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My filly is abusive.

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  • My filly is abusive.

    Any tips on disciplining without getting hurt?

    Maybe a week ago I was picking at a scab on Lily's butt (wasn't sure if it was a scrape or the start of rainrot). She got offended and nailed me on my thigh. It's currently nice and purple and shockingly large considering the size of her feet. I attempted to smack her, but I don't think I was very effective because I was trying not to shout expletives or cry.

    Yesterday we went for a little walk and I tried to steer her toward a puddle. She leapt across it and kicked me for good measure... right near the other bruise, so now it's joining together into one massive bruise. She was being a little snotty on the way back and kept leaning into me. I kept pushing her away. She tried to rear and kick a few times because how *dare* I tell her what to do. She finally got decent and made it back in one piece.

    So after that, I decided this is enough. I understand her being nervous and wanting me to protect her. But jumping into me is not okay. Kicking me when she doesn't like something is NOT OKAY. How do I stop this?

    When I put her in the cross ties to pick her feet last night, I carried a crop. When she tried to pull a foot away, I immediately gave her a hard whack. When I asked for the foot again, she picked it up promptly and stayed perfectly still until I was done. So apparently beating helps. Should I just carry a weapon at all times and use it generously? It doesn't help that her mother never disciplined her. Do I just need to put the fear of God into her?
    Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
    Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
    VW sucks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by amastrike View Post
    Should I just carry a weapon at all times and use it generously? It doesn't help that her mother never disciplined her. Do I just need to put the fear of God into her?
    Yup.
    www.EquusMagnificus.ca
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    • #3
      Originally posted by amastrike View Post
      When I put her in the cross ties to pick her feet last night, I carried a crop. When she tried to pull a foot away, I immediately gave her a hard whack. When I asked for the foot again, she picked it up promptly and stayed perfectly still until I was done.
      Yup. here's your answer.
      My friend had an only filly who turned into a snot. She called a local trainer and he told her to carry a crop, and as soon as she could to bring the filly to him to be turned out with his yearlings so that they would dicipline her. : )

      I had a client a few years back that had an aggressive filly. She kept a big white carrot stick thing by the stall. It was called "the Sophie beating stick".


      My friend was over at this client's house one time and they went out to see the horses. Sophie charged my friend so my friend took off her flip flop and nailed the horse across the nose.
      classic. lol.

      Usually it just takes one good discussion.

      Sounds like she could use a chain on her halter when you walk her for sure.
      http://kaboomeventing.com/
      http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by EquusMagnificus View Post
        Yup.
        I agree, especially true with young horses who test you out. They need to learn that it is not acceptable.
        Kris
        www.edgewoodmeadowfarm.com
        Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/edgewoodmeadowfarm

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        • #5
          Well I think that this is going to be the start of a very long thread, with a variety of different input.

          Keep in mind, that when you hit a horse with a stick, you are asking him/her to move away from you. If you do not want the horse to move away from you (but to stand still instead), hitting with a stick is going to be counter productive.

          Young horses will protect themselves, from what they see as a threat. What they see as a threat may not be something you thought of before as such. They may well think that they can inflict more of their opinions on you than you might wish them to. Keep yourself in position to be clear of their input, should it happen. And instead of punishing for "bad" behaviour, show the young horse what you expect from them, and reward when you get some approximation of that, to shape the behaviour. Reacting to a threat is not necessarily being a "bad" horse, though it may indeed result in behaviour that you do not like, nor want. If you were pulling a painful scab, the horse was protecting itself from the pain YOU were causing. A kick would not be unexpected in response to this, even though as more experienced horses may put up with more than a youngster will. When the young horse kicks at you to protect itself, and you strike back in "punishment", the horse has even more to protect itself FROM... You. This puts you down a road that you do not want to go down with a young horse, so best to avoid this.

          I find that young horses raised in a full herd situation is the best for raising youngsters with the best all round manners. They learn manners best from other horses, then the human must simply tap into these manners by inserting yourself into the hierarchy that is already understood by the young horse. If the scab must be picked or the infected cut must be washed out, and it is going to be alarming for the horse because it has not got a fully developed relationship with you yet (which will come with time, training, handling and ground work), use drugs (tranq), and/or be prepared for the reaction.

