Extremely Herdbound Horse
I adopted a 3 (now 4) year old Belgian (1/4 Haflinger) gelding from a rescue. The back story is that he was brought to the rescue along with his mother when he was a week old. He was adopted out before his dame was and then got sick. The two girls nursed him back to health, let him lay his head on their laps, handfed him, basically pampered him to death. So that when he grew up (a lot taller than his dame) to this almost 17h monster he wanted to lay on their lap and depend on them for his securities and they let him get away with it. He was extremely human oriented but then he went to the rescue and became extremely herd dependent.
He is completely unbroke. Has been sat on a few times. I've started his ground manners but because of his size I refuse to do any kind of saddle training and we are hiring a professional next year (because I feel he is not mentally mature enough to handle the training yet). My two year old filly is further in her training than he is. He blanks out sometimes. One time I was lunging him and he got a fly on him (yes I did spray him off before I worked him) and he went nuts. Came right at me. Of course he got the living stuffing worked out of him after that and even got the rubber end of the lunge line on his noggin because he was coming at me. He is getting better. When I got him I thought he was going to be a total maniac. The way the lady at the rescue described him. She was using a stud chain on him. But I haven't had to. He can be mouthy but if you warn him before he actually does it he'll stop. It doesn't matter what you do to him though he still tries. I even tried the old 3 seconds to kill, everything but his head thing. He still tries to bite. I don't hand feed him, don't let him lick me (he is a licker), don't like his mouth near me.
I'm trying to develope a good base before we send him to a trainer, or have a trainer come here. I've got him lunging, standing tied, walking beside me (instead of on top of me) and standing for the saddle. The biggest problem he has is that he is EXTREMELY herdbound. He has been left out twice here without the rest of the herd and both times he took down the fence to get to them. Electric and field. And if I take any one of the herd anywhere he runs back and forth neighing until someone puts him in a stall, then he will pace the stall. Even if he is left with the other horses.
Now my plan was to turn him out on his own once a day for a couple hours while I'm out with him until he becomes okay without the other horses. Even give him his pellets out in the field while he is alone so he learns that he gets something enjoyable. I want to do something about this before it gets worse or it's harder to do something about. My husband wants him to eventually be a trail horse, I have no doubt that EVENTUALLY he could be one. I think he'd follow after other horses just fine. But my husband doesn't like horses that won't go off on their own either. And I'd feel safe if he would be okay with being on his own. Any input would be great. I'd like a few more ideas in case mine doesn't work.
100% Anti-Slaughter and PROUD of it!