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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2006
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    Default Terrible 2's.

    My 2 year old filly has been being a testy little brat recently.

    She has a new game and it is driving me nuts! Her latest thing is to try to chew the cross ties, while I am working with her and it is driving me nuts. Here is what happens, I have her in the cross ties and she tries to suck them up and chew on them. My response, tap her on her mouth or, clap my hands, or say no, or snap my fingers and no matter what I do her response is to, raise her head look like she will never try to chew on the cross ties again and put her head back down. Then 10 seconds later try to chew on the cross ties, repeat, repeat, repeat. She has had this new game the last week or so. She doesn't get any treats unless they go in her bucket either. Any suggestions?

    Also, she was just switched to in days, out nights and when I can get to the barn after work I have been working with her while the other horses are getting turned out too. However, I can't really get to the barn at another time during the week so that is a situation she is just going to have to learn to deal with.



  2. #2
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    Dec. 2, 2002
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    Default

    If you think that chewing on ties constitutes brattiness, you'll have to brace yourself for the REAL terrible twos. :-) My suggestion is patience, patience, patience.... Young horses are just that... YOUNG... and with that comes boredom when confined, wanting to be with their buddies when alone in the barn, etc. etc. She's bored being in the cross ties so she has invented a game that gets her "mom" to play with her - that's exactly what you're doing as far as she is concerned. She is getting your attention and that beats having to stand still and be bored.

    Going to the barn straight from work probably means that you're still stressed out from a full day, and you may not be in the right frame of mind to deal with a youngster. Maybe you can find a way to clear your mind BEFORE you start handling your filly. She will seem a lot nicer to you then.. :-)

    Good luck!
    Siegi Belz
    www.stalleuropa.com
    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.



  3. #3
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    Jun. 5, 2003
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    PA
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    Default

    A little dish soap on the ends of the cross ties might discourage the chewing, but brace yourself, after the terrible twos comes the terrible threes.

    My 3yo filly has always been somewhat pushy but this winter/spring has been really doing well. She's started lunging and seems to like having a job. The last 2 days she is back to her old trick of rushing through the gate or door no matter who or what is in front of her. I think she is in heat, but no matter, we just had a lovely discussion (and a lot of backing up on her part) about that this morning.

    Teenagers! It gets better!
    "If a horse has a "warm" back—loose, supple and oscillating—he can lift the rider...on a "cold" back—low and stiff—the rider achieves nothing other than growing old sitting on it." —Charles de Kunffy



  4. #4
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    Aug. 27, 2007
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    Loudoun County, Virginia
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    Default

    Ah - don't ya love it? They can be stinkers. I have to say though, my yearling and 2 yr old BOTH started chewing lead ropes, etc recently and when the vet was out she said both really needed their teeth addressed.

    More importantly - he's probably teething! From yearling on to age 5, youngsters get 12 new additional cheek teeth, possibly also 4 canine teeth (mostly in stallions and geldings) and from 0-4 wolf teeth. That's a busy mouth!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2005
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    Maryland somewhere near Camp David!
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    Default

    Seigi gave you excellent advice.

    I have a two year old filly, she is exhuberant, and very, very smart! She requires extra patience, and understanding. Her pasture mate is her granddam, whom she finds boring, so any time she has with me, she wants to play...nipping at the lead, swinging her head at me, chewing crossties, just silly baby stuff. PATIENCE and some understanding of how and why horses communicate the way they do is really important. I will generally use my arm, like the mom's neck to discourage head swinging, and "NO" to pulling at the lead. When you can doing ground work, like beginning to teach lounging, or inhand, turns on the forehand and haunches, stopping, backing...give her mind something to relate to. Babies require teaching, and discipline, but not reprimanding, remember that learning is best done in an environment that fosters the process. No one learns when reprimanded. Horses don't think or relate as we do, and we don't really understand their ways either! Real patience is the most important key. Fillies are going to be mares...remember that you "discuss it with a mare" you don't tell them! They can be your greatest friend and ally, just learn to communicate in their language. Love and patience is you best tool for training. Horses are like children, they do their best when learning to cooperate, and their worst when discipline is not explained properly.

    I am not opposed to hand feeding treats, just explain that gentle is important. Treats in general, even put in the feed tube, can lead to banging on the gates and stall doors. I have eight horses...the two girls are treat spoiled and bang on the stall gates...but even the one gelding will paw for treats. It doesn't stop me, and no one nips, they love peppermints, it is their reward and extra goodie. If I couldn't spoil my horses, I wouldn't be happy.

    Best wishes,
    Last edited by sporthorsefilly; May. 20, 2008 at 09:33 AM. Reason: addition
    http://www.herselffarm.com
    Proud of my Hunter Breeding Princesses
    "Grief is the price we all pay for love," Gretchen Jackson (1/29/07) In Memory of Barbaro



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2005
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    Paris, Kentucky
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by siegi b. View Post
    If you think that chewing on ties constitutes brattiness, you'll have to brace yourself for the REAL terrible twos. :-) Good luck!