          If the young horse respects you, as he does older members of his herd, there are things you can get away with doing to him, things that may well cause him some discomfort. If he does not respect you that much yet, you have to earn this respect, over time, by demonstrating that you deserve this respect from him. This may involve some physical contact with his body, striking him to move him, at some times, under some circumstances. But not as a catch all response to everything "bad" that he does. So you can't be afraid to show him a negative response, but must understand how he sees that response from you from his point of view. In this way, his behaviour is shaped, rather than imposed. You can't beat respect into a horse, it has to be earned. Hard to explain, and I'm sure that others will have differing points of view for you.
          www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

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          • #6
            I never do anything to my youngsters that their mothers wouldn't do to them...our tools are just different.
            My mares would no more put up with a youngster kicking them and getting in their space than I do. They are not abusive about it, but they also don't spend much energy discussing the infraction politely
            http://www.selahwaysporthorses.com/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by amastrike View Post
              Should I just carry a weapon at all times and use it generously? It doesn't help that her mother never disciplined her. Do I just need to put the fear of God into her?
              Yes, and it's a shame you waited this long, because your sudden assertiveness will initially be confusing to her. You needed to have put the fear of god into her the first time she pinned her ears at you or turned her butt to you.

              If i had waited until my 2004 filly (first homebred) had actually caused brusing and injuries to discipline her, i probably would've ended up in the hospital. Instead she got sent flying halfway across the stall with a butt smack and very loud yell when she was 24 hours old because she spun her butt and tried to double-barrel me. Guess what? She never tried it again. Oh she postured a bit here and there, she was a born alpha and remained so, but her relationship with me was firmly established from Day 1. There were no blurred lines, no questions, no testing. I raised her and had her til she was coming 5 - other than accidentally catching the back of my calf once with a front hoof when i was leading her out of the paddock and she jumped over a puddle behind me, she never once injured me, not even a bruise, not even a stepped-on foot. When i cleaned/scraped her booboos, she postured, she danced, she moved away, she swished her tail, but she knew better than to lash out. And when i was cleaning out a painful sore, that was the ONLY time i allowed her to make faces. Any other situation warranted bellowing and a smack if she ever dared to give me attitude. She turned into an extremely solid, safe & reliable citizen and was being used as a lesson horse at the age of 6 before she sustained a very bad injury (she is now recovered and will be put back to work soon).

              Please don't wait until she actually hurts you again - if she so much as makes a CRUSTY FACE in your direction, get after her. The pinned ears and swishy tail are simply precursors to aggression - don't let her get away with those any more than you would a kick or a rear.
              www.jlsporthorsesales.net

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                ASB, I have been assertive with her. I got a big long buggy whip to beat her while maintaining a safe distance. But then she behaves, I get complacent, and she turns into a monster again. This is the first she's pulled this crap in a couple of months.
                Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                VW sucks.

                Comment


                • #9
                  ps - i'd also like to add that it was a yearling (not mine) that broke my femur with a well-placed kick to the upper knee in 2008, so if you think all your filly can do to you at this point is cause some bad bruising, think again. I was convinced nothing was broken, but went to the ER anyway at the insistence of my friend's hubby, who is a medic. Sure nuff - broken femur. Leg brace on for 3 months. Couldn't drive, couldn't bend down, was totally dependent on my SO the entire time.

                  You asked us in your OP if you "need to put the fear of God into her" - then you say you have been assertive with her. Which is it? Either you have been assertive (and put the fear of God into her), or you haven't. Horses are simple creatures, they either see you as alpha, or they don't.
                  Whether you realize it or not, you are obviously letting her get away with small things (possibly: pushing into you, pinning her ears at feeding time, swishing her tail when you go to do something she doesn't like, dragging you a bit while being led, whatever!), and as long as you keep doing that, she will continue to escalate things whenever she feels like it.
                  Last edited by ASBJumper; Nov. 2, 2011, 01:09 PM. Reason: new response
                  www.jlsporthorsesales.net

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                  • #10
                    Horses are simple creatures, they either see you as alpha, or they don't.
                    That's generally not the accepted behavior theory on horses. They are widely accepted to test constantly within a herd, and while one horse is OFTEN the winner and may appear to consistently run things, the reality is that he is engaged in power struggles constantly.


