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Help leading young horses

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    06-26-2011, 08:46 AM
Faye synthetic musks are not the same nor do they function the same as a natural pheromone. Secondly in actual fact certain types are know to be hormone inhibitors in actual fact.

As always I try to keep an open mind so if you have knowledge of a study showing the effect of musks on the sexual arousal of colts then I would love to read it. At present I would argue that if this was the case then we wouldn't even be able to wash our clothes as most fabric detergents are also full of them so would cause the same reaction as your perfume. As I say a much more logical cause of a reaction to the perfume is the masking of the horses natural ability to pick up scents elsewhere such as an approaching predator. This is why wind makes horses spooky I believe. The constantly changing wind, masks the direction of scents and makes it more difficult to hear. Thereby making horses more twitchy. ( a bit like humans in the dark as we rely on sight so much)

As for a chimney we will have to agree to disagree. I see your point and your experiences. That's fine I just cannot agree with them. In Argentina they use a piece of wire over the nose as 'an anti-rearing bit'. Does that make it right?

Interestingly that's part of the problem with handling horses, we look to the solution and not the cause too often.
Traditional and NH handlers are looking at techniques or methods to treat a problem, without looking at the cause. It's amazing how so many of these horses are on sports yards isn't it?

If a horse is being aggressive (usually caused by a history of human intervention) then the first thing I do is give him space to attack. Yes attack. I am present and stand my ground but offer no pain or counterattack. That is incredibly powerful, because the horse has given his all, he has been able to express his power and emotions, and here is someone who has stood his ground but not tried to overpower him back. Usually they settle and follow within minutes. Problem resolved and the foundation is set for ever more in just those few minutes.
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    06-26-2011, 08:59 AM
Green Broke
Just thought I would point out becuase I don't know if I said it in my original post. I don't actually know if this horse was being aggressive. I was too close to see anything other than his feet at the time. When I was able to really read his body language it did not appear aggressive as such. I am not sure but I think he was more acting out of frustration because I was not allowing him to do as he wanted. A bit like a little kid throwing a tantrum.
    06-26-2011, 09:26 AM
Green Broke
Doe, I do not know of any studies done specificly for the affects of perfumes on colts, TBH it isnt something that I have looked up before, however see below for links to pheromone product that do have proof behind them. It is something that 20+ years of owning horses has taught me. Heck even mares can get a bit funny around perfumes when they are in season.

Synthetic musks have been linked to hormone disruptors in humans, yes I know that it is because they break down the bodys defence to other toxic chemicals and thus you get problems, they are also carcinogenic. Also if you look at the stabilisers and preservatives put into most perfumes you will find that the problem lies there for the most part and as of 2014 some of them are going to be illegal to put into perfumes and are being phased out beginning in jan of 2012. A large part of my job is finding things to replace these stabilisers/preservatives and doing stability trials.

Thing is that Synthetic musks give off the same pheremones (which are essentialy smells which we don't concioulsy recognise but instinctualy react to) as real musks, that is the whole reason they are used in perfumes.
If you want proof of that you need to look at such products as DAP for dogs
What is D.A.P.®? / All about DAP® / DAP - The secret to happy dogs - DAP

Or PAX for horses
PAX - The Aromatic Calming Therapy for Horses

Both of which have been proven in clinical trials and are synthetic pheromones.

Horses don't tend to react to washing powders or soaps quite as badly as perfumes simply because of the concentrations involved.

Also If you have ever smelt washing powder or moistureiser before the masking agents and perfumes are added then you would find that they actualy smell horrific. I've walked into the lab several times and nearly been sick because someone was formulating in there and not got to the masking agent yet.
Masking agents work by blocking some of the specific human olfactory receptors, horses receptors are different and thus the masking agents don't work on them.
    06-26-2011, 09:42 AM

I don't disagree that horses can be spooky or react differently around strong perfume. Where we differ is the reason. I do not believe it has any sexual trigger. Pheromones as a calmer do work for many animals, again however they are specifically selected and are not the same as human perfume. Also cross specie interactions are again largely specific.

So here I am merely saying that I do not believe perfume causes a sexual arousal reaction in stallions. If it did that would revolutionise the stud industry. If a stallion can be conditioned to react to a specific head collar then just think what could be achieved with scents.
    06-27-2011, 03:49 PM
I've been working with four stallions (ages between 5-14) for a little over a year. They are handled by women 99% of the time and I have never seen a difference in how we smelled or the time of month. Just my honest opinion.

