Stubborn Mare

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Carly Rae

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Hi.

I have a VERY stubborn mare... Snickas. Shes 4 years old and if something annoys her or that she doesn't like she won't tollerate it... AT ALL.

It can be little things like brushing her tail or clipping or to other things like bathing and farrier work/cleaning hooves. Also if she doesn't want to walk on, in or near something she won't, like not a chance in heck.

It can get extremely frustrating and no matter what I try, I can try for hours and she won't back down.

Here is some examples of what I actually mean by 'stubborn'

When we have farriers out to do her hooves, you literally need like three people to hold her and even that doesn't do much. She is fine for the first hoof, actually nearly perfect. But as soon as she gets bored or frustrated, thats the end of nice Snickas, it turns into rearing crazy physcho Snickas... we try to keep her occupied and pat her and talk to her, let her have her head and everything but she still gets annoyed and the last farrier tried to use his 'techniques' which was twisting her lip or ear (I personally didnt like it) and it only made her angrier, she also backs up a lot with her ears pinned back.

I also really dont think its pain related because farrier work is not the only thing...

Brushing her tail, she will move her rear end away from me every time I try get her tail, sometimes she is good. Sometimes it is heck, like she is testing me. When I want her to walk on something, say the concrete slab in our back yard, she will NOT walk on it, but any other concrete slab she will walk on perfect, just that one slab and she will rear at me and back up furiously and then she is heck to work with after. So if you take her near that concrete say bye bye to good Snickas for the rest of the session.

When tied up (for brushing ir bathing ect) she will try turn herself inside out if she doesn't want to be tied up(again sometimes perfect). She will throw herself to the ground if she has to. Which makes me concerned because thats an injury hazzard.

Sometimes during training if she doesn't want to cooperate she won't stand by my side she will keep pivoting to stand in front of me and if I walk to stand beside her she will again start backing up really quickly with her head up.

She is also very pushy when she wants to be. I have tried to be nice when she gets annoyed and I use a light voice and pat her and say its ok snickas which makes her feel like she can stand over me, then if I put pressure on her and push her back raise my voice it just makes her angrier and makes her feel like she has a challenge.

But its not aggressive, its more 'I dont want to do that...so I won't. And you can't make me' it really pushes my buttons and I dont know what to do.

She is VERY strong and has a fair bit of muscle.

Please note, she has been like this all her life but it's just getting beyond a joke and really shouldn't be tolerated.

Please help! I want to do something about it, but really I don't know what I should be doing and I dont want to do the wrong thing.

Please if you have any tips or anything I should stop please let me know.
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Thanks!
 

always learning

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Sounds like when she was younger you let the "cute factor" get it's way, and now that she's mature you have a lot of training mistakes to overcome.

If she likes to backup when she's frustrated, I believe I'd make her backup all over the place. Have a switch long enough to reach her hindquarters so you can tap the side you want her to move away from, for direction control. Maybe even back her butt onto the slab she doesn't like.

Basically, you need to teach her that she is not the one in charge anymore.

As for the tieing,I think some tough love is called for. Find a spot to tie her where if she throws herself there's nothing to hurt herself on, then tie her just

long enough that she won't hang herself, then walk away. Stay in the area so you can keep an eye on her. If she stands quietly with no fuss for 10 minutes, tell her she's a good girl and release her, gradually increase the time till she stands quietly for at least an hour. If she pulls her " go nuts to get her way" act, leave her tied. If she gets in trouble, sort it out, but tie her back up until she does her good girl time. I realize the urge to run right in and let her loose if she goes nuts is strong, but she has to learn you are the one in charge(so far it's her), and if you want her tied she gets tied.
 

Marsha Cassada

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I just took my new horse to "boarding school" for some of this very behavior. After half an hour of working with him, trainer said "I can see he has some respect issues". He is lovely as a nice pet, but I want more than that.

He was a spoiled brat when I got him a few months ago and I have worked through most of the issues. But I could not get him to work in harness for me.

First of all do you have a good whip? My favorite is the dressage whip, purchased at a local farm store. It is not for beating but for making your arm longer for cueing. I would never work with this mare without my arm extender.