                    Some horses will test authority (loudly) for the rest of their lives, some are relatively happy to submit even when there is a lapse in the alpha. Some horses require a lot more vigilance.

                    It's really not very fair to say to this owner "it's a shame you screwed up and got to this point, you're going to have a hard time now. You should have done XXXXY and you'd be FINE."

                    You can't know that. All you know is that in recent incidents, this horse has gotten the idea that it has a great "in" and is taking advantage of that to assert her leadership. I do agree that it needs to be dealt with immediately and decisively...but lapses today are not necessarily indicative of some complete failure up to this point. A young horse kicking when you messed around with a scab...that's not unreasonable to expect, even in a very well trained youngster.

                    Anyway OP, yes, the behavior is unacceptable, and if you can possibly try to intervene before it gets to a full fledged kick (or bite, or rear) then you'll be much better off. Whatever you do as discipline needs to be easy for you to deliver, effective, and last until the horse changes his entire BEING from aggressive to submissive, looking to you for direction. Reward with a clear direction, followed by praise.
                    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

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                    • #11
                      Yes carry a weapon. And use it. If you do not get the whammy on this filly now you will have a spoiled and dangerous horse on your hands when she grows up. Even if she pins her ears at you, whack her. Instantly. Make the discipline swift and hard, then they know what it s for. Then go on with what you are doing with her as if nothing happened. Do not dwell on it and keep hitting her. Within a 60 second window she will understand it was for her behavior. After that she will not understand why she is being punished.
                      Kicking a human is a big No No. Kick her back is you are able. Hard! Their Mommas discipline hard in the herd. Biting, kicking, and charging at humans is a capital offence. Make her think she is going to die. Tell her she will end up in an Alpo can. She will not know what an Alpo can is but it will not sound good.
                      I went through all this with a 3 year old Quarter horse filly. Badly spoiled before I got her. It took 4 years to make a good horse out of her. But she turned out to be a great mare. The man who bought her just loved her. And she loved him as well. Good match.
                      Get tough but not mean. Demand respect. Don't try to analize and give her human attributes. They are not humans. They do not reason like humans.
                      She will be happier and you will be too.
                      JMHO
                      sadlmakr

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ASBJumper View Post
                        Whether you realize it or not, you are obviously letting her get away with small things (possibly: pushing into you, pinning her ears at feeding time, swishing her tail when you go to do something she doesn't like, dragging you a bit while being led, whatever!), and as long as you keep doing that, she will continue to escalate things whenever she feels like it.
                        To some extent I agree with the substance if not the tone of this, I'd see if you can pick up on the assertive behavior earlier.

                        For example, my yearling got a good thwack and had to back up yesterday for getting in my space while I was cleaning the run-in. Lots of owners would probably think him rubbing his head and shoulder on my back was cute -- I thought it was out of line and quickly told him so. He can stand there and he can sniff me and see what I'm doing, but he can't get all up in my grill.

                        Never too late to start instituting a "perfect manners" requirement. They have phases like everything else but no phase should include kicking you. You are going down the right path with the weapon, keep at it long after you think you don't need it. Lead her with a chain.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rugbygirl View Post
                          That's generally not the accepted behavior theory on horses. They are widely accepted to test constantly within a herd, and while one horse is OFTEN the winner and may appear to consistently run things, the reality is that he is engaged in power struggles constantly.


                          Some horses will test authority (loudly) for the rest of their lives, some are relatively happy to submit even when there is a lapse in the alpha. Some horses require a lot more vigilance.

                          It's really not very fair to say to this owner "it's a shame you screwed up and got to this point, you're going to have a hard time now. You should have done XXXXY and you'd be FINE."

                          You can't know that. All you know is that in recent incidents, this horse has gotten the idea that it has a great "in" and is taking advantage of that to assert her leadership. I do agree that it needs to be dealt with immediately and decisively...but lapses today are not necessarily indicative of some complete failure up to this point. A young horse kicking when you messed around with a scab...that's not unreasonable to expect, even in a very well trained youngster.
                          I never said categorically that "if she put had her foot down earlier she'd be fine now", i simply stated that in IMHO this "dealing with it" should have been done sooner. Much sooner. That's my opinion and i'm entitled to it. Would it have guaranteed her never getting hurt? Who knows - but it certainly would've improved the chances!

