when a horse will not quit

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Well-Known Member
Jul 11, 2005
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BC Canada
I've had horses that kicked, bit, reared and I've never had a problem stopping them from being obnoxious pains in the butt.... until Chinook.

I have no problem kicking a horse when it's tried to kick me, done it on more than a few occasions and had it cure the problem. I even had a thoroughbred/QH mare that used to try to kick me on a fly by
, two good swats with a heavy shank as she flew past put a stop to that. As for biting and striking, a couple of well timed lacings with the shank ended it fast except for one mare who kept trying until I actually punched in the nose when her teeth were headed for my face. Dropped her on her butt but I figured better her than me.

With Chinook, he's been kicked for kicking and although he thinks twice about it with me he will still let fly on occassion and has no qualms about targetting anyone else. The biting, well we are down to fast nip and ducks with me, however he has reared up to try and get others over the fence. We have eliminated the striking, but he'll still rear up at times and try to smash you with his shoulder inspite of having been caught in mid air, knocked down and otherwise disciplined for it.

Please don't confuse my discipline for abuse. I never do more than what is necessary to stop the behaviour, the problem with him is the behaviour doesn't stop.

He gets exercised regularly and not just lunge work, I'm a huge believer in working the brain too. I've taught him sidepasses, backing, various turns and now that his feet are better we're doing some jumping. He's also ready to be harnessed. I have never met a horse like him before, he'll give to you in all his lessons but will fight you out of the blue over nothing. I'm hoping gelding him will slow him down but if you have any suggestions I'm more than open to them.

I love the little guy even with all his sauciness, but I do worry about anybody else who might have to deal with his royal highness.
i have no idea how old this horse is, but suspect that yes, when he is gelded he won't be quite so quick to get upset at unpredictable times. Especially when they are young, some of them just don't know how to handle the hormones.... just like a teenager, their brains seem to leave them temporarily ! and (flame suit on) just like some men, some horses never do learn how to handle their hormones, and those always make better geldings.
You may already have answered your own questions:

He gets exercised regularly and not just lunge work, I'm a huge believer in working the brain too.

Just as a little kid, some kids just don't play well with others.

Also, too much time on one's hands will make for EVIL MINDS!

I can imagine your frustration, but I would not be one to be knocking down a horse on the ground or jerking them around. Gee. You could have a personality conflict with this guy. Or he could be going through a growing spurt where his hormones are at an all time high.

I think you are very much on the right track with the exercising. I am a firm believer that horses that are like that, need to be used and to have a job. A job where they have to focus. Keep him busy, keep him tired. (figure of speech don't mean to work him into the ground). He'll sleep good at night.

I'd put him on a good program, nothing hap-hazzard but rather a good solid time daily for working. A time when it's not near feed time so he'll be focused on you not eating.

I would encourage a whole lot more round penning where you can actually get in there and not just work off the extra energy, but to take a few moments daily to practice and re-inforce ground manners every time. I'd let him run off some steam in there first, then practice whoa, stand, set-up, no, back, left, right and who's your daddy.....everything. And go slow and take much time and patience with him.

Not that I know a thing about driving, but I would put that on the back burner until this guy is gelded.

Of course gelding may get rid of some of this nonsense yes, but it will not put manners on him without your help and guidence.

Many best wishes and good luck.
I think you are basically on the right track. Gelding sounds like a good idea and keeping him busy too.

Another angle to what you are doing is the method of quarrantining him away from other horses so that you are his only companion. You are the only one who feeds, waters, and works with him. After about a week he will become more dependent on you and hopefully be more willing to please and less aggressive.

I had a colt that I had to do that with a long time ago and it worked. I was able to take him to a show where he was a perfect gentleman and even won his class! He was sold as a young stud and the buyer never had a problem with him.

All really good ideas so far. The only thing I would add, which has worked with some big horses I've had over the years is to take ALL sugar out of their diet that means NO SWEET FEED. Good Luck!
Thanks for the suggestions. He's four, gelded yesterday.

Marty said:

I can imagine your frustration, but I would not be one to be knocking down a horse on the ground or jerking them around. Gee. You could have a personality conflict with this guy. Or he could be going through a growing spurt where his hormones are at an all time high.
Just to clarify, I only knock him down (out of the air not onto the ground sorry for the confusion) when he tries to knock me first. So far this guy has had a personality conflict with every human being that he's come in contact with.

I would encourage a whole lot more round penning where you can actually get in there and not just work off the extra energy, but to take a few moments daily to practice and re-inforce ground manners every time. I'd let him run off some steam in there first, then practice whoa, stand, set-up, no, back, left, right and who's your daddy.....everything.
I'm in the process of trying to get a round pen so for now it's all on the lunge line. He's great with commands and direction changes with the occassional balk at a "whoa" but we're working on that. I never thought of having a set time of day for his actual work although we're at it for a good hour at a time. I'll make him a schedual.

