4 days old and Really doing well on haltering, picking up feet, touching, rubbing, even accepting clippers and water. But having a heck of a time with lead rope and leading, and way too afraid of thinking of tying. How do I make that step again.
Is this posting OK for this website of reproduction? I felt it was part of imprinting the new born foal. Please let me know if we shouldn't start this type of post here.
Jan Owen Senior Stallion or Mare Username: 1frosty1
Post Number: 1137 Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 12:09 am:
Kay you are fine ask any question...let's take it one step at a time..do you have any one who can help with a leading leason? For you first time training a foal it might be best to have help. It's a concept of pressure and release, very basic and if the little guy has figured out the pressure/balk and release we need to have a tune up lesson. If possible two people one leading and one leading mom, he will naturally follow mom. Mom goes out first and bring along baby right behind, long soft cotten lead line, as long as baby is going along great the minute baby changes his mind stop flip the lead line around his butt, and give a pull on the butt rope, baby should pop forward again everybody go forward, make sure the leader of the mare stays close, the idea is not to panic the foal he can't learn when he is freaked, don't be in a hurry, patience, and if you blow it no big deal try again. If he won't lead at all then butt rop right from the beginning. You can do it Kay you are doing great!
Thanks, Jan. He wants to RUN and leap ahead of Mom and beside Mom and behind mom. Run and cut and stop.etc.
Jan Owen Senior Stallion or Mare Username: 1frosty1
Post Number: 1141 Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 10:48 am:
Sounds like a typical bouncy boy! Just keep him up short on the lead have him right beside you when he starts to take of a quick jerk and hand up and step in front of him. Perhaps in the stall you can practice some get him to give to pressure and back up go forward and back up. I always lead baby to and from turn out to make a habit that we walk with a halter/lead nicely out and then I always turn them towards the gate, close the gate and only when we are standing nicely off with the halter and step back and let them run. They will pick up the routine, do the same thing each time, by the time mine are two weeks old they know that the halter means getting out and the trot right up to me and drop in their nose in. He is just a happy boy!
Sounds good! I did do some of the thing you told me in an earlier post--had not read this one yet. Kept him on a tighter lead and he was doing REAL WELL. I think with a lot of work we'll get it. I love how you reinforce the good manners and consistency. I wish I could almost start over with my big horses. I'm going to get this one TRAINED!!.
Hey we tried some more and he is doing much better. Not completely but better. 12 people have come to see him in the past few days. And he has really shown off. He has let everyone pet him and he has been pretty calm. Momma has been fine too. Previous owner of Topi said he is sooooo gentle. Definitely he is not a roan but going to be very striking with the dark red when the baby hair falls out and those high white stockings and huge blaze- almost a "bald" i believe you call it. Did I tell you he had hiccups today. Previous owner did suggest I keep others away for about a month. Will do. This is soooo much fun=== lots of work and time but soooo much fun. I wish all you girls a perfect foal like mine. Excuse the grandmotherly bragging. I am soooo proud of him!! AND ME, too!
Oh my gosh, looking at the last post you'd swear I have a different horse. Immediately the next day after such a good one, he turned into a cranky mule. Ears back, butt swings into me and hard mule kick. I can barely enter the stall without him coming after me. What happened. Did I go too aggressively. I decided to start over with baby steps. Now its kneeling down and just coaxing him over to me if he will. I can barely touch him. We were doing so well!! Help!!
