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LeahKathleen 03-25-2009 11:45 PM

Horse that gets picked on.
I'm not completely sure if this is where I should post this, but it might be considered a "behavioral" issue.

I have a 3 year old gelding who gets picked on by three of the four mares I have, and even the little pony gelding that's out there temporarily. He's the youngest out there - two of the mares are 4, one is 14, and the other is 16. The pony is 3.

Joey is a big boy - about 15.3 hands - and he gets kicked, and bitten, and chased all over the pasture. I am almost positive it is brought on by the fact that he is VERY playful, and no one wants to play with him. We have tried putting him in a separate pasture with the mare that doesn't beat him up, but then he ends up pestering her so bad that she kicks out at him or bites him. If we put him out alone, he gets lonely and sad, and it makes him more difficult to work with because he's got so much pent up energy.

These are NOT mean horses - they do not kick, bite, rear, or have any real behavioral issues with people. They are all broke, except Joey. He's halter broke and started, but he isn't saddle broke yet.

I just don't know how to keep him occupied. He has play-things - balls, ropes, cones, anything he can find to play with. He is very eager to please and willing to work when you ask him to - usually. He is just VERY playful. He loves to run and buck and kick and toss his head - but none of it is malicious or mean. He'll run full speed at another horse try to play, but he just ends up getting kicked. His ears are never back and his teeth are never bared.

Now, I've noticed that he has a hard time with space. He crowds and has to stick his nose in everything. He gets disciplined for it quite regularly. He knows how to back up, and will do so, but he's just so curious, that if you turn around, he wants to see what you're doing, so he's right back in your face.

I'm not sure why he isn't responding to discipline. He knows how to yield to pressure, and I know he UNDERSTANDS what is being asked of him - he just HAS to see what you're doing. It's something we're working on, and he's gotten a little better about it.

I'm thinking something similar is happening is the pasture. He is asking to play, and the other horses are telling him to stay out of their space, but he's not getting it. I thought it was something he'd grow out of, and that it wasn't terribly pressing, but yesterday I brought him in to groom him, and he's so beaten up. He's missing chucks of mane, and he's got bites all over him.

My question is how do I get the other horses to stop picking on him? I have tried giving him toys, playing with him in the round pen, working him, separating him, everything. Any tips?


Spastic_Dove 03-25-2009 11:50 PM

You really can't. My horse is the exact same way. I watch a heard of mini's go after him one day where I used to board. He wants to play and they dont. I just leave him out there with them. It's taken years but he is finally starting to defend himself and make buddies with a few of the colts out there.

If anyone knows of a solution though, I would be eager to hear it.
If he is getting injured, I would turn him out on his own with a goat or friendly/playful mini or something if you could.

LeahKathleen 03-25-2009 11:57 PM

He's not getting -injured- per say. It never seems to phase him. He just looks AWFUL... missing big chunks of hair and mane... -.-

I have thought of getting him a goat, but I am always afraid he'll hurt the goat... lol. He likes to rear up, and I'd be afraid of him coming down on top of the poor little goat.... lol.

And the little pony that's out there goes after him all the time... so sad. Poor Joey.

Spastic_Dove 03-26-2009 12:04 AM

:( Sad.
My guy is usually covered in battle wounds, it's good to see to see him normal looking lately. The goat/let him learn approaches were the only ones I could think of :/ Sorry

LeahKathleen 03-26-2009 12:07 AM

Ha ha, no worries. I'm guessing he'll grow out of it eventually, I just just hoping there was something that could discourage them from picking on him.

The goat's a good idea - I would just feel horrible if something happened to the little guy. Lol.

Still though, if anyone has ideas, we'd love to hear them! Thanks!

MN Tigerstripes 03-26-2009 11:58 AM

Maybe if you spent more time working with him? Just groundwork and such... it might give him something to do and reduce his energy level a little bit to where the other horses can tolerate him :-). What is he getting to eat? Do they have enough space? My horse was kept at a place with not enough room for the amount of horses and the low totem pole horse got picked on a lot.

kchfuller 03-26-2009 12:59 PM

So my friends mom horse is REALLY pushy and when you go out there with him he will literally come RUNNING up to you and he follows you everywhere and chews on the other horses tails and is just really pushy ... if you state your dominance with him he gets mad and throughs a fit. My friends mom lets him do his own thing so he loves her- lol but my mare is sassy back to him and puts him in his place. I think it is a lack of personal space and as bad as it sounds you need to let him learn, otherwise he will be like that always... but a few suggestions:

- work him everyday so that when he goes home (to the pasture) he is tired
- focus on not letting him crowed your space- then he will carry that over into the pasture
- can you put him in the pasture right next to everyone else so that he can see them but not bother him?

Let us know how it goes!

Jubilee Rose 03-26-2009 01:46 PM

I agree with kchfuller that working him consistently may do the trick. Groundwork would definitely help. Who knows, he may just grow out of it. I know this may sound like an obvious statement: but young horses usually have lots of energy. The young horse who used to be at my barn would run around, rear, toss, etc. just because he was having fun. He was also very pushy as well. I think just make sure that you show him that YOU are the "alpha." Don't let him get away with being pushy. I'm guessing he's trying to find his place in the pecking order. His playfulness may be coming from the fact that he just wants to duke it out with the other horses in order to establish a place in the herd. There is nothing really you can do to prevent him from being aggresive in the field, except work consistently with him and show him who's boss. Good luck! :-)

mls 03-26-2009 02:05 PM


Originally Posted by kchfuller (Post 277562)
- work him everyday so that when he goes home (to the pasture) he is tired

Sounds good in theory but in reality, as he gains more condition he will take longer and longer to tire.

To the OP- Your colt is young and mentally immature. My husband has a gelding just like yours. The other geldings will play for a while and then they get frustrated and simply want to eat or nap. They talk as only horses do and the gelding gets marked up. He's a light colored palomino to boot.

With our colt, it does help to spend time with him and work him but he is such a fun loving thing. I would not change him for the world.

But I do hope he matures soon . . . :wink:

kchfuller 03-26-2009 02:47 PM

wouldn't that be good to condition him? especially if she wants to ride him .. just a thought :)

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