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Hi everyone,

In 2012, I rescued a beautiful mini mare who had been badly abused and neglected. She was about to be sent to slaughter, when I threw her in my trailer and brought her home.
A few months later I was surprised as ever to find out that she was pregnant.

In April 2012, she gave birth to a beautiful little colt.
The mare and colt were taken back by the original owner about 6 weeks later (since the "sale" of the mare was never made official, I really had no say"
And finally the 2 of them were dumped at a local rescue, where I immediately went and picked them up.
They have been back for about a year now, and they are finally healthy and happy ponies.
I have never ever had a baby horse before, so I will admit I have absolutely NO CLUE what I'm doing.
I have been around horses for years, so I'm not a complete noob, but babies are completely new to me!

He is 2 years old now, and I've worked with him quite a bit on basic things. He leads, stands tied, picks up his feet, etc. I can do whatever I want with him, he is very very smart and well behaved.

That being said, he is developing an attitude that I am unsure how to address.
When you are trying to lead him somewhere, and he doesn't feel like following, he will rear and throw himself on the ground in protest. This is strange because he has never had an issue with leading before
If you have food and aren't feeding him, OR if you don't have food and you aren't feeding him, he will bite. HARD.
Normally when he bites he gets a firm "NO!" and a smack on the nose, but this has been going on for months and hasn't helped.

He has not been gelded yet, so I am sure that has something to do with it, but I wanted to wait to geld him to ensure that his development was not affected by surgery or hormone imbalance (I'm slightly paranoid).

I had to spend a LOT of time gaining his trust, as well as his mother's, due to the fact that they were so badly abused, and were basically wild.

Although he is the cutest darn thing to ever walk the planet, I know better than to baby or spoil him. I just would like to know how to curb his behaviors before they get worse.

He is a great little pony, and I love him to bits, but his attitude is starting to make him a lot less cute!
 

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2 years old is definitely not a baby
think of that attitude you are seeing and relate it to human teenage years

the rearing and biting does not indicate well behaved
sounds like he has tested you, and you have let him get his way
therefore, in his mind, he is the heard leader, not you
that can be dangerous
if a firm "NO" and a smack on the nose is not doing it, you need to escalate

by escalate, i mean you need to move his feet, and move them quickly
if that means chasing him off, make him feel like the devil is chasing him and he will die if he does not escape

if you intend on gelding him, geld him as soon as his boys drop

if you want a cute little pony again, you have to be a confident no-nonsense type of leader

do you ever watch how the mother interacts with the colt?
have you ever seen the mother discipline the colt?

not sure how yours do it, but when my lead mare disciplines the younger one (also born April 2012) -- she will pin her ears and start walking toward her, then snake her head out and nip her, and if that doesn't work, she will spin and try to kick

usually by the time she gets nipped she is heading out of the lead mares space

watch them, it happens quickly ... then emulate as best as you can (not the actual biting, but use the tools you have)


--- i know discipline is the wrong word ... but it is the best i can come up with right now
 

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Unfortunately he's been allowed to do all of this for quite some time, and that has created a monster. You're going to have to get after him hard and fast to correct him. My suggestion? Geld him now- he's 2 and pretty much done growing, but even if he wasn't, gelding a horse does not affect them in any way but GOOD. In fact, horses who are gelded younger actually tend to grow taller and don't develop big cresty necks and huge jowels. He needs those man parts GONE. I hope you don't have him with his mother!

He is not well behaved if he bites or throws himself on the ground. Next time he reached for any part of your body, even if it is just to lip or nip you, get after him HARD and make him think he's going to die. I know that since minis are tiny people think they'll hurt them, but it would take a heck of a punch to injure your little stallion. When he tries to bite, yell bloody murder, hit him HARD (be careful not to hurt yoursef), and chase him backwards several hundred feet. If your timing is right and you're serious enough about it, he should never try to bite you again.

My mini mare had a biting problem when I first started working with her, and since I was new to horses I never reacted the way I should have. I would just slap her muzzle and say no. She said "I'll bite you if I feel like it", and eventually we had a morbid game of 'can I bite her and jerk my head away fast enough for her to miss slapping me?'. It was bad, and sometimes she bit hard enough to draw blood and bruise me.

Then I realized what I was doing wrong. The next time she tried to bite me, I whirled around, backhanded her in the face, screamed at her, flapped my arms, scared the crap out of her, and made her go flying backwards trying to get away from the crazy lady. I NEVER saw her even make a really ugly face at me again.