The last thing you want is for him to feel like he's in charge. If he is swinging his butt at you, push it away from you...hard. If he is too quick, then don't try to handle him without a halter and lead until he quits this habit. What I do is make them move their feet. You may not be able to get him to lead well at first, but if you pull him off to the side, he'll be off balance enough to take a step. Immediately release the pressure and reward him like he won the lottery. Scratch him and tell him what a good boy he is. Keep doing that until he follows the lead with two steps and so on. Don't get directly in front of him in case he goes up...stay at his shoulder. Do both sides. Then push his front end to the side...same thing...one step and a reward. He'll get the idea that YOU are in charge and YOU make him move his feet, not the other way around. While on the lead, pick up all four feet, just for a sec then let them down. You don't want to fight him right now, just pick em up and drop em. To pick up the back feet, stand at his shoulder and reach for his back cannon bone and pull it toward you...then you are out of kicking range. All this to teach respect. Of course, I do all of this on day one and everyday thereafter. However, I have a month-old filly here right now (out of my stallion) with her Dam to be rebred. She hasn't been handled much and is exhibiting the same behaviors you are talking about. The owners have spoiled her...scratched her butt and let her turn her butt towards them. She nips and doesn't get corrected. I'll be doing some ground work with her before I send her back. I'd hate to see her end up re-homed because she got uncontrollable for them. She's really big now (she's out of a shire mare and a Gypsy Cob stallion).
I find that trying to start leading right off the bat breeds mule-ish behavior. I know everyone has different ideas. Mine are on pasture all the time, so the leading to and from turn-out isn't a reality for me so I do things a bit differently.
Keep us posted. Sorry for such a long post.
Jan Owen Senior Stallion or Mare Username: 1frosty1
Post Number: 1154 Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 12:51 pm:
Kay...I like what Collen has suggested. But he does sound like a typical stud colt. When he comes at you when you enter the stall and you do not like his approach (disresptful) shoo him away I would carry a rolled up lead rope and up with your arms and wave him off...he needs to come to you respectfully....think horse herd. Another alpha horse would not put up with that from an upstart. As far as mounting mom, yep, the ugly truth. The first time my colt had done that he was 2 weeks old and my 12 year old daughter was aghast! My mare was a terrible disciplinarian! After consulting my vet we knew we wanted to geld him eventually, I had no interest or knowledge for a stallion, so he strongly suggested having it done at 4 mos of age, he would still be with mom for comfort. So we did, best thing we ever did.
Deepest appreciation. Thank you, Thank you, thank you!!! You really helped my confidence. I worked with him today with the halter and lead rope. And we at least managed without ears back and mule kicking. I think we were just going way too fast. You know with Dennis Miller (I believe that's his name) the imprinter. He gets to step 20 by the third day and I felt pressure getting to step 5 by day eight. I'm just going to take it slower. Get Nova and my confidence and trust going. He's better today after our session(still not as good as Sat) but I feel better about it. I hope to geld him as soon as the vet allows. He said A YEAR!! Hope I can do it sooner than that. Again , thank you for all the expertise. I read and absorbed EVERYTHING you said. We're working on it!
I'll try to talk to the vet again. I would like to geld him as soon as its OK to. I don't like or can handle too much of that stallion behavior. He did do much better today. Seems like he's getting to his old self. I'm going to keep track of good days and bad and see if it coincides with Topi's cycle.
Right after I found him ,probably less than an hour old , I rubbed him down all over with my hand and towel. I haltered him several times. Later I worked with him and clippers. I didn't blanket him and now I wish I had. He seems really nervous when I try to sack him out with it. I did not do all the moves that Miller talks about even before he stood like pulling his head to the side, etc. Today, Wed. he seems like his old self. No more ears back or kicking. I rubbed him down with my hand, picked up all feet several times, haltered him, led him in a small "circle" with lead rope. I let the lead rope follow him for about an hour. I feel like we're doing much better. Thank you!! Is all of this the imprint training you're asking about or any other suggestions.
Swan is my first breeding but I have worked with many new foals. I have tried all the imprinting and I personally don't like it. I make the foal understand space and who is in charge. I will do small things such as a blanket in their stall but I don't push them to much. They are a baby and I have found no difference later on when they are older. I also get allot of weanlings and yearlings who have never been halter broke and you would be surprised at how quickly they pick up on things. I am not overly aggressive or hard on them. The biggest thing I find is that as long as you are having fun and enjoying the work you are doing fine. The minute you get angry or frustrated you have lost the training for that day. Just my two cents as it sounds like you are doing a great job already.
