Tips On Training A Yearling (Urgent) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Tips On Training A Yearling (Urgent)

Hello everyone!!

I have a Yearling Buckskin Filly that I am training. She is the sweetest most easygoing horse I've met! She would lunge perfectly, pick up all four hooves with ease, load in a trailer like a pro with no hesitation.

But recently she's gone evil! She won't lunge without kicking at me at least once. One time she pinned her ears spun around and charged me (She's NEVER done that). It take 2 hours to load her. And you have a death wish I you try to pick up her back hooves. It like everything I taught her she hates! And she just turned suddenly.

There haven't been any changes in her environment, feed, training, anything really! She did have a really bad bout of Fungal Pneumonia that took one week of staying at the vet, and two months of rehab here at home. But I messed with her every other day at the vets, and every day here at home. I brushed her, lunged her at a walk, loaded her for vet trips, and she was fine!

I just don't understand where all these bad habits are coming from when I was trying hard to make sure she never developed them.

I use natural horsemanship methods (a mixture of Parelli, CA, and things I've learned from other trainers).

I don't know what to right now. I've thought about selling her, but want to try one more time before going that direction as she really is a sweet girl!

Thank you!
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 03:52 PM
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My initial feeling is that you are doing too much too quick for her - you want to teach these things and then leave them alone - then just let them be horses and grow in the pasture, while doing 'fun' things with them like grooming and walks around the property or on trails. I'd imagine that treating the pneumonia also soured her towards humans a bit, depending on how many pokes and prods happened over the course of the diagnosis and treatment.

Also - she could be in pain, or could've been in pain and attributed that to you. Not picking up hinds, not getting into the trailer all of a sudden...I'd look towards pain also, but I feel like my initial feeling is likely the culprit.

I think you are at the point of involving a trainer if you don't know what to do, because if pain isn't the culprit, she needs a HARD correction to keep these habits from becoming permanent habits.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 04:30 PM
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I second everything that ClearDonkey said. She sounds like she either is reacting to being pushed too hard, and I realize that the reaction of most humans is to push back but you obviously care a great deal for her and don't want to force anything. But first I'd make sure she has no pain. If it's not a pain issue maybe just backing off and starting very slowly again once the relationship is built back up.

I am a firm believer in going slowly. I realize that is not everyone's style but I think there is just no way to ruin one if you take it slow and easy rather than rushing. Every horse has a different time table, and I think as hard as it is sometimes that it's important to remember that.
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thank you! I guess I'll take things even slower then I already do. I usually work her 3-4 time a week for up to 30-60 min. Thats 5-10 min lunging, 15-20 min grooming, and 20-30 min working on things like desensitization, picking up hooves, or just hanging out under our shade tree. I love her very much and want the very best for her. But also want her to know the basics before saddle training in the next 2-3 years.

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post #5 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 05:22 PM
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Quite a few years ago my daughter got a gelding with really good breeding. , as I remember his lineage was good reining stock. When she got him he worked wonderful. Had all the right buttons to do anything you asked and excellent ground manners too. She was taking him lots of places using him and he really seemed to be the horse she was looking for. Then he got Strangles from exposure at one of the other arenas she had been at. He was treated by the vet as soon as we knew something was wrong with him.. After his treatments he was like a different horse and he was dangerous. It was like he had lost his mind. We worked with him for several months and he never got better. She talked to a trainer at a local reining facility and when he saw the papers on him he traded a good quiet horse of his for him. I don't think his mind ever straightened out.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 06:06 PM
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Whether it was the pneumonia or overloading her brain with work, she lost her good mind. I would just leave her alone, as in the work & learning department, let her grow a bit maybe she'll recover her good mind.
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! I'll give her a break and just do a bunch of bonding (petting, grooming, walking her, etc). All of you have been a huge help!

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post #8 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 07:37 PM
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I have to second (third? fourth?) the motion that you may be souring through overwork. It is very tempting to try to get everything 'finished' before it is time to take the final step of getting on their backs but honestly, I have found that less is more with a young horse.

My youngster arrived to me completely unruly and dangerous. I gave her three weeks of no handling but did go into her paddock daily to pick up poo. This gave me a chance to see where she was at and to get a handle on her character. Once I felt she had had the time to acclimatize to her new home, sights and sounds of neighbours working and general life at our location and accepted me as a daily addition to her world I then set about teaching her some manners and basics.