                          And i disagree about your comment re: herd dynamics. SOME horses challenge (generally young alpha fillies and the occasional stud), but as a general rule once the herd hierarchy is established and the alpha mare is known, on a day-to-day basis, everyone respects her. I am not saying the OP needs to be "above" her filly, i am saying she needs to be alpha - period. At all times.

                          And i also disagree that a youngster lashing out is "reasonable". Maybe at a week old... but not at this age, no. Moving away? Sure. Dancing around and getting a bit agitated? Maybe. But nailing someone? No.

                          Horses have much higher pain threshold than we do, that's well-documented. So there's no way that picking at a scab was causing the filly discomfort - at most, it probably tickled.
                          www.jlsporthorsesales.net

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                            IFor example, my yearling got a good thwack and had to back up yesterday for getting in my space while I was cleaning the run-in. Lots of inexperienced baby owners would probably think him rubbing his head and shoulder on my back was cute -- I thought it was out of line and quickly told him so. He can stand there and he can sniff me and see what I'm doing, but he can't get all up in my grill. Then when he maintains a friendly distance for a minute or two, he gets a nice pat and a "good boy."
                            YES! Love that example!

                            When i moved my preggo young mare to the place she would be foaling out at (a friend's place), I bellowed at her the first time she pinned her ears at my friend at feeding time (the day she arrived - i stuck around). I bellowed and waved my arms and made her back up to the back of the stall. Once she put her ears forward and her head down, she was allowed to eat.

                            Friend said, jokingly "my goodness you're a MEAN mommy!"
                            Nothing of the sort, this is mostly why none of my ponies have ever hurt me. I don't take no crap from dem!
                            www.jlsporthorsesales.net

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                            • #15
                              Maybe you don't understand what I mean by reasonable.

                              I don't mean "oh, she had a reason, so it's ok"

                              No. It's not ok. It was an overreaction, and if she wants to overreact, she needs to know that kicking the owner isn't the way to do it. Much the way you teach a horse that he can be afraid, but he is not allowed to SHY. He must continue in the direction I am telling him, at the pace I set.

                              --

                              I mean it is reasonable in the sense that it is an understandable animal reaction, something that you might have expected. This was not a random aggressive act. The owner was bothering the filly, and the filly got annoyed. I've definitely seen a lot of horses react poorly to procedures like that. SO, it's something to be looking out for, and something to work on. It doesn't mean the owner has made some colossal failure in discipline and now has a dragon to deal with.
                              Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by selah View Post
                                I never do anything to my youngsters that their mothers wouldn't do to them...our tools are just different.
                                My mares would no more put up with a youngster kicking them and getting in their space than I do. They are not abusive about it, but they also don't spend much energy discussing the infraction politely
                                These are my thoughts too. When naughty behaviour happens you need to discipline quickly, but then let it go. You can't punish them forever. They just need to associate the naughty behaviour gets met with a "bite" back.

                                I try to mimic horses natural behaviour, such as a smack with a crop would = a bite, a scratch on the withers would be grooming behaviour which they seem to enjoy.

                                You DO need to reinforce good behaviour. My horse is a big boy, was gelded late and can be a bit pushy. One time when he was 3YO I was picking out his foot and he pulled it away and kicked me in the leg. I had a crop nearby and *one time* wholloped him on the butt. He never did it again.

                                But even so, you can see him digging his heels in when you try to get something from him that he doesn't want to do. When he finally does it (begrudgingly), if I stop and tell him he's a good boy and give him a nice scratch on the withers, the next time I ask he definitely cooperates with much more enthusiasm, so they do respond to positive reinforcement.

                                So what I really try to do is reward his good behaviour every chance I get. But if he does do something naughty, he's met with a quick correction and I move on and try to find something he does right, so he gets the feeling that he's being treated fairly.

