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Horses That Come In Too Close

Horses that come in too close

If your horse creeps up into your space, there are a few ways to handle this without breaking the connection or attunement.  What we don’t want to do is TELL them to get back.  We are not telling them to do things yet, we are still responding to what they do.  

The first way you can create space is with an exercise that is called Creating Space While Keeping Connection. 

If your horse wants to engage a little too much, you can also use this technique (it works online as well)

A reminder of how to use this course: click on Mark Complete below and you will be taken to the next topic.

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Perfect timing, as I had this exact situation today.

I have a problem with my horse, Dallas. He readily engages with me and seems to be very pleased that I now see that he wants his muzzle rubbed, and he licks my cupped hands. he stays still and with me for long moments doing this. before this training, I was pushing him away when he got too close, as I had been taught. This awareness has upped our game, and it is going well, but I run into problems when I go to halter him at the gate or in the the stall. He easily approaches me for that. When I bring the halter up towards him (I use a rope halter and I firstly bring the long end around his neck. When I try to put the halter onto his nose, he swings his head downwards towards me and uses his nose to force my near arm upwards. He does this very quickly and suddenly, but not every time. It’s not pleasant, so instincts kick in. This usually results in me immediately poking his face hard to push him away. Can you help me with a plan to address this? I have to be near him to put on his halter, so I need to figure out a safe way to do it without forcing him to move away. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) December 16, 2023 at 11:55 am

“When I try to put the halter onto his nose, he swings his head downwards towards me and uses his nose to force my near arm upwards.”

What do you think he’s trying to say?

So – I have Valor on the line right now (tomorrow will be our 3rd day using the flowchart). He will stand 4ft away, aware of me, but also aware of other things. I think it’s pretty good. I watched the video from yesterday and we’re doing better than I thought. He does like to walk up and engage, so I’ve always just rubbed his muzzle. Mostly good. There was a lot going on – his pasture buddy was in the arena, and the owner had brought all her horses in and was feeding so there was a lot of noise. He also likes grooming cats, and two of them came over to visit. Two things happened that I wasn’t sure what to do with. ONe, the mounting block was there, and at one point he walked over checked it out, then tried to stand on it. I just let him. It used to be that when he didn’t know the answer to something when we were working on obstacles, he would walk over to the pedestal and get up on it, as a try. Because, that answer he knew. But, this time, I was not asking him to do anything. I was standing quite relaxed. I think what I did was right, and then I just restarted. Then, at another point he came over, but he almost bulldozed me. It happens once in a while. I let him keep going until he got to the end of the rope – but he didn’t turn around. That one I had no clue but to reposition myself. If I would have walked past him in the video, like you do here, while he’s on the line – I have a 13ft I think. I might get a couple feet past his big butt, but then I’m tugging on the line. I’ll go back and see if I find a video on it. I just felt really awkward, even though it looks mostly fine on the video.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 26, 2024 at 9:31 am

“he walked over checked it out, then tried to stand on it. I just let him.”
This is fine as long as you didn’t let the slack come out of the lead rope.
“but he almost bulldozed me”.
Did he touch you? If he didn’t, he was just walking past you, and not “trying” to do anything.

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