I had never handled a stallion before and I did a lot of following at first, to see how my trainers handled the young stallions being broke to lead. Then I would lead the stallion and they would follow me and eventually worked it up to me being able to lead them from paddock to barn and handle whatever they decided to dish out that day. (Just remember to stay on the same side as the handler, for safety's sake.)

We lead with a chain, usually over the nose, rarely through the mouth. The huge important thing is to remember not to pull down on the chain when correcting as that causes the horse to go up and we don't want that. ;) So pull sideways and always give. Don't pull steady because you'll never outpull a horse. The release is just as important as the pull.

Here's a quick overview of how a lead a stallion from his turnout to a stall.
Enter paddock. Walk out to stallion and put the chain and lead over his nose. OR if stallion comes when I call and is waiting at the gate. Move him back a few steps by stepping towards him and saying "back." Of course if he does not respect my space immeadiately, I deliver apropriate consequences.

Keeping the stallion respecting you and focused on you is key. Often I give a little wiggle of the chain before opening the gate and walking out, just to make sure that the stallion is aware of it. Use your precipheral vision to watch the stallion as you lead him. Ears must not zero in on anything other than you and he must not stare intensely at other horses. Vocal reward and repremend is so helpful. Tell him when he's doing good and tell him when he's not. How else will he know what you expect of him?

People expect different things of their stallions. Here, we allow them to nicker and whinny as long as their focus remains on us. Anything else is unacceptable. Each stallion will take discipline differently. Start out with small corrections, don't just go to a big yank. As long as my chain is clipped onto that stallion's halter, he must listen to me.

Often as I go into the barn there are mares in the other stalls and I know this, so I'll jiggle the chain as we enter the barn and maybe say "focus." We don't stop and march right to the stall. I make sure the stallion is out of my space and focused on me (no screaming or head in the air) before releasing him.

This is getting longer than I expected, so I'll leave it at this for now. I can explain things better if there are some parts that confuse you.
    06-27-2011, 05:39 PM
Green Broke
Thanks that was helpful though we don't use chains, we only have chifneys. It's almost the same here except the trainer doesn't like them 'talking' either.
    06-29-2011, 01:58 PM
You're welcome, glad I could help. :)
    06-29-2011, 02:28 PM
Aren't young horses fun? I try to at least have a good long lead or a crop with me when leading a young horse, just because my arms are only so long.
I require the horse to walk with me, but out of my space. I walk briskly with purpose and expect the horse to focus on me. Doing transitions by walking faster or slower helps them keep focused. For more forward I use body language first, then a cluck, then a touch with the rope or crop. They must keep going forward.
If the horse screeches to a halt and then tries to rear, I first try to move the haunches to disengage them and get the horse walking briskly forward again. If he makes it up, I "attack" the stomach with the crop or rope and when he comes down and again walks briskly forward I reward.
I don't mind if the horse wants to "express his emotions" and all that touchy feel junk but he can do so within my parameters as I have the brain and the food and the water. As long as his focus is on me and he is within my parameters life is good. Rearing and trying to kill me is not within my parameters.

A final note - do not let him circle around you. As soon as his shoulder passes your left one, the battle is over and he won. Even when disengaging the haunches, make sure you have handle on the front end and speed too. Pressure should be brief and effective. To slow down, one pull and your body language slowing should create a reaction and then immediately release. If you are holding onto him, this may be creating the rearing.

Good luck!
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    06-29-2011, 05:44 PM
Green Broke
You just made me think about some stuff I didn't realise but I was probably doing. I will have to keep that in mind next time.
    06-29-2011, 06:15 PM
Originally Posted by IslandWave    
We lead with a chain, usually over the nose, rarely through the mouth. The huge important thing is to remember not to pull down on the chain when correcting as that causes the horse to go up and we don't want that. ;) So pull sideways and always give. Don't pull steady because you'll never outpull a horse. The release is just as important as the pull.
i completely agree I do the exactly same with y 3 yr ol TB stallion and I have no problem leading him its a perfect safe way for bouth to do it. Couldnt agree on a better way to do it.

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