I know this sounds harsh but it is what you need to do. Mama horses, herd leaders, dominant horses, all use their teeth and HARD hooves (I've been kicked before, again because I was being stupid. Those HURT) to prove their point. You giving him a fist isn't going to mortally injure him but it WILL teach him a lesson. If you don't want to do that, the other option is keeping a whip with you 24/7 and when he bites, give him a GOOD lick across the neck or shoulder.
 

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I know this sounds harsh but it is what you need to do. Mama horses, herd leaders, dominant horses, all use their teeth and HARD hooves (I've been kicked before, again because I was being stupid. Those HURT) to prove their point. You giving him a fist isn't going to mortally injure him but it WILL teach him a lesson. If you don't want to do that, the other option is keeping a whip with you 24/7 and when he bites, give him a GOOD lick across the neck or shoulder.

I agree with Endiku, and this is especially important, horses have their own communication with body language, not words, so you have to communicate in a way that he understands, so GELD now, or he will be thinking or rather not thinking, he will be driven more by his hormones than his brain.

Next get tough with him, now, be firm but fair, and consistent, if he gets in your space turn into a bear and chase him back out of it, use a whip if you need it.

So often these things are very dependant on timing, and that's why we often advise getting someone to show you these things, rather than trying to explain online, an hour with someone who knows how to fix it, is more valuable than pages of online stuff.
 

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You would THINK I'm being paid for this, BUT, I wouldn't know what to do with him either.
I suggest that you buy Clinton Anderson's book
http://www.amazon.com/Clinton-Ander...TE0_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397597510&sr=1-1
He is old enough to really work with and you can adapt the suggested exercises for his size.

You can also RIGHT NOW throw him. Put a long rope on instead of a lead. Wrap it behind his back side when you lead him. WhenEVER he tries to flip, throw your weight against it and throw HIM, then tie his legs. THEN, sit and pet and talk to him, so that he knows that THIS is the punishment and you don't intend to go further. When he is really calm, release him. This may spook him to stop this nonsense.
 

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You would THINK I'm being paid for this, BUT, I wouldn't know what to do with him either.
I suggest that you buy Clinton Anderson's book
Clinton Anderson's Downunder Horsemanship: Establishing Respect and Control for English and Western Riders: Clinton Anderson, Ami Hendrickson: 9781570762840: Amazon.com: Books
He is old enough to really work with and you can adapt the suggested exercises for his size.

You can also RIGHT NOW throw him. Put a long rope on instead of a lead. Wrap it behind his back side when you lead him. WhenEVER he tries to flip, throw your weight against it and throw HIM, then tie his legs. THEN, sit and pet and talk to him, so that he knows that THIS is the punishment and you don't intend to go further. When he is really calm, release him. This may spook him to stop this nonsense.
please tell me you have a video of this somewhere ... i am cracking up imagining the look on the mini's face after getting flipped, hog-tied, and sat on --- complete with a talking to
 

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Oh goodness, NO, please don't throw him...99% of my mini mare's problems stemmed from a failed 'throwing' session when a man decided it was the fast and easy way to tame her- even though he'd never done it before. She spent the next year attacking every man or rope she saw, and I'm lucky she didn't break her neck, hip, or back.
 

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You can also RIGHT NOW throw him. Put a long rope on instead of a lead. Wrap it behind his back side when you lead him. WhenEVER he tries to flip, throw your weight against it and throw HIM, then tie his legs. THEN, sit and pet and talk to him, so that he knows that THIS is the punishment and you don't intend to go further. When he is really calm, release him. This may spook him to stop this nonsense.
Very bad advice to give over the Internet.
 

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I should have mentioned this as it is fairly important. His mother never disciplined him as a foal. He would kick her and bite her and she would just stand there.
some days she would even walk off while he was napping and whe he awoke, running around acreaming frantically, she would hide from him.
she really isn't the best momma..

But thank you for the tips! I was worried that being rough with him would make him not trust me, or cause problems since he was abused. But I have to remember that if this behaviour was coming from a 1000pound horse, it would certainly be much worse, and I should treat it the same!
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You would THINK I'm being paid for this, BUT, I wouldn't know what to do with him either.
I suggest that you buy Clinton Anderson's book
http://www.amazon.com/Clinton-Ander...TE0_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397597510&sr=1-1
He is old enough to really work with and you can adapt the suggested exercises for his size.

You can also RIGHT NOW throw him. Put a long rope on instead of a lead. Wrap it behind his back side when you lead him. WhenEVER he tries to flip, throw your weight against it and throw HIM, then tie his legs. THEN, sit and pet and talk to him, so that he knows that THIS is the punishment and you don't intend to go further. When he is really calm, release him. This may spook him to stop this nonsense.

