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Pushy, nervous horse with no concept of personal space...

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  • Pushy, nervous horse with no concept of personal space...

    I'm just looking for any little training tips you guys might have for a little mare I'm working with. She's 20 years old and narrowly escaped death not to long ago. You would never know it though, she is back up to weight and feeling quite good about herself. The problem is, she has NO concept of personal space and has no problem running through you, past you, over you etc. She's a really flighty and goey arab mare who'd rather trot than walk. At this point, I'm concentrating on her ground manners because well, she doesn't really have any! The thing that is the biggest problem is when asked to stop, half the time she looks the other way, flat out ignores you and will continue walking right into you and in front of you and try to just wrap around you. I've never seen a horse bluntly pay so little attention to the person leading them and not even be phased by anything I do stop her. She's easily sent into a nervous jig at the drop of the hat for God knows what reason as well. In my opinion, she's a bit of mess. But it's my job and the boss says we have to give her a chance and see what we can do with her.

    Any good training tricks to help this little mare understand that climbing all over people just isn't allowed without totally upsetting her?

  • #2
    walls are your friends. Walk right up to it, she'll stop, say "whoa" as you stop. Once you think she understands that, begin stopping 2 steps before the wall, saying "whoa" when you stop. Then 4 steps.

    before you know it she will make the association between stopping and the word whoa and you'll lead her much better.

    Comment


    • #3
      Agree with the wall trick. And would suggest adding clicker training to help her focus on the person. She sounds like she has no clue that people require attention to be paid to them. The clicker training will help her understand this.

      *Star*
      "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
      - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a mare like this. When I first got her she was horrible about walknig over me. I had someone help me with her and this is what we did:

        In a barn isle walk down the isle with the mare behind you, but with enough distance so she can see you, if she gets too close to you, pick up one of your hind legs (picture horse threatening to kick). When you want to stop, say what ever word you use, then you stop. If she doesn't stop, pick up your leg, establish the appropriate distance. Repeat this until she maintains the consistent distance, and stops when you stop. When and if she does walk into you, at this point you are allowed to give her a "kick" in the chest, she should back up at this point, make sure it is to your comfortable distance, praise, pet, and then continue with walking.


        Once you are comfortable with this excercise, she maintains a comfortable distance behind, and stops when you say the word and stop, you can then practice leading her next to you. Lead and hand on the withers, she must maintain the arms length from you. Don't let her get close to you, and she again must stop when you do, she should know the word at this point. If she gets to close, lift your leg again etc.


        Usually it only takes one kick for them to realize what the lifted leg really means. The most important (as with every horse training excercise) is to remain consistent in your behavior and correction. Clicker training is a good idea too, if you feel comfortable incorporating that.

        If you have questions, feel free to PM me. My mare would circle and run right into me when I got her. Now I would let a kid lead her. This worked, and I imagine she is very much the same as this mare.

        You might want to think about supplementing her with a calming supplement- these types are very often B vit. difficient.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks, the wall idea is one I hadn't heard of. I think I may have a clicker somewhere too. Good ideas, thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            My horse came with terrible ground manners and often threatened me with a raised hoof during grooming! She wouldn't even lead -bringing her in from turnout was hairy, she'd rush into you.

            The long dressage crop became my new friend. She respected even the lightest tap to keep her in place, rarely excalating into a hit. Wiggling the lead rope got her attention too, when distracted by yummy grass or a bucking youngster in another pasture.

            Eventually, she got the message and now leads like a champ. I actually broke that crop smacking her hind leg HARD when she swung her hoof at me while grooming. I felt badly about it, but she's never threatened me again!

            Remember, that's what another horse would do. Non verbal hoof or tooth (or crop) communication.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kiara View Post
              I'm just looking for any little training tips you guys might have for a little mare I'm working with. She's 20 years old and narrowly escaped death not to long ago. She's easily sent into a nervous jig at the drop of the hat for God knows what reason as well. In my opinion, she's a bit of mess. But it's my job and the boss says we have to give her a chance and see what we can do with her. Any good training tricks to help this little mare understand that climbing all over people just isn't allowed without totally upsetting her?
              make sure she has very good vision on both eyes and then use treats/pets/rewards to have her stand....if she gets "overwrought"easily,then the standard cues used for "duller" horses will not work and only work to frighten her more...

