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Discussion on Pushy when leading

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New Member
Username: kathrynr

Post Number: 2
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008 - 10:35 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Everyone,
I am a novice horsewoman new to this wonderful site and have been having some difficulty when leading my boy Steel. He has become very strong and tends to push past me/over me. Knowing what I do know about handling horses safely I know this is not something I can allow to continue for another day. He has always been head strong but now we have progressed to the stud chain to control him. I searched thru the site to find a related discussion but have not found a specific one yet. Would anyone be willing to direct me to a previous discussion or give me some ground work tools to deal with this situation correctly? The chain is not a good enough deterrent to his new behavior, sometimes I think he is laughing at me and saying "is that all you got?" I currently apply pressure with the chain, release if he responds and if not turn him toward me in a circle and repeat if necessary.
He is also becoming a bit surly when I groom him which just adds to my concern that our respect dynamic is changing and not for the better.
Any help would be so appreciated so I can nip this in the bud.

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Sara Wolff
Username: mrose

Post Number: 4184
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008 - 10:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Kat. If you go up to the search box and do a search for "leading" it will take you to an article and discussion of working around horses safely. This would be a good place to start. There are also trainers on this board, and people who have similar problems that I'm sure will offer good advice.

It does sound like this horses is testing his boundries and you are wise to recognize this and "nip it in the bud."

If I had a horses acting this way, I would start doing a lot of ground work with him, getting him to move away from pressure. There are some good articles on this under "training" I think. If you don't find the information you need after a quick search, post again and someone can direct you there I'm sure.
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New Member
Username: kathrynr

Post Number: 3
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008 - 1:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you Sara I will look for those articles and happily take any advice that is passed along to me by others.
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Patricia Ellis
Username: pellis

Post Number: 21
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008 - 2:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Kat,

I have a 13 yr old pushy gelding. He has always been pushy and, I suspect, always will be. He is a dominant horse and is always testing his limits - particularly with timid or inexperienced handlers. However, I taught a 9 year old how to lead him - showed her what to do and when to do it - and she does just fine with him. I'll outline how I deal with him below.

First, make sure you do your basic ground work. Get your horse to where he will move off the slightest pressure. For example, my gelding will move his hips over if I just look at his hip. He will back with a jiggle of the lead, sidepass, etc. all very easily from the ground. There are even times when, if I'm not careful with my movements he "thinks" I'm asking for something when I'm not.

Despite this, he almost daily, tries to lead me. So, I selected a word (actually it's a type of "growl") and when he gets out of place on the lead I use the word and put pressure on the halter. At first, this didn't do anything. So, I would immediately make him stop and back about 30 feet. After backing we would stand a few seconds and then I would begin to lead again. The minute he would get out of his place, I would repeat the process with the growl, halter pressure, and if, needed, backing and standing. After being very consistent with this approach for about a week, he started responding to the growl and will pause and get back into position and we move on. You must be very consistent and never allow your horse to get out of the position you want him while leading and the minute he does, go through the process you select to use to correct him. If he is a dominant, pushy type like my gelding, he may always try to test his limits, but will become more respectful with consistent fair handling.

Another example of work I had to do with my gelding, was relative to releasing him in the stall for feeding. He used to immediately charge, pull, run over the handler when going into and being released for feeding. I tackled this in a similar manner and now you can remove the halter and he will not move towards his feed until I allow him to - and even when he is allowed to go to his feed he stays in the proper leading position. If I release him to approach the food, but want him to stop for some reason all I have to do is touch his chest and he immediately halts and waits.

The key to being successful is to be consistent with whatever approach you select and teach him that incorrect leading will actually result in more work for him.

Good luck.
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New Member
Username: kathrynr

Post Number: 4
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008 - 4:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Patricia for your time, this seems like a very good approach and I will work with him this week as you suggested.
I have heard the saying many times to make the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy which applies here as well.

Consistent will be my middle name! ;)
Thanks again
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