Thank you for the tips, but I will not throw my horse or hog tie him. That is abuse and completely unecessary. I would rather have a moody, teenage mini than cause any unessecary trauma to my horse.
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But thank you for the tips! I was worried that being rough with him would make him not trust me, or cause problems since he was abused.
There is a difference between rough, and being strong and fair, giving him one big HARD thump for something, while backing him up..he will understand that, not rough.

Constantly swiping him with little hits, or losing your temper and wacking 7 bells out of him, now that is rough. So stay calm and forceful, you are just putting him in his place, as momma should have done.
 

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I should have mentioned this as it is fairly important. His mother never disciplined him as a foal. He would kick her and bite her and she would just stand there.
some days she would even walk off while he was napping and whe he awoke, running around acreaming frantically, she would hide from him.
she really isn't the best momma..

But thank you for the tips! I was worried that being rough with him would make him not trust me, or cause problems since he was abused. But I have to remember that if this behaviour was coming from a 1000pound horse, it would certainly be much worse, and I should treat it the same!
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We had a mule born last August. His mom doesn't discipline him either. They are in with other mares but they don't discipline much either. He can be a terror out there with them. However, he has learned from us (me mainly) handling him that he needs to behave.

Just like with any horse, you need to be firm but fair. Never let your emotions get the better of you. Be consistent and set boundaries.

When he rears or pulls back, DO NOT release the pressure unless it becomes unsafe for you. Just hold pressure on the rope and move with him.

When he tries to bite, get after him like you are going to kill him. No different than another horse doing a double barrel kick at him. Then go in like nothing happened.
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At expect that there is a possibility mom has been bred by son if they are kept together. Call the vet, make an appointment to have him gelded and vet check/ lute the mare.
 

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Thank you for the tips, but I will not throw my horse or hog tie him. That is abuse and completely unecessary. I would rather have a moody, teenage mini than cause any unessecary trauma to my horse.
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i don't think it is necessarily abuse, there are circumstances when it *could* prove necessary -- but only in extreme circumstances and should onlly be done by someone who is experienced enough to do it right

a novice should never attempt something that could potentially be harmful or dangerous if done incorrectly

i can give an example

2 weeks ago my neighbor was riding a new horse, had been working with it for a few weeks, and he went to cross the road -- the horse just layed down right in the middle of the road -- it is normally a pretty busy road with cars, trucks, and semi's flying down it all the time --- they could have both been killed

of course, doing it right there in the middle of the road would have been a horrible idea --- but getting him out of the road and trying to recreate the circumstances in a safer environment, rolling him over, hog tying, and make it a very unpleasant experience would have been perfectly acceptable

sometimes extreme measures are needed for extreme circumstances ... but those extremes are few and far between


but .. back to your circumstances ... if your mini just flops down and lays down while you are leading it - you should run at it like you are going to kill it and scare the bejeezus out of him -- he will get up, and think twice about doing it again
 

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of course, doing it right there in the middle of the road would have been a horrible idea --- but getting him out of the road and trying to recreate the circumstances in a safer environment, rolling him over, hog tying, and make it a very unpleasant experience would have been perfectly acceptable

Not to me! I just don't get that at all, not something that should be touted to the internet at large as being any sort of good idea.
 

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Better lute mom too while he's getting gelded, at two chances are he's impregnated her already as he's definitely physically mature enough to do so.
 

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Best advice would to be gelding him. It isn't going to be an over night fix, however. It'll take 6-8 weeks for the testosterone levels to really settle, and it may be nothing, little or a lot to do with his current behaviour.

I would then HIGHLY suggest you find a horse trainer in your area. Reading books and watching videos will not teach you the body language, timing and reactions you need. This little snot needs a good hiding. Before you think I want you to beat your horse, I don't. You already put it in a nutshell when you said his mother didn't put him in his place. You now need to think like the lead mare. But you won't learn this on your own; you need help. We all need help learning, and it'll save you a lot of time and possible bites/kicks in the mean time.

For now, my advice would be to carry a whip with you. If you have food and he comes in to your space, drive him off. Give him a warning. Brandish it at his front end, shoulder height. If he ignores it, give him a smack. Keep away from legs, however. Try not to step back and walk away, walk towards and drive him away.

Secondly, if he is biting you and you've already socked him, but he carries on, you didn't do it hard enough. If you're adverse to giving him a good hook around the chops, grab a chunk of skin on his neck with your hand and twist.. hard. Try to think of it as another horse/pony biting and not letting go. This has often worked for me. Don't flap your hands around his head to shoo him away. This will make it a game for him.

But most of all, really really look out for yourself and make sure you don't get hurt when he reacts to anything you do.

I wish you the best of luck, and I give you a huge thumbs up for having the intuition to look for help and not accept this behaviour from him!
 
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