              my last outside mare with this problem was transformed by quiet talk and every time we'd go about 4 steps I'd have a treat in my hand...her fave was whole corn, but I've used sugar lumps and sweet feed...a chain can be there on a big ole honking thing for safety but she was tiny only 14 hh...

              when I say whoa,then the hand comes up and rubs her nuzzle,she figured out whoa meant stop for a treat and each time I fed it a bit lower,so she drops her head lower and stays calmer...and a pat on near side between shoulder and mid neck..and I tell them how good they are...and we start again...

              as we progress over days, the feed is then intermittant and the reward is a rub on the upper lip ...(now lowered to an almost ming dynasty horse statue level ) with my closed fist....


              it is soothing to them and might be my own version of a clicker not ever once will I clobber or back up or give negative feedback to this kind of horse...


              and from then on I'll greet them the same way every time with that lipbrush,a pat on the near shoulder and then we'd slide on the halter or hook up the lead rope...it is the kind stable everyday handling in exactly the same way each time that mine benefit from


              best
              Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
              I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

              Comment


              • #8
                You guys are making a prolonged big deal of this.
                It's pretty simple, really--horses must respect your personal space and must respect, not threaten, you.
                If they don't, you act swiftly and firmly.
                If they run over you when led, use a lead with a chain, either under the chin or over the nose, and when you stop and they don't, jiggle it.
                I carry a whip, handle up, in my left hand, and if the horse pushes his head into me, he hits himself with it. Or I can use my elbow to push him over if he pushes into me.
                If the behavior is really threatening, as to kick or bite, you'd better take 10 seconds to make that horse really, really sorry---yell, smack the ribs, jerk the chain, whatever--and then it's over.

                I have stallions, and they like to test me on a regular basis, but it's no different with any pushy horse.
                You have to be firm, matter-of-fact, not angry, but put up with no nonsense. Then they know their place and are content.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Linda Tellington-Jones' TTouch system is your friend. Read up on the leading lessons - they'll help!
                  Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Any good training tricks to help this little mare understand that climbing all over people just isn't allowed without totally upsetting her?
                    A: you are changing the status quo. She is used to controlling those around her and being alpha, and you need to establish that you are the human and she is the horse. She is going to be upset. Deal with it. Prevent it from being dangerous.

                    B: ANY good training is going to fix this. My tools are a nice brass ball headed, stiff dressage whip that I use as a tap, a wand indicator and a good little bop on the bridge of the nose if I am getting barged. Believe me, that brass ball is not going to hit her any harder than another horse's teeth would in bopping her to remind her to keep her space.

                    C: a pocket full of treats for doing things right will convince most horses that you are worth paying attention to.
                    "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dan Sumerel alpha training

                      This horse knows exactly where you are standing and walking. She is the alpha, you are under her and failing to get out of her way like a proper underling horse would do, therefore you get walked on, bumped into, and stepped on. Those head bumps are not accidental. She respects the wall more than she does you.

                      You need to become the alpha.

                      Rule one: Never back up unless you think you are going to die.

                      Rule two: Don't get physical, because some horses will take you up on it, and they will win the kicking/biting contest. I've seen it happen. My friend whacked a winter blanketed horse on the neck with the end of a cotton lead rope when he was being pushy. He knocked her down and bit her on the back. She got up and whacked him again with the lead rope and he knocked her down again and bit her on the shoulder. She is VERY lucky she wasn't killed. I will NEVER forget it.

                      You should be able to move anywhere into the horse's space and have them politely yield. Picture the alpha mare in the herd going to the water, the others all just move out of her way. She doesn't push on them, and almost never has to bite or kick them.

                      You need to always have the horse's attention, either an ear or a portion of an eye should be on you at all times, if not...they are ignoring you. The lower horses always know where the alpha is at.

                      Do the LEAST amount of stimulus necessary to get their attention: click/cluck/kiss, wave of the arms, wave and jump, slight crinkle of a plastic grocery bag, or vigorous wave of the same bag taped to the end of a dressage whip (more movement, as well as the ability to be VERY TALL when you raise the bag).

                      If the horse invades your space DO NOT move back (unless you think you are going to die), just do one of the actions mentioned above to get them to move out of your space. In normal human society when a person invades our bubble we step back, for horses it is a very definite test of superiority.

                      When you want them to stand just touch them on the neck and run your hand along their body so they know you don't want them to move. To reset them just step back out of their space and they will again yield when you move into them. You determine how big your "bubble" is going to be.

