Bite him back! Treat him like mom does. If he bites her she bites him a little harder and he learns thats not a smart thing to do. An ear is a nice clean and sensitive spot. Or you can do it the sane way and tell him NO is a loud stern voice. Thats not a funny though.
The rearing up is harder. I always turn around and just leave. Don't say anything to him just leave for 30 minutes or so. He doesn't get the attention he is craving and eventually figures that out.
Emily: In addition to Jonathan's great advice, I'll add my own that seems to work well.
JJ was HORRIBLE about this and in fact, I'm not so sure he was wanting to play as much as he was testing out his dominance.
What I started doing with him is, when he would try that rearing up, I would run & stomp a few steps at him, which in turn scared him, and he ran back to mommy. He would venture back out and try again and I would repeat the behavior. (My philosophy, right or wrong, was that when horses enter another's personal space, they will do that whole warning/mock "gonna eat you up" thing where they pin their ears back, run at the other horse a few steps while bare their teeth to get another horse to move or submit.
This has worked well for me and I have gotten him stopped within a week.
Jonathan- you actually bite them? Lol. When they bite, is it ok to push them really hard, away from you, or does this not work too well? Bobbi- I'm a little worried about running towards him when he rears up at me, because I don't want to get kicked in the face or head. Lol. Is there a way that's best to do it, so I won't get kicked? Lol
Yes! I have bit a many a foal on the ear. If you push them away it just makes it a game. It has to be something he doesn't like and will remember. The more a natural the better. Like with Bobbi's suggestion if he reared up at another horse they would charge at him and assert their dominance.
I am as firm with the foals as the other horses are. If they try to bite/nip me they get slapped open handed firmly on the side of the muzzle. They will run off to mom, but they always come back for attention. The fillies usually only take once. The colts 2-3 times and they quite that nonsence.
Emily: Don't run at him while he's still up in the air, just time it so that the minute his front feet get planted on the ground, you are on the assertive charge. Trust me, they're big ole wimps when you become the aggressor. These little foals don't understand that we are humans and not one of them so they are just behaving instinctively. I believe that its crucial now to teach them submissivness when they are a manageable size. You certainly don't want one to think they can do that at 2 years old and 1200 pounds later.
I have spent the last year working with our stallion who did this behavior as a foal. He was owned by an 80 year old couple who quite frankly, we're intimidated and afraid of him when he did this. So in his pea brain mind, he learned that he can dominate over a human. This in turn made him a dangerous horse. He's much better but I'll never be able to turn my back on him.
These little horses can hurt you, no doubt about it, but you've got to be calm, assertive and stand your ground with them. If that behavior causes you to back off, you increase the danger the foal can be because if they win, then they'll sneak up on you from the back and clobber you or when you bend down to pick something up, they seize the chance to pummel you. If you gain that respect, you should be able to turn your back on them or carry on with an activity without worry that they will hurt you.
Jonathan: Hehehe...I've bitten my share of ears as well. I have been lucky so far with my foals as I just didn't allow the biting to start in the first place by demanding that when they want affection or attention that there is a designated way they are allowed to stand during the process. However...hehehe...Moose managed to be quite curious the other day about the "string" that was hanging from the back of my ole cutoff blue jean shorts so while I was busy brushing his mom, he was quietly standing behind me, reached out to "taste" that little dangly string toy...only he took a little bit of back thigh with it. He didn't actually bite down but it scared the tar outta me so I reached around and grabbed him by the end of his nose (like you would a twitch) and twisted. That was the end of that...hehehe...they don't care for that either!
I have always had good luck with bad foals, except one. We had a Nureyev colt out at the farms several years ago that was 100% nuts. He was stall raised for the 1st 3 months of his life because of bad sesmoids. His 1st night outside in the paddock I climbed over the fence and got about 20 yards out when the games began. It took me about 5 seconds to figure out he wasn't playing. I tried yelling at him, charging, and even running away. I finally had to punch him in the muzzle several times to get to the fence and he was still charging. The more you tried to be the aggressor or dominate the more violent he became. He never really changed. You always had to know where he was in the field until he left the farm. That was a great day.
