Horse that gets picked on.
I'm not completely sure if this is where I should post this, but it might be considered a "behavioral" issue.
I have a 3 year old gelding who gets picked on by three of the four mares I have, and even the little pony gelding that's out there temporarily. He's the youngest out there - two of the mares are 4, one is 14, and the other is 16. The pony is 3.
Joey is a big boy - about 15.3 hands - and he gets kicked, and bitten, and chased all over the pasture. I am almost positive it is brought on by the fact that he is VERY playful, and no one wants to play with him. We have tried putting him in a separate pasture with the mare that doesn't beat him up, but then he ends up pestering her so bad that she kicks out at him or bites him. If we put him out alone, he gets lonely and sad, and it makes him more difficult to work with because he's got so much pent up energy.
These are NOT mean horses - they do not kick, bite, rear, or have any real behavioral issues with people. They are all broke, except Joey. He's halter broke and started, but he isn't saddle broke yet.
I just don't know how to keep him occupied. He has play-things - balls, ropes, cones, anything he can find to play with. He is very eager to please and willing to work when you ask him to - usually. He is just VERY playful. He loves to run and buck and kick and toss his head - but none of it is malicious or mean. He'll run full speed at another horse try to play, but he just ends up getting kicked. His ears are never back and his teeth are never bared.
Now, I've noticed that he has a hard time with space. He crowds and has to stick his nose in everything. He gets disciplined for it quite regularly. He knows how to back up, and will do so, but he's just so curious, that if you turn around, he wants to see what you're doing, so he's right back in your face.
I'm not sure why he isn't responding to discipline. He knows how to yield to pressure, and I know he UNDERSTANDS what is being asked of him - he just HAS to see what you're doing. It's something we're working on, and he's gotten a little better about it.
I'm thinking something similar is happening is the pasture. He is asking to play, and the other horses are telling him to stay out of their space, but he's not getting it. I thought it was something he'd grow out of, and that it wasn't terribly pressing, but yesterday I brought him in to groom him, and he's so beaten up. He's missing chucks of mane, and he's got bites all over him.
My question is how do I get the other horses to stop picking on him? I have tried giving him toys, playing with him in the round pen, working him, separating him, everything. Any tips?