Form your hand into "teeth" when you move her head or neck away from your space. This is a herd thing she understands.

Don't think of being her boss but as her leader.

At feeding time stand in front of her food with your whip and do not let her eat until you say she can. This is herd dynamic 101.

Don't rule out pain. There was a topic a few months ago about a supplement for mares that appear to be in pain during their cycle. Sounds like you notice increased orneriness at certain times.

Previous poster had great tips.

And it is possible she is just not a good match for you. Don't be afraid to move her along. I have not sold many horses, but those I did went to BETTER owners than me, offering the horses more potential. Sometimes a personality that does not fit me is perfect for someone else.

Good luck. I feel for your frustration.
 

Jean_B

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You have a VERY spoiled brat on your hands and you need to establish yourself as the Alpha. Sooner rather than later. No horse should be allowed to pitch a temper tantrum while tied - and NEVER untie them when they do because then they have won the battle. Once got a large powerful riding horse that didn't like to be tied and I finally ended up tying him to a big oak tree with a VERY heavy rope so that he would not be able to break it. I left him there for 3 days before he stopped pitching tantrums. He would pull, he would lunge forward and try to knock that tree down. He threw himself and hung there for a while. (Yes, he had food and water.) He would test once in a while after that, but for the most part, he got it. Just find a very sturdy spot where she can pitch to her heart's content (do not do this where there are open rails that she can get a leg through). Walk away but keep an eye on her. Let her hang herself and let her lay there for a while with her head in the air. You might need to do this repeatedly every day for a few days. She won't get hurt but will be a whole lot smarter.

Pitching temper tantrums with the farrier are a definite no-no. And he should not be the one reprimanding her - you are the alpha. Step up and act like it. Make her think she is going to die for being a brat. Rope over the nose (not a chain !!) and whack the heck out of her nose if she acts up, backing her up, making deep sounding screams of QUIT or NO so that she thinks you are going to kill her. Be ready to have some sore arms from the battle. You cannot let her win the war! If all else fails, there is a tranquilzer (in the US we have Dormosedan) that can be administer like a wormer tube, under the tongue, but that is only for a last resort. If you don't get control of her, she will end up hurting either you or the farrier.

Edited to add: Once had a neighbor who had a mare that she could not handle when the farrier was there - and it got to the point where he was going to refuse going there unless I went to handle her horses. That mare and I went a full three rounds. She snorted, she reared, she blew snot, she bellered because I was NOT going to give in. And then all of a sudden the switch turned in her brain where she realized she was no longer the boss (she was the alpha in the herd). And she became very mild when handled, by me - she never did allow her owner to become the alpha, and she ended up giving her to me. She now is so well behaved, she is the one I would take to visit nursing homes.
 
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Rocklone Miniature Horses

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You need to get an instructor to show you some techniques. She's just spoiled rotten and needs some serious manners put in. If you don't know how to do this its best to have someone show you - you can read about it until the blue in the face but actually applying it can be different.
 

Marsha Cassada

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Jean_B's post is exactly why I think some horses need to move on to new owners. I realize some horses need "tough love" but I am not temperamentally capable of administering it. Not everyone is. Some drastic measures require an experienced background.

This "spoiled brat horse" scenario needs to be studied by everyone who breeds! I wish breeders would train their foals so they can be good companions for future owners. That cute foal turns into a 200+ horse.

The spoiled one I have now used to come into the house, and his owner thought he so cute when he jumped on her back. Now she does not want him any more and he has the challenge of learning all new rules. Perhaps I can teach him, but maybe I cannot. Time will tell.
 

Carly Rae

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I didn't breed Snickas, I have only had her a year but the old owners said she can be a 'fat brat' when she wants to be. Sp it wasn't me that spoiled her as a foal.

I honestly think that I couldn't part with her.(my dad wouldn't let me sell her, everyone loves her) Although she acts that way, sometimes she is absolutely perfect and she will follow you around until she gets her cuddle.

I will try all of those, but with trying to back up onto the slab, aa soon as she touches it she will lunge foward at me and rear up.

I actually looked for a mini instructor, they were hours from me, none in my area.

