The horse that has learned to push is one of the most frequently frustrated and unconfident. Trainers and handlers, in an effort to correct the horse’s perceived poor behavior, are often brutal in their corrections.
Imagine the horse’s perspective: every day of their life they have behaved as they do, without knowing anything different. Suddenly, they are knocked around by flags and lead ropes. They may change quickly with these harsh and punitive corrections, but their expression is unhappy. They didn’t have much confidence to begin with, and now they’re certainly not more confident.
I don’t let these types of horses run me down, but it isn’t their fault they think that way. Why should I punish them for doing what they were taught to do?
Instead of constantly thinking about what they’re doing wrong, and correcting what I don’t like, I prefer to show them what feels better for them. Pushy horses are very often muscularly tight. If they can move away in a better bend, they feel better mentally and physically.
You don’t have to get into a war with pushy horses. Just make your boundaries clear; and show them what you want. It’s remarkable how quickly horses are willing to try something new.