I am new to stallion owning, but not handling. All the stallions I've handled were 5+ years old, and were typical stallions, aside from one that was downright mean and should have been gelded. I now own a 2 year old stud colt. For the most part he has good manners, but I do have a couple questions I hope some other stallion owners may help me with.
He is turned out 24/7 with a companion mare. She's good to discipline him when he starts feeling frisky and silly and tries to bring her into it. The problem is that he wants to play all the time, and that he is feeling so good that he likes to kick up his heels and buck and fart all around the pasture. Any time during the day I can walk into the pasture and he's settled right down, but during feeding time, he gets frisky again and starts bucking and running around. I know he wouldn't intentionally run me over or kick me, but I worry that one day he might do it on accident. Is there any way for me to teach him that it isn't acceptable for him to act this way when I enter the paddock? And last night when I brought the hay and feed in I stopped to scratch him on the neck and he half ways bit my coat, not hard, and he pulled away really fast afterward and then I smacked him. He used to nip a bit when I first got him, but cut that out in the first month or so, now this came out of nowhere and I'm hoping it isn't a stallion related trend, the way many stallions do bite. I believe it may have been his way of trying to bring me into his playing routine.
Next question is that up to this point I haven't used a stud chain on him, for fear that it might be over-used and he'd start to ignore it, plus he hasn't had any major issues to require one. I am noticing that more and more he is getting a bit more headstrong while leading him and tries to rush me. Sometimes he'll get frisky while I'm leading him and will try to jump away from me and run around playing. I think this is just 2 year old stud colt teenager-ness going on, should I ignore it, or start using a stud chain on him? I had a couple people with life-long knowledge tell me to ignore it, but that seems like letting him get away with it.. For a while I carried a crop with me and smacked him when he'd start bobbing his head around and trying to prance away from me, or when he'd jump away and try to start bucking around, but he quickly learned that a quick jump away would put him out of reach of the crop, and later, the lunge whip. He's not a monster, and generally is very well behaved, but tends to act up on occasion. Do I just need to start getting tougher with him? I don't want to create a mean, hateful stallion, but would like a little more consideration from him, and for him to know when playtime is and isn't. For the record, I am ready to get tougher if it calls for it.. I'm just under-educated at this point when it comes to how to raise a stallion right! I've raised many, many horses and trained quite a few as well. I just know that stallions have a different mentality than others, and really do not want to ruin him.
My other issue is that I've heard people say that pasturing him with a mare may be causing these problems, making him more studdy. Is this true? Also, someone told me that pasturing them together will make her resent him and in the future not allow him to breed her because he's annoyed her in the past? The latter seems unlikely to me because when they're in heat, they are looking for any attention, but, I'm not a horse psychologist either. The mare is a very laid back one, and a real hussy when it comes time for breeding. She tried teaching him last summer what to do, until I interviened and seperated them. Any thoughts are much appreciated! I'm pretty confused right now, because as you know I'm sure, most horse people think they know everything and want to sound as knowledgeable as can be. Because I respect everyone's opinions I tend to listen too much and re-think myself and how I'm handling him. My husband tells me to go with my instincts and just get tougher with him, but with all the whisperers out there nowadays, I worry that someone will drive by and think I'm beating my horse, when I'm just giving him a smack. I wish there was a good, extremely knowledgeable trainer around my area that I could bring him to and have teach us, but I'm afraid there are none for at least 200 or so miles.
Amanda - First off he is just being a 2yr old colt but that doesnt make it acceptable. I see no problem pasturing him with a mare. She'll do best at teaching him some manners. Its my opinion that he needs a few good lessons in the roundpen. Invest in some videos if you cant get a trainer. Monty Roberts and Clinton Anderson have some good round penning videos. I prefer Monty. Also dont let him in your space until he is being well behaved. Put your arms up and holler to chase him off if need be but dont let him near you unless hes behaving and when he stops behaving send him away. He wants to be with you and he'll quickly learn you are the lead mare and to get your praise and attention he needs to stand quietly. it doese sound like he is playing however he needs to play on your terms in a safe manner. Obstacle courses are great for stimulating there mind and giving them something to do. For leading I recomend a knotted rope halter when he starts pushing a bump or two on the nose will bring him back in line circles will also help this. Also try tieing him at feeding time and dont feed and just walk off let him know YOU are letting him eat. Give him a mouthful and then take it from him dont give it back till he's behaving. Also how hot is your feed?
I agree with Jenni that he sounds like a typical 2 yr old colt. I think Jenni's idea of not letting him in your space when you feed until he behaves is a good idea. I also turned my stallion out with a mare when he was 2 to learn some manners but he wasn't with her 24/7, I brought him in at night and fed there. Not every horse is the same so it's hard to say if the mare would make him worse or not, I have seen male horse (including geldings) start getting "protective" of their mare which makes them more aggressive towards you. This may not happen with him but I would be aware of it.
Now about the chain I personally lead my stallion with a chain and I know others on this board do not. I think it can be a very useful tool if used correctly but like any other training aid it can be abused. My stallion completely respects it so I never have to use it, as long as it's on he's a pure gentleman.
I think Jenni's idea of mental stimulation is a great idea. I handled my stallion daily, walking him up the road, over logs etc. He's actually at the trainer's right now and she can't believe how well behaved he is, I really believe it's from all the handling he got.
The biting thing is a really hard habit to break and honestly I don't know if I'm the best one to give advice since my stallion still nips! I do know that smacking him won't work, it becomes a game. My stallion will nip me and then run! I have heard that if you use breath spray and spray it in their nostrils when they try to bite they associate the burn of the spray with the bite. I did try this for awhile and it did start to work but I didn't keep up on it, my fault
I start rusty with a backing up movement evertime i get near him. He gets a treat to back a few steps and put his head on the gound. He will do this and wait tell i tell im "OK" then give a small treat. Like baby carrot of even a bite of grain. what ever ive got handy.
I tought him this in like a day and a large zippy of apples. I took his halter off after lunging a little then told him "back" very loud and deep then pushed on his chest as soon as he moved he got a bite. We all know how they like treats then next time i pushed he moved faster. after a few times of this BACK i said Wait same way. Held up my hand like stop and he figured this out.....
For the head down thing. I touch his nose and squeeze his ear they put there head down cuz the ear thing kind of hurts. treat asap. eventually you only have to touch the nose and say down.
I have a lot of time with him cuz I cant ride him. But you will have to work some circles and stuff for awhile before you really get there attention.
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