Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Cold and Windy

This is Getting Really Old

Thunderstorms one day, then cold and windy the next.

Hey, Mother Nature, it's April! Did you forget?

The Boys were careening around the paddock by the barn this morning. Chance was on the outside and Toby and Tucker were on the inside. I noticed the fence was nearly entirely down between the little paddock and the larger one. H-m-m-m-m. Wonder how that happened? Since it's slip board, as long as the posts are intact, it's an easy fix. I'll check on that later. No biggie as there is no real need for the fence to hold anyone in or out of that area.

Then when I fed, I decided I'd better check to see if Tucker had both shoes still on. I went in his stall and...well, Mr. Smart Aleck kicked out in my general direction! He hit his metal stall gate an knocked it off the hinge, scaring himself and probably getting a good rap. Good thing as a good rap from me was next on the agenda, but not needed as he charged back out of the stall to kind of stand there looking a bit sheepish.

That is, if Tucker could acutually look sheepish. He is generally too arrogant for that, but I am sure he knew he had committed a grievous error this time.

Often, when he is eating, if I go into the stall, he will cock a leg and even do a little under the belly cow kick, so I keep a good eye on him and give him instant negative feedback. I guess I will have to be more aggressive from now on until he learns his proper place and manners. Between that and his tendancy to bite when I am changing his blankets, I would not say he is the kindest of horses. I have always corrected him for the bad behavior, but some horses just have an ingrained habit like that and never quite get over it.

My Russell R. was a mouthy baby and would bite. I used every technique I could find in every book, reference source, and suggestion available. All I ever accomplished was to teach him not to bite when someone was looking at him. Turn your back and you were at risk. It was never really nasty, but there he was ready to, in his mind, play. It had all turned into a big game of "catch me if you can."

I don't think Tucker will ever see it as a game. and he stops after I correct him. It's just those moments when his instinct engages before his brain thinks it through.

By the by, Kenny Harlow's correction for a biter at last note was to grab his nose. This is kind of a "bite back." I have found that using my fingers in a sharp jab, or pinch on the horse whereever I can "get him" is just as effective mostly because I am never quite quick enough to grab his nose. So, by doing that, it's "You bite at me, and I am definitely going to bite you back, and I won't miss." Pretty successful so far.


  1. Funny, right now I hear about the same weather from both you and Dave. He is in DC these two weeks. He passed on a bike ride yesterday because of the cold and the wind.

    Horses are individuals, aren't they? We can certainly modify their behavior to some degree but they are the same animal underneath.

  2. To keep those at bay who would bite when I am blanketing or grooming, I hiss, or if they actually make a motion to bite, I instantly poke them in the side of the nose with an index finger. Then, all I have to do when they are in a mood to bite is to hold out my finger and they usually reconsider.

    My daughter has a mare (not at our barn) who was extremely aggressive at feeding - it turned out she had serious ulcers! With treatment of the ulcers, her behavior has greatly improved.

  3. At times, it does seem the Mongo approach would be best . . .

    But . . . I suppose that would only lead to more baggage . . . sigh . . . patience, young skywalker, patience . .

  4. Regarding biting, Parelli advised to stay out of reach and flap your arms like a chicken.
    I do that with Lucky a young Punk, he bites, strikes and kicks. But he is really good under-saddle. He was spoiled as a youngster and given very bad ground manners.

    So I ignore him and stay out of his reach.

    With Victoria 18 years old, she violently bites the air when tacked, rugged, and when we adjust the stirrups ... go figure...
    With her I know it is an learnt behaviour, so I humour her/laught at her (oh such a cranky old granny1) or ignore her. It works, her behaviour has lessen with *ME*, not with others who keep telling her off, I think that actually reinforce the agressive behaviour.