                      It will take some time to train yourself to be alpha, and the horse has had 20 years of bossing people so she will need to be convinced that you are smarter than she is. DO NOT use this in the butt area until you have established your alpha-ness in the front.

                      This is EASY. My 2 year old daughter learned how to do it. I teach all my lesson kids how to do it.

                      My horses DO NOT kick, bite, or bump me (herd or singles). When I lead them across prime jump-able spots like muddy ditches they do not pick my spot to land in. They also are much less likely to abuse other people because they have been trained that humans are alpha.

                      My favorite trick when I'm showing new students how this works is to crawl under my 14 hh Peruvian stallion's belly and then push up with my back (it feels like pushing on a giant water balloon). He does not move a foot when I'm under him. I can also back into my horses and they move out of my way, I do not need to make eye contact.

                      Most horses are very tolerant, so they are alpha but they still let people ride and lead them around. Some horses are hard cases and lord it over their clueless people.

                      When I want to correct a horse I shake the lead rope under their chin until they back a step or three (make sure you hold on to the end of the rope so it doesn't whack you). I make sure that I do NOT move my feet when I do this (Alpha does not have to move to make underlings move, but anybody can chase them). I pause a bit before I bring them back to me so they can think about it. If they step up before I ask them to move I shake them back again.

                      I learned this from Dan Sumerel http://www.sumereltraining.com/
                      I read his book and attended one of his clinics 8 years ago and my horse handling has never been the same.
                      Last edited by DebbieB; Apr. 11, 2009, 01:19 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        [QUOTE]
                        Originally posted by DebbieB View Post
                        This is EASY. My 2 year old daughter learned how to do it. I teach all my lesson kids how to do it.
                        My favorite trick when I'm showing new students how this works is to crawl under my 14 hh Peruvian stallion's belly and then push up with my back (it feels like pushing on a giant water balloon).

                        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My mare was nervous, anxious, and very pushy. What she needed was a good dose of ground work and respect. Knowing where she stood in life really increased her confidence. She seemed to have spent a lot of her life with no consistent expectations. Although she did more than her share of testing, she actually seems rather comforted, even today, by being told what to do.

                          She was a little beyond my knowledge level, and I found a trainer who was really wonderful with her. He was fair and kind, but he expected good behavior. He wouldn't pick fights with her, which she loved to try and start, but would just make her life so much more difficult until she would do things his way. If she objected to what he asked, she would be put to hard work, maybe yielding her hindquarters, doing suppling exercises, serpintines, etc., until she was in a more willing frame of mind; on the other hand, when she willingly did what she was asked, she was rewarded with a nice long break (which she quickly learned to take advantage of by dozing of, hind leg cocked and ears drooping)

                          She took a while to settle into the new way of doing things, but she is a much happier horse today. He spent some serious time helping her to learn to give to pressure. Where before, she would stiffen up and lean against you if you tried to move her over, she had to learn to move any part away if you pressed on her. By the time she was going well, you could easily ask her to drop her head, or move her shoulder or hip away with a light touch.

                          Even now, more than a year later, she will sometimes be in some kind of a mare snit or be in a mood because I haven't done much with her. All I have to do is maybe yield her hindquarters once or twice, ask her to back up, trot in one direction and then the other, and she is back to her normal, well behaved self. It's like she just has to check every once in a while if I've still got the same expectations or if she is going to have to be in charge again. She seems much more content and less anxious if I am.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally Posted by DebbieB
                            This is EASY. My 2 year old daughter learned how to do it. I teach all my lesson kids how to do it.
                            My favorite trick when I'm showing new students how this works is to crawl under my 14 hh Peruvian stallion's belly and then push up with my back (it feels like pushing on a giant water balloon).

                            Agreed!

                            DebbieB - I'm sorry but that is just about the most idiotic thing I have heard in a long time. Seriously, stop teaching kids to crawl under stallions. You may have the kindest sweetest stallion in the world who tolerates this crap, but many horses would not and kids could get really really hurt. There is no reason to be under a horse, ever. Good lord.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gloriginger View Post
                              Agreed!