I will try do all these things and I will see how we go.

Thanks!
 

Magic Marker Minis

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When we had a mini that reared, we grabed both front legs and held them up for a few seconds. Only works if you can hold them up. Usually after a few times of doing this, they decided rearing wasn't so fun.

Also works by backing them up like the people said above. Normally horses don't like to back up, unless avoiding something. Making them continue backing makes them figure out backing up is not all its cracked up to be.

Tying a horse to a safe spot and letting them stand is a good idea. I had a QH mare that was a.pawer when tied. My trainer had a safe place to tie her and let her stand. We kept an eye on her but left her for a couple hours. She soon quit pawing when tied.

Just have to work with her every day until she understands you are boss. Don't ever let her get away with anything, otherwise she feels she has won.

I had a mini mare thad hated being caught, especially if you had a halter. We kept her moving in the pen. Never let her rest or get a drink. She only had to walk but she trotted or ran most of the time. Took about a hour but finally caught her. She was hot and tired. I was just frustrates. She got easier to catch over time because I didn't give up. Just never give up!
 

Carly Rae

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Okay Thanks! I'll give it a try and I will persist with her
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Oh, just an update on the topic about my Stallion Toby, Some may remember it was a couple weeks ago, Toby was beginning to try take over my spot as boss and he was rearing up at me and biting me.

My dad came up when I was trying to lunge him and saw how he was lunging at me, so dad said If he is trying to hurt me I am allowed to defend myself. I was always worried that I was going to hurt him but dad said "He will keep doing it because he knows you wont defend yourself" Then dad walked off and I tried lunging again, and took in what dad said. So again Toby reared up at me and tried to bite, so while he was coming at me I went at him and whacked him in the shoulder with my whip and yelled "TOBY DOWN" and stomped my feet and let all my rage out waving my arms about, when I was finished i tried to lunge again and I couldn't believe it, he lunged PERFECT. Today I washed him and not once he reared, bit or kicked. I am really happy now
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He is also all affectionate as well.
 

Rocklone Miniature Horses

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I think it all comes with maturity and experience. Treat snickas how you treated your stallions. Horses either want to lead, or be lead. If you are not dominant enough, they will be the leader because they don't trust that you are tough enough to do the job and pretty much everything to a horse is life and death. Be tough. You may feel mean as all heck, but if you don't do it you will not have a happy relationship. Miniatures are full grown horses, in miniature. Don't molly coddle!
 

Marsha Cassada

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I didn't breed Snickas, I have only had her a year but the old owners said she can be a 'fat brat' when she wants to be. Sp it wasn't me that spoiled her as a foal.

I honestly think that I couldn't part with her.(my dad wouldn't let me sell her, everyone loves her) Although she acts that way, sometimes she is absolutely perfect and she will follow you around until she gets her cuddle.

I will try all of those, but with trying to back up onto the slab, aa soon as she touches it she will lunge foward at me and rear up.

I actually looked for a mini instructor, they were hours from me, none in my area.

I will try do all these things and I will see how we go.

Thanks!
You will learn a lot from her! My avatar horse, my first miniature, is a resistant cuss. He was an unhandled 5 year old stallion when, all wide-eyed, I got him 14 years ago. I discussed his behavior on this forum and some said to get rid of him. I experimented with many techniques suggested. Even now, after all these years, about every six months I have to carry my whip at meal time. I would never want another horse like him, but we have been through a lot together. That makes a special bond.
 

AngC

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I don't think a horse should be rearing up when having their hooves done. I tie mine up pretty short, just in case. So there's no leeway to rear. However, the first time the farrier visited Coco, I had her tied too loose. The farrier didn't twist her ears or her lips. But he did take a hold of her tail about a foot down and kind of gave it a gentle half-turn, all the while just standing there, calmly. It took him maybe a minute. First she peered around at her hind-end, then she gave in. She has never given him any guff ever since. He has a way about him that I wish I had. I really think there are things you do with a horse that take an instant to do, and if you do it wrong, they know, and it takes forever to un-do.