Miniv said:

Another angle to what you are doing is the method of quarrantining him away from other horses so that you are his only companion.
I've tried this too. I got him in June and purposely held off getting him a buddy until August so that he'd have to depend on me for everything. It was successful in that he really looked forward to our time together and became very easy to catch and he has improved but not to the point where he's any where near acceptable.

Now that I didn't think of! I was so busy trying to get him healthy that I stupidly never thought of the feed making him hot. Duh! (Ten years away from horses is too long!

I've only got him on a grass hay since any stems seem to give him a wicked belly ache. I guess I'll switch him to oats (no barley, no corn and NO SUGAR) for now and see how things go.

Thank you so much, everyone.
I went and looked up feeds and amounts and such and what I'm giving him shouldn't be making that much of a difference. In fact I learned that if he wasn't being such an ornery critter, I could be giving him WAY more than the pittance he's been getting.

I can change grain anyway but with what everyone has said and what I've been reading I'm thinking hormones. I guess time will tell, eh?

I also said he was four, that should be three.
Here's just an idea for your round penning.

I had to get it together with my stallion Nick when he arrived here.

In my round pen I put up a couple of jumps, caveletties, the swimming pool, and a couple of tires. Heck they have to pay attention to your directions there.

Besides going round and round and round.......no......horses are too smart for that one, he got quite a taste of versitality. Lil Sucker's quite the talented athlete. Great way to bond with your horse is to work him.

I also work horses to music. Nothing loud and head banging, but something with a good beat. They will keep to the beat of the music. Then sit back and watch them float!
What a great idea! I've lunged him over a jump but I never thought about putting obstacles in a round pen.

I like the music thing too.

I live at the base of a mountain so the little monkey has been on a hike or two through the bush as well. I considered loading him down with a pack to give him a little more physical work with his mental work but I wouldn't have a clue where to find a miniature pack saddle - if one even exists. I was told by an old farrier I used to have years ago about a fellow who cured contankerous horses by loading them up and trekking them all over the side of a mountain. After a few weeks of this they were ready to settle down and be polite. My farrier used to say, "The difference between a good horse and a great horse is a few wet saddle blankets." A good thing to keep in mind.
From what you have described I am going in a different direction here. This horse, because of his isolation, is responding to you as though you were another horse. He knows you are not, but you are all that he has got, so he has no choice. A lot of stallions are OK with not having mares and behaving like geldings- I cannot personally see the point, I geld anything that stands still too long (do NOT bring your husband to my place!!
) Anyway , you have (or had ) a stallion that obviously does NOT like being isolated or not having mares- I have had stallions like that, in fact I have never had one that is not like that, however they do not attack me, so what is going wrong?? The first time he "attacked" I bet it was really no more than a swing in and a nip, or a lift of the hind foot. You probably ignored it. So he upped the ante. I'M A STALLION, are you listening??? You responded, he thought GREAT another stallion to fight with and work off some of my frustration. SO- what you have now is a situation that you have allowed the horse to believe is OK- you responded to his invitation to fight by fighting him, but, although you apologise for what you did and feel it necessary to explain, what you did was actually very mild and acceptable. If you are going to get this relationship back on a "I'M Boss, you are the HORSE" basis you need to take out all the actual violence (forgive the term, I know you are not harming him, it is not a criticism) and return to threats, which is how horses normally settle their battles. It only disintegrates into fighting when one won't back down. Leave all around the stall and pen area things that will make a great deal of noise without being able to cause injury- snow shovels, plastic ones, are great. Those compressed air dog scarer things- if you could get one of those and carry it on your belt?? Next time he steps out of line you go at him and you make him think the world is ending- if yo can do it without actually touching him, GREAT. When he is a quivering wreck in the corner of his stall, or watching form the other end of the pen, turn sharply and walk away. That's the end of it. I can almost guarantee he will never try it again, and, if you handle the aftermath correctly he will also not be afraid of you. Keep the weapon of choice to hand and just "Ah-aah" him if he thinks about doing anything naughty. My weapon of choice was a large wooden spoon. Please tell me how I could injure or even hurt a grown stallion with a large wooden spoon?? After the first "I am a much much bigger and fiercer animal than you" session I had a stallion that, in the presence of a mare he was about to cover, would back off and salute when I showed him the spoon!! Luckily we are allowed to carry a stick in the ring, but I did get comments on my unorthodox "stick" (the spoon of course!!) Eventually the spoon got down to the regular cooking size and then was discarded. It is the initial force of your response that will stun him, do not fight him, just go straight for the throat- threat wise, of course!!
Great ideas here! I love the one about the compressed-air noise maker.

