Need help with AGGRESSIVE horse!!

So here is my situation…
my mom bought a 9 year old paint gelding who was on the slow and lazy side. About 2 weeks after we got him I noticed he looked stiff so I brought it up to my mom and sister. My sister said he was just stiff from not being turned out at his previous home. So a few more weeks go by and I’m telling both of them that he’s totally lame. Vet checks him and he has ring bone in both front!!!:mad:
So fast forward and he isn’t being ridden, just turned out daily. About 2 weeks ago he started facing his butt towards me when I’d go in there to muck his stall and ever so slowly backing up. I was shocked!! I poke him with the wood end of the manure fork. Nothing, doesn’t faze him. I understand that this is a HUGE sign of disrespect and he sees me as a very lesser being. I asked my mom what to do because he doesn’t do this to her and she said to take the dressage whip in there to pat his butt.
Ok! so cool, a band aid but it works…
Today I came home and turned out our only other horse, my OTTB. This always upsets the paint.
I go into his stall with the manure fork and dressage whip and BAM! his butt is towards me so I let him know I have the whip. This goes on for a couple of minutes, I don’t take my eyes off of him or step away. Then he gets really mad and bucks towards me. OMG. :no: So I smack the whip against the ground, he trots around, is huffing and puffing and is facing the fence the whole time. Continues, continues and he bucks again. I stayed in there till he was somewhat calm and not backing up.
He is a nipper as well, came that way.

I have no freaking clue what to do. I grew up with super friendly and respectable horse.
How do I establish dominance after this??
Any links and actual advice from experience with something like this would be great.

Ringbone hurts, maybe put him down?

First off, if you’re not comfortable and confident going into his stall to clean it without a whip, you’re in over your head. Secondly, going into the stall with a whip is only going to exacerbate the situation. Thirdly, ringbone is only painful in its “hot” phase but will be fused and set just like any other joint and he’ll be fine, no need to put him down. But many horses get sour from being stalled.

There are a couple of things you could do differently in your routine. You could try cleaning the stall before you take your horse out, so he doesn’t get the chance to get upset by his buddy going out. You could try taking him out of the stall and putting him in the crossties/other stall while you clean his stall. Nothing says he has to be in the stall while you are cleaning it.

Does he have food to eat while you are cleaning his stall? Or did you put his buddy outside and then go in and clean his stall?

My best suggestion is to work on your basic handling of the horse and work on your routine. I would not be so quick to go to the whip he’s in the corner because he’s trying to leave; he’s kicking because you’ve got him trapped in a stall, he’s not sure what you’re asking of him, and you’re doing it with a whip.

I’d be more concerned if he were turning toward you and coming at you with ears pinned and teeth bared. That’s aggression. What he’s doing is simply rude, because you are being rude to him.

I was expecting you to say that he longed and tried to savage you. He doesn’t sound aggressive, he sounds a little crabby and not very respectful in his stall. Some horses don’t like being messed with in their stall. They still need to be respectful, but if he doesn’t like you working in there with him (and it isn’t the healthiest thing for him to be in there while you clean anyway), take him out when you clean. I would work on having him face you when you approach him. Walk up to his stall and cluck to him or call his name or whatever and if he doesn’t turn and face you, cluck a bit more and drive him forward in the stall (from a safe spot) with your hand waving at him or a light tap from a dressage whip or lead rope. When he turns and faces you praise him big time and scratch him if he likes that or offer a small treat. If he balks or talks back, drive him off more insistently and make a good growl if he offers to pop his butt up or lifts a leg (“HEY! Knock it off!!”) at him until he turns and faces you and then praise him. If you back off when he talks back, that behavior will become ingrained and may escalate.

Work with your vet to see what you can do with trimming, shoeing, supplements, medications, etc to help the ringbone. It is a degenerative issue and will get worse with time, but good maintenance and management can help prolong his comfort. Some horses with high ringbone will eventually fuse on their own over time but IME they are the small minority.

Good luck and stay safe. A helmet is never a bad idea. :slight_smile:

How about you take him out of his stall to clean it?

I’ve worked at barns where that is a hard and fast rule.

The rule probably developed because owners of horses were sick of their horses being stabbed with pitchforks and beaten with stable implements. It’s a nice non-accusatory way of making sure the help is never put in a position to defend themselves.

Turn him out. I think that’s a simple solution.

And why isn’t he allowed to go out with the OTTB goes out? Doesn’t sound aggressive. He just sounds frustrated about not being able to go out.

Maybe his butt itches.

I know that sounds flip, but my horse will act like that asking to have his tailbone scratched. I realize this horse is new to you and you don’t know what he’s capable of, and I can’t read his other body signals via internet, but he doesn’t really sound that bad. He just has boundary issues.

Teach him to face you in the stall. Then, if you have a round pen, I’d take the lesson out to the round pen and teach him to face you there too. He’s probably not a mean horse, but he’s bamboozling you and you are right to realize that you need to stop it now before it get’s worse.

Turn him out. I think that’s a simple solution.

And why isn’t he allowed to go out with the OTTB goes out? Doesn’t sound aggressive. He just sounds frustrated about not being able to go out.[/QUOTE]


And if for some reason he cannot go outside, then at least take him out of his stall while you muck.

All really good responses!! Thank you all. We do have him on but at night and the farrier shoes his front to even him out and also like a horse with navicular.
I’m going to start turning him out in the AM when I clean his stall and let him relax.

Maybe try some Ranitidine also then, don’t get hurt and keep an eye on him, there are times when a horse in pain will not back down, good luck and hope this is just temporary.