Breeding Stud turned Riding horse problems
Hello all, I have been trolling the forums looking for answers for weeks now, with nothing directly at my situation. Here it is (might be a bit lengthy)
I have a 6yr old APHA Gelding that I purchased from his original owner on March 1st. He was gelded 2 months ago, previously has been bred his whole life. He was never out with other horses always alone. He was hand bred to boot. So even when he was bred no social interactions :cry: He had been started under saddle last fall and then the previous owner was hurt badly let him sit all winter and cannot finish him so she sold him. He probably is the smartest horse I have ever owned and I have had quite a few over the years. I use to barrel race and team pen but now I am just a trail rider. He picks things up good or bad with in the matter of minutes. He is no dummy and he knows how big he is and strong he is. While working him on the ground I can get this horse to do anything, he responds exceptionally well to all verabal commands. I even managed to teach him to bow in the matter of about an hour. He has trust built in me as we do trust building exercises every time he gets worked. He will engage me if there are no other horses around. I can ride him bare back in the indoor arena and he is moving well off of leg cues. He is very green and didnt know crap when I got him.
He is still very soft in the body when we are working on the ground, but I step onto his back and ask the same exact things and he fights me. He is not soft in the front, neck, shoulders, back end nothing. Its a complete 360 from what he is on the ground. I dont want to rush him because I know this is a huge transition for him in his life at this point, new home, new owner, new place, new things, hormone issues, etc etc. I just want him to soften up a bit and I cant get him to do it.
I took him out on a trail ride with a few other well mannered horses two weeks ago and he did well, acted a bit studdish but it was corrected immediately and he understood. This past weekend I took him out with about 20 other people and their horses and holy cow!! I had nothing, I was a passenger along for the ride, and a really scary one to boot!! He was running through the bit (D ring snaffle) raring, being a complete jerk. He was not responding to me at all. Not only was he not soft he was not responsive. I took a step back and looked at things. Maybe he wasnt ready. It seemed as though he reverted right back to his "wild" side.
My questions are this:
How do you think the lack of socialization plays a role in this if any?
Is there something more I can be doing with my ground work to lay a better foundation for these kinds of situations? (currently we: lunge, engage shoulders, engage hind end, flexion exercises, backing, driving under bit to learn commands, walking over tarps, desensitizing, just hang out and "play" trick training, etc etc)
Do you think that it could just be the hormones are not out of him yet?
* If so how much longer do you think it will be?
Did he get too late of a start with his riding at 5 yrs old? (I have had 3 yr olds and they were not this bad!!) Is it too little too late for this guy? Because of his past will he not come back around.
I know people ride studs and stallions everyday so it has to be something I am missing or doing to cause this reaction, I dont think I am an expert rider or trainer but I have been working horses and training barrel horses for a long time. He might as well be a stud at this point because thats the way he is acting, and I have no experience working studs!
My biggest fear at this time is I am going to do something that is going to impact him in a negative manner for the rest of his life. I dont want to break his spirit so to speak but I am not going to let a 1200lb horse push me around and get to the point where he is completely dangerous to me, himself, and others around me!
I have a stallion. To be honest his hormones are not settled. The older they are when gelded the longer it takes for the hormones to reside. I have heard it can be up to 6 months before you really see a difference. That is also the other reason I will not geld my stallion he is 9 now.
Don't take this the wrong way but you need a professional trainer with him. Especially if you have never dealt with a stallion. He is gelded but he still acts just like a stud. IMO you pushed him to hard when you asked him to go ride with 20 other people and their horses. I will bet my money on it that there was a mare in heat. The biggest problem with him is he wasn't handled except for breeding bad, bad, bad in my book. I have taken my stallion out on rides with other people.
Go back to riding in a small group. Please get someone to help you. To be honest he may always act studdish because of his age.
I take no offense to needing outside help, I am not too proud to ask for help, thats why I am here. I really appreciate your input. It is a bit depressing to know that he may never change but its the truth and I think maybe I need to accept it.
Lesson learned with taking him out with so many horses, thats for sure! I dont want him to hurt me, or anyone else which could have easily happened given the situation.
One question to you, since you have a stallion and you ride him when he acts studdish (if he even does) what do you do with him? I try to bring his attention back to me and the task at hand but have been unsuccessful at this point.
I wish it were not so but he still is not being properly socialized as he is putting my other horses in danger in the field. He will be fine for a hour or two then he "attacks" the other horses, my poor 3 yr old is missing hide because he was a victim of this. I did not leave them unsupervised so I was able to stop it immediately and seperate them but he was bitten and struck at already. I have had him in a round pen where he can smell the other horses and such in an attempt to socialize him and the results have not changed. I dont disagree that it was a bad decision on the prior owners part to not socialize him at all and unfortunately I cannot change his past. :-(
Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it, I am looking into trainers in my area and might have one to do it if he has time. Rodeo season is just around the corner and I dont know if he will have time to train a horse or work with me and help me so I may have to find someone else.
I agree with Equus. The older they are when gelded the longer it takes for it to "wear off" if it ever will, especially since he was used as a breeding stallion.