Hopefully no one on here will ever see one as bad as him. He just wasn't wired right!!! I guess I should mention that in the stall he was an absolute sweetheart. Turn him out and run. So if anyone tries to sell you a thoroughbred gelding by Nureyev named Red Scorpion, RUN!!!!
Jonathan: Wow! I've seen those animals as well. I've always wondered how far it would take to crack one of those hard headed cases. I'm sure it would take someone getting killed before the dominance was finally determined.
There are some that are just plain nuts!
You'll find THIS interesting: When I purchased Blossom, the Trainer/Owner had decided to pull her off and send her to a home where she "could find a second career in life that made her happy" (hahaha...I love that...means they can't run for sh**), she had already been set to run in a Fourth of July race at Fairmont Park so she asked me to wait to pick her up until the 5th. Lo and behold, she broke her maiden that day (scared the tar out of me as I though she may back out of the deal). So, when I went out on the 5th to pick her up, Dawn kept telling me, "I've gotta a two-fer-one deal going on today...you get the horse you paid for AND this grey right here for free...you just gotta get him outta here!" I was like, what's wrong with him? And she says, he's nuts, he's crazy, he's ignorant and short of a bullet to his brain, there ain't nothin that's gonna cure him of it! Guess who this horse was out of????? Maybe there's some genetic wiring issues as well?!?!?!
Another help with suggestions for breaking bad habits:
What does everyone do with foals that are showing feed aggression. The ears pinned back and the wheeling of the butt and both back legs aimed to get ya? (This isn't any game, this is serious aggression).
So far, I've been ignoring his behavior and won't let him get near his feed bucket when he wants to be aggressive when I bring it in, and then once he can get to it (and no, he doesn't settle down once he gets his grain bucket, he wants to continue to pin his ears and wheel in between bites) I purposely stand in "his space" until he's done eating.
That worked for a few days, now he just gets ticked off and runs mom off of her feed bucket and takes hers rather than deal with me.
My current plan is to lock his happy little tush, all alone, in the round pen this weekend and we'll play "If you're a good boy, you get your grain. If not, I'll leave the pen and you can stand here by yourself." I just don't want to escalate any anxiety by keeping him from mom for any extended period of time. I just have a gut feel that he's gonna be one of those that aren't so easy to crack. I think he's as stubborn as I am.
Who was it???? The 3 psycho foal sires since I have been around are Nureyev, Storm Bird, Alleged. Alleged was the worst of the bunch. When you have a stallion who requires a solid 8ft high fence, has to be double chain shanked, and muzzled they don't need to reproduce!!! He was a holy terror.
Our last foster dog had bad food aggression issues when she arrived. A vet friend of ours told us to hold her food and give it to her a handful at a time for the first week or 2. After that we held the bowl for a few weeks and let her eat out of it. We finally got to the point where we could stand there and take the bowl and she would just sit and wait for us to return it. The same plan will probally work with horses also. Just a thought.
Today, Nova's been horrible. Just when you think you've got that down, I feel like we have to start over. He grabs the rope with his teeth while we are walking. Any suggestions. I have pulled on it, yanked it out, ignored it. Maybe I'm not consistent. He gets really irritated and starts pushing, then he DID start rearing again. He knows how to lead just trying to get away with stuff. At 4 months he is getting harder to handle. I wish the vet would let me snip him. But not till NINE months. BAD DAY!!!! An aquaintance also has a foal, filly,. She is turning on the forehand, sidestepping, getting saddled. I have to remember this is my FIRST, this is their ??? probably 20th.
Emily and Kay, I have had problems with my colt too. Here is the scenario. He started wanting to nip me. I pushed him away, He came back for more. I was a little intimidated by him.
