I have an Arab with an arab-tude~He was trained with all that touchy-feely horse-whisperer type training, he thinks I am a horse and fair game to bite and push on. He is generally unhappy in his stall/paddock, pinning his ears and flashing his teeth. Under saddle he is fine, but on the ground he is mouthy. He is a gelding around ten. I have tried several things to stop his mouth and his biting, none have worked. Any suggestions would be appreciated, I am about ready to give up and sell him off to someone who might enjoy a horse that thinks their owner is a horse also !! PS, not a fan of "horse-whisperer" type training. I grew up with an uncle who was a jockey and around ranch horses they were trained to be horses by cowboys. Today's training methods are making neurotic messes of our horses ! Kasey
Thanks for your question regarding your Arab gelding. It sounds like he is not a very happy camper, and that you are not either. I have worked quite a little bit with Arabian-bred horses, and one thing I have found is that they are extremely sensitive, can have strong opinions, but when a true relationship is built, they will go through fire and hell for their owner. Now this may already have you on edge as it might sound kind of like a "touchy-feely horse whisper-type" observation, but you asked my advice. I have ridden Arabs gathering cows, roping, riding the mountains, in Doma Vaquera and in dressage...just about everything I pursue with my horses, and I have found them to honest, quick to learn, and as with most horses, slow to forget. If I make a mistake, they will let me know.
All that being said, it sounds to me like there is something causing your horse to be unpleasant to be around. I don't know about you, but if my back is hurting, my teeth ache, or I have a pain in my belly, then I am not too great to be around either. So my first recommendation is to check out if he indeed might be in pain. Have you had his teeth look at with a full work up, not just floating? Have you talked with your Veterinarian and discussed his behavior, how he is eating, and how he is moving? What are the conditions of the boarding area, his stall mates, and room to get out and move everyday? Perhaps start by looking at what the symptoms are, then we can move on to cause and solutions.
If all these things check out in a positive way, then I would recommend some good quality round pen work, with a knowledgeable person, to evaluate your horse. When people bring horses to me to evaluate I begin in the round pen, with my 65 ft. lariat as a tool, and look at the horses willingness to yield in a respectful manner. Can he give me his inside eye and inside ear, or is his attention to the outside of the pen, looking for a way out, rather than to be with me. Once we get that working, then we can move on to other jobs...together. It may take you a step at a time, but the horse is looking for your good, consistent, and clear leadership. Otherwise your relationship will continue as it is...not too positive for either you or the horse.
I'll close with the thought that, long before the phrase "horse-whisperer" and "natural horsemanship" was coined, there were true cowboys, true horsemen and women, who spent their entire life on the back of a horse, learning their ways, and building a relationship. They took the time to think "of" the horse, "for" the horse, so that they could go "with" the horse anywhere. They had a partnership built on trust that was earned by the human. Not a whimp ~ but not a bully. Not aggressive ~ but assertive. Acting out of thoughtful kindness ~ Not anger. Perhaps your horse is looking for these qualities in you. If you don't want to go there with him to try and build that relationship, then it is definitely best for both of you to separate before one or both of you gets hurt physically.
I hope this helps. For the sake of you and for the sake of your horse.
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