Sometimes though you need the circumstances to show you the holes. A week or so ago I was leading Carmen up to the ring and Irish was in the small paddock. There's a little alley between the front and back paddocks and there's a small corridor connecting the two with gates. When Carmen and I were in this corridor Irish charged the fence. He was not happy to be left. Carmen bolted away, ignoring my 'whoa!' and in the course of it whacked into me and it was only because I reacted quickly that I was not hurt or that she didn't get away. I immediately sent her working around me in a small circle and then we walked back and forth through that area until I was sure that she knew to not barge despite Irish's hissy fit.
Last week Cynthia and I finished our rides and I untacked Carmen in her stall. I was starting to put her blanket on when Cynthia hit the wall with Irish's blanket as she was putting it on. Carmen startled into my space. I smacked her to get her out but she ignored me and pushed into me with her butt. I got out of the way so I wouldn't be hurt and then went out of the stall and grabbed a crop.
I headed back in and asked her to move over, she ignored me and I smacked her so she moved over. I then put on her blanket and then asked Cynthia to make noise again. Carmen again swung her but into me in her startling.
I hit her as hard as I could on her butt. It was through the blanket so was noisier more than painful but to be honest I was okay with it hurting. She needed to figure out that barging into a person's space is a definite no. What if she hurt Ed our horse sitter?
She stopped and then swung into me again.
This time she leapt away and was facing me.
I had Cynthia do a few more scary (but not terrifying things) until Carmen would just look at me and not try to run me over.
I then left it. Since then there have been no issues but I wasn't sure if she really had learned it or not.
Last night I was cleaning out her stall after giving her her night hay. She was eating like the poor starving creature she was but she was standing on a pile of poo that I wanted to clean up.
I touched her shoulder and asked her to move over. She didn't move. I keep repeating the ask and could see that I was annoying her. I asked stronger and she started to swing into me.
I just had time to say "are you seriously considering bumping me over?" When she suddenly stopped and swung away from me. She looked at me with wide eyes.
'sorry I forgot myself for a minute'
She was now off the poo pile and so I carried on cleaning and she realized that she could still eat hay.
She is a clever cookie, not just ornamental.