1 year old mini horse - Where do I start?
First of all he is about to be gelded.
I am not very experienced with horses and he is already a real hand full. He tries to bite me and rears at anyone that comes near him.
After he is gelded I am hoping he will calm down.
I used to be able to walk him some a few months ago, but I had trouble keeping him moving instead of eating grass.
Today I purchased a rope halter for a little more control, but I won't be able to try it until the weekend.
I am not opposed to disciplining him, but I don't know where to start. I don't want to just be hitting him a lot though. When he bit at me a couple of days ago, I immediately smacked him in the mouth and he moved away from me pretty quickly like he got the message.
Right now he is in a 40 x40 chain link fence attached to my barn. I have not brought him out of the fence in about 2 months due to my fear of what will happen.
I want him to be a pet and I want to be able to lead him and trust him around my kids who are 3, 7, and 9.
I have several questions so here goes:
1. How long will it take for him to recover from the castration procedure?
2. How long do you think it will take to calm him down some?
3. Should I start by teaching him to lead?
4. What would a typical training session look like?
5. How long should I work on it before allowing him to eat grass or go back to the barn?
Thanks for any advice you can give...
My mini was 2 when I bought him. I immediately got him castrated as well, because he was a very sassy little man. He would bite, rear, try to beat up the big horses, and just stir the pot. It took about two weeks for him to recover from the castration fully, but your vet will tell you as well. It was a simple clamping procedure. He was a much better little man after that, but we still had a lot to work on! If he would do something such as biting towards me, he would get a smack on the neck or a big NO! you will just have to see what works for your guy. Minis are very ornery and do better with a job. I would 'pony' him behind my quarter horse when I rode, or was walking around rather. It gave him exercise and taught him that it isn't all about him in the big world. Lunging can really help teach him manners too, and is good exercise. I have always wanted to get a harness and get my little guy to plow something up, or pull a cart - but I haven't come across anything I could afford yet. This is unrelated but if you are worried about founder in the spring you might try Remission - its a supplement made by Animed. I give it in the spring. I have my horses trained to STOP what they are doing when I make a loud "AHHH!" noise, and it works for the pony when he is being mischievious. It will take time for him to calm down as well, since he is young. Lead him around when you do outside chores and bond with him, as well as assert yourself. Let him know that a bite will be followed immediately up with a reprimand. They are smart, and he will probably learn. I never used a crop or whip with a bad pony like i would a horse because they are smaller and seem to get too jumpy with it - but maybe that's just my guy. Minis pick up on things quickly!
When you walk him allow him about 4' of lead so he doesn't have to crowd you but can walk his own path. When his nose dives for grass, use a stick or riding crop and tap him on the rump, a light tap to start. He might goose forward but your length of lead will enable him to circle you. Just start walking again and repeat when his nose dives. When using a knotted halter. Keep your sessions to about 20 min as he's still a baby. If you google horse agility, there are obstacle course ideas that help refine the groundwork.
Mini horses are just like big horses, just smaller, my suggestion for you is to get some training videos about getting respect on the ground. My mini was my first horse and because I had no horse experience I turned him into a terrible little monster. When I started using techniques from training videos it made a HUGE difference in my horse. I rented the videos at first then bought the ones I liked, I used John Lyons, and Clinton Anderson to start, but then my favorite became Pat Parelli because he has so many different ideas for ground work, my minis and I never get bored. PP gets criticized a lot for doing too much ground work, by people who prefer to ride, but if you own a mini, it's perfect!
Definitely start with teaching proper leading, it is the basis for nearly everything else you will want to do with your horse! Letting your horse graze is fine, as long as you are in control of where and when he stops and eats. Your vet will probably tell you to walk your mini after he is gelded to reduce post-operative swelling, in fact my vet told me to lounge my little one at walk & trot for 20 min a day for a week after his castration last spring. It can take a while for the testosterone to get out of your horse's system,and the amount of time it takes a horse to "realize he's a gelding" varies with each individual, because he is still fairly young I would say you will begin noticing a difference in 3-4 weeks.
Thank you for the replies. I had his feet trimmed today and my farrier gave me a couple of helpful tips too. I will look into some videos for help as well.
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