I have a 6 yr old Standardbred/Arabian gelding. I have had him since he was 14 months old. No one thought he was worth anything so I bought him for $200. What a steal! I have been offered $1,500 for him, but of course, he's not for sale.
We have an average of 15 horses here on the farm, most are boarded. The problem I have is that everybody seems to like Lightfoot (my horse). He gets more treats than he should have. Recently he has developed an attitude toward everyone. For any one to be able to get their horses out of the pasture, they first have to give him his "fee". I have tried just about everything to get people to stop giving him treats but he will still act the same way even when he doesn't. This seems, to me, to be a "leader of the herd" attitude. Now, how do I get him out of it. Most people think it's funny until they can't get their horses out of the gate.
Even though everyone seems to think this is a cute behavior, it is not. This behavior can with time become dangerous. You may need to have a general meeting with all those that board at your stables, explain that although other horses boarded there are a general concern of everyone who boards, the general care of each horse is the sole responsibility of the individual owner. That out of respect and the comfort and safety for everyone (horses too) that interaction with other boards horse be kept of an absolute minimum. This is a safety issue, not a means to cause unhappiness among your boarders.
Now as to your horse's behavior, Lightfoot. Because everyone at the farm is involved has helped develop this "cute" behavior, you will probably have to separate your horse from all the others in the pasture. If this is not possible, then you may need to work out a rotation schedule, with everyone. This is a temporary measure, only until you can take Lightfoot through a refresher course of him becoming submissive and you (or any one) have re-established dominance over him. He must be taught that he doesn't lead the human pack, the human pack leads him. Take his treats completely away from him, don't use them anymore. If you find you need to use a treat ... change what you give him, such as: carrots pieces for apple slices.
You are correct in stating that he acts as "the lead of the herd." It must stop, he must respect the others space and movement and you as his owner owe it to him to reinstall it in him. Give yourself and the other boarders peace of mind. Start today!
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