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Thread: Bum swinging

  1. #1
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    Default Bum swinging

    Afternoon all,

    My horse has recently started a new and potentially dangerous habit - when tied up he won't stand still. He will rotate his back end, like a turn on the forehand, around where he is tied up against the stable. He does it maybe 50% of the time, the rest of the time he will stand nicely and enjoy being groomed and tacked up.
    I can tell when he's going to do it (you can see him shift his weight ready to swing round) and tell him firmly to stand, but 9 times out of 10 he does it anyway and I end up having to get out of the way.
    Unfortunately he has an idea of his own strength, and despite being only 14.1hh he can be a bit of a bulldozer at times if he wants to be. He's always been like it so I can only assume has learnt the behaviour as a youngster. The bum swinging is a relatively new habit and my attempts to stop him aren't working. I'd just like him to stand still when tied up. He's rising 7 now and exhibiting some 'kevins' behaviours at the moment.
    I'd appreciate some suggestions please, thank you!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bum swinging

    I may well get shot down in flames for this, but I absolutely won't stand for this kind of dominant behaviour. Get something pokey like the handle of a whip, and if he steps into your space (from your OP I'm assuming a gentle touch won't push him back out of it) prod him sharply to insist he goes back into his own space. If you do this swiftly and consistently, they usually learn not to keep doing it. You don't need to be cross with him, just absolutely clear what is his space and what is yours, and make it uncomfortable for him to wade into yours. Don't get out of his way or you are reinforcing his idea that he can push you around.

    Does he invade your space at other times? Is he a bit rude to lead, perhaps? It's all part of the same problem.

  3. #3
    Old nag Fiona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bum swinging

    I totally agree with milliepops, hold a stick or even the end of a dandy brush, and when he swings round try a nice firm poke in his ribs..

    Fiona

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bum swinging

    Quote Originally Posted by milliepops View Post
    I may well get shot down in flames for this, but I absolutely won't stand for this kind of dominant behaviour. Get something pokey like the handle of a whip, and if he steps into your space (from your OP I'm assuming a gentle touch won't push him back out of it) prod him sharply to insist he goes back into his own space. If you do this swiftly and consistently, they usually learn not to keep doing it. You don't need to be cross with him, just absolutely clear what is his space and what is yours, and make it uncomfortable for him to wade into yours. Don't get out of his way or you are reinforcing his idea that he can push you around.

    Does he invade your space at other times? Is he a bit rude to lead, perhaps? It's all part of the same problem.
    Thank you - I'll try a sharp prod with the handle of a hoof pick. He's actually fine to lead, he knows not to invade my space. He's quite an affectionate chap, but obviously this isn't affection it's disrespect as you say. He will take quite a lot, it takes a lot to upset him so I don't think this will cause him any harm, I'm probably too soft with him which is probably why he's doing this.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bum swinging

    My old horse used to try this, I dont think he was trying to crush me, but thats what happened. i held a hoof pick (the pointy bit) at his shoulder height as he swung across again and than leapt back as he got the hoof pick in his side. He didn't try again though sometimes you could see him think about it - so maybe he was trying to intimidate me.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Bum swinging

    As above I use something pointy but not sharp (my elbow often as its always to hand ). I don't actively push it towards the horse just really brace myself so that it doesn't move when impacted. That way its the horses own momentum that causes the discomfort which I find useful psychologically - it means it doesn't become a fight just the result of their own actions.

    I'm 8 stone and have used this method on a bolshy Clydesdale who was fully aware of how to use his strength against you. After he pranged himself in the flank for the second time he gave it up as a bad job!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Bum swinging

    I agree with what others have said, does he lift a leg or try to kick? Regardless, do be careful if youre going to poke him in the bum! Maybe start with something a bit longer than a hoof pick in case he takes offense! At nearly 7 I would be expecting decent manners from a horse, so annoying when they pick up bad habits - my 16 year olds new favourite trick is biting and the little sod just keeps going!

  8. #8
    Old nag fburton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bum swinging

    I wouldn't stand for it either, but I wouldn't call it dominant or being disrespectful - it's just 'bad manners', undesirable and dangerous behaviour that should and can be stopped, exactly the way that millipops suggested. The idea that horses do this specifically to intimidate you or prove something about their relationship to you is unhelpful, in my view.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Bum swinging

    Quote Originally Posted by fburton View Post
    I wouldn't stand for it either, but I wouldn't call it dominant or being disrespectful - it's just 'bad manners', undesirable and dangerous behaviour that should and can be stopped, exactly the way that millipops suggested. The idea that horses do this specifically to intimidate you or prove something about their relationship to you is unhelpful, in my view.
    it might not be thought out like that to begin with- it's often quite innocent 'thoughtless' behaviour in the beginning, but the end result of a horse constantly pushing boundaries (that we might not have set very effectively in the first place) can be dominant style behaviour - seen it on my yard in a short space of time, a pony being handled by novice people that has quickly learnt to push them about and nip. I do think that's similar to them establishing a pecking order in a herd.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bum swinging

    He's moving your feet rather than you moving his.

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