Colt thinks life is a joke, is there hope for us?
Perhaps some of you remember Zane. He's my first (and probably last) foal. He was born last July and just turned 9 months old.
I have really, really tried to teach him right. And tried and tried and tried. He basically does what I want, but has attitude doing it. He ties, leads (with attitude), stands for hoof trimming, ponies (with attitude), loves to be groomed, and has even worn a very lightweight saddle and is cool with it, can be touched anywhere, etc.
I got a few hours in with a professional trainer and Zane now yields his shoulders, hindquarters, backs up when I kiss to him, etc.
All sounds great, right? Wrong! He is very playful/mischievous/disrespectful. He thinks life is a big joke. All he wants to do is play, either with me (by trying to nip) or with my older gelding (climbs all over him). I had a scary incident where I was ponying Zane and he climbed on the gelding who I was riding and knocked me off my horse. I was bruised but okay. Now I admit I a bit afraid to pony him because I don't want to get climbed on. I have ponied him a handful of times since the incident though. He is bouncy on the way out, and tired on the way back.
And ground manners, well, I try to work with him a bit each day, and he goes through the motions but is always trying to mouth me. He has taken to walking around with his nose stretched out (he knows he will get smacked if he actually bites) and bumps me like a shark. I honestly think he is pushing my buttons to get a reaction.
It has gotten so that I dread working with him because I know I will get really upset and discouraged. I just CANNOT, no matter what I do, seem to break him of the nudging/mouthing/nipping behavior. He respected the trainer, but I had a friend haul me/him 3 1/2 hours away to work with the trainer, and had to pay for the trainer and gas, and I just can't afford to send him out again so soon.
I know he's a baby, but everyone acts like his behavior will only get worse if I can't cure him. And I try almost every day and I just can't do it, no matter how much blood, sweat and tears are involved.
Will he EVER mature, or is our relationship a lost cause? I know the problem is his relationship with ME. I'm the one he doesn't seem to respect. Do I give up on my first (and last) colt? I really don't want to. He has a deformed leg and I don't want to send him out into the world with an unknown future. However, I don't want to be upset and cry everytime I work with him either. If I just keep plugging away and punish him for nipping, with he ever come around? Or will things only get worse? If we had pasture I think I would turn him out for a couple of years, but I can't afford to board him long-term.
He does everything I ask, but has attitude doing it. All I really want to accomplish is to be able to pony him and lead him so I can take him places and he doesn't have to live in a pen until he grows up. Is that too much to ask?
Thanks for letting me vent. I know there is really no answer to this, but I am so discouraged. I think trying to train my colt (gelding, actually) is the hardest thing I have ever done. At least mentally, the toll has been really hard. I don't know if I should keep plugging away or just quit working with him for a while. Or give up altogether. :-(
It's not like he's wild or anything. Here is a photo of him saddled and tied. (Please don't give me to much flack for that- I just saddled him, walked him around, and took it off) It's just that he can't be good to save his life. He always has to have something in his mouth, and he always wants to play with someone.
Sorry that you are getting frustrated and ready to give up. You said it well, when you said he is young. I don't have much experience with colts only fillies. She is 2yrs old now and really has never given me any problems. I think he's testing you Always. He is trying to see what he can get away with and what he can't. They are like children and need constant reminding. And believe me that's frustrating too!
He sounds like he has a respect issue a bit. So continue to reprimand him. The mouthing/nipping I think is just a baby thing. Continue to remind him its not acceptable. Make him back quickly when he does that. Ponying him... They do the playing around thing a lot. My filly didn't but they do fart around like children. I think when you start out and he starts to get frisky, speed up a bit. Then walk and do it again if he starts acting frisky again.
Just a question,, is he gelded? And as for putting a saddle on him now... Who cares, he isn't going to die or be ruined. The more you get him exposed to all that the better off you will be when going to train him for real.
Try to stay strong and not show frustration or give up when he is being naughty. I'm sure you know to end all sessions positive. Good luck and stay safe.
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There IS an answer!
(You said that you know that there's no answer).
You have a classic Left-brain extrovert! They are mouthy, mischievous, playful, do everything with sauciness, do things like climb all over other horses! This "horsenality" is one of the 4 main horsenalities in Parelli. This horse's message in a nutshell is: "Play with me!" Sound right?:wink:
Linda's horse Allure is another LBE who has been the challenge of Linda's life. You can follow this saga from the start, thanks to her articles & much video footage of her "playing" with Allure. Allure was reprimanded for his mouthiness & general playfulness, by his original owners, & to this day, he has issues about learning. He goes very fragile & needs time out to digest the lesson; it's sad to see, so DON'T reprimand him, please!
The LAST thing you want to do with a LBE is reprimand him for his innate nature! He'll only start to resent you! You need to keep on top of his need to play/dominate withOUT resorting to reprimands!
I can't do better for you than direct you to the horsenality information at Parelli! You WILL succeed if you learn how to handle your LBE, & your frustration will be over! I wish you & your handsome guy the best!
IMO, you are doing too much with him. Lead, stand, halter - at 9 months that is all I would do. I would never put a saddle on him; not because his back can't take it but because his mind can't. You want him to be 2 years old but he isn't even 1 yet. What you seem to expect is for him to have the mind of a 10 year old child but his mind is only that of a 4 year old. Ever try to get a 4 year old to concentrate? The only thing on their mind is to play.
If he were mine, I would have him gelded and left alone except to do simple things like lead and work with his feet. I'd do that for another year before stepping up his training.
^^ This. Exactly was what I was thinking.
I don't know anything about foals, but with my pony this helped: you take 3 wood sticks, not sharp. You put them between your fingers and when you're leading him and he tries to bite you, just put your hand with sticks in the position, so that he will bump himself in the sticks. Don't hit him with it, just let him "to bite himself". My pony stopped doing it very quickly.
Don't give up, more time you'll spend with him, better he'll be :) good luck!
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Northern, not trying to start anything ok. Why would you not reprimand a naughty disresectful horse? In the wild, in any herd he would be put in his place quickly.
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I agree with candandy49. The colt is too young to cope with all the new things and he might still have some hormones in his body. I would leave him alone for a couple of months (not totally but only do the basics like leading, grooming, standing...) and if possible have him pass the summer together with other youngsters. He will have the possibility to burn energy and be taught some manners. If he is mouthy then remember that he might also have some tooth issues, teeth growing and changing can also make cute little babies quite mouthy ;-)
Good luck with him, he seems very sweet on the photo. :-)
I understand giving babies baby time and being a horse. But I also believe the more you expose them to things and moving their feet backwards, forwards, sideways and back helps with respect and getting them ready for things to come. Farrier work, and vetting. I think as long as the OP keeps sessions short and easy that the animal will get more out of training then to do it all day or until the animal shows frustration.
Giving the animal downtime and letting them be a horse is very important but so is keeping their mind sharp. This is how I train and have a lot of success. But doesn't mean anyone needs to agree. I would find info on line and see how much you can do with a baby. How long their attention span is and what they should know at their age. Just have fun with it but watch for him getting to frustrated with too much training. Good luck
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