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Franklin Levinson's

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Gelding showing aggression towards my husband

I have always wanted to own horses and recently purchased a quarter horse gelding from my neighbour. Red was a broke horse but had a bad experience when in roping school. The old owner was unable to approach him after that and simply set him out to pasture next to my home. After spending 5 mths with Red I was able to get him to relax and trust me. He has become very calm and a pleasure to be with. Although I have not ridden him yet (do not want to move too fast) I have come to the point where he will stand quietly while I saddle him. He responds well to me when leading him around. As I am new to all this I am learning and have used treats for good behaviour. unfortunately Red is beginning to not respect my space at all and is always attempting to search my body for treats.

I have read your advise on what to do with that using the halter, lead rope and waving my finger to teach him to backup and regain my space. However, Red will not allow any of the other horses to come near me when I am working with him (we have 4 horses on our property and it might be good to mention that red is the Lead horse). If they do he pins his ears back and goes after them. Having said all this.....last night I was in the paddock with Red - had removed him from the other horses. My husband was also in the pen and he began to talk with me. All of a sudden Red pinned his ears back, turned around toward my husband and began walking very quickly in circles around him. he would rear up and then drop and continue walking around, he would snort and in general was being very threatening toward him. Red was not haltered at the time and as we were both alarmed and not sure what to do we left the paddock and are in search of an answer. Red has never shown aggression towards my husband before and is quite used to him being in the pen with him.

Please help. Red is 7 years old. Thank you.


Hi Laurie,

Red has learned he can intimidate you. It started out small, it was not corrected and it has escalated to this. It could get worse unless you or your husband can step up and get his attention, so to speak, and set specific boundries. Some horses will push the boundries as a regular aspect of how they are. These horses need strong leadership. If that leadership is not present they fend for themselves and take charge where they can. It is how they survive. You need to learn how to set boundries with him and he needs to learn as well and respect your boundries. There is risk involved unless you know what you are doing. Knowing how much pressure to put on the horse and how to do it appropriately is a course in horsemanship. Your horse is a bit too far now for me to give this to you in a simple email. There is too much risk.

Here are a couple of options for you. Hire a trainer for you and the horse, a gentle trainer who knows their stuff. Learn from the trainer how to set a boundry with this horse. Another option is for you to get a DVD or tape on setting boundries with pushy horses. I have several in my shopping corral. Another option is for you to try a couple of telephone coaching sessions with me. I can talk you through the process after I have more information about you and the horse.

So there are a few options for you. If you do nothing and Red keeps intimidating you, you may get hurt. If you attempt things like pressuring him without knowledge about what and how to do this, you put yourself at risk. So, I think you either have to hire a trainer for both of you or get some education. I can help. Let me know.

Meanwhile, be careful......

Sincerely, Franklin

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