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Who's Better Scared, You Or Your Horse?

She writes...

I have come to a conclusion that I need guidance and to set my pride aside.

Congratulations! We all need to come to that conclusion.

I'm 19 years old and I have a great passion for taking in broken and abused horses and retraining them. I have many success stories. But have met a very troubled horse that truly baffles me! I just recently went and picked up a 6yr old gelding who has spent his whole life with very little handling. I don't know much about him and don't believe anything the owners told me.

Such as he's had Level whatever training? Sometimes not believing the owners is the best thing. I listen to them because it often gives me clues on how to change them. The horse usually doesn't need changing. The horse may just need showing that acting like a horse would act toward another horse is the answer to the problem. It already knows that, it just need to know the human knows it as well.

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This gelding bonded quickly with me and whenever I would hand off his lead line to someone else and walk away he would get antsy and try to fallow me and would prance. I seem to be the only one that can catch and put a halter on him as well.

I'm not sure I'd let anyone catch and put the halter on him until he has been shown the proper way to be caught and haltered. The proper way to be caught and haltered is to be caught and haltered by anyone. This comes from showing him that acting like a horse would act toward another horse is the answer to the problem. Hmm... that sounds like something I said before.

This is where things go wrong though. As soon as the halter comes off and I try free lunging him he will turn and face me almost like a standoff. I will move to the side and ask him to move vigorously and he keep turning to face me till he gets sick of it. Then he pins his ears and charges. If he doesn't charged right away and I can see it in his body language, I will run to his side and whip his butt to get him to go and make lots of noise and he simply cow kicks at me. He has done this to me 3 times now, and chased me right out of the round pen. I wish I was 10 feet tall and 1000lbs heavier because id give it right back to him.

Since he has scared you, why isn't it perfectly okay to scare him? Especially since you are his last hope? If he goes around jumping on people who do things he doesn't like he's going to end up on the down the road in some killer's lot.

Essentially he is doing unto others before they do it to him. He gets unsure of what is going to happen next and he stops the progression. He already knows the drill, turn and face. I've seen this a number of times with horses who have been the victim of a sincere, but misunderstanding student of one of the media darlings. Sometimes the horses don't turn and face, sometimes they turn and charge and you aren't in Kansas any more.

So far, the only cure I have found for aggressive horses is to defeat their challenge (attack) until they give it up. I want to convince them that I am the herd leader. I do that by defeating their challenges if I have time and opportunity. The first aggressive signal I get from them, foot stomp in my direction, head snake, in my direction, ears flat back in my direction and the like, tells me they are THINKING of coming in to me. It is a short step from thinking to doing. If I suspect or see by their actions they are going to ignore my ramping up (making a lot of noise, shrieking, moving fast to the side, etc.) and come in anyway, it's time to bring in the big guns.

I have never met a horse who couldn't be scared. Some might take a lot, but they can all be scared. If they can't, put them down they are too dangerous to have around.

When you are scared, you are in fear. When you are in fear, you're looking for relief. When you find the relief you tend to stay there.

He's not in fear. He knows where to find the relief. It's found in charging you.

Here is what I would do. Let me repeat that, here's what I would do. I say *I* because dealing with aggressive horses is not for the timid or unsure. I'm not telling you to do it. I'm just saying what I would do.

I would do the unexpected the instant I told him to go around. I would have a cheap fire extinguisher ready to go. I would calmly tell him, "Go in that direction!" and then I'd give him a sudden short burst to blast him in the right direction. I'm pretty sure he'll go. I then would direct him at will and use the extinguisher if need to keep him away from me until he was showing me the respect I desired.

But the part that baffles me is when I have him on a lead line he will yield his hq?s and back as far and as fast as I want. Along with that he flexes, and picks up his feet.

Yep. All things the guru stresses and are the easiest to accomplish and are the easiest for the guru menteee to grasp and demonstrate.

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Please give me any tips or pointers? the only thing I can?t think of to simply put a saddle on him and brake him then when he's tired then work him on the ground.

Not real sure I understand that line but you don't want to get on him until you can do everything from the ground you want to do from the saddle.

You have to get him to acknowledge your leadership. You do that by giving him a series of directions you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you can get him to obey until he says, by his actions, "This being is acting like a herd leader and I am acting like a herd follower. Therefore, this being must be a herd leader and I must be a herd follower.

The way I do that is I put the horse through the herd dynamics procedure that has come to be called Marv Walker's Bonder. For the current URL for the procedure send any email to my autoresponder,

In dealing with aggressive horses I do what I have to do to get the horse to comply without touching it or getting near enough for it to easily get me.

My attitude is, "Mess with me and one of us is going to die and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it ain't me!"

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