First off, I have been starting colts for years and am by no means iexperienced on the subject. All I am asking about is, specifically is there anything different about working with a 4 year old stud who has already covered mares vs. the regular 2 to 3 year old stallions I have started in the past who havent coverd mares? Reason I ask is, I have a client who is convinced on keeping them intact but yet he wants them started... he is a breeder and I am just a trainer so I am not getting in that argument with him. I of course am a firm believer in if its a ok stallion, it would probably make a exceptional gelding!
I think it depends on how he has covered mares. I can see an issue he if was just let to roam with mares or was hand bred without much focus on manners. In this case, I can see him being difficult when working around mares or other stallions (possibly geldings). He thinks his job is to bred mares and fight studs. If he has good ground manners and was either trained to an AI dummy or was well handled then it would not much different than any other stud in my book. In that its all about what his ground manners are and his personality. That said I have never trained a stallion and I don't see myself being in that camp any time soon.
Lol, Well the owner has a few stallions but I am assuming he keeps them seperated in different pastures. I will have to find out. They are untouched though I do know that! He only feeds them 2 times a day besides that, I do the rest with the colts. He just has decided to train a few of his mares and a few of the studs. I will have to find out a little more on how he keeps them seperated and such.
Some of the best mannered stallions I have ever dealt with have been pasture bred ones. I tend to believe this form of breeding can help a stallion understand he doesn't just get to jump on other horses (mares will only generally allow a cover when they are ready... Not on his whim)... But that doesn't mean pasture bred stallions are the only ones who are capable of being well mannered.
Remember that most stallions have a low BS threshold... So don't nag nag nag at him, he could take that as aggression on your part and meet it with equal mentality. Always insist that he be well mannered (pay attention to him, and correct the little things SOFTLY, rather than wait for him to be truly naughty and have to "punish" him) I usually find soft is the key to having a soft horse, regardless of sex.
Stallions can be easily distracted, so keep him thinking about you and what you are asking next... Don't get into a lull and start daydreaming then be suprised if he chooses to tune you out in a critical moment, he needs to be able to see you and trust you as his leader - otherwise he won't respect you as his leader when a situation arises that triggers his testosterone induced instincts... Do it by being quiet, firm and keeping things new and interesting for him.