Wranglin’ Wednesdays – So, Your Horse Abuses You

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We interrupt your productive work week to bring you this post about: disrespectful/dangerous horses. First things first, I’m Katie, and your Wednesdays will now be filled with me yammering about horses!

As one of my favorite cowboys (hint: John Lyons) once said, “If a horse bites you, you got two seconds to kill it”. (Don’t actually kill your horse, but you get the point.)

Before we dive into this subject, there are a few things to get straight first: horses do not have a hidden agenda, and they don’t work on the concepts of revenge, or comeuppance, like people do. Every three seconds is a new day to them, and if they aggress you, they’re just trying to be “in charge”, nothing more. This is probably one of the reasons I love horses so much; they’re forgiving because it’s in their nature.

So, what qualifies as disrespect? A horse trying to push you around will do just that: push! Coming into your personal space, biting, pinning those ears, heck, even swishing his tail violently. Horses are also kinda’ sneaky creatures, and you may not notice them when they start to come into your space to make you move for them, because they may do it gradually. It’s up to you to figure out when they’re trying to pull this off! The terms “affection” or “wanting to be close to you” are often applied, but the plain fact of the matter is that if a horse pushes against you, he wants to make you move your feet, to show dominance over you, so remember to push back!

This entire concept of pushing and showing dominance by making others move all amounts to one thing: pressure. Horses use pressure to communicate with each other, they use body language, just like we use pressure to communicate with them – pressing the heels to their sides to make them move forward or side to side, rein cues, anything you can think of.

How do you correct a horse being disrespectful to you? How do you move a horse to make him pay attention? Ding ding ding, we have a winner! Pressure.

Being direct with a horse is the best way to get him to respond to you, the same as it is with humans! Be direct with your body language, and if a horse comes at you, lookin’ like he wants to pick a fight, use your body language to tell him ‘no, don’t come at me like that, or I’ll make you regret it’. Or something like that. Any way you mince it up, it all equals putting pressure on your horse.

To help you picture this a little more easily, here’s an example:

Lunging your horse is a trial, because he often likes to come in at you, or crowd you when you ask him to change direction. The answer? Get after your horse with the end of the lead, put direct pressure on his front – the part that’s charging you – by smacking him a few times with the rope, maybe give him your war cry. Eventually, he learns that if he comes in on you, he runs into a rope, or a wild animal, and he doesn’t want that.

In the end, no matter how many posts I make, or how many words I write trying to tell everyone about understanding why their horses do what they do, the duty ultimately falls on you, readers, to get out there with your horse and learn horsey behavior. The best teacher of “The Horse” is the horse. Go and work with your horse, or just simply observe him, look at how he reacts to other horses in the pasture, how other horses behave around him, and how they respond to pressure from each other. You can only learn how to think like a horse if you act like a horse.

See you next Wednesday, lovely readers!

[Pssst! Be sure to check out Black Mountain Ranch’s outstanding reviews, and organize your own vacation today!]

  • Hilary Tandy

    Good advice! It irks me to no end to see people fawning on their horse and being cuddly with them yet shocked and insulted when he steps on your foot or pushes you with his head. We could all learn so much about how to train them by watching how they interact with other horses!