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Pushy stallion

Hi, I have an 8 year old stallion. I decided to do some work with him as he is generally pushy and overbearing. The problem I have got is that he is used to being bitted and has absolutely no respect for the dually at all. Any ideas?
Mel - Ramsgate UK
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Hi taylorjl01

I just replied to your comment on the other thread, glad you started a new thread though.  I've included Miriams comment and mine below.  One thing I will add from my notes below, remember horses are reactive, whatever we do be it good or not they horse will react. 

Keep safe!!


 Miriam (Holland&Germany) 2017-Sep-25 at 08:26PM

Hi taylorjl01,
Your last sentence could be the first of the answer to your question.....
Help your stallion to understand there is no reason to fight the pressure, but he can yield to it and that brings an immediate release. Never get yourself into a situation with any horse where they have to fight you, you can never win!
When you put the Dually Halter on, try to 'invite' him to a small neck yield, so sideways, you standing at his shoulder. This way you're not confrontational. As soon as he gives the smallest of response, release your soft pressure and pause, breathe out, and praise. In the beginning use two fingers on the long leadrope, so he'll know there is nothing to fight.
Try to be as light as possible, your timing and breathing is guiding the horse, not your strength! When he gets the hang of it you might begin to do some excersises, always coming back to what worked well for the two of you.
Him being a stallion implies his urge to show his macho behavior, but it's your strength to decide you're not going there, let him save this behavior for his peers!
'Teaching manners' to any living creature is not about who's boss....
It's about respect, mutual respect and trust!
Show him he can trust you and that you respect him.
Stay safe and let us know how you're doing!

Mel - Ramsgate UK 2017-Sep-25 at 09:54PM

Hi Taylorjl01

Good advice from Miriam, notice how we are asking the horse to be with us and most importantly the mutual respect aspect.

Not sure if you get this tonight, and assuming you are in the UK with a Welsh D, if you do read this, can I recommend you do not put the dually back on until you have learned to control your breathing. As Miriam says it is not about strength but now your Stallion has already learned to fight the dually and the pressure and he is not giving to the pressure, I can guarantee that your energy levels went up and your breathing got faster as he tried pulling you around.

I would like to explain a bit about breathing control, imagine you are watching a scary movie you know something is about to jump out at you as the music intensifies, as this happens your breathing gets faster and your energy levels wait in anticipation of the scary jump, but we do not always realise our breathing has become shallow and fast.  When horses start to fight us, our breathing gets faster just like watching a movie, but we do not notice it as we are trying to hold on to our horse, the horse, however, knows every breath we make, the speed and if our adrenaline levels are going up.  It is not until we stop to check our breathing that we might notice that it is going faster or in fact we are holding our breath. It is this that you will need to check when you work with your stallion.   For fun, watch a scary movie and try to relax your breathing ;)

A little practice to help you become more aware of your breathing. It starts before you put the dually onto your horse.  He needs to see the training aid is not fearful, so standing at his side in a sweet spot giving him an itch introduce the dually to him without putting it on. Desensitise him to the feel around his face and neck. If he goes away from that, start over again from exactly where you started itching him before.

Once he stops moving away from you, let him know you are putting the dually on, put it on, reward and take it off and reward, do this a few times then end the session.  We are starting from scratch here and introducing a 'new training' aid, which is what the dually is. We cannot expect the horse to automatically know what this device does and have to habituate them to it. Make sure you put the lead rope on the chin ring, not the dually ring at this time. If he chooses to rear, do not fight or try to force him out of the rear, he is just saying I am scared, focus on controlling your breathing, blowout slow and loudly until you feel your lungs empty, then slowly breath back in. As you breathe out your horse will recognize the relaxing of your body and know there is nothing fearful and will come back down from the rear. Reward him when he stands still again keeping relaxed with your breathing.

The dually weighs more than a normal head collar and as he gets used to the weight he will recognize that something is expected of him.