                                Good luck and I hope your leg is feeling better soon!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Agree with all others have said. The fact that she straightened up when you corrected her is definitely a sign that she's acting out of defiance, not being scared or anything. We are extremely quick to make no bones about intolerance of bad behavior, even with very young foals. At the first sign of it, we immediately do something appropriate for the crime. And we are very, very consistent with what is acceptable and what is not. They might be scared of you for a short time after a correction, but in the most basic sense fear = respect. Right after we correct though, in about 3-4 minutes, we follow up with love and attention, so they know it was the act that we didn't approve of, but we still love them .
                                  Signature Sporthorses
                                  www.signaturesporthorses.com

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by amastrike View Post
                                    ASB, I have been assertive with her. I got a big long buggy whip to beat her while maintaining a safe distance. But then she behaves, I get complacent, and she turns into a monster again. This is the first she's pulled this crap in a couple of months.
                                    I don't think is is unusual for a youngster to get a bit snotty at times and test the waters. Most of mine have except for one complacent filly so far. However at the very first inkling of this I tend to provoke a "Come to Jesus" meeting at a time and place I am fully prepared to take my time and win - that means I have gloves, whip, boots, helmet the right lead or lunge line, a chain over the nose if necessary and backup if I think I might need it. Give yourself the advantage.

                                    For one pushy yearling filly, that meant taking her in the indoor instead her normal routine of of out to the paddock after I turned out her buddy. I knew it would provoke a mini-meltdown in a safe place where I could take my time and work on the my space/your space issue. A few sessions like that and it was over. The worst by far was a gelding whose owner allowed him to rear on the way out to the pasture. Again, I picked a day, let him simmer in his stall a bit after everyone else went out and was ready for his antics. We did a lot of forward/sideways work moving away from me and it was exhausting and my arms felt like they were pulled out of my shoulders, but because I had the equipment - boots, whip, lunge line, gloves, by the end it was over, no one was hurt and he got over it.

                                    You have to be proactive. If you wait for her to misbehave another time and she gets away with it - you are not prepared or incapacitated from a kick or bite and cannot punish her instantly, she wins again. Then she gets smart enough to know when you do not have a crop in your hand and she tries something else, and.... she wins again. And now you are scared of her, ooops, she wins again.

                                    Every horse is different and it's up to you to find the trigger. You must always be the alpha mare in her world - it's more than being "assertive" - that means if you give her the "look" she should know to back away just as she would if the alpha horse in her field gave her the "look". That doesn't mean you have to hurt her although depending on her personality it might entail having a crop and not being afraid to use it. I pack a loud yell and mean accurate throw with a plastic bucket or feed scoop. No one is allowed in my space at feeding time, they know I mean business or they feel the wrath of plastic bonking off of them. The most alpha mare I ever had on the property never touched another horse - she was in her 20's, but she could part them like the Red Sea if her ears went back and she knew how to put up a big show.
                                    "If a horse has a "warm" back—loose, supple and oscillating—he can lift the rider...on a "cold" back—low and stiff—the rider achieves nothing other than growing old sitting on it." —Charles de Kunffy

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I do appreciate all the input, even that which suggests I'm a bad owner. I'll be the first to admit I'm not the world's most competent baby handler. It seems like one day she's fine and the next she's a holy terror. ASB, I've been assertive before but the lesson apparently didn't stick. It probably doesn't help that I haven't had much time the past few weeks to work on manners. That's going to change, obviously. I've informed her that she's insured and if she's too naughty I'll kill her and get the money... unfortunately, she wasn't too impressed.

                                      I'm a little paranoid about getting hurt after a long period of recovering from various horse injuries, so when she acts up I tend to run for cover when I know I should be beating her. I always worry that she'll respond to a whack with a well-aimed kick. But then again, yesterday she didn't try to kick when I hit her, so maybe not.

                                      ETA: Is it safe to use a chain on a foal? I haven't because I didn't want to cause any actual harm.
                                      Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                                      Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                                      VW sucks.

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                                      • #20
                                        Lots of good advice here.

                                        To the OP, having read afew other of your posts talking about your filly's issues, I strongly suspect you have been lax with her many times in the past, which is why she thinks she can challenge you.

                                        THe most important thing to remember is that EVERY TIME you handle a horse you are training them.

                                        EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!!

                                        I cannot stress that enough. Even if you are leading them 20 ft from pasture to stall, your are training.

                                        There are no "off times". NONE.

                                        While this is important for all horses, it is especially important with youngsters, because they are still learning.

                                        I suggest you get some lessons from someone more experienced than you in handling babies.

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