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Naughty young horse, ideas?

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  • Naughty young horse, ideas?

    ETA: I cross posted to SHB so they could come and comment too. TIA!

    Sooooo....

    Background: My BFF is also my trainer. We board our horses in the same barn (she leases an aisle way from the BO) and both of us, along with her assistant, help out with the pony club kids, frequently are asked questions/advice etc (I started horses and worked the B string for a trainer during undergrad and vet school).

    Some mutual clients of ours (I do their vet work, trainer and assistant give lessons) acquired a long yearling from someone via church/craigslist type thing.

    The horse is totally stunted-it is an APHA long yearling and looks like it is 5 months old. I can find nothing medically wrong with it other than it needed food, a hoof trim, and deworming-and a trainer.

    The problem: She is doing things that I see from naughty weanlings-temper tantrums, balking when being led (that is improving) and the won't stand still while feet are held up/snatching hind legs "NO I DON'T WANT TO hold up my hind leg" near-kicking type behavior.

    Before I sedate her so our ever so patient and kind and excellent with babies farrier can safely work on her, any ideas?

    I've ruled out medical problems, and as far as I can tell she is doing the typical "i got away with it where i used to live so I'm gonna get away with it now" type stuff.

    We're trying the typical pro naughty yearling stuff like firm but kind discipline, praise when doing correctly, short training sessions, ending on a good note, plenty of exercise, non-tickly touching, etc but my CotH lurking BFF asked if I'd pick your brains (actually she looked at me and said "I think this is one for The Brain Trust"-which is what we refer to CotH as around the barn)

    I'm sure I'm not communicating exactly what we are doing correctly as my brain is fried from a day of surgeries in the cold weather-questions/comments/suggestions are appreciated.
    Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
    Sam: A job? Does it pay?
    Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
    Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.

  • #2
    It sounds as though you might have a naughty orphan foal on your hands. I had a colt who's dam died at birth, he was raised with a goat and acted exactly as you have described. Orphan foals tend bully and think of people as their playmates. If this is the case, life will get better, just be firm and consistent. Good Luck!
    "I don't know what your generation's fascination is with documenting your every thought... but I can assure you, they're not all diamonds." Mr. G

    Comment


    • #3
      Think of her as untrained and lacking a clear understanding of what your expectations are rather than as "naughty." Naughty has the connotation that they understand what you want and won't do it--that is far different than "I've never had my hoof held up for any length of time and don't understand this expectation and thus resist it." Your emotional content has to be neutral or positive for training to have maximum positive outcomes with the horse.

      Sounds like the yearling has not really learned 'yield to pressure' and this has surfaced in a number of areas. The attention span has to be slowly lengthened by increased expectations--I stand quietly for X minutes has to become I will stand tied for X, Y, to Z minutes as the horse learns to deal with the pressure and stress of being restrained and so forth.

      Treat the horse like an unhandled weanling and she should come along quickly with fair and methodical training expectations.
      Eileen
      http://themaresnest.us

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      • #4
        Sorry I have to chime in and and completely disagree with the "orphan foal" comments. I have raised 5 including my now 7+ year old 16.3 hand WB stallion(his dam died when he was 10 hours old). They all have impeccable manners b/c I make sure they do. Our latest is a now 7 month old TB colt who has scolosis-we got him when he was 6 days old. While we take extra care of him, he still has to abide by the rules.

        A horse's manners are what you make of them-just like kids. Every time you handle a horse you can "train" or "untrain".

        I would wager to guess that while this youngter is a long yearling, mentally she's a whole lot younger. Don't assume, again just like with children, that because they are "such and such" age they "Should know" what to do. It's not that simple.

        Heck I have had 5+ year olds here for our kindergarten training program-we're talking leading, bathing, feet, the works.

        Consistency is the key. Boundaries and a clear command of what you are asking. Praise, and I don't give treats, and they will start to get the picture of what is expected. Oh, there may be antics but keep forging ahead and you'll have a nice soild citizen in the making.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by classicsporthorses View Post
          A horse's manners are what you make of them-just like kids. Every time you handle a horse you can "train" or "untrain".

          Heck I have had 5+ year olds here for our kindergarten training program-we're talking leading, bathing, feet, the works.

          Consistency is the key. Boundaries and a clear command of what you are asking. Praise, and I don't give treats, and they will start to get the picture of what is expected. Oh, there may be antics but keep forging ahead and you'll have a nice soild citizen in the making.
          Same situation here. Four and five year olds that have never seen cross ties, learned to stand for farrier, accept worming (that was a fun one..17.1hh 4 1/2 year old warmblood), bathe, clip and tie. Slow and steady. Every time you handle them you are teaching them something, you just have to make sure it's the lesson you intended!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
            Same situation here. Four and five year olds that have never seen cross ties, learned to stand for farrier, accept worming (that was a fun one..17.1hh 4 1/2 year old warmblood), bathe, clip and tie. Slow and steady. Every time you handle them you are teaching them something, you just have to make sure it's the lesson you intended!
            Oh yeah I know, its just so much easier to do this when they're itty bitty and not 750 lbs.