Next session repeats the first session of desensitizing and putting on to let him feel the weight, keeping the lead rope on the chin ring.  If he is responding well, then rub his face with accidental touches to the dually rope over the nose so he can feel that there are two sections to this aid. If he responds well, slowly and gently move to the dually side ring and do a gentle movement of the ring so that it just moves a little bit on the top of his nose, he already knows that is causes a lot of pressure if he pulls away, so he needs to understand that not pulling away is the right course to go.  If he rears as the slightest pressure or moves away from you, relax and breath. Most situations with fearful horses or high energy can be alleviated with just your breathing.  Note whilst you do this do not look directly into his eyes, focus on looking where you are touching the dually and where you place your hands on his body.   If you do catch his eye just give him a gentle smile and breath.

Once you are happy that he is not going to panic when you are touching the dually side rings, ask for sideways movement of the head using the rings and 'finger' pressure, still keep the rope on the chin ring.  Gradually build up to moving his head from side to side with finger pressure. Once you can move his head without reactive movement, then start to clip the rope to the side ring, please ensure you use a long line as Monty suggests and not a lead rope.

Monty teaches to make it easy for the horse to do what is right, when we get into fights with our horses it becomes difficult for them to see what is right, so small incremental steps are always needed.

Have you thought about doing a small course with one of Monty's Instructors? There are a few dotted around the UK.

Do you have or have access to a round pen?

Keep safe!

Brilliant, thanks Mel, I will start this morning ! I know you are right :-) I have got access to a round pen and have also messaged our local instructor for some help. Hopefully we can sort something out. I will keep in touch, thanks again, Julie

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Hi Julie. My Humphrey was gelded at 6 having fathered 2 foals for me. They all now live together as a family. He is an old fashioned Irish cob & although he had a somewhat dodgy first couple of years, before he came to me, he has always been a very gentle, cooperative, loving boy. The thought comes to me that someone, not necessarily you, has put your boy in the position where he had no choice & has been forced to cooperate. This will have been a painful experience & that is the reason why he fights the Dually. It's something strange & in his mind it's going to have a hidden pain source somewhere in the process. Not only do you need to be calm throughout but your responses need to be quick but not hard. Very often with a Dually all you need to do is close your hand tight on the line & let the horse school itself - remembering to give instant release at the slightest bit of cooperation. This attitude works! I have a 4th pony, Max, a Welsh A, who has cushings & gets daily medication. It's a pink pill. At first I hide the pill in a carrot & that worked for a while then Max became reluctant so we used a piece of apple. That worked for a while & when it stopped working I put the pill in a marmite sandwich. Eventually even that wasn't working. I needed to rethink. We have a 30' x 10' pen in the field - for loading sheep. I put a soft floor in there for when Max has sore feet. I had an idea. I offered Max his medication, he refused & I immediately put him in the pen where he watched me move the electric fence so the other 3 had access to limited new grass. On the first day I came back to Max & offered him his marmite sandwich, half a slice of bread folded over containing the pill, over & over again. He continued to refuse to take it. I offered the sandwich maybe 20 times over an hour before he ate it so I rushed to open the pen & free him. The next day he happily ate his 'treat', but being a welshy on the third day he showed reluctance. Immediately & without any words or other emotional response I put him in the pen. He cooperated sooner & was immediately released. We went through this process another 2 or 3 times, so about 5 in all, each time Max responded positively more quickly. Now Max actually asks for his sandwich, nuzzling my pocket, because he knows as soon as he eats it I will give them a small strip of new grass. Consequence & reward. You need to have a plan & then be prepared to adapt that plan immediately when necessary. You need to be able to control yourself & to recognise dangerous situations & to instantly respond positively to cooperation from your boy. This might sound like quite a list of must do's but believe me, if you persist you'll be handsomely rewarded. Good luck. Cheers, Jo. 
Thanks Jo, that is really interesting !! I have just spoken to our local instructor and am booking us in for an afternoon of lessons. The instructor thinks it might take a while with my stallion, but we are both positive the method will work (in small chunks) I will keep in touch and let you all know how were getting on :-) Thanks.
Mel - Ramsgate UK
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Jo that is a fantastic story, smiling away as I read.   

Julie, well done, look forward to reading how he comes along. 

Mel x