Thanks, Tahra! I agree( I'm a novice) but that seems to be most successful for me and Nova. THe haltering is going well and he seems to know halter means business. Kind of like a guide dog who knows when their harness is on they have business to attend to. He's even getting the picking up the front legs. Other than that it may take a while. I'm just really stressing NO EARS BACK and NO BACKING INTO ME AS IF ABOUT TO KICK.
WOW that just seems liek a lot to me in 4 days or whatever you said. Yes I imprint when the foals are born. Halter within a couple days and start lead training --very lightly. My filly is now 9 months old. Great temperment leads great ties stand great for farrier--desensized to most things haven't bathed her yet but will when it gets warm again. Maybe just me but I think sometimes you can do too much on a young foal
Okay, if I'm reading this right, this little guy is only 2 weeks old, now? And I know he is absolutely adorable and cute and you can't help but to mess with him.
I'm going to preface this by saying I am absolutely, positively no expert. That being said... I have had and handled many foals and to me the whole "imprinting" thing has good points and bad. It first became the rage back in the early 90's when Dr. Robert Miller (Dennis Miller is the comedian) first became its most vocal advocate.
In all of Miller's initial work, the imprinting process itself takes place in the first hour of a newborn foals life, ideally before the foal stands and nurses. That is when the human bond can most strongly be developed.
I too am a big advocate of handling those little guys as soon as possible and desensitizing them to the human touch and letting them be friendly with you. YOU WANT THEM TO ASSOCIATE HUMANS, YOU IN PARTICULAR, AS BEING PART OF THE REGULAR HERD. That to me is the most important thing about imprinting --- to erase any trepdiation or fear of humans. Imprinting in Miller's work involved desensitizing the foal and getting it to lose fear.
That being said, a lot of experts agree (Miller included) that everything done after the first 24 hours of a horses life is HABITUATION, not imprinting at that point.
If you are already trying to train this foal, then you must remember that EVERYTHING you do must be done until the foal submits. From leading to picking up his feet, etc. This is a time in life when these babies are strongly impressionable. i.e., let him jerk that foot away one time and he may get the idea that he can always do it.
Also, please keep in mind that these babies have the attention spans of a gnat. Really they do, any "session" longer than 5-10 minutes a day with this baby is just going to wear him out and make him surly; i.e., the butt to you, ears back, kicking out behavior. THAT IS NOT NORMAL BABY BEHAVIOR. He's probably associating you now with everytime he sees you, he has to have a lesson, i.e., you are not pleasant. That gets really old, really fast to these little guys and quite frankly he is forming a negative association to you. And it has absolutely nothing to do with him being a stud colt, he isn't old enough to even realize he is a stud colt yet, a filly would be the same way.
Please remember his main job right now is to grow and be a foal. If you must mess with him every day, keep it SHORT 5-10 min. at the max. Short, positive lessons have a lot more impact that long, drawn-out sessions that leave everybody tired and frustrated. Go to see him and just scratch him on the head and then leave him alone. He'll start learning that everytime he sees you it isn't going to be about "work". Even our yearlings we are getting ready for lunge line futurities, we don't work them more than about 20 minutes a day about four days a week. Their attention span is just not that long. Our two and three year-old futurity horses are actually ridden twice a day a lot for about 20-30 min. sessions each. They learn a lot more and want to cooperate when the sessions are short and positive.
Also, does this baby have another other horses to socialize with other than his mother? Preferably another mare and foal that he can be buddies with the foal? Horses need to learn social and behavior skills with each other and those can be even more important lessons than anything you can teach him at this point in his life. Another foal will take the "right back atcha" attitude with him and the other mama isn't going to take a whole lot of guff off him; i.e., he will learn positive social skills with horses that can translate into humans working with him later on. That a lot of times is priceless with one this young.
Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions. I have two other older horses but have not introduced them to him yet. They are fairly dominant. Maybe that's what he needs but I'm going to wait another couple of weeks. I understand what you mean by making him submit to a particular lesson. I'll work on that. Maybe I have been messing with him too much, especially at dinner time. That seems to be the most ornery time. He must be balking then. I'll keep all you said in mind. Thanks again.
Nova is doing GREAT!!! Lately I've been backing off and actually have been making more progress. Shorter intervals, less often, more just saying hello and leaving. And he seems to LOVE me. He's letting me lift his feet without concern, he loves brushing, infact the brushing relaxes him and then I put on the halter. He did not raise his head or step back. We took a few steps to the side with the lead rope and we were done. Thanks to all who wrote in. Its helping.
Kay, I am glad Mr. Nova is doing well. I think of my babies in terms of human babies. What do they say its 3 or 4 "human" years to every one year of a horses life? Something like that anyway. So right now, think of him as 6-8 weeks old (if he were a human baby)--- I am talking in the MENTAL department. Six to eight week old babies don't have a large capacity for learning yet.
Granted foals are much different as they have many things (i.e., walking, etc.) that they must do immediately, but I don't think their mental capacity is much longer than a baby's that age.
Thus the "Short and Sweet" approach. I think just visiting him, scratching his head and then walking away just reinforces the association that EVERY time he sees you it isn't going to be about "work". Right now you want him to think you are pleasant. And when you do work with him 5 positive minutes are priceless. Just ask him to do one thing and then love on him a few seconds and then walk away.
It sounds like he is already getting the idea.
His big job right now is to grow....
Regarding the other older horses, may want to wait a while to introduce them to him (in same pasture). It would depend on all the personalities involved. Don't want to upset mama too much either. Of course if she gets along with them, then they will probably be okay in a couple of months.
I guess we were lucky for a number of years, we had an old mare we had pensioned but she adored babies, any babies, didn't matter. She was the babysitter of the pasture, but we didn't put her out with the broodmares and babies until the babies were at least a couple of months old.
I have a gelding right now that is sort of the same personality. It was three years ago, we had a little stud colt that was a SNOT. I mean he was beating up on his mama at about 2 months old. There were two other babies in the pasture and he would just chase them like a lion, they didn't EVEN want to play with him. So since this gelding got along with the mares okay, we put him in with them for a bit and Mr. "I Think I'm Already A Stallion" got a rude awakening. This gelding doesn't kick or is in the least bit mean, but he would bite the fire out of this little snot when he needed it (like when he would rear up and strike at him), and Guess What? This gelding didn't run from him either. This gelding is good-sized, so it was sort of like running into a brick wall for Mr. Smartypants!
I'm a big believer in discipline for these babies coming from "the herd" when they are little. I think they learn an awful lot in the first 4 to 6 months about socialization.
I have a mare right now that I think a lot of her problems came from not be socialized with other horses at an early age and being pushed by people something crazy as a two and three year-old futurity horse. 98% of her problems are ATTITUDE and we are thinking she absolutely does not know how to interact with other horses, thus she HATES them, doesn't matter what they are, baby, yearling, other mares, this gelding, she hates each and every one of them equally.
She is an "Equal Opportunity Hater". She also isn't too fond of people, tolerant and has never acted badly toward people, but as I get to know her more and more, she doesn't really "like" people either. She was heavily pushed as a futurity baby.
Good luck with Mr. Nova and keep us posted on the little tykes progress.
kay, my little guy was putting his ears back at mom at an hour old. at 12 hours he was already trying to kick and now he gets off the ground. he only does it when i rub on his butt, i just stay real close to him and keep rubbing until he stops bucking. i did "imprint" this guy just like skeetles last foal, but Rockwell is quite a bit naughtier than that foal. he's also WAY bigger. i just do everything until he stops fighting back. i think working with babies makes a huge difference when you go to break them. my two year old (skeets first baby) was the easiest thing to break, just threw a saddle on and jumped on. no bucking, no nothing, just walked off. he also has never spooked at anything in his life. i'm a big believer in imprinting and continuing till baby is 1 year old. HUGE difference.
