Houston, we have a problem
I'm putting this over here instead of "training" because this is the style of training I prefer.
Some back ground history.
Max is about 2 1/2-3 judging from his baby teeth. From the time he was about 1-1 1/2 he was boarded up in a barn, no food no water, completely in a tomb. At the time he was a stud colt. He was removed last December as part of an SPCA seizure. He spent from December to May at a foster barn, a lady who we are friends with. When the foster period was coming to an end Hubby and I had to make a decision........ he had been gelded in February but knew nothing..... and I mean nothing. We felt that if he went back into the "system" he would be hard to place with NO skills. So we brought him home.
Since May I have been working with and he has taken to everything with gusto. There have been stumbling blocks but once he gets it he gets it. I can post tons of pictures showing the progress....... The methods I have been using are based on a fellow by the name of Jonathan Field. Jonathan was a level 5 certified Parelli instructor up here in Canada. Parelli has since dropped his Canadian program and Jonathan went on his own. If you google him there's lots of info, he's amazing and I have participated in several of clinics. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a trainer and would never to profess to be.........
My problem started 10 days ago. I had him in the ring doing a bit of lunging and then moved him over to 3 trot poles, which he has done before. Everything was fine and then it was like a switch went off in his head and he threatened to charge me. It wasn't drastic but it was very clear what his intention was. I carried on and got him over the poles then took him to another part of the ring to walk circles to cool off. Same thing, when I asked him to move out the ears went back and his little feet took a couple advancing steps. I didn't give up, and got him to go around a few times and then I called it quits.
He was 100% completely normal after I took him back to the barn. Gentle as usual, I brushed him out, cleaned his feet and all was fine.......
So...... I thought okay, maybe he's sore, so I'll give him a few days off. Last night I went out again and again he's a snot. I'm ill prepared for this, so I called out hubby. Hubby handles 1000's of horse every year with the hauling business and he's not at all nervous with this type of behaviour. Max took a few advances at him as well, but hubby got him going and ended on a good note. Although Max did get you know what a couple of times. No he did not beat the horse but he made it quite clear he wasn't putting up with this.
Again, once the pressure is off he's a doll..........
So, my thinking is I've pushed him too hard and he snapped, or he could be in some sort of pain.....
There is one other thing I should explain. When we brought him home which was 4 months after he was gelded he threw our old 35+ year old pony into heat and he was lock and loaded ( if you get my drift). We called the vet and he said he could have a testosterone producing tumor. We can't spend the money on surgery, so we have been waiting this out to see if he stops dropping. It has improved a bit since May.
As far as locking and loading... I had a gelding that would mount and breed mares until he was almost 20. He had good manners when he was being handled and would only occaisionaly do it in a pasture. I figured let the old boy have some fun.
With the turning and "charging" I think you need to move him backward at a fast rate to assert your dominance. In pain or not you can't tolerate that behavior. I doubt he is in any pain as it sounds like you take good care of him. Making a horse move backwards is the best way to get your role as leader straight in his mind. I wouldn't be very gentle about it either. Think what a dominate horse would do to him in the same situation. He would either be nursing sore ribs or be missing some hide. I'm sure anything your capable of without using a club will fall far short of that.
Well, aside from saying that I think you should continue with Parelli ;) it simply sounds like he's coming into his own and now that he feels safe with you, he's trying to dominate you. He's probably bored which just enhances his dominant tendencies because he's not being stimulated enough....alpha horses are VERY interesting and fun!
So first of all make things more fun! Also never ever punish him, that will just lead to a fight. Cause your idea to become his idea, but you have to understand his idea first. If at any time he pins his ears at you or otherwise challenges you send him off IMMEDIATELY to tell him "Wipe that look off your face!" lol. But you need to do this in a light hearted manner, not in a "I'm gonna teach you who's boss" manner. You can also shut down his front end with a nice coil down the rope to interrupt his pattern.