    This is exactly what I was thinking! My 23month old decided one day last week that she had never been halter broke and completely forgot that she had been shown in hand. LOL
    Holly
    www.ironhorsefrm.com
    Oldenburg foals and young prospects
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2006
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    Default

    Thanks everyone for the advice! As I was reading through the replies I must admit that I was laughing quite a bit! I guess I will learn what real Terrible 2's & 3 really are!!!! LOL!!!

    You know, I hadn't even thought of the possibility of her teething, that is an excellent point. Do you think that I should have the dentist out to check out her mouth? She's been visited by the dentist before, I think about 6 months ago or so to get her wolf teeth pulled.

    I also hadn't really thought about the 'game' that my little filly might be playing. Now that I think about that, it seems to make quite a bit of sense!

    So, I should basically just keep correcting her when she is trying to chew on the cross ties? Or how can I ignore her a bit to make this not such a fun game for her?

    I don't have her in the cross ties grooming too long generally maybe 15 -20 minutes. Recently, I feel like she's expired before I can do much else with her. She is better though on the weekends when I go out and she doesn't have all the distractions (I come out during the day). She really is a sweet filly. Maybe I should try to reverse her order or working on things, then groom? Or alternate days?

    Ahhh.... I am learning all about the joy of baby horses! I feel like this Spring she has actually has been getting a shorter attention span!
    Last edited by RheinlandPfalzSaar; May. 20, 2008 at 10:17 AM. Reason: typo



  8. #8
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    Nov. 5, 2000
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    Default

    Several things might be triggering this.

    1 – As Siegi suggested, she is bored.
    2 - She is happy you are grooming her, and she would like to return the favor. Since she can’t reach you, she works on the only thing she can reach – the cross ties.
    3 – She could be a bit ulcer-y and being in the crossties causes her anxiety and tummy discomfort so she tries to suck on the cross ties.

    And I also agree with Siegi that if you think THIS is bad behavior, you ain’t seen nothing yet!



  9. #9
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    Nov. 25, 2006
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    Virginia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DownYonder View Post
    Several things might be triggering this.

    1 – As Siegi suggested, she is bored.
    2 - She is happy you are grooming her, and she would like to return the favor. Since she can’t reach you, she works on the only thing she can reach – the cross ties.
    3 – She could be a bit ulcer-y and being in the crossties causes her anxiety and tummy discomfort so she tries to suck on the cross ties.

    And I also agree with Siegi that if you think THIS is bad behavior, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
    I hope that it's #2.

    Should I have the vet out to check for ulcers? I would feel horrible if she was uncomfortable. She has been doing shows this year. She has gone to 3 and has another coming up at the end of the month.



  10. #10
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    Jun. 10, 2005
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    Default

    Being on crossties is terribly boring for a horse, and having the ties right there...sort of like sitting next to a bowl of popcorn while watching TV! Even if you aren't hungry it is interesting. Teething would be my thought too!

    Yes, it gets more interesting as they grow. When they start to know their own strength... Better to be friends before that happens

    PS she is really lovely, and I am sure you have told her that She'll be a good girl.
    http://www.herselffarm.com
    Proud of my Hunter Breeding Princesses
    "Grief is the price we all pay for love," Gretchen Jackson (1/29/07) In Memory of Barbaro



  11. #11
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    Sep. 17, 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by siegi b. View Post

    Going to the barn straight from work probably means that you're still stressed out from a full day, and you may not be in the right frame of mind to deal with a youngster. Maybe you can find a way to clear your mind BEFORE you start handling your filly. She will seem a lot nicer to you then.. :-)

    Good luck!

    This is such great advice. How often I run straight to my horses when I'm all wigged out over something. Thanks!!!!
    Chris Misita
    www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
    To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
    Victor Hugo



  12. #12
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    Jun. 30, 2006
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    Middle Tennessee
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    Default

    If chewing on the crossties is the worst thing your 2 year old does, consider yourself very lucky!
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2008
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    Default

    You mean theres worse then the terrible 1's!!!??? lol all the fillies decided this week that they don't know how to lead. I think they had a talk, and are boycotting me. I just can't wait for the terrible 2's!



  14. #14
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    Mar. 9, 2006
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    Default

    My old gelding NEVER grew out of the 'chew on crossties' stage. Or heck he never grew out of just chewing on things.

