I'm trying to figure out what happen in the head of my horse today.
I have a 7 years Gidran stallion that have a problem with people riding him. He was bought in December from a state ruled stud farm. From December until January we had no problem with him. We were able to ride him without any problem. At the end of January I went in vacation and I was away from the horse for almost a month.
When I came back I discover the horse was un-rideble. I suspect that the guy who ride him (in order to train him to be a trail horse) was putting to much pressure in the reins even when the horse was walking.
I started to d Join up with the horse 5 days ago. I was pretty much unsuccessful untill today when we did really well. He started to follow me and everything seemed to be ok. I gave him a 10 minute break and I started to work with him on his riding problem. I did not use any kind of violence, not even verbal. After I finished and when I was happy with the improvements he made, I gave him another 5 minutes break.
I just wanted to finish our "meeting" in a positive note so I wanted to see if he will still follow me. All I did was looking in his eyes and approaching him more aggressive when he was not looking at me and get away, with my eyes down and my shoulder at 45 degrees when he was looking at me. He followed me for some time and when he was losing the attention I used to look in his eyes and approach him. We did this several times and the last time I looked him in the eyes and approached him, I turned away when he moved his head in my direction but by my surprise, he came to me and bite me from my back pretty hard. It was the first time he bite me and I was even more surprised he did this after a (what I thing it was) successful join-up.
Why do you think he did this and what should I do?
Sorry for my long post and for my pretty bad English. Thanks for your help!
That would be an excellent suggestion for a lesson, "working with stallions". My guess, and it is a guess as I've done very little with stallions, but if it was a gelding or mare, if it tried to bite would be to immediately "put it to work" and get him to go away from you until he is showing the signs more noticeably and demonstrating he's willing to work on your terms. Working with the dually would also be good, but I wouldn't want to start with that cause you're really in the strike zone. Maybe also be sure to wear a helmet, have a long line (at least) and possibly a protective vest so he can't bruise you? If they're a bit unpredictable I think you can't be too careful.
Also, I'd suspect a lot of it has to do with his hormones and if there's mares around in heat. Are you planning to use him as a stallion or riding horse?
I also hope the hormones are the problem, now that the spring is coming. I do not have any mares. In the fenced zone next to him was another stallion.
I am waiting for the weather to get a little warmer(I'm from Romania and the spring isn't that warm here) and I'm going to castrate (I hope this is the word :) ) all the 5 stallions I have.
This is most interesting Alezandru, as I am trying to determine if it was aggression or if it was something else. How did he approach when he bit you? When I ask about how he approaches, I am wondering about things like was he tense, where were his ears? How did he react immediatly after he bit you? Based on what you posted earlier, I am willing to doubt that it was aggression.
Something else I recommend is looking up the thread "MUST SEE" and watching that...
And don't worry about poor English, I have seen far worse from people that grew up speaking it. (Im not trying to offend anyone here please!)
Well... I didn't see him, I can tell you only what my father told me. He was behind me so he saw the horse.
He sad his head was down and his ears on the back. To put it in his words, he was "like a wild stallion defending his mares".
After he bite me, sadly I couldn't do a lot because the pain was pretty intense and the shock was big because I didn't expected.
I walked out of the pen, I put some snow on the place he bite me and I went back to him. I made him follow me some steps and then I exit the pen again. I did this because I felt we should end in a positive light this "meeting" we had.
After that, I took him back into the barn and he was very calm and responsive, like nothing had happen earlier.
hope it works out Alexandru!
I've read this a few times and I'm not sure if I'm on the right track but see what you think
You did the Join Up, and then you did some work on his riding problem and then you gave him a rest as you were happy with the improvements he had made. At this point, I would have quit. If he was calm and happy and you were pleased with him, thats the point that you you walk away. The greatest reward for HIM is that you go away; the reward that was wanted for YOU was for him to follow you, does this make sense? Our work must be for them, not for us. Yes, I think having the quality time with him afterwards is very important; but this could have been you leading him roound and enjoying the relaxation together and then ending the session. He thought the session was over, but then you started challenging him again and doing more work so he understandably got annoyed with you. I learnt this one day with a lead mare who was gracious enough to do anything I asked; her behaviour was superb. But just as I was about to take her out of the school I thought "Oh, I wonder if she will just do (whatever it was) and put her back to work. She took off round the school and made it very clear to me that I had broken the deal and not played fair. She was absolutely right. It really upset me, not because she didn't do what I wanted, but because I had broken her trust in me to be a fair and honest partner to her. Thank god they are so forgiving; the next time all was well again, but I never forgot the lesson. Stallions are the masters of body language and fair play - they will give you all their respect as long as you don't abuse it. Good luck :-)
Thanks Vicci. What you're saying makes sense. You are probably right.