I don't use whips (other than as a steering tool while lunging, even then, frequently the whip ends up on the ground.) I've experimented with various whips; primarily, with wide flat materials that make noise. Unfortunately, the whip is always somewhere else when I need it. Horse infractions need instant reactions. A smack as hard as I can with the flat of the hand (never near the upper head/eyes) or a flick of the index finger/against the thumb right on their nose, but always quickly, within a second or so; otherwise it's pointless.

Regarding your comment:

...and stomped my feet and let all my rage out...

Getting angry doesn't seem like a good idea to me. I spend considerable effort making myself calm before I try to do things with ours. They know when the weather's changing, so I know they know when I'm upset. It doesn't seem like a good way to encourage horses to do things if you allow yourself to show your anger to them. I've walked away many times. (The only exception being if there's a health emergency.)
 

Carly Rae

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Snickas has had very bad experience with the tail, it has taken me nearly a year to get her to trust me with her tail. So I would rather not be twisting it or anything, I spent ages trying to show her that I wasn't going to rip her tail off. What I mean by that was when we picked her up when we bought her, she wouldn't float because she was scared. I was in front of her talking to her trying to lead her in and my dad stood behind her and gave her a little push, guiding her in the float he was also patting her saying it was ok (as soon as dad saw Snickas he loved her haha)

But anyway, the man that we were buying her off said something like "Nah mate, that is the hard way to do it, hop out the way let me do it" he sat his beer down grabbed her tail and ripped it around the way he wanted to go, Literally pulled her whole body over by her tail, twisted it really hard and shoved her in the float, sure enough she went in but that was seriously not the right way to go about it. I was so angry.

So when we got her home I was brushing her getting to know her, I knew that I shouldn't push my limits with the tail so I just got her used to me patting down her back all the way down her tail, every time I touched her tail she would pin her ears back swing her head up and swing away from me. It took me FOREVER to get her to trust me, I thought she may have had damage but the vet said it was fine, just a bit of trust was lost and it may have been sore as well.

But we are nearly good with the tail, I think she is all good now that I introduced her to the 'Tail scratch' she LOVES it. haha.

We are working on everything now.

With Toby, I spend so long trying to keep calm, I never get really angry at them, and if I do I tie them to a pole and ignore them. But Toby was beginning to get aggressive, he was being a little stallion, we think he just 'matured' he is being really studdish toward Willow and he was beginning to do the same to me, he reared up and came down trying to bite me. Sometimes when i tried to catch him he would swing his rear around to me with his head up getting ready to kick. I tried being calm, I tried being firm with him, I tried being nice being nice just made him feel like he had even more power, being firm made him challenge me.

It was at the point where He was starting to rear and bite my friend. I kept him tied, I tried patience, desensitizing, manners ect but all just backfired on me, I have never gone mad at Toby, he has always been my angel as I say "My Girl" because I dress him up in girly things and braid his tail. For a couple of weeks i lost that Toby, and I got fed up with it and I screamed at him (Like I explained before, how I went mad at him).

Its like he has accepted that he is not boss of me, he is back to Toby again, we still need to work on a couple of places of manners and that will be taken calmly. I bathed him and not once did he rear.

I don't like getting angry at them either, believe me, I also don't like pushing them around, but everyone was saying that he was just going to get worse and that I had to do something about it so I did, and It worked. Also, thanks everyone who replies to my topics, I am sorry I ask so many questions on here, Just trying to learn, and learning is great! :D
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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Regarding your comment:

...and stomped my feet and let all my rage out...

.)
I grew up in a horse family. Don't take this the wrong way, but this reaction to a snotty horse would've gotten my a** beaten into the next week by my mother.
You will get angry with horses, especially when they're being disrespectful poop heads. You shouldn't take your anger out on them unjustly, however, when they're being jerks, and you are feeling angry, it's ok to use that feeling.

I had a tb X Arab X paint psycho borderline unsafe mare as my first horse. She did this awesome thing where she would be going along, then without any warning throw it in reverse, spin like a Reiner, and bolt in the opposite direction. I was 6 so it obviously worked every time.

