Jealous Horses

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Touch the Sky, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Touch the Sky

    Touch the Sky Senior Member

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    So, I have discovered that Rhaegar is a pretty jealous horse. He doesn't like it when you show other horses attention, and top of it, he is extremely food aggressive, and pushy on the ground.
    In the 5 days I have had him, I have been working with him a lot.
    I can't really say I blame him for his attitude sometimes, as he just got back from a nasty neglect situation where he was literally starving, abandoned and lonely.
    However, I don't consider that an excuse either.
    He has improved a LOT already. He has quickly learned what I expect from him on the ground and is normally very good about respecting space and moving away when asked. His food aggression has also improved, to the point where I can now clean his stall while he's eating and he doesn't seem to mind (still keeps me in line of sight at all times, but no longer lunging at people or swinging his butt to you while he's eating.) Except for pinning his ears every once in a while.

    BUT the jealousy problem might be harder to fix. Anyone have any ideas on working with that that won't get me, or another horse hurt?
     
  2. bobo and horses

    bobo and horses Senior Member

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    Horses live in the moment. They do not experience human emotions. Are you projecting them on the horse because you are having some difficulties with him. Sometimes, people do not recognize what is really going on. Perhaps he just doesn’t have many manners, he probably was not taught.

    You are teaching him, just don’t let your guard down, thinking he is trust worthy. Not too many are in the beginning.
     
  3. Touch the Sky

    Touch the Sky Senior Member

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    In no way do I think he's trustworthy yet. But he is definitely an attention *****. He is aggressive if you try to pay attention to another horse before you pay attention to him, he will run the other horse off until he's satisfied you've payed enough homage to him, and then he walks away.
     
  4. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

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    That means he is telling you he is guarding you, that he is in charge and the leader of you. I would start by doing groundwork with him on the line. I dont mean yahoo run a horse around a pen or whip him kind of leadership ground work. I mean, you pick the least amount of possible pressure as a desired outcome. Mine is when I think it or look, they do it. With minimal to zero physical pressure. Then I move the feet, the hind, shoulders, backing up, etc. I look at my mares hind and she yields it, etc. You may have to use physical pressure w a lead rope or whip til it disappears as you refine cues. Until we find the center...me my own center and the horse finds his center. He is not allowed to guard or be in charge of you. Move him away when he does that. You walk away from him. My horse doesn't walk away from me until I ask them to, dismiss them, when we are done with the conversation.
    What steps did you take to get him to stop being food aggressive ?
     
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  5. Touch the Sky

    Touch the Sky Senior Member

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    I just started hanging out by his stall at first, to see what he would do. Then I took him to the arena and set a hay net out. I did some ground work to get his attention, got him leading, turning and backing when I asked, and then I let him investigate the hay net. The SECOND he looked at me and pinned his ears, I put him back to work. After a while, he would let me stand there while he was eating. I figured it was because he figured out that if he wanted the snack, he had to be nice about itm Then I started tying him while he was eating and brushing him at the same time. At first he was tense, but after the second meal of doing that, it was like he knew I wasn't going to take the food away, so he was ok with me being there. I have never dealt with a food aggressive horse before, so I just kind of tried different things until something seemed to be working. I also wonder if the issues he was having was because of his living situation. In the 5 days he's been with me, he has visibly relaxed and his old owner (who had bought him, then given him to someone, then took him back when she found out about the neglect) said he's like a completely different horse already. He's more relaxed in his stall, he has improved with his ground work a lot, he is no longer acting as aggressive during feeding time. The only thing is when he herds the other horses away from me. Which he never gets legitimately nasty to ME about, so far. He just uses himself to block them from me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  6. CJ

    CJ Senior Member

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    He may have figured out You are the source or provider of food, and having been starved, he is All About the food thing.
    He may really be protective of you, or hes driving the others off to be First in Line, til he figures out youre not offering, more than pats.
    IF I want Horse B, I dont want Horse A/gressive running interference. Id be inclined to reprimand Horse A with an Aat! or NO! to express general-disapproval. Id go retrieve or reward Horse B, and reprimand Horse A if it continues to interfere.
    Horse A may be easy to catch with food but you dont want him turning into a Thousand-pound tollgate to get in or anyone else out of the pasture.
    If hes pushy for treats or builds a blockade, walk away imo, from the field if necessary.
    I sometimes tell a following , "Nope, sorry, all gone, I only smell good; get lost!" if they get pushy, or I have to save bait or a treat for an intended individual.
    Treats have their moments and advantages, but have to be on your terms. And having them disappear, into a pocket, over bad behavior cam be a lesson in itself. They Can figure out that misbehaving = no goodies.
     