            And Ei-she is naughty. Someone tried to 'train' her-and she learned all the bad habits. So not only are we dealing with the untrained/unhandled issues, we're also trying to un-train the bad habits-When I picked up her foreleg for instance, she went straight up-then when I didn't put it down she settled right down like, "oh I guess I can't get away with it anymore" She's just worse in the hind-I'm going to assume (and this is what new owners were told-that 'you can't pick her feet up') that they tried to pick out her feet, she snatched them, rinse/repeat-so now she thinks she can kick out/snatch etc.

            I may end up sedating her so the farrier can do her the first time (feet are pretty long, but not slippered or anything terrible) but that doesn't solve our issue of day to day handling etc.

            New owner has promised us a bottle of nice whisky and steak dinner (in addition to her training fees)

            I just want her to have a life-she's got this good home now and I want her to succeed.
            Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
            Sam: A job? Does it pay?
            Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
            Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't agree with sedation.

              When I got my yearling, and he was a big yearling who's now over 17hh, he was an a@#$*e about his back feet even though I was told he was handled daily, yada, yada. And maybe he was and by being in a new location he was hesitant to give up his feet. Not wanting to put my farrier in harms way I told him to skip him for the next trim, and I worked with him EVERY SINGLE DAY. If he let me pick up his back foot for even an instant I praised him and told him what a good boy he was. By the next farrier visit he was able to get his feet trimmed like a gentleman. Sure he was a little wiggly, but he wasn't trying to take anybody's head off so it was a successful farrier visit and now it's a complete non issue.

              He's young and needs to be taught how to behave like a proper horse and skipping a trim will not cause any permanent damage.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by classicsporthorses View Post
                Sorry I have to chime in and and completely disagree with the "orphan foal" comments. I have raised 5 including my now 7+ year old 16.3 hand WB stallion(his dam died when he was 10 hours old). They all have impeccable manners b/c I make sure they do. Our latest is a now 7 month old TB colt who has scolosis-we got him when he was 6 days old. While we take extra care of him, he still has to abide by the rules.

                A horse's manners are what you make of them-just like kids. Every time you handle a horse you can "train" or "untrain".

                I would wager to guess that while this youngter is a long yearling, mentally she's a whole lot younger. Don't assume, again just like with children, that because they are "such and such" age they "Should know" what to do. It's not that simple.

                Heck I have had 5+ year olds here for our kindergarten training program-we're talking leading, bathing, feet, the works.

                Consistency is the key. Boundaries and a clear command of what you are asking. Praise, and I don't give treats, and they will start to get the picture of what is expected. Oh, there may be antics but keep forging ahead and you'll have a nice soild citizen in the making.
                Totally agreed. We have adopted out over 20 orphans and have two retained here at the rescue. One 3 YO one 2 YO who both were brought in at under 3 weeks of age. Orphans need more of YOUR guidance to learn what is right or wrong, what is expected and allowed or not. If they don't have the manners they should...that is YOUR fault not the fault of being orphaned.

                Also agree about the kindergarten classes...I can't tell you how many we have had who are even middle aged who don't understand these things. Its not being naughty, they just don't have a clue.

                Consistency is absolutely the key to training any horse, any age, any discipline. Every day 2-3 times per day or more, work with the horse on BASIC commands. Start small and don't ask for too much. Reward good behavior with an end to the session. (I don't do treats either.) But if you build on those small baby steps, pretty soon you are well on your way. Sometimes thats just what it takes.
                Don't breed- Adopt your steed!
                Mountain View Rescue

                Comment


                • #9
                  Oh I have been where you are. I bought my filly when she was a yearling and she had an attitude about things like standing well for the farrier. Our farrier was pretty gutsy and he would continue to hold her front leg while she danced around until she figured out he wasn’t going to let go, but couldn’t really do that with the back legs. She would also try to push over the person holding her. After a few visit we came up with a method that seemed to work well for her …… we put a shank over her nose. I would hold her and stand out of “her space”. If the farrier wasn’t holding any legs and she attempted to come in my space I’d snap her nose with the chain and make her back two steps. If she danced enough to get the farrier to let go of her leg, same thing - snap chain and make her back a few steps. When she was standing like she should, she was on a loose line and I would pat her neck, etc. Honestly, after the initial time of trying this method, she improved significantly! She is definitely one of those horses that you have to demand respect from on the ground or she will decide she is your leader. I don’t recommend the sedation because I don’t think they really learn when they are sedated and you are better of making her actually learn how to correctly handle herself before she gets bigger.

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