Horse pulling to grass when leading

ShadowHunter

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When i turn Millie out in a morning and bring her in; we have to walk through a field to get to her paddock and every time without fail, she'll stop for grass along the way. Its not just a stop and head down affair, it's a pull my arm out of my socket to get the longer stuff a couple of feet away. I do not believe she's at all hungry as theres hay left over in the stable; more like just a greedy cob. It's also crossing over into her ridden work too, out hacking she'll make a grab at anything green at the side of the road, when i try pull her away, she just swings her bum out and pivots around whatever she has her mouth around.
This morning she nearly had me over in a muddy gateway, cue a shout and a slap, only for her to do it again 100m later. She isn't the nasty sort but is very opinionated, any ideas?
 

fidleyspromise

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My highland can do this and I put a control headcollar on her for leading.
Riding - I use my leg and back up with the whip. You can put grass reins on if its really bad.
 
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Your horse is just being plain rude, end of story. She's realised she can get away with this and is trying it on. No she's not hungry, she's taking matters into her own hands and making herself the "herd leader".

Personally I'd take her right back to basics, from "join up" onwards, as its obvious that she hasn't got the idea that YOU, not she, is the herd leader in the relationship, and for both your sakes, YOU need to be.

If you are not sure about the phrase "join up", I'd be inclined to ask for professional help at an early stage TBH, as you will need to be able to read your horse and understand the nuances, coz if you don't start right then you're only going to be building up problems for later on. But please, please, please, don't go for Parelli (I will probably get shot down for this; but I've seen a good horse ruined by it). Personally, I would recommend an Intelligent Horsemanship practitioner is the best person to help you with this, and if you go onto their website you should find someone for your area.

Also I'd have a look at the Michael Peace website, as he gives some very practical solutions to practical problems just like this. He has a "think Equus" philosophy, i.e. you need to think to yourself, "how would my horse think", "why is my horse doing what they're doing" etc, and put yourself, into the Herd Leader role, and he isn't airy fairy at all, its all very practical and do-able and stuff you can do with your horse at home.

For now, I'd be inclined to put on a pressure halter (thin rope halter with knots in it), and work with your mare on the ground, leading her, letting her follow you, and then beginning to move her body and feet around YOU, please note, YOU are the one that is doing the moving around, not the mare!! Its easy to fall into this trap.

Using gentle pressure on her chest, make her go backwards, and then allow her to walk forwards. Then work on turning her, applying pressure to her flanks rather than pulling her head around, and then work on turns on the forehand and then her hind legs. Put up some obstacles such as TREC obstacles, and use this as a training method to keep her interest and to build up her confidence so that she understands that you are herd leader and not her.

If you get the chance to get to a Horse Agility workshop then go for it! Vanessa Bee who started this off, is a wonderful person to watch as she uses her body, and breath, and general posture, absolutely effectively, and you can learn such a lot by watching someone intuitive like this working with a horse and teaching others.

I would be inclined to sacrifice ridden work, for a while, until you've sorted out your herd hierarchy!

You need to be sure that she is respecting you as Herd Leader before you try taking her anywhere with the temptation of grass around. Only when you're fully confident that she has this respect, should you try it.
 
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9tails

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It's really bad manners, get a rope halter with a decent length leadrope and give her a sharp tug at any attempt to grab grass. Don't give her an inch, ever.
 

Kezzabell2

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I'd take a whip and crack her on the shoulder if she even thinks about trying it!! she will soon learn that you won't allow this!! and whatever you do, never let her "just have a little bit" as she will think that this is okay all of the time!! if you say no, mean no, and don't change your mind!

Good luck
 

Arzada

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Millie is completely focused on grass. Arzada can be like that. You are not as focused on preventing her getting to the grass. So, eg, in the muddy gateway you are probably thinking about opening the gate or something more interesting. Meanwhile Millie has seized the opportunity! I find that if am just as focused then getting to grass doesn't happen because there is no opportunity. Gateways are the perfect opportunity so I make sure that I have Arzada close by with the rope short and all the while I am dealing with the gate I am focused on what Arzada is doing and I'll stop opening the gate if necessary and regroup. Sounds a bit OTT but once you've done this a couple of times you'll find a change in behaviour - you and Millie both!
 

Annagain

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Millie is completely focused on grass. Arzada can be like that. You are not as focused on preventing her getting to the grass. So, eg, in the muddy gateway you are probably thinking about opening the gate or something more interesting. Meanwhile Millie has seized the opportunity! I find that if am just as focused then getting to grass doesn't happen because there is no opportunity. Gateways are the perfect opportunity so I make sure that I have Arzada close by with the rope short and all the while I am dealing with the gate I am focused on what Arzada is doing and I'll stop opening the gate if necessary and regroup. Sounds a bit OTT but once you've done this a couple of times you'll find a change in behaviour - you and Millie both!
This. You just have to be incredibly strict with her and never give her an inch. My old boy used to be like this. I now lead two in from the field frequently (currently have to go through their winter field which is full of grass). While I tie their leadropes around their necks and let them graze as I do the gate (which is a bit naughty, I know, but after 10 years I trust them to graze close to me and not leg it and even if they do they can't go anywhere) the second I pick up the rope they know they have to stop and come with me. I'd never have done this with my old boy. If he started to get a bit bolshy, as he would now and again, I would lead him in his bridle for a few days, just to remind him he needed some manners.
 

Regandal

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My big warmblood used to try this. I bought a control head collar which utilises a chain, I think it's made by Eskadron. It has different settings. He pulled against it once. Short sharp lesson, effective. I do not follow the herd leader theory, I am just She Who Must Be Obeyed!
 

Walrus

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My fell used to do this quite badly when he was younger - i did leading practice in a bridle with a lunge line (we had other leading issues at the time as well) to instil some manners - on the track to the field, forwards, backwards, stand until i say so etc. You just need to be very strict. For the head down lunges for grass i carried a short whip and reacted quickly when he did it with a quick smack on the chest. He soon got the idea.
 

Enfys

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She has you trained :(

As everyone else says. Time for a little tough love here. My solution is the same as everyone , I prefer a chain (the release is immediate) underneath the chin, when she makes the slightest movement downward give it a jerk, and mean it. I can guarantee that she will figure out, within minutes, that this is not a comfortable thing to do. You will merely have to rattle the chain and she will remember her manners. I have had horses that KNEW when they had a chain on to mind their manners, no chain and they were back to ploughing the ground with me being towed behind them.
 

madlady

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She's being rude.

I'd be putting a rope halter on her with a nice long rope that you can use to move her on/circle/back up every time she goes for grass or I'd be taking a schooling whip and she'd be getting a crack across the chest every time she tried.
 

Gentle_Warrior

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Your horse is just being plain rude, end of story. She's realised she can get away with this and is trying it on. No she's not hungry, she's taking matters into her own hands and making herself the "herd leader".
This, you don't need gadgets or new headcollars, it is just plain education and not letting her do it. Mine used to do it. Does not anymore, but if someone else takes him, he takes the pee out of them, with me he is an angel.

I know someone who moans about her horse doing this, but then when he gets his head down she lets him have the grass !!! what !!! I stop mine before he even thinks about it. I can feel him on the lead rope getting lower, a gentle jiggle on the leadrope and he is focused again. We march, don't amble. If he does catch me on a off day, his head is up straight away, no grass as a reward for bad behaviour in my space !
 

tallyho!

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Millie is completely focused on grass. Arzada can be like that. You are not as focused on preventing her getting to the grass. So, eg, in the muddy gateway you are probably thinking about opening the gate or something more interesting. Meanwhile Millie has seized the opportunity! I find that if am just as focused then getting to grass doesn't happen because there is no opportunity. Gateways are the perfect opportunity so I make sure that I have Arzada close by with the rope short and all the while I am dealing with the gate I am focused on what Arzada is doing and I'll stop opening the gate if necessary and regroup. Sounds a bit OTT but once you've done this a couple of times you'll find a change in behaviour - you and Millie both!
I agree with this!

Definitely more opportunistic than "I'm your boss"... this is more typical of low ranking behaviour... getting away from you at the earliest possible opportunity but not wanting to offend you by completely tanking off.

The actual boss would mow you down, trample you three feet in the mud then sit on you.

Just "don't LET her do that" - Pearlsasinger.

The above works for me, everytime, with everybody.
 

sasquatch

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Mine does this, bloody greedy cob :(

He is learning very quickly, as soon as I feel him start to go he gets a wallop with the end of the leadrope. Another livery also suggested trying to clip the leadrope to the side of the headcollar, so there's a bit more control.

A firm voice, a wallop with a knotted end of leadrope, and not being afraid to pull back or give up seems to be working. I did at one point carry a whip, and lead him in a bridle and he's learnt quickly enough.
 

EmmaB

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Give her a bloody slap! And then do tons of groundwork getting her to step forwards, backwards, sideways when you ask. She needs to learn manners!
 

ShadowHunter

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Thanks for the suggestions. I do very much agree that she's being very rude, i've been working on getting her to stop hard-nudging me, as i find that extremely rude too. I bought her practically from the field so i think she's very much lost her manners. I do worry as sometimes, my mother, who's a total novice, leads her to and from the field; the last thing i want is an incident. I will be taking my whip down later to bring her in, i'll also be taking a look at the controlling headcollars.
 