First three weeks he wouldn't have anything to do with me-changed over night. Anyway, he was getting more pushy everyday.
The next thing I noticed was he wanted to rear up on me like he does his mom. I don't know why he didn't, but was a matter of time, I figured. So I finally got a stick that we used as stakes for our fence line and laid several around the pasture so one was always handly. I carried one in my hand at all times around him for about a week.
Well, I tried hitting his nose with my hand when he tried to nip, but I wasn't fast enough and he was getting head shy. Kept trying to nip too. So I started whacking him on the shoulder with the stick. Not as hard as I could, but a good solid smack and made my "Auttt," sound. Then as soon as I could, I scratched him all over as though nothing had happened.
And I could just tell he wanted to rear up like he does on his mama. Can't tell you how I knew-just his body language from watching him with his ma I guess. So as soon as he got in my space, another smack on the shoulder.Same when he whirled his behind toward me, only got it on the ass then. There were times I pushed his butt away and kept on scratching. Just have to play it by ear.
Next thing, is running up to me and I know the next step is rearing. I stand my ground and I use the sharp point of the stick to poke him when he runs into it. That worked within a day! He runs up now, but I hold out my hand and say whoa! He stops, and I scratch him. He's shedding, so really loves the scratching.
This has gone on for about eight days now. There is much progress. I wouldn't turn my back on him yet, or bend down to pick up his feet-I'm sure he'd bite my butt, but I'm feeling a lot more confidant that it will get better, whereas before I just wanted to cry. I thought I'd never be able to handle him and he is only what? 9 weeks old now?
So Emily, don't worry about "hurting" your little one. They can take a lot and as long as you are swift with the punishment, and especially if you can tie in a reward with it, your baby will be fine. I'm sure you won't beat it. That obviously is not what I'm doing and wouldn't recommend that to anyone.
I try to remember that the horse is just being a horse, so I don't take it personally as some failure of mine, or worry that I am never going to be able to handle him, although both the above have crossed my mind.
I will be getting professional training early on though, unless he sells.
Anyway, I hope this helps. I think all the suggestions are great. Only thing is, I am not fast enough to bite his ear. As soon as I move he runs, but as I said, that behavior is less and less each day.
Jonathan and Bobbi, I believe horses with bad dispositions should not be bred. I know it is sometimes the handling that makes them bad, and not necessarily the genes, but why chance it? From what you are saying it is in the genes, right?
I'm looking at stallions to breed my mare to and one of the most important things to me is temperment. To me, it is as important as the rest of it. I know a stallion living just up the street from me. I'm trying to find his owner. I've walked up to the wire, that encloses his paddock and he walks up to me with ears up and gently sniffs my hand. Walks quietly away. That's the kind of stallion I want breeding my mare.
Cj: You know, I think it can be both really. Its so hard to say. And who ever knows what kind of a stallion their going to be down the road.
When I bought my stallion, he was the most docile thing and was actually the low man on the totem pole with his gelding pasture friends. Brought him home and bred him to a few mares and he turned into Godzilla! He's fine and fairly easy to work with when he is not accessible to mares. He is a super stallion and is very easy on his mare friends but he just is a holy terror with humans when you bring the sight of a mare within his viewing range.
I chalk him up to "bad tempered" as a result of zilcho manner training not necessarily genetics. More of a wild horse mentality when it comes to breeding. He is very protective of his mares and will tend to "herd" them when they are all bred and running together. The only one (his true girlfriend) that can stand him and his little herding thingy, is Blossom. The rest of the mares (and geldings) just tolerate him. Hahaha!
Some stallions get ranker and ranker the more you breed them. When I was more involved in the QH/TB racing world, there were alot of "boys" that remained intacto until their career was determined to be either successful or not. These guys aren't bred during that time so you may not know what temperment is there until its already been determined that they will stand as a producer. Like Jonathan said, my neighbor grew up in Kentucky on a Standardbred farm and his father managed the breeding shed...there was a stud there that required 4 men and poles and stud chains and almost an armoured tank to walk him down the aisle to do his stuff. What's even tougher is that most mare owners drop their mares off for breeding and then come pick them up. Those stallions may act like good boys in their paddocks but how do you really know what breeding temperment there really is unless you are right there watching them perform the task?
