View Full Version : Head butting
13th Nov 2010, 12:27 PM
Hello there, I'm a new rider and have a 16.3 I.Dx Shire x cob 7 year old mare on loan and hope to buy her. The problem is that she's a very strong girl and has no respect for me whatsover. She's ok to ride but is awful on the ground. She regularly tries to head butt me into a pond when I lead her, knocks me on my back when I tack her up and also knocks me off my mounting block - usually about 5 times before I manage to get on. I really want to nip this in the bud but haven't got a clue how to. I am also renting my field from her owner and this behaviour is tolerated/ignored by her owner. I had the farrier out a fortnight ago and he told me that all the horses from her owner have the manners of pigs and that my mare is the best of the bunch! HELP!:cry:
13th Nov 2010, 12:40 PM
When one of our horses was new she used to do this. Where she came from they used to give her lots of treats and she had become bargy. We totally stopped giving her any treats or food from our hands ever and after a few months she gave up. Now she is really good to lead. She is only 14'2 so not as big as yours but big enough when you are on the other end of a headbutt!
There will be other handling sugestions too I'm sure but I found this one the most useful myself. Good luck. Hope it works out. If she becomes your horse and only you handle her you can set your own rules.
13th Nov 2010, 12:53 PM
that's a thought. I have been lavishing her with carrots and mints. Bless her........she's one of the rudest horses I've ever met
13th Nov 2010, 01:08 PM
I'd be interested to check if tack is an issue, does everything fit ok?
My horse is a big dude (belgian draft) and had absolutely no respect for my personal space when I first got him. I would be giving him a pat and all of a sudden he'd whip his head round and I'd get clobbered - he paid no attention to me whatsoever. The good people of NR recommended groundwork and watching that he didn't move my feet - that I moved his. Simple things like just getting her to back up on your command might help instil some manners.
We're very much still a work in progress and he has his moments of craziness (his favourite intimidation technique is to bomb around the pen to try and force me to let him out into the field.) He has cantered straight at me - not angrily, just childish 'I want out mum' play and I now stand my ground and say 'NO!' (Although I'm quaking in my boots I won't back down easily!)
They can be extremely subtle about their tactics in moving you around so watch out for that - the headbutting is very clear, but the little moves they do to put you where they want all add up to less respect. I would be leading Flipo out and he'd all of a sudden started nudging up against me and before I knew it I was leading him from the other side. Took me a while to realise he was doing these sorts of things on purpose. That flamin head is so big it doesn't take much for him to push me around.
I also had a huge problem with the farrier when I got him - he needed sedating as he would just not play ball and was far too strong to fight with. Then along came a trimmer who has been able to work without any drugs at all - anytime Flip decides he's had enough the trimmer just calmly but assertively backs him up and its like he turns into a little lamb. (I started using this technique for our mounting problem - he wouldn't stand still, and he still protests but only once).
Lift your energy, be firm (but not nasty!!), if she won't get out of your space then feel free to get big - wave your hands around. Do some groundwork and think of yourself as bigger than her. The book of NR is 101 Horsemanship Exercises, well worth a read. Good luck! And would love to see some photos of her!!:wink:
13th Nov 2010, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the advice.............I need all the help I can get. She is also a nightmare to lead. She whacks me with her head, trots and drags me behind her, pushes me in to ponds and fences. I find mounting her the most frustrating as she refuses to stand and head butts me off the block. She also refuses to stand for grooming and her favourite trick is to try and shuffle me around until I'm caught between her and a wall- she doesn't manage it anymore though because I'm wise to it. Still, I think that if I can get a grip of her we could become very good friends. I don't like bargy horses, but there's something in her eyes that I like! Also, her tack is fine. She's just very dominant.
13th Nov 2010, 01:45 PM
101 Horsemanship exercises :D
Fantastic book, saved skins of many of us on here I think (literally in some of our cases :giggle:)
Lots and lots of backing up, moving over, inviting into your space. Maybe look at clicker training if food motivated, but only if she can learn to not be pushy for treats.
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