children....then there are others who let their children "free-roam" to annoy others.

                              There is an old proverb that says, "Show me your horse and I will know your soul."

                              Which I have found to be true........
                              Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                              Alfred A. Montapert


                              • #16
                                Let me start by saying I have been accused of being a "manners Nazi" when it comes to horses' ground manners.

                                I never thought about it. I just didn't enjoy it when a horse is pushy or dragging when leading, refused to stop when I did, fidgeted around on cross ties, walked away as I swung a leg over, pushed at any bit of me with his nose, grabbed at carrots, etc. I didn't like it, so I corrected the misbehaviours when they occured, and somehow ended up with beautifully mannered horses. I only started to think about it (and observe others) when a coach came to look at one of my horses as a potential mount for a student and commented that she had never met a privately owned horse with such good manners.

                                I did think about it. I did observe others. And I came to some conclusions. If the horse's owner is going to be the only person to handle the horse ever, then they can do what they want and accept whatever behaviours or quirks they deem not bad enough to correct. However if anyone else is going to have to handle that horse then a basic standard of manners must be applied, trained, and enforced.

                                For example: when the owner takes the horse's halter off in preparation to bridle and the horse starts walking down the barn the owner goes with it and puts the bridle on at the walk. In my books that is utterly unacceptable but the owner is okay with it. Fine, she can live with it. But then the owner takes the horse to a show and asks her non-horsey friends to tack the horse up for her... Those friends have enough trouble getting the bridle held the right way, let alone getting it onto a horse that is walking away in the unfenced trailer parking area, towards the crowded warm-up ring surrounded by spectators...

                                Basically if someone else is going to turn your horse out, or bring them in, or handle them for the farrier or vet, has a farrier or vet that isn't you, or do anything with the horse, then you (the owner) must consider how the behaviours you consider acceptable are going to affect the other people.

                                True story: I was grooming my then four year old greenie baby on cross ties one day. Another boarder walks in, sees my boy standing quietly on cross ties, cames over and sighs loudly. Then says "I can't wait for *my horse* to decide to stand quietly on cross ties like that." My reaction (which I managed to not say out loud) was "I don't have the patience to wait for miracles so I just train the dang horse!"


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post
                                  I had one dog that if she felt trapped would threaten to bite and if pushed would bite. She generally warned first. I always told the vets you may want to muzzle her. Regular vet didn't need to but ultrasound techs and vet did. They commented they were glad that I had warned them.
                                  My dog is like that too. Every time we go to the vet, it's time to get the muzzle on and I have to hold her for him. She just. Doesn't do well with that. At all

                                  And I always warn people who want to pet her (she's a fluffy SamoyedX) that it's probably not a good idea until she gets to know them. Cause she'll seem cute until she thinks you're trying to grab her around the head. Which is how people usually pet dogs.

                                  She does, at least, get along with the folks at the dog kennel.

                                  Anyway, my BO knows that if my guy needs to be reprimanded, that they can do so, I trust them to do what's necessary without being harsh. That said, I also work to instill and maintain good manners in him. He's just too big to be given leeway.
                                  The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                                  Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                                  • #18
                                    A normally intelligent friend had problems disciplining her horses because "they may not like me".

                                    I guess sometimes I don't want to be liked.

                                    Same lady had few problems with her dogs though.
                                    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                    • #19
                                      Some boarders never do see their horses for turn out or in or whatever.

                                      But if brought to their attention, it drives me nuts when they say oh mine would never bite or be pushy or rear or strike or whatever.


                                      Then wth were they doing then?

                                      What drives me even more crazy is when people see something they take offense too with someone else's horse and they go back to pookie's owner with a horrible tale.

                                      I had that angry call before. Was turning out a stallion who didn't get out often and needed a chain. He decided to be fresh and literally bolt and drag me so he got shanked.

                                      The "innocent observer" complained to horse owner on how I was abusing poor stallion and I got the irate phone call until I told owner on how he was being a jerk. Then it was cool because horsey was a bit of a jerk.

                                      But why on earth do people always go running back to complain instead if asking whatever why they are doing something or is something going on?
                                      Semi Feral


                                      • #20
                                        I haven't read all of the posts on that thread, OP, but I read some of them and contributed my POV. As a lifelong boarder, I'd like to add another perspective.

                                        1) some BM/BOs are militant/unfair/plain mean and I don't WANT them putting "manners" on my horse. That isn't their job. Just because someone owns or runs a barn doesn't mean they're a good horse handler. It means they have the money to own and/or manage a barn.

                                        2) I have a young horse who was extremely difficult when he arrived to his current barn. The barn owner is 5'2" and knows she can't force this horse to do anything. Luckily, she has excellent communication skills and I put in the extra time to work this horse through aspects of his daily routing and show the BO how I do it. She has no ego (despite running a barn for 10+ years), she wants to know how to best handle *my* horse. It worked wonderfully - we both know the horse a lot better and he is more comfy that he has consistency in his handling.

                                        3) Said horse is hot, and occasionally (such as if it's raining hard), this horse will. not. walk. into. the. barn. The BO tries a soft touch, and if it still doesn't work, she doesn't beat him, she doesn't apply a CTJ moment (that she may not win), she is smart enough to toss him back into the pasture and bring everyone else in...making my horse the easiest horse in the world to bring in. A CTJ moment not applied correctly will aggravate this horse and I'm very grateful that she discusses a problem with me rather than taking it into her own hands at the time. We decide on how we'll address the problem.

                                        4) Unless the owner isn't present at all, I disagree that the BO/BM knows a horse better than the rider. Ground handling a horse is one thing. Riding/training requires understanding the horse's boundaries, mind, willingness, attitude, etc. It's a partnership that isn't easily duplicated on the ground.

                                        5) Communication is important! The BM/BO doesn't have license to train a horse unless danger is imminent. The owner has to be sure that the horse is manageable enough to live in a boarding barn. If it's not the case, the two have to come together to discuss this or the owner has to remove the horse.
                                        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation