How to Deal With A Horse That Takes Advantage Of You

Although most horses are good natured to ride, some might pose an additional danger to their rider as they try to take advantage. Follow these steps to deal with a horse that repeatedly disobeys, and remember - never give up! Patience is one of the main keys to success.


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    Look for possible reasons that the horse may be taking advantage. If there is a particular section of path that your horse bolts through, or a tree that your horse shies away from, try conquering their possible fear of that object or place by making it more common. If it is an object, show them the object every day in a calm manner to allow them to get used to it.
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    Assess the extent to which the horse is taking advantage of you. If the horse is bolting or rearing with you, then that can be considered more serious than a horse waiting for you to ask twice or three times before making a transition into trot.
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    Gauge your response according to the action. Something more serious will require you to enlist the help of an experienced trainer or instructor whereas something more trivial could be solved by yourself.
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    Give the horse an incentive to do what you need them to do. If the problem was that the horse wasn't listening to a leg aid then use a whip after first asking to make it clear that you want them to go forward. If the horse passes a previously scary object give them a treat as a reward.
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    Remain calm in all situations. If you become irate the horse will take your anger or fear as signal to be afraid and due to their impulse to flee danger the horse may become flighty and pose a bigger risk to both itself and you.
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    In some cases, the horse will be taking advantage of you because it thinks that it is the boss. You need to tell him in some way that you are the big man, and that they should be listening to you. If the horse walks in front of you repeatedly, lightly yank his halter at first. If this keeps happening, yank his halter harder and back him up. This shows the horse that you are in control. This varies depending on your situation, but the horse should always know that you are the boss.


  • If the horse is taking advantage of you by pinning their ears or kicking out in order to get out of doing something, say "No!" In a calm but firm voice and make them do what you are asking or telling them to do. Under no circumstance should you let the horse get away with that kind of behavior if you are sure that you can handle it.
  • As you approach the horse to mount, walk tall and straight with your head up. Take firm, confident strides. Show the horse you are not afraid.
  • Never let your horse walk past your shoulder; if he does back him up! His nose should be right at or behind your shoulder!
  • If your horse is up to weight, don't feed him lots of treats.
  • If your horse has a tendency to jump away or walk too quickly when you are walking him on the lead, make him run circles around you, using the lead to lunge him in a circle. If he wants to put more effort into misbehaving, make it your idea and MAKE him do what he wants to do, and then he will not want to do it anymore and will eventually realize it isn't worth putting so much energy into being silly for no reason.
  • If you are really quite nervous around your horse and not sure how to conquer this problem, try making yourself yawn. This physically relaxes your system and outwardly displays a calm and casual appearance to your horse who will pick up on even the slightest feeling of nervousness. Another tactic is to actually laugh whilst in the saddle if you or the horse is afraid about something. Although it sounds ridiculous, it's amazing how much your horse is able to pick up on what feelings these actions are associated with!
  • When feeding treats, don't let your horse be pushy or try to take them from you. Instead, hold the treat in your fist, and wait for the horse to stop nuzzling you or look away to give it the treat. This teaches them to respect you, and eventually they will not nuzzle for a treat.
  • When your horse does the right thing, be sure to reward him or her. If you don't, the horse won't know what (s)he is being asked to do, and may keep doing the wrong thing because they think it is what you are asking.


  • Always use a certified riding helmet.
  • Do not try to do something you or your horse are not capable of. This puts both of you in danger.
  • If you feel in danger as a result of your horse's behavior, take somebody with you as a precaution.
  • Horses can be unpredictable, so minimize danger to yourself and to others by being aware of possible dangers and having someone supervise.

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Categories: Riding