My mother was riding her one day and she pulled it with her. She was so angry simply out of spite mid spin she stuck her hand out, and let the witch with a b spin into her hand, making contact between her ear and eye. She thought she spun INTO something, and just stood there wide eyed instead of taking off. Last time the mare did that move, EVER with anyone on her. Was it textbook? No. Would the natural horsemanship people approve? No. Was it completely out of ANGER? Yes. But it worked.

It's never right to get angry with your horse and beat them into the ground. But you need to use it sometimes.

An abused horse still needs leadership and discipline - loom up Cesar milans philosophy on rehabbing abused dogs. It's one of his few philosophies of his I like. Often times broken dogs don't heal because they spend their whole life with people feeling bad for them and Molly coddling, thinking being sweet it how you build trust. Newsflash: trust starts with boundaries, in all species.

My hound dog was 150% of the phrase 'unadoptable.' He was horrendously abused and went through 3 homes in under 3 weeks because he was that bad. He was terrified of EVERYTHING. But did I let him jump on counters, growl at me when I tried to take his toys away, or snap at me when he was guarding his food because he was scared? Oh heck no, he got disciplined just as hard. He learned I was the leader. And because I consistent and fair he trusts me, not because I was 'nice to him.' In fact, dare I say I have disciplined him the most and the hardest of any animal I have ever worked with, and without an ounce of doubt I am his favorite person ever.

Put your anger and other emotions into terms hey understand. Screaming at horses is abusive and useless 99.9% of the time in my book. They aren't verbal animals. All it does is scare them. Body language and physical contact (and by this I very rarely mean rough!) is how they communicate. I can bluff a bull down without raising my voice or hand. I'm 5' tall and 125 lbs.

It's all how you carry yourself, when you move where, how you move, and very lastly how, when, and where you make physical contact if needed. It takes time and years to learn. Find a good horsey role model.
 
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Rocklone Miniature Horses

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One thing you mention worries me. Tail scratches. You should never encourage her to have he bum towards you, even if you know she is tail shy you should not be encouraging her to turn the tail to you, this is an escape method and a way of her not dealing with you - there is no trust being built here.

I'm a little confused as to what method of training you are actually doing with Toby so im going to guess he is too. Everytime he shows a behaviour you give him a different reaction, so he never knows whats happening. Pick one method and stick to it and hopefully he will settle
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Minimor

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Pfft. Tail scratches. Tummy rubs. Sheathe scratches for geldings or stallions or titty scratches for the mares--I do them all. I think nothing of walking behind my horses and giving.them a scratch on whatever part of their rear anatomy is within reach. I always speak to them to make sure they know I am there. I could care less if they turn to face me when I go to catch them. I had one colt that came to me wild--I would corner him to catch him and that meant walking up to his rear end then along his side to his head. There came a point where I could catch him in the open but he would always whip around at the last moment and present his rear end to me...so I cod walk past him to his head. He thought that was how it was done. Eventually he would stand and let me walk up from the front and catch him. Makes no difference for me--my horses are as safe to approach from the rear as they are from

The front--I expect that of them.

I have been known to give a shriek of rage to make a point to a horse ...usually because one has managed to plant a hoof on my foot and is attempting to grind my toes into oblivion. Then the pained shriek just happens, and is quite effective.
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A formerly abused horse who was a defensive biter got a chomp in on my arm for the 3rd time in one week--the last time I responded with a knuckle in the side of his muzzle--just worked out perfectly in a 1-2 action...bite- poke. I would not have belted him otherwise because a horse used to being beaten doesn't need any show of violence--but that immediate poke with the knuckle made him go "OH!" --and he wouldn't think of biting me after that. It did not hurt him but it got his attention and he understood what it meant. That us all it takes--get the horse's attention, and get them to understand what you want.

If a horse were to be too pushy and ram I to me I would shank him once or twice--depending I might even smack him across the chest or in the shoulder -- it would be rare for me to need anything more than that. Some people go to extremes--if one smack would be effective they figure that running the horse backward while whipping his chest repeatedly will really make their point. A few times of that and all they have is a horse that is afraid to have a human approach. It is overkill.