As far as pack saddles go, you can get a really nice one here: Quality Llama Products . They call it a "companion pack" and when you order it, tell them it is for a mini horse. I really like the one I got from them. It's a soft pack saddle, but is designed so that no weight or anything touches the horse's spine. Take your time working him up to carrying full weight, though. We start ours just with the empty pack saddle, then gradually add things. We like to do "trash walks" along the road, picking up all the trash and loading it into the panniers. It teaches them patience as they have to stop and wait over and over, and they get used to loads that make weird noises. It gives them something to do, and you will find yourself taking the horse everytime you go for a walk.
Okay Rabbit, I understand what you're saying.

The very first time I saw him I touched his hind foot to look at the overgrowth and was immediately the target for both his hind feet. I didn't let go until he quit trying to kick and as soon as I set the foot down his front end came at me full force (teeth, hooves, rearing, shouldering), I was never given a "warning". However, the people who had him before me most likely were and I know that someone took a whip to him at some point (I took a stock whip in with me when I fed him one day. He took one look at it and hit the back wall of the pen, it was the only time I've ever seen him afraid. I felt sick to my stomach, I had never even threatened him with it). My initial reaction to him was that he'd been allowed to bully them, then was beaten in an unfair manner and he had no trust in people. After I've spent literally hours every day with him just handling and getting him used to being touched in an appropriate manner I'm not so sure.

What you're saying makes sense though. I (just) started using a method I found on the internet which is similar in many ways to what you describe, use threats and push him away until he's ready to come on his own and be sociable. He knows when I'm carrying something so I keep a one foot chunk of rubber garden hose tucked in my boot. Then I can magically make it appear when he's being a jerk (I'm getting to be pretty quick on the draw
). There is a difference in what you suggest and what they suggested - they said that after you chase the horse away you wait a few seconds and then invite it to come back. Unless I'm not understanding, you said to walk away and ignore him.

I'm thinking the ignoring will have a much greater effect on how he views me, however will he quiver in fear the next time I enter his pen if I don't give him some positive reinforcement after I scare the pants off him? Mind you, a little quivering is better than a set of heels isn't it.

Thanks for the heads up on the pack saddle Jacquee', that's exactly what I had in mind. He's had a saddle on (cute little pony saddle my mom picked up and has been using for a living room decoration), so it shouldn't take too much to switch him over. We'll give him something else to do and more road to see to satisfy his curious mind.
this horse has no respect for you. do you know who clinton anderson is? his methods WORK! do you get rfd tv? he is on there several times a week. We bought a little stallion who, when i attempted to make him do something he didnt want to do, his first reaction was to rear up and come after me. he was also completly one sided would lunge in only one direction, if you tried to make him change direction, up he'd come feet waving-teeth barred. a lot of lungeing for respect(clintons ground work techniques) and now he is a different horse.

we found out later that his previous owners got rid of him cause he seriously injured the lady who raised him from a baby. of course i got final revenge, once he was managable, we gelded him.

To answer your questions- No, it will not have him quivering in a heap because you do not go back for at least two hours!! What you are doing in effect is meeting the horse half way by speaking pidgin- horse to him. You are making yourself big and scary and saying "I am big and scary and I am BIGGER AND SCARIER than you can EVER imagine being so....BACK OFF" then, when he has had a fit and run away you do exactly what another horse would do- you lose interest and go away. You do not stay watching him,. which would freak him out and you DO NOT sneak back to see if he is OK, you go away!!!! When you do return you act as if nothing had happened. EXCEPT this is now a horse that is wary of you, instead of vice versa. So... just do whatever you have to do, pat him if he is close enough, and then leave again. NO fuss. NO feeling sorry for him, no giving up!!! Once you have started this you have to see it through. Just keep being stern and authoritative, and, each day, let him come in a little more...like day one, no contact, sharp reprimand if contact attempted. Day two, standing close is OK, Day three nuzzling is OK, but stop, face horse and raise eyebrows- "I am watching YOU!!" and so on. Progressively, and completely under control, you allow him more trust and contact. If you go at the right pace, keeping control all the way, you will end up with a very well behaved, totally trustworthy animals. The reason he will be trustworthy will be because he knows who is on control and he trusts you!!
AHH, okay. That makes perfect sense. Thank you.

I think we may have had a break though moment with him. He kicked me yesterday. My son laughed at me. He said "All the whole time he was a stallion you never got kicked and the first day after he's a gelding he get's you!"

The neighbors dog spooked the horse my daughter was leading and while I was distracted getting her calm Chinook nailed me in the shin. He got a good, instant smack to his bottom with the shank and then I ran him backward about eight feet while I hollared at him. All day today he's been a total dream to handle. Not even so much as a lip on me and it's not because he's feeling down from being gelded either because he kicked at three ducks and pinned his ears at another one. A perfect gentleman to me. (Can you say "Knock me over with a feather?")

I didn't mention it this morning because I was waiting for the storm after the calm, but there has been nothing all day. Not that I would trust him any, but - wow!

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