We decided to buy 2 colts the other day.. One being my dream horse.. (we do plan to geld, but that is also a question I will ask in this message).
First question : I have heard its better to break a horse before gelding them??
2: are colts harder to train than phillies?
3: we got halters on the colts and can touch their face/shoulders.. have not went any further yet because they still are skiddish some
4: should we separate the colts for easier training or train them together?
5: should I allow them to smell new objects? I have read both ways.. one being that if I allow it, then I am teaching them it's ok to check things out first instead of trusting in me as the leader.. then I have heard, to allow them to smell things..
First I am very glad to hear that you have a trainer you are working with. It's very scary doing something yourself the first time and why make mistakes when you can learn from someone else who has already "been there done that" and can help you avoid those mistakes?
I was just watching an episode of Julie Goodnight on RFDTV and she said that very thing. Which makes a whole lots of sense! Learn from the people who have already made the mistakes for you! Saves you a lot of headache.
1) Incorrect. Stallions, most of the time by nature, are more willing to do what they
want, rather than what you ask. They can be much more dominating with all those hormones. Geldings are much, much easier to work with (and usually safer too!)
2) If anything, I would say that a filly
is harder to train than a colt. Just in the fact that mares sometimes get a bad rep for being cranky with their hormones. But every single horse is a unique individual. I'd had some fillies that were just a dream to train, and some that were whenches. And I'd had colts that were super simple to train, and some that I'd rather not step in the saddle again. They are as unique individuals as people are.
3) They are naturally going to be skiddish. This is all new to them. It's also okay to "scare" them on purpose, because they you can start to train them how to respond
when they are scared. Clinton Anderson does a fantastic job of explaining this to people. I would try to get a hold of some of his videos if you can!
For example: I have a scary flag in my hand. Keep plenty of slack in the horse's lead. You don't want to make them think you are forcing them to stand there. Bring the flag slowly closer to the horse, until they show signs of nervousness (wide eyes, flared nose, locking legs, etc). Stop moving the flag closer and hold your position. The very instant the horse shows a sign of relaxation (licking lips, moving ears, blinking eyes, etc), remove the flag completely by walking a step away from the horse and putting yourself in-between the scary object and the horse to "protect them". That JUST taught the horse that when he relaxes, the scary object goes away. That's what you want! That's the basics of it. Repeat, repeat, repeat!!
4) I go either way with this. Sometimes its good to tie up one colt while you work with the other nearby. It teaches patience to the onen tied up and it teaches the other one to still focus on you, even though his buddy is near.
But it's also good to separate them once in a while, so that they get used to leaving the other horse, and they get used to being left behind, so they don't become buddy sour.
5) It is FINE to let the horse sniff objects. Actually, it's encouraged in my book. It tells me they are "concerned" with the object and they want to check it out to see if its safe. They're using the thinking part of their brain while they are looking/sniffing it versus the reactive "run" part of their brain if they just plain spook from it.