In all the years that I stood my old QH stallion (who was dream to handle and breed), I never had a single mare owner request to be there during the process.
Had another friend of mine who owned and stood her stallion for 12 years...he was definately a "stallion" but was pretty cool to handle. She absolutely adored him and trusted him. One day, while she was in the stall and showing him to a potential mare client, he just "out of the blue" pins his ears and bites her right breast off...and I do mean off...she required several plastic surgeries. He had produced quality foals for years so what possessed him to act that way? Who knows.
I believe that there are "mental horses" that shouldn't ever be breed...I do think THAT is genetic. But I think there is a difference sometime in temperment versus mentally unstable. Does that make any sense at all? (Sleep deprivation is still working on me...hehehe)
CJ, thank you for your post. It felt like I had a friend who understands my frustration. I have cried and felt intimidated, too. Then I'll have a good day and it gets all better. Then a bad day will pop up again. I think I'm going to carry a little crop. It worked really well when he was mule kicking toward me when he was really young. He has NEVER attempted to do that again. i'm slowing down on the leading. He doesn't seem to want to go a long distance yet , so maybe i'm pushing him too fast or hard. Or is he just being stubborn and try ing to decide what he wants to do!
Kay, I firmly believe that it should be you who decides when you are done, not him! This is how they become the boss of us!
Jan Owen Senior Stallion or Mare Username: 1frosty1
Post Number: 1766 Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2008 - 10:58 am:
Kay~ I hear your frustration but don't give up ! I like you had a stud colt for my first foal, I know I've shared with you that we did geld him at 4 months, testicles were dropped and he was already acting studdy and out of my scope of knowledge for sure..per my vets recommendation we gelded early and I was very happy with that decision. He had mom to console him and help swat flies and he recovered very quickly. Carrying a crop is perfect. Use it as an extension of your arm, usually small taps are enough or if he is crowding you with his head it raised will block a little, use the end of your lead too. My babies seem to all begin to "plant" their feet and get stubborn around 4+ months. For me what is important is that I get their feet moving again and them I decide when they get to stop. If that means not going forward and making circles or backing up but they do not get to decide to stop when they want to. They have to move their feet. Take it at your pace but remember that you always need to be alpha~Alpha~alpha....lead mare so to speak Any rank stallion can be put in his place by a bossy mare.
Thanks, Jan, Charlene,and Bobbi, I'm trying. Yesterday actually got scary, his rearing and herding me and striking. It seemed to get worse the harsher I was with the crop. today the farrier came. He would NOT keep his feet up. He struggled and reared. He was not used to bending his leg so that the farrier could put it between the farriers knees. Farrier needed both hands to work nippers. Nova has a bit of hoof rough at the tip and farrier wanted to smooth it out. He said I needed some more work with him raising his feet. I was kind of disappointed. He did say all of this will get better after he's castrated. He didn't know what it is but those hormones really kick in the biting and striking. Called another vet and he said a year old to snip him. My vet said 9 months. Testicles are dropping but don't think they are fully dropped. He did try to mount mom the other day and wouldn't let go despite her moving away from him.
Kay I think it is time to wean that little guy. Lots of people I have talked to say 4months. I have read articlesí that the mareís milk looses most of its nutritional value at this time. If he is strong and healthy make him be on his own. It may help you with your training. I had a colt at the property that we weaned at 7months. He was to be kept a stallion and he was a little ****. We weaned him and then worked with him every day. He realized without mom around he really wasnít all that hot and mellowed down and allowed us to work with him. Up to this point he had nothing done with him. He would bite, rear, no haltering and would kick at you. After 2 weeks away from mom he was a different horse and I hear he is doing well in his 2yr old halter classes.
