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TurkishVan 02-10-2013 11:58 PM

Gelding becoming more aggressive
I have owned my paint gelding for about 7-8 years. He ridden by 2 inexperience young boys (ages around 4 and 5), and was green broke when I bought him. He was an absolute sweetheart, and although very spooky, had very good ground manners, was very polite, and etc. The first night we had him home, he was (we think) bullied by an older gelding, and jumped the fence. He was calmly standing on the front lawn the next morning.
Fast forward about 3 years: I boarded him with a trainer, and came to ride him every night for 2 months during the winter. I was the only one riding him, and he got turned out alone between rides. I was inexperienced, but gentle, and very timid. He was very polite, but slower to learn. Still, he didn't do anything out of the ordinary. But one day he started to buck a bit. I was just trotting around the arena. I took the saddle off, and rode him bareback. He grew tense, and stomped his feet in the ground, like his back hurt him or something. We decided to turn him back out to pasture, thinking he might sort himself out (we hadn't heard of equine chiropractors at that time, and certainly didn't have any nearby).
Fast forward 2 years: Took him to a well-known trainer at a local exhibition. He got the buck out of him, and was very gentle while doing it. They really, really liked his disposition. Despite his original spookiness, he was very calm and curious around big machinery at the farm show. Took him home, and he began to buck again, but even worse. He'd put a rodeo bronc to shame. Haven't rode him for a year and a half. We wanted to sell him, but the market had bottomed out, and we didn't want him to be sold as dog food.

He is currently in a heard with 6 other horses - 3 geldings, and 3 mares. He gradually became the big ma-chees-mo, or alpha male, despite his being what we called a "boob". His position is pretty solid in the herd- he's the youngest of the 4 geldings, and strongest by far. But we noticed, after bringing him back from the trainer/show, that he started exhibiting almost stallion-like behaviors. He runs the other geldings around, snakes his head, chases everyone off from the big hay bales (and they are not starving by any means!), etc. But it seems as if he is getting more aggressive, if that's possible. We suspect that he just put another (older) gelding through the fence. Cut up the older gelding's feet horribly, had arterial bleeding, etc. Something that has never, ever happened. While we were tending to the injured gelding, the paint gelding tried chasing another gelding into the fence.

Does anyone know what could be causing this aggressive behavior? This paint gelding is such a sweetheart around children, dogs, cats, etc., and loves to be loved on. The vet said that he could be proud cut, but only if he displayed an erection while a mare was in heat. I've seen mares in heat around him, and have yet to see any kind of erection.
I just wish we could find the cause of his behavior. He's turning the whole herd sour.
Any info is appreciated! Thanks!

Cherie 02-11-2013 09:11 PM

Hi -- welcome to the Horse Forum.

Separate him from any mares. Some geldings get this bad or even worse when running in a mixed group (mars and geldings). We always run mares and geldings separately. We have 40 horses and do not even run mares and geldings across a fence from each other unless the fence has an electric wire on top of it.

This is just not real unusual behavior. The worst thing is that once some geldings start doing this, they do not stop after you separate them. One thing is sure: He will keep getting worse and worse if left in with mares and geldings. He will eventually hurt other geldings or worse.

When they are well mannered with people, they usually stay nice with handlers and under saddle (if they are well-broke to start with). They just get mean to other geldings and chase and 'guard' mares like a stud.

Palomine 02-11-2013 10:38 PM

Geldings will exhibit studdy behavior even if don't get erection...some do, some don't. And much of it is typical herd dynamics too, when one gelding is bossier.

Separate, get test done to see if want to, as it is worth it.

But mainly I think this horse has your number more than anything, running herd and humans too.

He has learned he doesn't have to behave, so he isn't.

Spotted 02-11-2013 10:48 PM

My gelding is the boss and once in a while he would go over board.
I have found that longing my gelding in front of the other horses would tone him down a bit.
I would longe him until he would show submisive behavior. He would look very embarresed after, but it worked.
It may not work for your situation, but it did for me.

Thunderspark 02-12-2013 02:58 AM

I have 3 geldings and 2 mares in the same appy gelding is the alpha out there but when I walk out he knows I'm alpha.......he behaves himself and doesn't push/shove the others around when I'm in the pasture and behaves perfectly when I take him out.
To me it sounds like he needs some ground work to get his respect for you and listen to you.......

TurkishVan 02-12-2013 02:39 PM

Thank you all!

I wish we could separate him, but that probably won't happen since we don't have the appropriate fencing required to do such a thing.

Actually, he is very submissive on the ground. That's why it's so strange for him to act out like this. We've always had geldings in with mares, and have never had any problems. They have their pecking order, but it has never, ever gotten out of hand like this.
Occasionally I go out to him, and no matter how many days/weeks/months it's been, he'll always come right up to be haltered, walk right out of the pasture, go into a trailer, etc. He is very trusting towards his handler, and has never gotten rowdy with any of us. When loose out in the pasture, he's always wanting a good scratch, but never runs you over, or gets aggressive. I'd say his ground manners are very close to perfect. So I truly believe that he knows his place with humans, and that place is at the bottom of the totem pole. I just wish I could improve his behavior with other horses!
Since we don't have the fencing needed, getting rid of him might be the only option at this point... :-(

CowboyBob 02-12-2013 03:20 PM

I don't think you will be able to train him out of being a horse sadly him being aggressive with other horses is what he is. I worked at a camp in Michigan and we had a herd of 100 head mares and geldings that ran together. I have bought a few horses like yours. The owners would tell me their horses was very aggressive with other horses, I would take them home and rather then moving them into the herd slowly to let them "get to know" a few at a time I would take the aggressive horses and they got to "meet" all 100 head at once :-). I never had a problem with "aggressive" behavior after that.

Your horse has an aggressive personality. How is he if you ride "his pasture mates" around him?
I have had some luck with herding an aggressive horse from horseback. HOWEVER, this is not for the beginner. Put him in an arena and while riding another horse one of his pasture mattes move him around the arena. You should have something in your hand that the horse you are riding is not fearful of (a stick with a plastic bag on the end). This will help you move him away from you and the horse you are riding. I would do this at more then a walk make him move and keep him moving until he is showing sides of submission to you and the horse you are riding.Again not for beginners if the gelding is as aggressive as you say he might come after your horse this is where the stick comes in very handy. Other then that separation or selling is your only hope. Please tell the buy about this problem if you sell him.

jackboy 02-13-2013 11:33 AM

what cowboy bob said does work i've done the very same thing myself.One bit of aaaaadvice stay out of kicking range cause it will happen more than once

TurkishVan 02-13-2013 04:44 PM

Thanks, CowboyBob! Great suggestion!!!
I have honestly never thought to try that! What a good idea! I do have a roundpen that he could sit in, so that would definitely work.

And yes, we never, ever sell a horse to someone without making the buyer fully aware of every problem the horse has. If we do end up having to sell him, it will most likely be on contract, so that I have the first option of buying him back (for the original price) if the new owners don't like him. Stupid, probably, but I just can't bear for him to go to the slaughterhouse!

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