I agree with Catherine Owen Imprinting is great but thats only the first 24 hrs after that its training and should be treated as such. If you dont want them doing it when they are 1000 plus pound adults dont allow it now. However there isnt a whole lot they need to learn now except to be foals. The only thing I am adamant about with my little ones is their ft its just a lot easier and safer to teach them to give them up when they're littlethan to wait. Lots of socialization and making human contact positive that doesnt mean let them get away with anything tho. Disrespect can not be tolerate at any degree at any age Sounds like your doing great tho.
I was sooo proud of Nova today. A lady came over who raises arabian babies. She's had about 20. She was very impressed about how straight his legs were and how muscular his but was. Then she said I must be doing it right cuz he was sooo well mannered, pleasant and knew quite a bit for 3 weeks. He loved all the attention and was very still for us to brush him, halter, pick up legs, look at teeth , made him go backward and forward, started leading. and we petted him all over and he practically fell asleep while we did it. He was very still and NEVER had ears back or threatened to kick. He still is mouthing, nibbling and starting to nip. So we're working on that. He now is REALLY BUTT PUSHing his momma at the feed trough. She is very passive and lets him get by with that.
I know there is a lot of controversy over imprinting. I touched Nova all over withing the first hour, brushed him, haltered him, rubbed him with towel. He does those well. The rest of the training I'm now following John Lyons training. It works best for me. I just take BABY steps on every issue. When I see Nova looking the least bit concerned or even before he gets concerned, I back off and approach again. I think I was trying too many philosophies at one time and it confused me and him. I like the way John lyons handles his horses and have seen him several timesin action, read books, dvd's , etc.
Jan Owen Senior Stallion or Mare Username: 1frosty1
Post Number: 1269 Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - 07:12 pm:
That is great Kay...yes it is trial and error...I like John Lyons too... As far as nibbling I like to flick them in the mouth, use middle finger and the thumb and just flick. Do it yourself on yourself and you will see it's just enough that they do not like it and will put there mouth somewhere else...the key is to do it immediately or before the nip...My mare was very passive around her babies too.I wish she had been a little bit more of a disciplinarian...my old gelding helped in that department letting him know his place when he was about 5 months old
Hi Kay, Do you have any picture of lil nova? I havent been on this board for a long while, it's called a JOB!
As always, everyone is a blessing to be able to write and get other idea's is so great! I live in a very rural community my neighbor is never around so dont get much in that respect. it's made up for me in tons of horse communication between them and me! I AM BLESSED!
Hi all! I have not posted in a while, went to Mexico -job related but with a few days for my self, no husband, no kids, great!! -.
I enjoy reading all your postings,it was a perfect reminder on training.
Kay, Nova is so beautiful!!. You seem to be doing great with him. I was/am having part of the same difficulties you are having, I found this forum is a great source of help and support.
Calfu is 5 months now and so far he is behaving really well, respecting my space and approaching me but never coming very close or touching me, HOWEVER, I am getting a little afraid now as he is so huge and sometimes his movements seem so out of control!! I am trying to act brave anyway, so he does not pick on my fear .
Hi Mariana Reggie is doing well, he's still at the trainers but coming home on June 1st. I would love to leave him there longer but it's getting too expensive! I actually haven't been up to see him in almost 2 weeks due to schedule conflicts but I am going tomorrow, I can't wait! He now walks, trots, canters under saddle so it's all about fine tuning and turning him into a dressage horse I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow too.
Jan Owen Senior Stallion or Mare Username: 1frosty1
Kay, I took a "colt training class" at my local university. The colts were roughly 18 months old and were Not gelded. I was a bit afraid of working with "stallions." And these colts had not been handled, other to have vaccinations and the like. They lived in herds with their mammas and when weaned, they lived in a herd with other young colts.
Anyway, we began getting them used to the halters and leading and so on. They were never alone. There were always other colts near. We NEVER tied them; just looped the rope around the tie rail.