  7. palogal

    palogal Senior Member

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    He's not jealous, he's aggressive. He wants to be "on top" of the other horses. It's herd dynamic. You need to put him in his place and make him understand it's ALL your space, he borrows a piece of it with permission, to be revoked at any time and crowding you, regardless of what you're doing is unacceptable.

    I have one of those as well, he will stand in his spot and give the other horses dirty looks but he'd sooner die than crowd me or throw a fit because he is not the center of the world (he is the center of MY world, but he doesn't know that). Point is, respect is not negotiable and he needs to understand that YOU are the top dog, period.
     
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  8. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    He is being the boss as others have said. I deal with this in my herd by running off any equine I did not invite to come to me. Carry a whip, whatever whip you are comfortable using, and make him leave If he tries to run another animal off. I do not let any animal in my large herd tell any other animal they have to move away form me. I don't let any of them come to me until I invite them in. There are about 25 animals in my herd, male and female, horses, mules and donkeys, from about 10 hands to 17 hands. All ages too and all temperaments to go with it. I have to be the boss or I stand the chance of being severely injured if they do not see me as the boss when I am out there.

    His deal with "letting you" do whatever while he is eating is not because he got used to you being there, nor is it because he recognizes you as the bringer of food. It is because you did not let him tell you to leave. You did not let him be the boss. I have seen many equines treat handlers like a food dispenser. If he is calmly standing for you to groom him while he is eating, he recognizes you are his boss/leader and he cannot make you leave.

    He is relaxing because he has a leader in you. Equines like having a leader, if they don't have a leader, they will try to be the leader. That is how people get hurt. You are doing the right things with him as far as I can tell.
     
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  9. Touch the Sky

    Touch the Sky Senior Member

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    That makes a lot of sense. I have never been a fan of treat training, and i wouldn't even think of it with this guy because of the fact that he is so aggressive sometimes.The other girl who feeds at the barn said when she went to feed him today (its my day off) he immediately pinned his ears and snaked his neck at her. She isnt experienced enough to handle that, so i told her to put him in the stall where she can dump his grain in from the outside. I will have to figure out what to do about that. When she called me again afterwards, she said he let her catch him just fine, but the minute grain entered the equation he got more aggressive. I have been doing about a half hour of ground work and lunging with him a day, perhaps i will have to have her do some too, so she can establish the respect i seem to have been able to get.
    Annie has always been so laid back, It was a non issue. She didn't care what was going on, she is just so quiet and respectful. Given time, Rhaegar will no doubt eventually get there as well, but in the meantime, we have our work cut out for us.
     
  10. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    Things like this are what make having a strong willed, dominant type equine a challenge. I have a mare like this and her mule daughter. They are both actually very kind and gentle but will challenge a stranger for dominance. My son-in-law had difficulty with both animals being resistant to him handling their hooves and bridling. I had to really get a hold of the mule and he was till just barely able to pick up her back feet for a brief time. He could not bridle her at all even with me standing right there. She drops her head and reaches for the bit with me and offers her hooves freely to me. She wasn't always that way though and was pretty hard to handle when I first bought her from the guy that owned her before me. He let her intimidate him, that is what she does, just refuses to give or tries to intimidate. I don't think she would really kick someone but she will sure make you think she is going to, swishy tail, pinned ears and stink eye, stepping into you with her hip, etc. A buggy whip judiciously applied stopped all of that for me but it doesn't stop it for anyone else trying to handle her. I am thankful she is not actually mean and just requires a clear leader.
     

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