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Mrwdaw

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I am a brand new mini owner since July. Shiloh is 10 mo. old. I have never owned a horse before and I'm afraid I am creating bad habits. She backs her butt up to me when she gets grain and sometimes in the field. She also started a new habit of trying to jump on me. I have a crop but I need to know when and where to use it. Help....
 

dalvers63

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Congrats on your baby! I would like to suggest not using punishment on her and instead look into positive reinforcement. Show her proper behavior and reward what you want over punishing what you don't want her to do. Horses respond very well to it and I have found they learn better and enjoy it more. There are lots of resources online.

When she backs up to you what does she do? Is she trying to kick you, get you to move, or just wanting scratches? With the jumping on you it sounds like she wants to play. Does she have any other outlets for play? For now if she does that I would just leave the area as to me it says she wants your attention. If you can find other games to play with her I bet the jumping would go away.

I learned a lot from my friend who turned me on to Alexandra Kurland. She is a good place to start learning clicker training and building a relationship with your horse.
 

Mrwdaw

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Congrats on your baby! I would like to suggest not using punishment on her and instead look into positive reinforcement. Show her proper behavior and reward what you want over punishing what you don't want her to do. Horses respond very well to it and I have found they learn better and enjoy it more. There are lots of resources online.

When she backs up to you what does she do? Is she trying to kick you, get you to move, or just wanting scratches? With the jumping on you it sounds like she wants to play. Does she have any other outlets for play? For now if she does that I would just leave the area as to me it says she wants your attention. If you can find other games to play with her I bet the jumping would go away.

I learned a lot from my friend who turned me on to Alexandra Kurland. She is a good place to start learning clicker training and building a relationship with your horse.
She backs up and acts very aggressive when she is eating grain. Should I allow this?
 

Taz

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I would definitely look into clicker/positive reinforcement training. For now feed her her grain over the fence/stall wall. Stand there and wait till she is quiet and ears forward facing you then put her grain in her bucket and move away. Does she have any company?
 

Mrwdaw

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No, she is by herself. We have goats and sheep and until recently, angus cows. I did not notice the two cows kept her in check but she is definitely the boss of the sheep and goats. Do all minis have dominant personalities?
 

Dragon Hill

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No, not all minis have dominate personalities. Your problem is she's a baby with no one to tell her how to behave. If she were with other horses, they would keep her in check. You need to be the boss, or you are going to have a little monster on your hands. The first thing I would work on is feeding. I do not tolerate any aggressive behavior. No kicking, pawing, head shaking. No swinging the butt towards you, no touching, pushing, or even invading your space. No pinning the ears back (this is different than just having the ears back--they'll be flat against the neck almost and there will be a lot of attitude). I would go to feed like normal and the first sign of aggressiveness, she doesn't get fed. Leave and let her think about it. Try again at the next feed time. It's amazing how smart they are, I've never had to do it twice in a row.
 

Mrwdaw

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You have no idea how much I appreciate your advice. I was afraid I would get judgement when I posted in here. I'll start today! Thank you!
 

Marsha Cassada

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Don't worry that she won't "be your friend" or won't like you if you discipline her. It's just the opposite. She will respect you and look to you as her leader. I would take a whip or quirt with me to feed. Farm stores usually carry a "dressage whip" which is a good size. Or a hog quirt. I call them "arm extenders". Tapping on the chest with a firm command to "back up". Keep her backing for 5-6 steps. Place yourself between her and the food and do not let her eat until she has agreed that she eats when you say she can. Give her a friendly scratch and "good girl" and walk away.
Do not try smacking them with your hand. It only hurts you and doesn't really teach them anything. Oh, you are in for a fine time! Horses teach us so much!
 

Maryann at MiniV

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1. Do NOT allow her to turn her butt on you! Use the crop to either smack or poke her and make her turn and face you. Find a command when doing it, such as "HEAD" or "FACE"......
2. Agree with Marsha about feeding. If she is approaching you aggressively at feeding time, do the "BACK" command and if necessary use the crop on the chest and/or stomp your foot while stepping forward at her. When she shows you submission, allow her to eat, scratch her on the neck and do the "Good Girl" and then leave.
3. Start bushing her (without feeding) and use her name while talking to her. Eventually you'll want to brush down her legs. This is important for when she gets her hooves trimmed. Once she's used to that, you'll want to see how she is with you picking up her foot. We use the command, "FOOT" and our better trained kids will just lift up their foot when you run your hand down their leg! (Takes training for awhile for that.)
 

