Working with a Dominant Pony
I have offered to help look after four ponies. Three of them seem really good-natured, but one of them pins his ears back and looks as though he is quite dominant (however, he isn't the leader of the group).
How can I show him from the start that I am the boss? I used to share a pony, and he became very dominant because I showed fear when he tried to bite. I don't want this pony to do the same, and I don't want to have to be afraid to go in the field because of himhe is a lovely pony! Could it be that he just doesn't know me well?
Carol, what fun to care for four ponies! Pinning of ears is a behavior that has to do with attempting to control a set of resources. This pony is likely pinning his ears around resources he would like to controlmaybe food? Touch? The best method to eliminate the behavior is to simply withhold the resource he wants until he stops pinning his ears. If he is pinning to control a resource (for example, when he is at his bucket or you are attempting to groom him), you may want to train him to touch a target to focus him and communicate controlin this case, the control is he does X (touch target), you give Y (a tasty food reward).