LHIS

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Thanks for the suggestions. I do very much agree that she's being very rude, i've been working on getting her to stop hard-nudging me, as i find that extremely rude too. I bought her practically from the field so i think she's very much lost her manners. I do worry as sometimes, my mother, who's a total novice, leads her to and from the field; the last thing i want is an incident. I will be taking my whip down later to bring her in, i'll also be taking a look at the controlling headcollars.
Re. the hard nudging, she needs to learn to stay out of your space. I taught my pony this recently as he loves to be right by my side - fine when he's behaving, but should be spook and was right next to me I'd be flattened. Lead on a line long enough to allow you to make a loop with a length of the line, when she comes into your space just give this rope a flick in a loop, not at her, but just twizzle it around occasionally - not just when she comes in to barge you. I do it as matter of practice when leading my youngster just to remind him to give me a bit of room. She'll soon learn.
 

tallyho!

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Seriously, you do not need one of those "controlling" headcollars!

The whole time I worked at a stud, we never used anything like chains or ropes that got tighter and tighteron colts, fillies, mares or stallions. So cruel IMO. A quick tap on the nose or chest with a stick is all thats needed (IF it's needed) and use your voice and reward the good behaviour. Horses are not monsters! They like an easy life and do as they please as long as they can get away with it but please, the majority do not need stallion restraints like chains and ropes.

Just teach them some manners... no means no. Teach them to turn, stand, back up. Walk on and focus on you. It's easy to do. They are as intelligent as dogs. They are of course bigger, but just apply some common sense.

You can teach any animal to respond to "NO". Horses are capable of that too. Don't be scared. IMO all these ropes and chains just say "fear". Just man up and take charge of the situation.
 

ShadowHunter

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Seriously, you do not need one of those "controlling" headcollars!

The whole time I worked at a stud, we never used anything like chains or ropes that got tighter and tighteron colts, fillies, mares or stallions. So cruel IMO. A quick tap on the nose or chest with a stick is all thats needed (IF it's needed) and use your voice and reward the good behaviour. Horses are not monsters! They like an easy life and do as they please as long as they can get away with it but please, the majority do not need stallion restraints like chains and ropes.

Just teach them some manners... no means no. Teach them to turn, stand, back up. Walk on and focus on you. It's easy to do. They are as intelligent as dogs. They are of course bigger, but just apply some common sense.

You can teach any animal to respond to "NO". Horses are capable of that too. Don't be scared. IMO all these ropes and chains just say "fear". Just man up and take charge of the situation.
Im well aware she may not need a new headcollar, so therefore tried carrying a stick tonight which I'm pleased too say, worked a treat. Hopefully a few weeks of this will correct the issue. However i cannot tolerate being pulled around and set off balance due to my disability. Being just told to 'man up' will not help the situation. I've used my voice and given her a whack, for several weeks now, she gets the message for two seconds, then proceeds to do it again moments later.
 

tallyho!

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Im well aware she may not need a new headcollar, so therefore tried carrying a stick tonight which I'm pleased too say, worked a treat. Hopefully a few weeks of this will correct the issue. However i cannot tolerate being pulled around and set off balance due to my disability. Being just told to 'man up' will not help the situation. I've used my voice and given her a whack, for several weeks now, she gets the message for two seconds, then proceeds to do it again moments later.
Sorry OP, I think the "man up" was more directed at some of the replies.... apologies.

I think you just need to keep going and be as consistent as possible. Any inkling of going off to nibble, nip it in the bud. As one poster said "keep her head close". So you need to ask her to turn once in the gate, turn to face it. If she goes down even to nibble at nothing, just give a firm tug and say "no!". Always get her head to be near your head. Go through the gate, turn her around with you, then with both of you facing the gate, do it up. Turn and walk on. Then, maybe have a carrot AFTER you take off the headcollar to keep the focus on you. Just like you would with a dog.

Works for all ours. Helps with gates when riding too. Mine is only four and we have just started doing gates. Because of how I've asked her to be at gates in-hand, she has been brilliant at gates out on a hack.
 

Fun Times

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I carry a whip every time I lead my horse anywhere. Once you get into the habit of it, it becomes second nature to always have it with you. Of course you have to use it promptly at the appropriate time too....
 

MyBoyChe

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Best tip I was given by a fellow highland pony owner was to use a dog choke chain, you put it through the 2 holes either side of the headcollar, under the chin groove and through the bottom hole which you would normally clip your lead rope on, the lead rope clips to the 2 ends of the chain. Just knowing its there stops my highland from trying to drag me anywhere for grass. He's totally led by his belly and would forget his manners if given half a chance of an extra mouthful :) It was the best fiver I have spent on him!
 

NZJenny

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Whips, chains, fancy head collars, lead in a bridle - WTF!

Just teach your horses to lead for gods sake.

And if he's not paying attention, give them a bloody great whack with the end of the rope. They'll learn faster than some of their owners, that's for sure.

What were we saying the other day about fluffy threads ....
 
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