I got a weanling this fall--he had no handling at all and thought quite highly of himself. He was a defensive biter and kicked like a mule when I touched his hind legs. I did not discipline him as such--he did not mean to be nasty he just did not know better. I was just firm with him and continued doing what I wanted to do--blocked his attempts at biting and stayed out of range of any kicks while picking up his hind feet--5-6 days and he gave up the bad behavior. He no longer bites and he no longer kicks--I never had to smack him at all, I simply had to be firm and let him know what I wanted of him. Be consistant and be firm.
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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But there is a VERY big difference between working with a spoiled horse and an ignorant horse.

I have to agree that i firmly disagree with tail scratches. If he was 18hh would it be cute? My filly used to ask for tail scratches by backing up into me in the field. We don't play like that here, and that behavior is never ever tolerated. Yes, I feel comfortable approaching from the back and expect it from all, but I do not feel comfortable with their back approaching me!

I have a pony fully that was the textbook version of spoiled - turns out her mother died when she was 4 mos old, and instead of weaning as recommended by the vet they bottle fed her, then to screw her up even more they put her on a small dry lot with no other horses. The only people to handle her were teens; and they spoiled the cute wittle baby so so so rotten. I paid a song for my gorgeous filly because of it, but she needed to 'see the light,' just as the OPs horses do.

If she didn't want to do something, she would go straight up to try to scare me. When she learned that wasn't a good idea, she took to laying down; her dead weight 'peaceful hippie' protest, which she quickly learned was an equally bad idea. She knows those things were wrong, just as the OPs horses do, but she didn't want to do what I was asking so she did them anyway. That's when a 'come to Jesus meeting' is needed.

My mini stud I got as a 6 yr old 'mustang' I employed much much much more patience with. He was ignorant, my filly was and the OPs horses are spoiled.

No, don't ever go to an extreme unless an extreme behavior is presented to you, but feel free to have that 'knock it off' swat be out of a little (all be it controlled!) anger!
 

Minimor

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Makes no difference to me if they are 36 inches or 15 hands or 18 hands--they all get the same scratches. Our Morgans were bigger on presenting their butts for scratches than our minis and ponies are--and I am okay with that because I know they know their manners. Spoiled? Perhaps. But still well mannered.

I have worked with a number of truly spoiled (as in very bad mannered ) horses. I do not tolerate bad manners. I have gotten horses that had figured out they could intimidate their past owners. They would misbehave and if the handler tried to make them mind, they would threaten and frighten the person into giving up and letting them go. I handle them the same as any other horse--I do not back down. I handle them firmly but not roughly. I still see no point in overdoing the discipline. I will let em have it once, maybe twice if they need it to catch on...I have had one that didn't really pay attention to the first smack; second smack and it was "oh! She means it! Okay then!" I still do not hold with a whole lot of jerking and smacking and running them. Backwards. I see people get after a horse fir something and they don't quit for the next half hour. They will discipline the horse and then in their anger they shank the horse every chance they get for the rest of the work session. Or they beat the horse up for every single thing. I generally ignore temper tantrums. I had one fling herself to the ground to avoid having her feet trimmed. I said okay we can do it that way then--I went vack to trimming. She jumped up and we do is he'd the proper way. That was the last time she tried that kind of tantrum. Often ignoring the bad behavior is more effective than punishing it. If it gains the horse nothing he will lose interest in doing it. An aggressive kick aimed at me--that is another matter. That will earn a punishment. I maintain that firmness and consistancy is most effective. If you are getting angry--walk away. If you are angry because the horse nailed you in the leg and it hurt--by all means punish him instantly. But if you are going to then stay angry and keep punishing him for the next half hour--walk away and resume your session later.
 

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I agree, Mine get scratches everywhere, they love it and I trust them. Snickas has never swung her butt to me when she wants a scratch. But Toby does, only if you are giving another a scratch he will slowly back up to you and lightly lean his butt on you, then he will just look at you waiting for a scratch, but its not aggressive its just "Hey my butt is itchy" and I have only seen him do it to me.

I know I probably shouldn't have gone all out on Toby, but I had tried so many things and I was getting fed up, so I did it once and every time he does something from now on its just "Uh Uh Toby" and he is back on track.

Thanks everyone for your help
 

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