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apachewhitesox 06-26-2011 05:15 AM

Help leading young horses
Ok if someone could even direct me to a previous thread that would help I would be happy.

I have recently started working at a racing stable. Most of the time I was working with someone else who would handle the more high strung horses. The longer I work there the more often I am on my own. In particular this weekend I was basically given a few instructions then left to clean all the stables, put horses on and take them off the walker and turn certain horses out into (and get them back in from) day paddocks. This was morning and afternoon.

Normally I don't have much of a problem, the horses I work with are generally between the age of 2 and 5. I can deal with the ones that are good but can get spooky. They occasionally spook, I get their attention back on me and we move on. Some horses get a bit excited and prance a bit but I just calm them down and get on with what ever we were doing. I haven't worked with a particularly aggressive horse yet.

My problem this afternoon was. I was bringing in a colt called Rat in from a day paddock. As someone else said to me he is just starting to act colty. Normally he is relatively calm and seems to like holding on to the end of the lead rope as he is lead. This afternoon I was by myself and stupidly didn't think to take a bit with me knowing he can be highstrung. I caught him and he seemed calm enough then about a third of the way back he reared nearly getting me as I wasn't expecting it. I tried to get him to focus on me and stop paying attention to everything else. Then he reared again and he nearly got me again. Normally a horse would chuck their head up or something but he gave no warning so I kind of didn't see it coming. The whole time nearly I had had trouble keeping him out of my space. I think he reared because I was holding him back from trying to race off. I ended up not being able to get him to go where I wanted without him chucking a fuss and I was getting seriously behind in my other work so I put him in the paddock I was standing next to. I went and got another horse and told the trainer when he passed him in the paddock as to why he was in there. Later that afternoon the trainer walked him down quite calmly on a loose lead without a bit.

I am so frustrated he seemed really hard to handle when I tried to lead him then the trainer gets him and he behaves almost perfectly. Any ideas on something I can do next time this happens? I can't really constantly work with this horse as I only occasionally see him. Also I will mostly be by myself and not always able to ask someone else to do it for me. Thanks for any help.

faye 06-26-2011 05:45 AM

Is the trainer male?

If the colt is just starting to act colty then he may be picking up on your hormones and depending on where you are in your cycle it can make colts play up and become aggresive.
If this is the case then spraying yourself all over with deodorant (NOT prefume) can help.

In future if you have to handle this horse I would take a chifney with you.

apachewhitesox 06-26-2011 05:52 AM

Yes the trainer is male. Though I don't think that was the problem this particular time I will keep the deodorant in mind. Also I would usually take a chifney with me to get a horse I have doubts about, I just stupidly didn't this time. Thanks

faye 06-26-2011 05:56 AM

You'd be suprised how often it is the problem. Young colts are unpredictable, I've known one try and mount a girl before and he get very very aggressive around girls in certain times of thier cycle. He was gelded very shortly after displaying this behavior.

My gelding will get slightly colty if I go and see him when wearing perfume (the whole reason perfume works is because of the hormones in it).

apachewhitesox 06-26-2011 06:03 AM

I hope that girl was alright. I know how unpredictable colts can be.

I can understand the perfume. His size just made it worse this afternoon. He isn't huge but he definitely isn't small.

faye 06-26-2011 06:05 AM

She was fine thankfully. The little colt was only 11hh ( welsh section A) so not too much damage could be done and she wasnt alone when it happened so it was sorted quite quickly. Bruised and battered but no permanant damage done.

apachewhitesox 06-26-2011 06:08 AM

That is good. That is also part of what made me nervous this afternoon. I was alone when it happened. People were around but not within hearing or seeing distance to know anything bad had happened.

Doe 06-26-2011 06:32 AM

Whoa guys no offence but can we come back to reality here.
Firstly human perfumes do not contain hormones. They will not cause arousal in a horse.
I have known people wearing heavy perfume to cause a negative reaction in a horse, but that's because their sense of smell is so much stronger than ours and so it can easily irritate them. Not only that but strong smells can mask their ability to pick up other scents, and just like a windy day this can make a horse more nervous too.

Secondly Chifneys. Please, each to his own, but personally I would like to see them made illegal. They serve one purpose and one purpose only and that is to create pain by crushing the Tongue and applying pressure to the bars.

NO horse needs a Chifney. Think about it. If a horse is spooked you want his mind to come back to you as fast as possible. Will creating more pain do this, or make it worse? If a horse is aggressive and dominant will pain solve it? No, never. I have had the privilege to show people how to lead ex-racehorse after ex-racehorse that had to be lead with chifneys and often 2 or more handlers and within minutes they are fine, but you cannot have a Chifney in their mouth. The simple intention means you will fail.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but escalating the pain in an attempt to control horses is never the key to success and eventually you WILL get hurt.

Keep safe

apachewhitesox 06-26-2011 06:46 AM

I don't actually know anything about perfume having hormones in it, I was just agreeing that it can affect a horse.

I don't mind you offering your opinion about chifneys, I only use them if I feel I really need to. Also if you are going to go on about how awful they are and you have taught people how to handle horses without them. Would you please at least tell me what exactly you do so you don't have to use the bit. Thanks

faye 06-26-2011 06:54 AM

Doe - Most good perfumes contain musk which is either deer pheremones (from the musk sacs of musk deers hence the name) or a synthetic copy of deer pheremones (called white musk)! I work in the cosmetic industry I know what goes into perfumes and yes they can cause young colts to have issues. Not all stallions are sensitive but some are.

A chifney is a very useful bit of kit. It is an anti rearing bit. If the horse doesnt rear you don't have an issue and there is no pressure/pain, if the horse does rear it creates pain which stops said horse creating a very dangerous situation and potentialy killing someone (and yes people are killed by horses rearing up and striking out), I find it only takes one rear with most horses and then they never do it again. They are heavily used in Europe with stallions and I have never heard of a problem with them.

A horse spooking and a horse rearing up in aggression are 2 very different things. I've used a chifney on a horse who was a saint at all other times but just could not be turned out in the field as when going down the track (when he realised he was going out) he would rear up, and then bolt down the track. A normal bridle wouldnt help at all, he injured several people (17hh of HUGE Dutch warmblood) and put a couple of people in hospital. The NH guys round here couldnt get anything from him and we cant keep him in a stable 24/7. So we resorted to a chifney. In a chifney he lead out like a lamb, never pulled, never reared and could be lead out down the track, put in the field with no injuries to him or to the people handling him. Infact it caused so little distress you could go into his field 5 mins later and catch him and he would walk up to you, he would even open his mouth for the chifney.

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