Yearling Training

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Yearling Training

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    03-04-2011, 03:19 PM
Yearling Training

I have been taking care of a yearling for about a month and now she left him with me. I haven't decided yet if we are going to keep him.

For the most part he acts great. He was gelded back in the Fall. Then he gets this bug up his butt and wants to act out. I hope this is fairly normal testing/misbehaving young horse behavior but I have not been around young horses much and want to be sure.

Most of the time he will lead on a loose lead and no problem.
Sometimes he will try to turn his butt to me and kick.
I will snap the lead to correct him and get a higher hold on the leadrope.

He rushes for feed and if you aren't quick enough to suit him, he may turn to kick.

If you are in the pasture with him and the other two horses (9 year old mare and 16 year old gelding) and push him away, he may snap at you and one time has acted like he was going to come at me.

Ok having typed it out, it doesn't seem so great. Any suggestions?

A lot of my corrections involve making him back up or move away.
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    03-04-2011, 03:43 PM
It sounds like you're doing the right thing - drive him away. The only thing I might ask you to consider is how you're holding the lead rope. I don't know what you mean when you say you get a higher hold but if you mean a tigher grip I would do the opposite. Let the horse drift away from you and keep the slack in the rope. But don't let him come at you under any circumstance. Sounds like you've got a dominant yearling and yes this is normal for a dominant one.

Turning them out with other horses that will teach them manners is the best approach to managing his dominance.
    03-04-2011, 03:48 PM
Oh the gelding especially doesn't tolerate anything from him. :)

By higher hold I mean I move my hand up to just a few inches from the halter so he can't swing around and get me. I am not dragging him or pulling on his face. Just keeping him up where I can see what he is doing.
    03-04-2011, 04:09 PM
VERY normal behavior to test you!

Turning butt/threatening to kick- I am no professional, but I do the groundwork on all of the youngsters/green beans on the farm. Every horse I have worked with, we've had to play "hide the hiney". It normally doesn't take but a few minutes for them to figure out what you want. My BO normally uses either a bucket(because it's loud and won't hurt them) or a lead, personally I use a lead. EVERY time he acts like he wants to put his butt to you pop him. DO NOT let him slide on it, this is a very dangerous stage they all go through but you must nip it in the bud immediately or they could seriously injure/kill someone as they grow. They normally look at you like you grew horns, wings, and a spikey tail at first, but you aren't hurting them in any way. Unless you enter his space and purposefully walk to his hindquarters he should NEVER EVER turn his butt to you.

Leading-You are right to set him back when he acts frisky on the lead. Ideally you want him slightly behind your shoulder on your right side. Some people want them trailing several feet behind, but it makes me nervous. What if something spooked them and they went into flight mode right over the top of me? If he gets too close, wants to walk too fast, etc... pop the lead and back him up. Have you worked on back with him at all?

Feeding-Kinda ties in with the butt turning issue, and once you teach him that lesson this should greatly improve, but make him wait until he is reasonably calm before you let him eat. Have you ever watched dog trainers make a dog wait until they say ok to go for their bowl? Same idea.

Field behavior- At this point, I wouldn't go into the field with him at liberty without something in my hand(lead, small whip, something). If he doesn't move off when you tell him to scare the bujeezus out of him. A dominant mare would nip, chase, kick, and scream at him for acting like a butt. Wave your arms, holler, and even pop him with the lead if he doesn't want to move off. And KEEP him away until he drops his head, or licks his lips and makes chewing movements, basically until he submits and says sorry. Then you can let him come back, give him a pat, and all is well.

Biting-there are a million different approaches to this issue. For me, as odd as it sounds, spitting on Jacks nose worked best. I tried push pins, pushing his head away, popping him in the nose, letting him "bump" my elbow, nothing worked and he was a BAAAAD biter as a colt. Get a small amount of saliva in your mouth and as soon as you see the thought cross his mind spray his nostrils. I know it sounds gross, but I almost did a dance the first time he froze with his mouth open and then walked away with a look of disgust on his face. I am told it simulates a mare snorting at him and gets your scent in his nose.

Hope this helps!
    03-04-2011, 04:17 PM
I think you are doing OK, but I would take it a step further. I believe you are being too subtle. I would take him into a round pen carrying a lariat and do exactly what you are now as far as leading him and the split second he makes any kind of aggressive move I would drive him away. Teach him that that behavior is unacceptable. I would keep doing this until he finally gets it that if he doesn't behave he can't be with you. He'll come around.

I have a little pony mare that did the same thing as yours. She was used to fighting for her food with four Percherons. She would bite and turn and kick if you got near her while she was eating. I would put the feed in the bowl but not let her near until she came up to me with ears forward. I don't have a round pen but I still did the same thing in the pasture. After a few days she started to catch on and now comes to me with ears forward and is ready to be stroked a little. Then she can eat.

Takes time and patience, don't be in a hurry.

    03-04-2011, 04:35 PM
Ok great! I am so glad to hear this is baby behavior and that I am on the right track!

I have worked on making him back, usually when he is trying to rush when I am leading him or backing away from me in the field.
    03-04-2011, 04:52 PM
Remember be only as tough as you need to be and as gentle as possible. Be consistent and stay the course. These babies are growing in both body and mind it is only normal for them to do this. It will change don't get discouraged.

The spitting - how interesting idedoc - that's what my Llama does and it does work for him
    03-04-2011, 04:56 PM
A good way to cure that is to do what the horses do...... as your leading them or when you stop and they come too close, just maintain your direction but take your right foot and kick back into their chest a couple of times until the back off. Don't worry you can't hurt them by doing this. Again, after a short while they will get the message and keep some distance behind you. You can also teach them to maintain that distance if you stop and then take a step or two backwards. If they don't move back at the same time, give them a kick in the chest until they back off. Before you know it they will be following you around a couple of feet behind you and if you back up.... they will too! Again, your little backward kick will not hurt your horse at all and it is the way that they learn in the herd.

Think like a horse!

    03-04-2011, 05:09 PM
Totally ibedoc. Even just wiggling your butt and threatening to kick will get them backing once they get the idea
    03-04-2011, 05:11 PM
You haven't seen my butt! It's been known to cause stampedes.

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