Try using a soft rope on his legs to lift them. Tie him up and then place it around his pastern and lift it up. This way you arenít in striking distance. I have used it on older horses and had fantastic results.
Kay, your not alone! At least with the rearing part of it. Everytime I practice leading Jetta, she does real good until she decides she has had enough. Then she pulls back and starts rearing. I've tried pulling hard till she comes forward, and or pulling her to the side to get her feet back on the ground. I've also tapped her on the butt with the lead rope. None of what I've been doing has seemed to make a difference. This last time when she reared, her front hoof came down on my ackeels tendon, and then right on the back of my shoe. I was knocked of balance and fell, therefore loosing my shoe. I still hung on to her lead rope though, and after I got up and put my shoe back on she walked toward me like are you ok???? I then, of course, continued our little leading session a little longer till we could end it on a good note. When I get hurt, it is really hard for me to keep my temper in check. So after all my rambling, I really just wanted you to know that I'm just a frustrated as you are. They can be such brats!!!
Charlene, I LOVE YOU!!! And thanks Tahra!!!! After an exciting weekend I will start to wean Nova. My 30 year old son is getting married Friday, July 4. So I will be gone THurs pm, fri and Sat am. Do you suggest separating with a fence between or a totally different area so they cannot see each other. Or try the fence separation for several hours a day and get longer and longer. How long does it usually take to dry up mom and leave her off grain. Then how many days do I keep them separated. I have 4 horses so each one can be paired with another but it is harder feeding apart, etc. But it has to be done. Thanks again to know others are supporting me.
Jan Owen Senior Stallion or Mare Username: 1frosty1
Post Number: 1783 Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2008 - 07:24 pm:
Kay~Congratulations to you and your son and his bride! A very Happy 4th! I seperated my mare and foal across from each other. They could see each other and talk but no touching. There was some pacing and hollering but they calmed down within a few hours. I would still pony baby off of mom but no milk bar trips. Took my mare about 2 weeks to mostly dry up but you could express milk if you tried. Cold hose on full udders and excercise helps to dry them up along with no grain. Have a wonderful weekend!
I have been using a crop too and prefer it, as it is light weight, and very handy. I sometimes forget it though, so then resort to the sticks, as they are handy. I also like to keep them there for anyone else who goes into the pasture with the colt, just in case he decideds he wants to rear up on them.
Aren't these little babies just too full of themselves? Couldn't they be sweet little babies just a little bit longer?
Last night, I got a halter on him all by myself, but barely, Has not been haltered for about three weeks. It is now on the last hole. Will get the next size up (hopefully) tomorrow. The third size up is still big on him.
Anyway, it makes everything so much easier with a halter on! I can hardely wait to begin working with him now.
Today he struck out at me, when I tried to pet his face and hold it like I have been doing for several days in a row, twice a day now. But because of the halter yesterday, he is leary of me getting head control. He is no "dummy" foal anymore!
When the farrier was out for my mare, he kind of scolded me for not having the colt more docile. But damn, I've been doing my best! I was thrilled that he was letting me scratch him; forget anything else right now! I am new at this, but don't appreciate being talked down to. Okay, that't the extent of my complaining. Just had to spout off.
I'm glad you can wean your colt now. Sounds like that will make all the difference, based on the posts from the voices of experience. Let us know how it goes, okay?
Cj-I think your doing the best you can with the experience and knowledge you have! Don't feel bad about what you've accomplished so far. Your heart is there and you are trying, I feel if you didnt do nothing with this baby that would be one thing that's not the case!
Do your best and if you need help come back to the board or ask a neighbor that has more experience.
Kay I would just separate them. It takes about 2 weeks for the mare to dry up but only about 48hrs for them to be comfortable away from each other. I don't understand the short periods of separation. Just make sure the little guy canít get his head throw the fence and nurse! I will be weaning in about 2 weeks and I think Swan canít wait.
