Tuesday night I went out yet again to play with the grey horse.
I took carrots - per the norm - into the field with me when I went to get him. I was giving some to Q while I waited for Griffin to walk over to meet us (he was farther away). Well, the big Friesian/Perch started crowding me and my two horses while I was doling out the carrots. The other horses were interested, too, but kept a more respectable distance.
Uncomfortable being crowded (rude!), I turned to the big guy and flung my arms over my head and made a noise to indicate he should back off. Dee and I do this all the time. It's very effective within our herd for saying, "Back away from the human, you're big and you're too close," when the horses crowd us.
The size of this horse (17.1hh) does little to intimidate me; I've worked with him and ridden him before. His rudeness and body language do irk me though. However, despite his usual rudeness he always goes away with I tell him to back off.
Not this time.
He whirled in a clockwise direction and threw a double-barrel kick at me. It was about 3 feet off the ground, so not a full effort, but STILL directed AT me and STILL rude and STILL a very aggressive gesture. Especially rude and aggressive when you consider that all I did was raise my arms and make a noise. I didn't even threaten him with the lead rope! (I've worked horses in the past who kick out because I've told them to back off by tossing a rope in their direction when they're too close. While still rude, its one thing to kick out in fear/frustration when I've added an additional "threat" to the mix. To direct a kick at me when I've done what is a relatively minor "move away" gesture, THIS bothers me very much.)
Fortunately though, I was able to scurry away without hooves making contact with me.
I scared him off once more with more aggressive body language on my part (though still no lead rope because...?). He trotted away 25 feet or so and then whirled to square up to me. He stayed where he was though.
I took that gap to retrieve Griffin and get the hell out of the field.
The whole event frazzled me a bit. There is ZERO need for that kind of behavior. ZERO. This horse has exhibited rude behavior a lot before, but no aggression directed at a person. It makes me both angry and nervous that I'm going to have to deal with this when I want to play with my horses. Sure, I could get Griffin back to the point where he'll come at a whistle, but Q? Q will never do that. Not in a herd setting anyway! She'll let me bring her in and she'll give me a beautiful effort working, but she definitely will not seek me out over other horses unless we're away from home (i.e., at a ride) where I become her only friend.
Those who should be aware of the behavior and the situation have been informed, no worries. Good solid conversations, too. I'm thankful for horse people who respect and understand animal behaviors and don't anthropomorphize and/or take offense over things like this. Its refreshing. Very refreshing. We'll see what creative way is decided for resolving the situation in coming weeks.
Tell me about a time you've dealt with aggressive behavior? What happened? How was it resolved?