                              DebbieB - I'm sorry but that is just about the most idiotic thing I have heard in a long time. Seriously, stop teaching kids to crawl under stallions. You may have the kindest sweetest stallion in the world who tolerates this crap, but many horses would not and kids could get really really hurt. There is no reason to be under a horse, ever. Good lord.
                              Of coarse no one is ever under a horse. The vet never has to look at a horse's belly. The farrier is certainly never anywhere under a horse. Kids (and adults) never fall near a horse's feet. Foals walk under their dam's bellies quite often, I have never heard of a mare killing or injuring one for it.

                              I do not have kids crawl under my horse's belly. But I sure do want my horses to know it can happen so they aren't surprised when it does.

                              My point with the alpha discussion is that I have my horse's respect no matter where I am...on his back or on the ground, including under his belly.

                              If I can't trust a horse when I'm at, or under, their belly they need more training. If they get pissy about it I'm really not in control or they don't trust me.
                              Last edited by DebbieB; Apr. 11, 2009, 04:58 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Along with checking this horse's eyesight I would also look at her diet! Is she getting too much feed? I could always tell when my mare was getting too many calories--one of the indications was she got "naughty", she'd run away from me and get pushy as well....

                                You might start by cutting the feed in half and adding a supplement like Equinime to her diet. It contains calcium, magnesium, B-vitamins and certain amino acids which are supposed to chill a horse out. When she is relaxed she will be easier to train.

                                Another thing that will help you and this mare is time. As soon as this mare trusts you (and that comes from daily, consistent handling) there won't be anything she won't do for you. You also have to make it clear to her to stay out of your space but I think if she's relaxed that will cease to be an issue....
                                "I'm not much into conspiracy theories but if everyone thinks alike you don't need a plot!" ~person from another bulletin board whose name has been long forgotten~

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Debbie makes a good point. One day I was clipping my 2yr. old filly face. I was concentrating on her ears and did not hear the BO's 4yr. old daughter come in the barn behind me until I heard her little voice piping "Look what Sting lets me do!". I startled and looked down. She was sitting cross-legged under Sting's belly, pulling on Sting's tail with both hands.

                                  Although the filly was one of those QH's that are born tolerant to most things, a good part of that came from the extensive ground work I had done with her. There was no question that I was alpha. Throughout her life, anytime we encountered any thing new or unusual her first reaction was to look at me to see if I was going to spook first, and when I didn't, she accepted that it wasn't anything to get upset about.

                                  With all my horses, the more groundwork we did, the less likely they were to spook or misbehave in other ways.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Carry a magic wand (Crop) at 20 years old she knows what she is doing and should shape up without you ever having to use it.
                                    A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                                    Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      In this particular case, I do not belive the folks who urged strong disciplinary action (as opposed to the earlier excellent advice about walls and 'kick' gesture with human foot) fully understand the temperament and fear component with this mare. From the description , and horses I have known to be similar, this is not a situation that calls for strong physical punishment. She does need to look to the human for leadership, but the wall and foot are going to work much better. In the meantime, for your safety, I do recommend a chain over the nose, wrapped around noseband or a rope halter.

                                      On the nutritional angle, I would recommend supplementing magnesium. One of the easiest ways to feed that is get some Quiessence from FoxDen Equine (Smart Pak and other places besides the manufacturer also have it) and give that a try. I read somewhere a long time ago, sorry do not remember who/where or I would give credit to the source, that the more reactive breeds, Arabians, Saddlebreds, Thoroughbreds often seem to have either a greater need for this mineral, or just show more symptomology via behavior if there is a slight lack that some other breeds do not seem as bothered by.
                                      Last edited by sdlbredfan; Apr. 12, 2009, 12:48 AM. Reason: add something
                                      Jeanie
                                      RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Thanks everyone! As far as feed, she is on a "gaining" diet as she was skin and bones when she arrived. I'm sure the fact that she is feeling good again is making her even more ready to go than usual. But she still has weight to gain and that part is out of my control.

                                        She absolutely has no respect for people and does whatever she feels like, when ever she feels like it. She will even get bored while I'm working with her and just take off. She absolutely knows what she is doing and how to do it. She just leaves with no regard to the fact that she is on a lead. She would drag you if you let her.

                                        Debbie I find all that very interesting! I will visit the website. I'm going to really have to do my research to find what will work with this mare. She is truely beyond anything I have seen before, and I have seen some pretty terrible stuff. She either ignores you, or throws a trantrum,

                                        It also doesn't help that she has lost some teeth and she drools EVERYWHERE! *rant*

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