Cj: Your farrier just wants his job easier...hahaha...I work with my babies daily and I don't push the training issues too much. I've been working with horses for a really long time and I guess if I didn't have to make a living and had the luxury of being at home 24/7 to train, I could have foals that show extreme progress. But, you do what you can do with what you have. It will come, just takes a little more time. Holy cow, I've got one foal that you could probably put a saddle on his back and it would be no big deal, I've got another that I can't even get a halter on yet, and this last little feisty one won't let me close to her anymore and I friggin' delivered her...now that's gratitude for ya! LOL
Noticed alot of posts concerning the rearing and thought i'd add another possble fix to consider. I've used this on young foals all the way up to older stallions with a rearing in hand issue and it's worked out well for me.
I prefer to use a dressage whip of 30 inches or longer so that you can get a bit more distance if needed. While walking or working beside him have the whip in a ready position (i carry it in left hand, end up so I can bring it across and down quickly in one smooth motion) soon as the feet come off the ground crack him across the top of the withers with the dressage whip and do so several times in succession until his feet are back on the ground or close to it and then move along like nothing ever happened. Don't pull on him or say anything when it happens, just punish him and soon as his feet come down, move on.
Of course you need to take into account the size and age of the horse/foal you are working with and apply the pressure accordingly.
Young foals usually don't take much effort at all and figure it out quickly. You need to be sure that you don't just sting them or slap them with the end of the whip across the withers but have the whip so that when it strikes across the withers you have several inches extending to the far side. I think it kind of gives them the impression that when they come off the ground they've struck something so it's not a good idea to go up.
Striking the legs of rearers usually will only cause them to worsen or become lighter or more hoppity on their feet. Striking the sides or rump can have the effect of swinging the hind end away from you and presenting you with the front end and an undesireable close up view of their feet.
Whatever you choose to do, Be Careful about it.
Aren't they such wonderful little stinkers at times? but you've gotta love 'em, no matter how much they try our patience.
Thank ya all for the encouragement. It is definetely an experience to have a 9 week old colt get the better of me, but it doesn't happen very often. My problems have been more about when he is not haltered. That's when he wants to assert himself. But now he seldom tries tries to run up on me and rear. In fact, he has never actually done it; I just know when it is coming and I can stop him with a verbal now. And he hasn't tried to bite me for a few days at least. He even takes carrot pieces nicely off the palm of my hand. So I guess he is doing okay. But I want more from him.
Thank you all for the advice. I still haven't gotten the DVD's but as soon as I can, I will order them.
Bobbi, the filly you mention; that is just like Poco. He wouldn't let me near him after he was just a few days old. It lasted a long time. Then one day it all changed and he was in MY space! So perhaps she will be like him? I do think you deserve more appreciation though, since you delivered her, in spite of the complications!
Emily, how is it going for you? Haven't noticed you posting in awhile. Hope all is well and you are just busy training your little bundle of joy!
Cj, If you are planning to get some of the Clinton Anderson videos you may also want to take a look on Ebay. I saved a fortune buying mine on Ebay over getting them on the official site. I also purchased some of my training halters and sticks on their as well. Heck, you gotta save where you can.
The wedding was beautiful! When I came back home after about 3 days of NO TRAINING, it actually seemed better. So the suggestion to NOT train everyday seems to work. He and I were more patient and calm.
Phyllis, thank-you, I'll look into that. By the way, anyone know of an actual phone number for e-bay or live chat link? I can't log on right now. They don't recognize my personal info as me! I know this is way off topic-sorry everyone.
I got a halter on my colt the other day and he fights it, but is getting better. I need a halter that is made for in between the suckling and weanling. They don't make them that size. I probably should have bought a mini halter. He has a small (very cute!) face.
He is getting very stud-dey!
Emily, good luck with selling your farm. I hope you've found something even better.
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