I have 3 stallions myself. I can totally relate to your situation. My youngest was born here, sold as a weanling and I bought him back at 3 when I learned he wasn't in the best situation. He was pretty much stuck in a box stall the entire time they owned him, he never had any socialization nor ate a blade of fresh grass. He was an absolute handful when I got him, very agressive about his space and scared of everything. It's been a year now and we are to the point where he respects me as alpha, is a doll on the ground, went from having to be tranq'd for the farrier to standing ground tied for his feet to be done, and he is now under saddle. I think the one thing that helped him get over being "big dog" was getting turned out with the bossy mares after they were bred (not to him, he has to prove himself first in the show pen and I may still geld him as he's never been bred -he's my avatar picture) It took the mares about 10 minutes to put him in his place and it took me months to establish that with him. I rode him this week with my hubby on one of our mares that was in heat and he did surprisingly well, one squeal, a quick correction and that was it. I have taken it very slow with him. My other 2 studs you would think were geldings until you saw they still had their business.
As far as correction when they do act studdish (which is very rarely), I do exactly what you said. Get his attention focused back on you, whether it be circles, backing or a quick spanking with a crop.
I would definitely look into getting help if it's an option. If not, take your time with him and don't rush it, even if that means spending the next 6 months in the round pen or an arena. Hope all goes well for you!
He WILL lose his studdishness. We had a breeding Arabian stallion for 12 years before gelding him. After that, (I was 13) he was my riding horse. Granted, this guy was trained and ridden occasionally as a stallion, but his studly, stallion behavior did eventually disappear. Probably took a couple years for him to not "talk" to a mare when he first approached her, though. He's 23 now and just the sweetest, kindest child's lesson horse you could ever have.
Trust me, 6 years old is not too late. You're gelding needs a lot of socialization skills. Do you have a pasture or paddock with other geldings you can put him out with? With our old guy, he even went in with mares, and yes he tried to mount and breed mares in standing heat the first few times, but he figured out it was hopeless pretty quick and gave it up. :lol:
I think being out with other horses and letting your gelding discover on his own that he IS a gelding will do wonders. And of course, have a trainer who is experienced with stallions work on his training under saddle. Sounds like you're doing great with him on the ground. Good luck!
I wish it were not so but he still is not being properly socialized as he is putting my other horses in danger in the field. He will be fine for a hour or two then he "attacks" the other horses, my poor 3 yr old is missing hide because he was a victim of this. I did not leave them unsupervised so I was able to stop it immediately and seperate them but he was bitten and struck at already. I have had him in a round pen where he can smell the other horses and such in an attempt to socialize him and the results have not changed. I dont disagree that it was a bad decision on the prior owners part to not socialize him at all and unfortunately I cannot change his past. (quote)
Are they geldings? I ask this because of this right here. My stallion will never be able to be turned out with another gelding that is not his own son. He tries to hurt them. We thought that when he was two years old a friend had a gelding and we thought sure he can go in with him needless to say we broke up a fight.
Is there any mares that you can put him in with. Part of his problem is he does not know the social order of being a horse. There is only one way to learn that and that is with a bossy mare. She will put him in his place and get him used to where he would fall in a normal herd.
What I have done when he would not pay attention to us is my hubby would turn him in a small circle. For us that worked. We didn't fight with him we just put his mind on working. His biggest problem is the fact that he was a breeding stallion. Stallion have to be handled daily. He wasn't which makes things worse.
I would not let him run with geldings because he goes into stallion mode and is trying to protect his herd from an intruder. He might be able to be turned in with a gelding if and only once he learns his manners. The best for that is with the mares.
@MH Thanks for sharing.
Juna - you give me hope, but he is still not being socialized because he lays into my gelding so badly. If you saw my poor gelding after just 2 times trying to put them together you would think he was abused because he is so chewed up!
My aunt has a herd of 6 that includes one gelding the rest are mares. I thought about sending him out to her farm to get some socializiation but I am afraid he will hurt one of her horses. Especially since she has an extremely senior mare. I think the mare is in the nieghborhood of 25+ yrs old and she shows it. He respects fence so thats not a fear its just I dont want him to hurt another horse especially if it is not mine. I will not put him out with my other paint because he is already very timid with gentle horses and is at the bottom of the pack, that is just asking for disaster.
I am going to continue the ground work and this week thats all we are doing. No riding for the next two weeks then we are going away to another ride but only with 3 other horses. I am going to get with the trainer I know and see what he thinks. He actively shows 3 studs that he also breeds. Its going to cost me an arm and leg but I would rather pay that then have a hospital bill or vet bill in the near future.
I hope to be able to have other horses around this weekend that I can work him around and try to keep his attention. If I can keep his attention on the ground with them around then it will be a step in the right direction. I need to hold his attention with out increasing the intesity of my posture towards him. Thats my goal.
One step at a time and if in one month there is no improvement I am afraid I may have to admit defeat and part ways with him. I am not looking for a complete transformation just some improvement of any kind.
I am liking this place more and more. I should have spoke up long ago =-)
Do you have a stud chain? I don't have to use it all of the time but if my stallion isn't paying attention to me after several tries then I go and put that on him for a few minutes and it works. You may have to use it for a bit but not forever. He will get there it takes time.
You are already doing a great job with him. I hope the trainer will help you. He should I would think.
Here is a lesson for you walk him with another person and a mare. If he squeals make him move. Circle him once and then walk off like nothing happened if he does it again circle again. Soon he will figure out that if he wants a leisure walk not have to work then he needs to be quiet. Do this every other day on top of what you are doing now if you can.
You and him will get there. Just don't get discouraged about it and keep going.
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