Sherry over at Fern Valley Appaloosas has been doing a series of posts on handling horses and asked if a few others ould put in some info too. She has been doing an excellent job and not sure if I have anything better, but I will put in my two cents anyways.
A few years ago I was down at Doug and Carol Schaffers place and we walked out in a psture of about 30 mares, and Doug was telling us the pedigree and earnings on all them. I was amazed he could remember that much cause I can hardly remember my own, but thats off topic. Anyways even though the mares came up for attention there was no fighting or anything and I was amazed, so I asked him and he says its not allowed when he's out there. Just that simple. So ever since then I have made it a point to not let my ponies fight when I am around. I dont care what they do when I am not out there, but when i am they can behave.
And I found out it really wasnt that hard, once you expect something from a horse, they come to do it pretty easy. I just had no idea it was possible in such a big herd. But since I seen it was now I make it just happen. I started small with making them back up from the fence when I throw hay over. This was really important to me cause I feed off a round bale with a fork and didnt want anyone to get hit with the fork. It was really easy to teach cause the reward is instant. A couple horses that have done lots of leaning on fences for feed (like Neils horse) were a little harder to teach and I actually had to scare him a little the first time to get him to step away, but after that he just takes a step back as soon as I lift the fork.
This video is me going out to feed the horses grain like I do every morning. It is a little shakey cause it was around my neck while I was feeding.
A few things to note in the video:
--as I walk out there, they do not crowd around me and my bucket
--Even though they move around to other piles there is no kicking and chasing
--When I walk around by George, he lifts his head to look at me (respect)
--Even when Jamaica walks to me, he doesn't come completly to me cause I never invited him in and he never had a pile but still never got pushy with my bucket
--There are all ages (foal to 15) and genders of horses out here
--I walk towards her, Bailey walks away, even though it looks like she is turning her butt to me, she is just leaving.
I have no worries walking out there with a bucket or anything. There is always a certain amount of space around me. Even when i just go out with no reason, and they all come up for scratches, they move slowly around me and never do I feel I am in danger out there. When i go catch a horse, I can get a hlater on the one I want and lead them away with out a problem. And if I put a new horse or even one I just rode, they stay back till I have the halter off. This saves me alot of trouble and the horse I am putting in there is more relaxed as well. It gives them confidence that I will protect them out there. Maybe I will try to get a video of catching them too.
This is long enough, so I will quit here and maybe continue on later cause this is far from all there is in safety around horses.