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Horse Problem - Unhaltered horse gets pushy - Pushy 2-year-old horse, but only when not haltered









QUESTION: Hi Sylvia! I've really learned a lot from you and your web site. I have a problem, and I was hoping you could help me.

I have a 2-year-old filly who is one of the most curious horses you'll ever meet. She's a pretty big girl standing at 15.2 hands high. She's a purebred Appaloosa, and she's doing really well in all her training. She has a little trouble with her feet, but otherwise she is pretty good all around.

She becomes all business when I put her halter on, but it's when she doesn't have it on that it's a problem. When I put her halter on her, she knows I'm in charge, and if she does what she is told she will be rewarded. But whenever I go to see her when her halter is off, she becomes this bossy, pushy mare that thinks she has dominance over me.

I have tried a few things to get her to change her mind about who's in charge there, but it seems like every time I do something, she gets worse at it.

If I hold the halter and walk out there, she'll walk up and let me put it on, but as soon as it comes off, she's pushy again. I would leave her halter on all the time if it wouldn't be a hazard.

I don't know what to do! Please help me! Thank you for reading this. I hope to hear from you.

REPLY:  This isn't that unusual a problem, especially in younger horses, and yes, it's easy to fix. If you round pen the horse (at liberty) like I teach starting in this following link, it will fix all that completely (don't worry if you don't have a round pen, read the link anyhow, and you'll see there how you can alter the exercise and construct an area that will work for your purposes):

How to Round Pen Your Horse

Take the time to read that entire section, beginning to end, real thoroughly, and get busy working with her in that exercise you learn there and you'll see her turn highly respectful to you, her "herd leader" later, even when at liberty out in pasture. I find that the younger the horse (and yours is very young), the easier this round pen exercise usually is to do!

You might think about getting my Round Pen Leadership DVD which teaches this art visually and even more thoroughly.

Another thing to teach her that will help you a lot there - work on this (in halter), because it's going to translate outwardly multi-directions, respect-wise:

Leading Problems - Horse runs over human/How to teach horse back-up cue on ground

That exercise (in even better detail visually), and so much more, is taught in my Whispering Way™ 12-Step Total Training System DVD set.

Also, one last note: in these young, formative years of your horse's life, make sure she's out free with other more dominant horses (ideally a dominant "lead mare" type horse or even dominant gelding) so they can also simultaneously be schooling her on "how to respect her elders." Other horses in a herd are the best co-teachers you can have! But still do the above round pen exercise and leading-backing exercise I showed you there, and I assure you, she'll start respecting you more, respecting your space, etc., even when at liberty later.


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