I have a 5 month old colt that has a little problem rearing and carrying on when you lead him. This little guy is super sweet, has had halters on him since he was two days old, and ties surprisingly well. The problem is when you are leading for an extended period of time he wants to play and rear and all that. How can I stop this before it gets to be a real problem and dangerous?
I would do a few things...
I would try to keep leading sessions to a minimum five-ten minutes but maybe do a few several times throughout the day if possible. However, if he starts rearing during the short session do not stop. How is he with giving to pressure? And is he desensitized to a short crop? This leads into my next suggestion
If he starts rearing, turn him around, using the crop to help move him into the circle, I'm not saying lunging, but to just turn him and walk the other direction and if he rears again do it again. Let him know that if he does this while you are leading him it is going to mean more walking/turning and the crop is not used for discipline but just to give you your safe space from him.
Hopefully by shortening your sessions, since the young ones have little attention span, he will learn that he can rear on his own free time but that it will not be tolerated during handling.
I'm sure others will give good tips, but please let us know how it goes for you! :-)
My first thought is, what's an extended period of time? Remember he's a baby and his attention span is not much more than a knat's. Try not to mess with him for longer than you need to.
Another thought is what sort of environment is he living in? Can he be out with a number of other horses that will play with him and also put him in his place to keep him from being too naughty?
Regardless of all of that - rearing is unexceptable. It needs to be dealt with fast and furious and be over quickly. If his front feet are off the ground back him up furiously and aggressively. This may sound harsh but I would knock him off his feet a time or two so long as the environment is safe and he's not so large that this could do any real damage- any other horse would do this to him too. If you catch him right before the rearing I'd back him furiously. I'd start practicing teaching him to yield every part of his body and any time he wants to move his feet he can, but he has to do it where and when you tell him. Teach him to stand will be helpful too. Don't make him stay still for too long, he's a baby with a wondering mind.
A vet appointment would stop it.
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Agree with Schulzs. The foal needs to learn to be sent with pressure, like a casual circle. Pull and direct with the directional hand, and apply pressure by spinning the end of the rope. If he doesn't move, you get closer with the rope and tap his shoulder until he moves off. If he dives into you, pop him with the rope underhand on his belly.
Then, once he walks around you calmly in a circle, pull his head and step towards his butt and make him relinquish his hindquarters.
Just teaching my 4 month old this technique this week. :)
He is actually really good about giving to pressure. Next time I will try using a crop, usually I just use my hand but that will give me more space to back off him for safety like you said. Thank you!
Well by extended period of time I mean like not just leading him up to the barn or something but like actually having a "lesson" which is no more than 10 minutes at a time.
He is out in a pasture with his mother and three geldings all day, so he gets plenty of play time. Thank you I will try your suggestions.
Oh one more thing, and you may already know this, but don't pull back while he is rearing as that usually causes them to pull back more and can lead to falling or injury for him or both of you, but as soon as the two front feet hit the ground then make him turn fast. :-)
I led him again today and he did much better he never even reared so I didn't have a chance to try out these suggestions. Let's hope it stays this way!
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