Thanks. That's exactly what I did. I shook the lead rope and got him to back up to the end of it, and it wasn't gentle. Then tried again. He made a couple more attemps but eventually walked enough to cool out. I could feel my temper starting to come into so I kept him going long enough to find a good spot to stop.
Hubby just about put him on his haunches. Max came at him and hubby charged back. Max is only 13.2 and hubby is 6 foot 2. Max's eye's just about popped out his head.....but it helped.
I also agree he could be bored. I had been working on wtc and whoa on a lunge line for several days, every other day. I was trying to mix it up adding the poles and a 6 inch cavaletti.
This weekend I'm going to ground drive him again. He's in front of me I can steer him so the charging shouldn't be an issue. I have lots of stuff to make it interesting, cones, poles and tarps. He's only been ground driven once beofre so he shouldn't be bored with that..LOL
Hubby shut down his front end movement with the string part of the stick last night. Carrot type stick just a different colour........LOL Max was pretty put out, but Kevan did a good job. He hasn't been involved with the ground work at all, he's on the road most of the time and I wasn't having any issues at all, he was doing great.
It really threw me for a loop, it just came out of nowhere.
I agree with Kevin -- no matter where it's coming from, it needs to stop. However determing the source (pain, training, hormones, personality growth) will help overcome it. And I don't know know what is "punishment" and what is "discipline", but I would make it a point EVERY time I see him to make sure he knows you are ALWAYS the boss. I have a mare (Jade) here who is quite the dominatrix. She's been here a year and I still reassert myself regularly with her.
Watch his behavior at times other than training also. At feeding, at visiting time, at clean up time, etc. etc. All the time when you are around. This may give you a better idea if the behavior is training related or something else. If it is training related, that will give you a focal point to start on.
For example, Jade just plainly wants to be the boss. End of story. Fine, she can boss the other mare around, but not me. So at any little thing, I will stomp agressively into her space and make her move. Example: I'm visiting the other mare, and Jade decides she wants that hay and that attention, so Jade will try to chase the first mare away from me and away from the hay. I won't allow it. It's not about protecting the mare, it's about telling Jade that I am already there and Jade is only in 2nd place. Jade gets mighty upset and flips her head all over the place, but I win everytime.
If any horse ever tried to charge me, I'd be so pissed off I'd probably freak him out just from my temper. Did you read my tale about the stud who reared over me and knocked me down? I was so mad that I grabbed his leg (which was beside my head)thinking: when you go back up, you're taking me with you, you big *&^&@! Of course, 1/2 hour later I peed my pants because I was so scared! LOL
I generally take the attitude of "How DARE you try that with me?!"
As for the dropping -- that's more common than I thought actually. I have had many people tell me about their geldings that have had successful surgery and still manage to penetrate. As long as you are certain that both testes were removed, I would leave it at that. Spending money on a "well, it might be..." is sometimes useful, but here, I'd give it more time. He's had a pretty screwed up life and may just be coming into his own finally.
Hubby and I have been talking this over and think he's in the terrible two's. Even though he's close to 3 mentally he's stunted. When he came to the house in May he didn't know how to run, he ran like a foal, he's just figured out how to use his legs.........
Were definitely going to step things up. He doesn't have a permanent home with us, so to get him into a good home this has to come to a stop.
Thanks for all the help!
I agree with kevinshorses and farmpony. Backing up works well for that type of situation.
Backing up does work well, but getting his feet to move in any other direction besides charging you is the general idea. When he decides to come at you while you're lounging him, go hard at his inside shoulder - rope, stick, string, body language & all. Whatever it takes to get him to yield his shoulders & refocus his direction back to going around on the circle. Many times this is just a phase that babies go through (like you've already figured out).
Thanks Sara. I was concerned about getting him to back off. When Kevan worked him the other night he was also getting him to back off but also took a few swats at his shoulder and front legs which seemd to help him to keep moving.
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