    I finally gave up and would just give him the end of the leadrope to hold while I'd groom him. He'd just stand there holding it in his mouth and be utterly motionless. I think it was some kind of horsey pacifier in his case.
    *The Quietman ~ Irish Approved Gr.1 Stallion
    www.windyislesfarms.com
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  15. #15
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    Apr. 4, 2006
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    I actually have a very clever and exuberant 2yo filly as well. Also a chewer but it didn't start until she was 10 months old and had to have her woof teeth taken out. She was very young and they were extremely large for a filly of that age. It actually took her 2 months to eat correctly again. I thought she was a headshaker. At any rate, she has 2 big thick ropes hanging from her her stable door and various other toys. She loves to play and be active and I just don't see what's wrong with that. She backs up with the touch of a finger, she knows about my personal space, always takes to doing anything new and loves being messed with. So, really I don't see why I should prevent her from doing things she likes to do. She is also the happiest horse I have. She's never in a bad mood but can be testing because she is so full of life so to speak. Her current favorite game is roll the tire. I have tire feeders and if you take the tire only and roll it around, she chases, kicks it around and looks for you to come back and roll it again. She's the most fun I've ever had with an unbroken youngster!

    As far as her buddies going out and her having to stay in. A little bit of that is great for them.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



  16. #16
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    Equilibrium, excellent point, I will have the wolf teeth checked in my 2 year old...thanks!

    You described the wonderful temperment of those 2 year olds born in 2006, happy, exhuberant, and always needing something to do! Yes, they can test your patience, but don't you just adore them!
    http://www.herselffarm.com
    Proud of my Hunter Breeding Princesses
    "Grief is the price we all pay for love," Gretchen Jackson (1/29/07) In Memory of Barbaro



  17. #17
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    Apr. 13, 2000
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    The OC
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    Thanks for posting this, RPS! I have been struggling with my 2 year old colt. He has become so freaking mouthy and bites at me any chance he gets. I usually just let him catch the back of my hand or fist, or pop him in the nose. He reacts, and then comes back at me not a second later. It is getting very tedious trying to lead him around like that. I have resorted to letting him chew on the end of the lead rope or a crop, which seems to make him happy. That has led me to believe he may be teething, however, am I contributing to a long-term problem by letting him do this? Will he always be looking to chew on something, and if he can't find it come after his handler? Will he grow out of it or does it need to be trained out and how? I wonder how much of it is babiness, and if his being a colt is contributing just as much to the problem. I don't give him any hand treats.

    Problem number 2: He doesn't respect my personal space and gets pissed off when I try to correct him. If he is really mad, he rears - high. I usually give him a couple of extra large wacks if he does this. He usually only behaves like this in a new or excitable situation. But I am showing him in a few weeks and am afraid that he will rear or try to run me over when we jog.

    All that nastiness being said, he learned to longe with a saddle in about 5 minutes and never even bucked. Nothing spooks him, and he LOVES people. So he isn't ALL bad.

    I'd love some feedback from those that have raised multiple babies. He is my first, and I just don't know what normal is. Thanks!



  18. #18
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    Apr. 4, 2004
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    Ah, the terrible twos

    My filly, who up to this point has been so well-behaved it scared me, turned 2 today. Apparently someone told her 2-year olds are supposed to be baaad, because she was an absolute hellion all day. Now, in her defense, it was very windy today with a big storm blowing in, and she is in season, but she was awful- rearing, kicking and flailing in the cross-ties and running all over me and rearing when I took her back to her paddock. She has always loved to be groomed, has been standing quietly in cross-ties for over a year and is so well-behaved in hand that she is one of the barn workers' favorites but today was like a whole different horse. We had to have a very strong 'discussion' on acceptable behavior. Ugh, babies...

    My trainer has a novel solution to cross-tie chewing horses- she cuts slits in tennis balls and slides them over the ends of the ties. While it doesn't stop them from chewing completely, it does at least make it a little more difficult and saves your cross-ties from being destroyed.

    Here's my mare modeling the tennis-ball adorned cross-ties- http://laurelwoodfarms.com/day243front.jpg



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Horse Farm View Post
    This is exactly what I was thinking! My 23month old decided one day last week that she had never been halter broke and completely forgot that she had been shown in hand. LOL
    Ditto! As noted to a point its normal teething stuff too. And three. It's gets better at 4 or so. And also as noted wait til she forgets how to lead. You never taught her her that you know (he he). The pushiness is a lot of trying to move up the pecking order and youthful exhuberance. Remain firm with her and it will pass. The colts are worse about being mouthy than the filies are.



  20. #20
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    Jun. 15, 2007
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    RPS- If I am reading your post correctly you show up to work with your filly after she has been in a stall all day and while the rest of the barn is leaving to go out and play. She is being a very good girl to only chew/play with the cross ties as ADD as 2 year olds are!!! If it were me I would turn her out in the arena or someplace that she can run and play for a few minutes before you make her stand on the cross ties. At least then she will have had a chance to stretch, get fresh air etcetera and should be more willing to stand and behave for a little while. It will also give you a few minutes to unwind after work before you have to focus on "the baby"



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