HELP!!! Interesting issue - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 11-29-2009, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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HELP!!! Interesting issue

So, I have a few interesting problems with with my orphaned colt. I'll start with the background information. Mr Big Stuff was orphaned at birth. He is a healthy 8 month old Spotted Saddle Horse colt. He has been kept in a pasture with other colts his age, and he was put with an older mare for her to teach him to be a horse. He adjusted well, but this is where the problems begin.

Problem 1) He is lacking muscle for a colt his age. The mares all accept him, and he plays with the other foals, but his muscles are definitely behind others of his age. (They are definitely behind what his full older sister was at his age) We are planning on ponying him some to help make him more active. This problem isn't so serious because we have a solution.

Problem 2) He is not the least bit scared of humans. This seems like it would not be a problem, but we decided to begin teaching him some basic lunging. It doesn't matter what we try to use, he trusts implicitly that we will not hurt him. He just stands, or he will try to come over to see what we are up to. We have tried using a couple of the Parelli games with him, but he will not actually move away from us unless we touch him with something to force him to be away from us. He does the porcupine game perfectly. (my mother does the Parelli, I do I would be passing an Parelli related advice to her) We even tried having someone he doesn't know attempt to have him move away. He just doesn't seem to understand. He has adjusted to horses, and he understands their body language. How do we get him to understand that we (like horses) should be able to push him away???? We even tried to see if he would move back if he was lightly popped with the whip...he doesn't.He stands looking at us like we're idiots. I have NO more any are welcome.
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post #2 of 27 Old 11-30-2009, 12:08 AM
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Hey Smoothtrails all I can tell you is what I would do in your situation, which may not be that helpful. I wouldn't even try to do anything with the little guy, I would turn him out with another horse or two in a back paddock until he was three. I would send him off to be a horse.

Then I would bring him back in and start again. Ofcourse I would check up on him while he was turned out, worm him as required etc but basically I would leave him alone. I wouldn't even try to handle him unless it was a neccessity. Like I said that is what I would do in your situation and probably not the advice you wanted, sorry.
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post #3 of 27 Old 11-30-2009, 08:54 AM
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i have one question first !! haha sry !
does he yield his hind quarters ? or will he not do that either ?

Gypsy & Scout <3
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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post #4 of 27 Old 11-30-2009, 12:17 PM
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You need to escalate the cues. If you need to spank him on the butt then do it. Do it like you mean it and don't just pester him to move. Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard. I am sure that if you whack him on the ass he will move. Ask him to go, step toward him and ask harder and ifr he still hasn't gone then ask him harder while spanking him on the butt. If you repeat this then he will anticipate the escalation and move sooner.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #5 of 27 Old 11-30-2009, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. We have tried the letting him just be a horse, but he's to the point that we are worried he will end up very behind on muscling and growth if left to just get fat and stay lazy. We have had him with other horses (including foals his age) constantly, and he is still staying with his buddy. She is 2 months younger than him and much taller and in better shape. She tries to get him to play constantly, but he still barely even moves around when she asks. He only runs if the mares move him.

He gives his fore and hind. He just won't go away.

Kevin, I think that you are right that if we make it hard enough he will go. So far the only way we can make him move is to herd him with an older mare. He just tries to stay with people because basically he seems to think we are "mommy" which makes us safe. I guess we're going to have to do what mommy would do, and be mean enough that he wants to get away.

For now we are going to start ponying him, and hopefully once he has more muscle we can get him to go play more to keep it up. He doesn't even try to play with us. Our main worry is that if he continues with poor muscling it could cause him to have issues with stifling later on. We got a colt at one poitn that had not been worked with enough, and even working him 15-20 minutes every other day caused him to start stifling. We would rather get his muscles going now than have to rehab even more later. (this is part of why we want to begin the basics of lunging)
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post #6 of 27 Old 11-30-2009, 12:39 PM
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well he is only 8 monthes old- that is far too early imo...i would just leave him to grow for at least another year and then try some ground work again to see if he is ready. pyshically and mentally he is not ready; put him out with another youngster, and just give him time to grow up ...bring him in daily to get used to handling and grooming, picking up feet, give him a little feed, and turn him back out- thats all he needs at that age.

Last edited by lillie; 11-30-2009 at 12:43 PM.
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post #7 of 27 Old 11-30-2009, 12:41 PM
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He is only 8 months old. No need for him to be lunged at this time. As far as muscle development - even full siblings can develop at different rates.
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post #8 of 27 Old 11-30-2009, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Lillie and mls. He is still just running free with the other weanlings. We bring him in for treats and handling. We're not actually teaching lunging, but we are working on the basics of getting away to move out for lunging later.

With him being an orphan we have no issues with him being scared of us doing anyhting to him, but that is the issue. Without attempting to desensitize him he has become desensitized to anything we do, but this has happened to the point that we can't convince him that he should get away from us when we ask like he would another horse. We're just trying to work on getting him to understand our body language and moving out of human's space.

We are worried that he needs to learn this, especially since he is the only stud colt we have. Within this next year or so he will have to be seperated from his buddy and either put with our QH stallion, put alone, or gelded. We have mostly mares, and since we aren't breeding anybody back we can't put him with pregnant mares for manners.
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post #9 of 27 Old 11-30-2009, 01:09 PM
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Some breeds of horse grow quickly - others take their time.

He is only a baby. He's got time to grow. We Brits don't even think of weaning a foal until it is 12 months.

What are you feeding this little chap - is he getting his minerals and his supplements? Is he eating what he gets? Can he get his nose in the trough?

And as for pushing him away because he wants to be with you - well I spend most of my time trying to persuade my horse that she is my gal but all she fancies is those big butch geldings. You should be so lucky.

One thing to keep in mind - nice big rounded horses are a modern invention. One of the most hardy breeds in the world - the mustang - are mostly scrawny bony creatures - yet they will march on for hours and hours.

Give him time and make sure he doesn't get bullied by the other horses.


PS You have wormed him haven't you?
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post #10 of 27 Old 11-30-2009, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Barry. He has been wormed, and is eating well. He has a huge fat belly at the moment, and no muscles. We would like to help him gain muscle so that there is less stress on his body from his big ole belly. He is on his 3rd worming. He's going to be an awesome boy because he isn't scared of anything we do, but we are worried that if he doesn't learn this stuff young we may end up with and unruly big boy later on, and that he may have health issues if left with no work. We would rather not have him thinking that he should play with us, adn we are very worried about his joints not being supported well enough by ligaments and muscles.

We had to work on him a lot after we finally put him with the horses. He decided that he should be able to play with us and tried to rear, paw, and kick like he would with horses. The only bad thing is that he doesn't do this with other foals. :( We're probably going to put him out with older horses to play and just feed him and our other weanling seperate from the rest. They have their own covered paddock.

He's our little guy so we don't want to let anybody push him around too much. When we first put him with horses he panicked so bad that he would run into ANY fence trying to get away because he thought they meant to kill him, but now he understands that they aren't going to kill him he just has to move.
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