It took three hours of intense work to get her to relinquish the belief that she was the leader. Over the course of a few weeks I actively schooled her one day a week, I just covered the basics, leading, tying, basic circle work - left hand right hand circles, yielding front and hind quarters, backing, walk, halt, trot and ground tying, respect, respect, respect!

Because she will not be ridden until next year I have stopped all 'official' training. However I make her use her new skills over the course of all our interactions, whenever I am with her. When I am picking up her poo and she is in front of me I make her yield left or right or back her up, when I am leading her into a fresh paddock I make her wait where I put her while I open the gate. She doesn't go through a gate until I ask her too. But I keep it really casual, asking her to put herself where I need her to be. Once she's put herself where I have asked her to I ask nothing else of her - until I need her to move her bum over again.

I train her daily but it is more like leadership exercises than formal schooling. Over the course of the time she has been with me she has become extremely soft and willing to do as I ask. Young horses want to be obedient and connected to their boss, but you have to be a good boss!

Think of yourself as a shepherd - make sure that you are not a disobedient sheep dog yapping incessantly at her heels.

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post #9 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ChebrysRescueHorses View Post
Ok thank you! I guess I'll take things even slower then I already do. I usually work her 3-4 time a week for up to 30-60 min. Thats 5-10 min lunging, 15-20 min grooming, and 20-30 min working on things like desensitization, picking up hooves, or just hanging out under our shade tree. I love her very much and want the very best for her. But also want her to know the basics before saddle training in the next 2-3 years.
I would decrease the real 'work' to less than 20 minutes in total. There is no real reason a yearling should be during lunging work - it can be detrimental to their bodies at this age. Now that she knows the basics of lunging, you can just wait until she grows a bit more before picking up lunging again, probably after 2 years old. Remember that yearlings are still very much so babies, so they also don't have the capacity or attention span to do 40 minutes of learning in one session!

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post #10 of 13 Old 09-22-2019, 08:43 PM
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I too agree with CD. But I am also not one who believes in teaching babies only 'the basics' & then 'letting them just be horses & grow up'. Firstly i believe ALL horzes, regardless of age, should be allowed to 'just be horses' the vast majority of time. Doesnt mean you have to 'throw them out' to 'grow' or do nothing tho. I believe the more you do now/when young, the merrier. But it's what you do, the way you do it, the mindset of horse & handler... that causes it to be 'too much' or not.

Sounds like a lot of what you're doing is Work. And for intensive periods. I think about the single most important task of a young horse trainer is to teach the horse to ENJOY what people ask of it. To think of it as Play not Work. And part of that, esp with an animal with such a short attention span, is not 'drilling' them on 'exercises' but just doing things here & there, for a minute or less, in the course of... going for a walk or hanging out or something enjoyable. Make the 'lessons' just by the by, non events.

Firstly I'd not be lunging a youngster much at all or above a short trot(not that I lunge much anyway but esp not on immature joints...). It may be that she is sire, somethings 'out' or such, so I'd personally get a chiropractic vet to come check her out too.

I would be consistently asking her for 'basic' stuff like yielding in various ways, and accepting and rewarding her smallest 'tries', not asking for too much. I definitely wouldn't be just continuing to ask her to load in a trailer if she balks for eg, for many minutes at a time, let alone hours. Instead, I'd only ask her for what you think she WILL give you, towards that goal - even if it's only sticking her head in or such - and quit asking & reward her for that, get her thinking it's A Good Thing when she does that for you, before asking a little more. Aim to quit & reward her before she decides to quit trying/resist you. Build gradually on success and when you run into issues, take had a dozen steps back(trainingwise) and go again from there.

If/when the horse does quit/resist, I would NOT (generally) stop but continue with the 'pressure' and get her to do something towards what you want before you quit/reward. Make sure it doesn't work for her to say 'no I don't wanna'.

Almost regardless of reason(if they're reacting in defence that's different), if a horse charges or otherwise seriously threatens me, I'd come down on them like a ton of bricks! Make them seriously reticent to ever try that tactic again. If she even thinks this behaviour is worth a try, this is seriously dangerous, for your sake, for anyone else who deals with her, and ultimately for her sake, as a horse who has learned to aggression against humans will rarely be tolerated. So you need to shut this behaviour down yesterday!

If it's beyond you, either get a good trainer to deal with her & teach you too, or if you feel you can't keep her & she is already aggressive, perhaps you can give her away to a good trainer, but I wouldn't try to just pass her on to anyone - might be more humane to just put her down now, rather than have her passed around to others who can't deal, or end up at the sales.
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