See also the thread "stallions" in the "University Suggestion box".
I would tend to agree with Vicci. It does not sound like it was an act of aggression, but one of annoyance at what he understood as more work.
I fully agree with Vicci on this one. This is the 3rd time that I have heard of this happening with "join up", when the horse felt hard done by and felt that they were being treated unfairly. Never forget just how "feeling" and intelligent, perceptive and sensitive that they truly are.
Another very old saying that I think might apply here: "Ask a mare, tell a gelding and discuss it with a stallion"
LOL Paul! That saying coincides with something I learned from Kyra Kyrklund. (Olympic dressage rider from Finland.) She said it like this though: "You tell the gelding, you ask the stallion, and you turn in three copies of your request to the mare."
As for the topic of this thread, I am with Vicci too.
If I've seen it once, I've seen it a hundred times, how riders ask that *you've been great but just one more thing* of their horse - and the horse just decides enough is enough.
Mind you! It's very hard to know when to stop.
I agree Kicki! Its been such a hard lesson for me to know when to stop - the worst is when I achieve what I want in 20 minutes but feel guilty that I "haven't done enough" so carry on 'messing about' instead of trusting myself that it's fine to stop instead of worrying that people might think I'm lazy! :-)
Just to agree with Vicci and Kicki. Like Vicci I read your comment a couple of times. I have no experience with stallions but by the sound of what your father saw, (ears flat back, head down) he was been aggressive prior to biting you and trying to send you away. Like Vicci my feeling is that you went too far and pushed him too hard. I gather from reading your comment that you attempted join up with your horse for four days in a row and failed to get join up then on the fifth day it worked and was successful (well done on the fifth day but what happened on the previous 4 days?). The mportant thing is that you finally achieved a successful join up and follow up on the fifth day. Then after giving your horse a 10 minute break you decided to work on his riding problems - I am curios as to what you did during this session and how long it took but it sounds as if it was a positive session so at the end you should have told him what a good boy and released him. It is always easy in hindsight!) I am not sure what you were then hoping to achieve when you confronted him with your eyes more aggressively to send him off - were you attempting to send him off again for a second join up on the same day? If so then that would have been over doing join up when he had already done it successfully earlier if not it reads as if you were expecting to just send him off and then have him follow you which doesn't make any sense in relation to Monty's join up procedure. Your horse has been annoyed by it too - you acted aggressively and chased him off so when you turned your back he did too. Sorry if this sounds harsh but we need to respect our horses and follow Monty's methods as closely as possible. We all make mistakes and I have often regretted things I have done too but it helps me if I can try to think through how my horse is feeling. It seems that your real problem commenced when your stallion was ridden and handled by this guy in your absence. Try to find out as much as you can about what your horse went through during the month you were away. Take care and stay safe as it seems that you now have a real challenge on your hands.
Thank you very much for your help! I guess the best way to learn is from your own mistakes.
To answer Maggie, the first 4 days, even if he did all the 4 signs, he didn't want to follow me or, in the beginning, to join up with me.
The horse is making progresses, I am riding him in a pen without a bite right now (3 days ago, even sitting on him was impossible), I will introduce the bite later this week (I came to the conclusion that the misuse of the bite was the cause of his "riding rebellion").
The fact that in 3 or 4 weeks I will geld him, will help probably even more in solving his problems.
Well done alexandra - sounds as if you are making amazing progress so keep it going. Given he is 7 years old do not expect too many changes once he is gelded. Gelding will be very traumatic for him at this age too so handle him carefully afterwards. It may take some time to regain his trust in you.
Kicki can I borrow that saying? I love it! Alexandra well done for keeping at it & not giving up (just not all within the same session). I just read Maggie's comment about sticking to Monty's methods as closely as possible & thought I could expand on it by advising you to watch some of the instructors working too (lots of them are on youtube/facebook). Monty is SO polished when he works that I used to miss small, really subtle things he did that might be a bit more obvious, yet still accurate, with an instructor.
If you think about the fact that body language is their entire language, you could easily see how we accidentally 'say' things, thinking we are communicating something just slightly different. Good luck & want to hear how you get on in future!