Hello Mr. Walker,
I was doing an internet search on aggressive horses and ran into your site.
I was going to be humorous and say, "I hope you weren't injured too badly." Okay, it wasn't all that great a humor attempt but it was one none the less. As your email says you've been having a number of "run ins" lately.
Sorry... Let's continue.
I am wondering if your video would be of help to me. I have a 5 year old paint gelding. I know he was starved a bit but I don’t know any other history. When he arrived at our ranch 4-5 months ago he had food aggression which has since stopped. He has “attacked” me several times.
In the pasture, he was grazing and I was scratching him and touched near his flank which bugged him and he threw me a look with his ears back and swung his head toward me and then went back to grazing. I scratched that same area and this time his head came up and toward me quickly, I put up my arm to block/hit him in the neck and then he spun around toward me, knocked me on the ground on my back, he dropped to his knees and bared his teeth and came towards me, stopping just before he made contact with his teeth. He calmly got back up, gave me a look and went back to grazing. I did not get up, I just sat there stunned and about 3 minutes later he walked over to me and nudged/nuzzled me and then went back to grazing.
Middle times: he has charged me, stopping before contact, he loves to try to smash me into the corral panels and then brings his rear around as if he is going to kick me and has not followed through or I have removed myself . He also reared over me and bared his teeth coming down on my head but stopped as he made contact.
Last time: I went in his corral to pick-up his fly sheet and I reached up to pet him while another girl was offering him a carrot and he grabbed me by my hair and knocked me to the ground.
The strange things are that he neighs to me, to call me over, waits for me to put on his halter quietly so he can be turned out to pasture. He is not dominating of other horses and is in fact scared of the other two that I turn out with him. He seems to be irritated by something for most attacks but not all (ie scratching where he doesn’t want you too, interrupting his treat, putting on a fly mask if he doesn’t want it etc.).
Okay, now for the questions…
- 1. How do know if he just has a screw loose (nuts)?
- 2. How would I know if he has a hormone imbalance?
- 3. Based on the information I have given, what would you recommend? (Don’t forget I am scared of him now).
I live in (omitted) which is in (omitted) County. I cannot find anyone willing to work with him , once I describe his behaviors. I do have access to a taser…..LOL.
You have access to a Taser? Really? Can I borrow it?
Sorry, the humor attempts are running wild today.
In all seriousness, if I were to see you using a Taser for self defense on a super aggressive horse you wouldn't hear me criticizing you. If you are being attacked by a horse do whatever you have to do to stop the attack even if your defense kills or seriously wounds it. Your livelihood, and ultimately its life, depends on you remaining in good health. Anything happens to you and it goes down the road where life may more than likely get worse.
But, if you have been doing much searching of the Internet you have found my stun gun views are not all that popular. Those who are appalled point, spout and hiss, "Barbaric!" and coo "Love is the answer!" Problem is, horses don't see it that way.
If you are attacked by a horse all bets are off. You do whatever you have to do to stop the attack and don't worry about where or how you hit it. I can assure you if he attacked another horse who was close to his level or above it they wouldn't give a second's thought to his well being.
It all boils down to the pecking order and where the horse views itself to be in that order. In the herd the pecking order, more properly, the herd dynamic, is determined by "you may take all rights you can and honor all the rights you can't." Your ability to take rights is based on everyone else's rights. If you can take rights from all the other herd members you are the alpha. If you have no ability to take rights you are the omega.
Obviously, in your herd, he considers you to be lower than he is.
If you'll read through your email you'll see there is a common ingredient to the aggression incidences. Here's a clue, notice the sentence, "When he arrived at our ranch 4-5 months ago he had food aggression which has since stopped."
You scratch him while he's grazing - he attacks. Touch him while he's getting a treat - he attacks. Fly mask, restraining his head, preventing his grazing - he attacks. Rears up on you and tries to smash you into the fence, you're not providing food as he expects or keeping him from it - he attacks.
And there are the "strange things." Calls to you - "You gonna feed me?" Lets you halter him to take him to turn out - where he's going to graze. He's low horse of the three - "Gotta watch my food."
One way or another, food is connected to the attacks. That's food aggression.
Now, let's put him in a herd situation. Another horse comes near his food or gets in the way of his eating and he manages to drive the other horse away. He has kept his right to his food. Another horse comes near his food or gets in the way of his eating and he can't drive the other horse away, he's the one who gets driven. If he cannot overcome the challenge, he must honor it.
He is taking rights from you and you are not honoring them. Nor are you taking rights from him.
You are not getting the message. All you're doing is setting yourself up for a beating.
No one you talk to wants to deal with him? No kidding. It's not their dog in the fight. And the job doesn't pay enough to risk sailing into an area they are not all that familiar with. If you can't find someone to deal with him, you'll have about as much luck selling him.
Here's what I would do. Notice I said what - I - would do. I'm not forgetting that you said you are scared of him now, rightfully so. You'd be dumber than a stick if you weren't.
I would get me a longe whip, one of them serious ones, 5 foot long with a 5 foot lash on the end of it, and use it as a walking stick. I would then toss, and I do mean toss, get it out there away from you, a flake of nice hay out for him in an area that has room to move. When he started munching I would slowly approach the hay from a distance as if I were going to take the hay back. The SECOND he made ANY aggressive action I would explode. I would suddenly rush at him slashing as many times as I could while screaming at the top of my lungs, "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??? YOU DON'T TALK TO ME THAT WAY!!! I'LL KILL YOU!!!"
My goal is to catch him by surprise with as much noise and movement as I can muster and spook him enough to where he will flee. Then I would stand over the hay for a few moments watching him and daring him to come in and get it. Each time it looked like he even thought about coming for my hay I'd head toward him a few feet in the same way I took the hay, "MY HAY!! MESS WITH ME AND I'LL KILL YOU!!"
As soon as he was acting respectful I'd just calmly and quietly walk away from the hay as if nothing ever happened, "It's yours, I don't want it. You can have it."
If he came in any way other than what I wanted I'd say, "EXCUSE ME???!!!" and drive him away again. I'd only let me have the hay when he was taking it in a respectful way.
I'd blow up whenever he was acting like I didn't want and I'd act like nothing had happened when he was respectful.
The secret in driving him away is coming at him loud and energetic in a way he doesn't expect and catching him off guard.
When he realizes he's lower than me on the pecking order his attitude should come around. As far as he would be concerned I am the leader. You do not kick or bite the leader or move into the leader's space.
And there is always the stun gun.
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