leading problem w/new horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-11-2010, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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leading problem w/new horse

We just got two new horses. I have several questions!!!

What is the best method of getting everyone use to each other? I have a new gelding and a new mare. Naturally the mare came in heat the first day we had her. One of my old geldings became very studly and possessive of her. I pulled him out of the pasture and put him by himself because he was a menence to the others. I put what I thought would be the lowest man in the pecking order (and he was) but he was so low down that he didn't show the two new horses the "ropes" so to speak. I wanted him to show them how to come to the barn when called. He won't come now, because the new gelding who doesn't understand coming to the barn and is actually sorta afraid of the barn (cows/chickens) is higher in the pecking order and won't allow him to go first. So now I thought I'd put another gelding in that pasture but he is higher status and I don't want any fights. So what do you do to get everyone friendly?

Second question... the new horse will lead most of the time just fine. but, sometimes he refuses to budge and even backs away scared. He doesn't rear but throws his head up sniffing and blowing. Yesterday trying to lead him to the barn and food, we would take two steps forward and back up 5. it took a bout 15 minutes of coaxing him before he would come into the barn where he has been several times already. He knows there is food there. Although they are in a pasture that has good grass so they are not real hungry.

So basically-how do you teach a balky horse to lead, and how do you get everyone to be friends quicker with no bloodshed or running thru fences???

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post #2 of 7 Old 05-11-2010, 09:29 AM
Green Broke
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Do you feed any grain?
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-11-2010, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I feed sweet feed and some pelleted feed. They seem to love the feed.

I have always had good luck with calling the horses from the field and they usually run to the barn. They know which stall is theirs and go into them very, very willingly. This new gelding just seems spooked of everything and doesn't want to come to the barn. I want to put my other gelding in with them who will hopefully "show" them how to come to the barn and be glad to do it. I am worried they will fight. I also am concerned about the leading problem.

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post #4 of 7 Old 05-11-2010, 10:58 AM
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In my opinion they're probably going to fight any way you look at it. Horses are big, strong animals, and they can take a few kicks and bites with little or no trouble. If they try to rip each other's heads off, its time to separate them.
They have to establish a pecking order and they're not going to do it with a few nose touches and squeals.
I've got two horses who fought consistently for two years. They weren't seriously hurting each other, but they did kick and bite. And eventually, they got over their foolishness.
I'd let the horses work it out.

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post #5 of 7 Old 05-11-2010, 12:58 PM
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on the leading front, it is hard to say exactly what is going on without being there but I would not stop and back when he wants to. Do not turn toward him, that is releasing the pressure, and don't keep a strong steady pull on the rope as he'll just lean more and more against that. Instead, try short repeated tugs to get those feet moving again and then release the second he starts moving forward. You can swing the rope in your left hand (while still facing in the direction you want to go) to try and disengage the feet/brain as well, again stop the second you get forward movement.

My guy did this at first, he realized pretty quickly that if he pitched a fit and acted scared he'd get what he wanted. I really wanted to reassure him because he's a pretty insecure boy but after 2 weeks of trying that approach I couldn't even get him to the barn from his paddock. After two days of trying the approach I outlined above, he's never had a leading problem since.
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-11-2010, 11:20 PM
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My first question is, how long have these two been on your place? If your gelding is throwing his head up and blowing, he probably is scared. tealamutt's leading advice is awesome. If he is scared, I would lead him back and forth for a few days, or just get him to stand still in the problem areas and look around. He might just need to get acquainted with his surroundings. As far as introductions go, it's a herd thing. The only way to minimize the fighting is to make sure they have enough room. Herd behavior calls for some fighting. It is usually the worst in the first few hours they are all together, but it should calm down rather quickly.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-12-2010, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!!! Tealamutt your advise is great, I will try that with the leading. We have the two new horses in the barn in a stall. That seems to be the place he was scared of so we thought we would let him live there for a day or so. We have the gelding I want him to be friends with in the stall next door. (they can hang their heads over into each others stall) I know there will be some pecking order fighting, I understand that. But, when the mare was in heat and we put my daughters horse (gelding) in with them her horse went very "stud acting" not mounting her but staying between the mare and the new gelding, and really being MUCH MORE agressive than I had ever seen them be when they are doing the pecking order fighting.
I will respond later on how the leading and getting to know one another goes after the next few days are over.

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