Each colt got one on one attention for 1 and 1/2 hours twice a week. By the end of the 16 week semester, most of the colts were being ridden some.
The priniciple was always, "BE Kind and Patient!"
And another prinicple was, "Don't take it Personal if they don't respond as we wish." That was hard sometimes for me. I felt I had failed if the colt didn't shape up the way I wanted. Of course, any set-back or resistance was of my own doing due to my lack of experience, lack of confidence-trying to do as well as more advanced students and so on.
A third prinicple was to Avoid teaching Bad Habits. That was tough at times, due to my inexperience.
Another very important principle that was driven home often, was that the animal is a Horse-not a dog or human. We have to think like a horse thinks and that helps us anticiapte and respond/re-direct their behavior.
I guess my point really is that just because a foal doesn't learn to lead by the end of the week is no cause for alarm. Again, my two colts had never worn a halter-but learned very willingly to lead, be saddled and so on.
And eventhough they were not gelded and eventhough they began to display some studdy behavior, such as pointing their nose up in the air and curling their upper lip, they were not difficult to handle because of it. This actually began happening about mid-way into the semester and a few of the colts were gelded, but my "boys" were not.
I remember talking to one of the advanced students who was also an employee at the stable. She had a stallion in the barn with the colts. I told her that I would be afraid to "handle a stallion." She replied, "but you already are," in reference to my two colts.
As an aside, the stallion I was referring to is "Fresno's Poco Badger," who is now the sire to the foal I'm expecting at the end of May. I'm excited to be be getting one of his foals.
So I hope this makes sense and you can relax a bit about training your foal or having him gelded at a very young age.
Anyway, while I don't have much expereince with baby horses, I just want you to know that just because your little guy is not behaving as you might have hoped, there is plenty of time to train him. Right now, he'll follow mamma wherever you want him to go. So use that natural instinct in training.
I guess I ought to add another prinicple-slow-slow-slow. Be very patient and introduce new training (even if it only consists of you being able to pet him, or hold his head/face, very briefly, it is good stuff. And only do it for a second at first. Try to get the behavior in incrememts. For instance, if he lets you feel his fetlock, stop there. Later, lift his hoof and "immediately" put it back down, before he has a chance to fight. That way, you have what you want, without him having time to think about it. Then leave it alone. Revisit the lesson again later.
I know this is long winded, but I learned a great deal from the colt training class and still, I'm a novice. I would suggest to anyone, that they read-read-read-about horse Behavior. Training theories are fine, but if one learns to think like a horse, it will help a lot; that I can guarantee!
So relax and rest assured, you haven't ruined your little horse. He is just being a horse. Hope this helps.
hi Jan, Gracie looks so big now! I love how she looks in the picture where she is galloping. She was the first foal being born after I started checking this board,so she is special to me and I remember how she looked then, amazing how they grow!. Tracy, I guess you will continue training Reggie after you get him home. Is Tali pregnant by him?. I will continue posting in 2007 foals. I am too out of topic here!. besos
Hi Jan and Mariana, I forgot the camera when I went out and saw Reggie! I'm seeing him again next week so I'll try to remember. Anyway, I will continue his training when he gets home and what I might do is take lessons on him once a week or so with my trainer so that way he's still getting trained and I'm polishing up my riding at the same time.
No Tali is not pregnant by him right now, she was already bred when I bought her but when she foals I will breed her back to Reggie. This will be his first foal so hopefully she takes and all goes well
Cheryl, thanks for the post. I am learning the same kind of lessons but the hard way. Not really HARD, just through experience and trial and error. Yes, SLOW, PATIENT, Little steps. When I get too ambitious, it seems to backfire. He is doing really well with halter and petting, and working on picking up feet. Leading, I'm going too fast , I think. We always get into a little tug of war. I'm trying the pulling slightly to the side and when he takes a step , loosen and praise. It just seems all of a sudden he leaps and tries to run off. He's nibbling with his little teeth too. I'm flicking his nose or grunting or elbowing.
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