Mrwdaw

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1. Do NOT allow her to turn her butt on you! Use the crop to either smack or poke her and make her turn and face you. Find a command when doing it, such as "HEAD" or "FACE"......
2. Agree with Marsha about feeding. If she is approaching you aggressively at feeding time, do the "BACK" command and if necessary use the crop on the chest and/or stomp your foot while stepping forward at her. When she shows you submission, allow her to eat, scratch her on the neck and do the "Good Girl" and then leave.
3. Start bushing her (without feeding) and use her name while talking to her. Eventually you'll want to brush down her legs. This is important for when she gets her hooves trimmed. Once she's used to that, you'll want to see how she is with you picking up her foot. We use the command, "FOOT" and our better trained kids will just lift up their foot when you run your hand down their leg! (Takes training for awhile for that.)
 

Mrwdaw

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I do groom her all over and have since she first came to me and she's pretty good with that. I think what started the feeding issue is I started using a feeder that hooks onto the side of the wall so her backside is to me. I'm discontinuing this and using a bin and having her face me. I will use all these tips. You guys are life savers!
 

Taz

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I'm going to add my two cents worth. She's still a baby and you want to be careful that you are correcting her but not punishing her. Punishment will create fear. I would work more on make her stay out of your space, it's going to sound the same but just a bit different. Use a lead or whip( make sure it is long enough that if she reacts by kicking, which is perfectly normal, you are far enough away not to get hit) and swing it around you if she flattens her ears or turn her bum to you aggressively, if she walks into it(don't stop or move towards her) that's her problem and she'll learn that behaviour doesn't fly. I would really suggest looking up clicker/positive reinforcement trainers and/or natural horsemanship trainers on line. There are tons that have good on line courses that will explain everything that people have said to do and give you lots more info on what to do and what she's doing and why. Be careful though, lots are really good but there are some with a much harder approach, I wouldn't recommend that for a baby, she's not being bad she is just doing what she knows. Everything we do when we are around them teaches them something whether we mean to or not. Good for you noticing and changing how she eats to help get rid of the problem.
 

Mrwdaw

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Thank you for your advice. I think that is exactly the reason I have hesitated....she is a baby and I don't want her to fear me. It's a fine line instilling respect without fear. I will definitely check out clicker training!
 

Abby P

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I agree with what others have said, and will just add that if she is a really bold type and is not very responsive to the crop you can make it into a flag by tying a small piece of cloth or a plastic bag to the end of it. That way you can give yourself a bit more "oomph" if she really comes at you at feeding time or if you're in with her trying to do your chores or whatever, without having to actually make physical contact with her. But as Taz says - you're not going after her with either the crop or the flag, you're delineating your space with it, and that is a very important distinction. Making her feel chased will just cause other issues.

I also definitely agree that so much bad horse behavior can be averted by the horse knowing with great certainty that they can rely on you for consistent and stable leadership. So often horses "misbehave" because they are unsure what you want or what their place is. The bolder ones will try to take over, the more timid ones will be afraid and anxious. But if you're decisive and reliable, then she will relax right into going along with your plans. Horses often just do what we expect them to do - you don't have to be a fancy trainer person, just look where you want to go, if that makes sense.

I would also avoid hand feeding entirely until you have a much more firm relationship established (or forever ;)). It will just make your life a lot easier, and also less confusing for her, not having her think that if she pokes you a treat might pop out.
 

Mrwdaw

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Thank you all so much for all the wonderful advice and encouragement. Last night, I took her food in and my crop. I tapped her once...she stepped back and waited. I couldn't believe it! This morning, she bite her halter when I put it on so I tapped her and she stopped and stood still.
She had also started a habit of pushing me when I let her out of her pen. This morning, I tapped her and said, "Back" three times and she waited. Wow....I'm shocked!
 

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