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My yearling is a terror!!

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  • My yearling is a terror!!

    Ok this is our first colt we have ever had. We have had all fillies in the past and they have all grown up to be well behaved easy to work with animals. This guy is down right a terror. He leads well when he wants to but when he is done he will try to run you over by pushing into with his shoulder, bite you or just all together leave and hopefully you can hang on. I carry a crop with me at all times to beat him off me and to get after him when he tries to bite. Normally at this age we are taking them on walks around the farm and standing to be groomed ect. With this guy we are lucky if we make it out to the pasture in the morning without an attack. Were did i go wrong with this guy? He was gelded at at about 7 or 8 months i can't remember the exact age and the older he gets the worse it is getting. We could do more with him as a six month old foal than we can now that he is a yearling. No matter what we do he will not quit the biting attempts. I have slapped him, punched min, wacked him with the lead rope and pulled out whiskers when he trys to bite but he keeps coming back for more like it is a game. HELP!! I am a small person so he can drag me around some which i know is not good. Has anyone ever had to send their yearling away for manners training? I feel like such a failure. I know babies have brain farts but this is more. Any advice would be much appreciated. I know this is going to be a really nice baby and possibly my future show horse( if i don't kill him first) so i would like for him to have some manners. Oh yeah he does not get any treats or food from anything other than the feed bucket.

  • #2
    For us, yearlings are the worst year where they test you constantly .... which is tiring when you're also dealing with disciplining "human" babies all day long too ... but I digress. By two year olds I find we reach a meeting of the minds.

    For the leading issue, if he's getting away you might not have enough hardware on him. I prefer a chain or a rope halter for more "bite". Until he's more steady better to have it on him and not need it than to need it and not have it. Discipline only when needed and not in anger (do not allow him to build up to being so bad) effectively nip disrespectful behavior in the bud. I expect them to all walk on a slack lead at all times. If they disrespect it even a bit, they're corrected. Halter work on getting them to yield the hindquarters on a lift and point of the lead helps alot, and will go along way in getting control of the shoulders as well.

    I also like to tie them and ingnore them in the barn while I'm doing stalls. It's a great way to teach them patience and that it's not always their way. I don't care if they paw or fuss, they stay there until they're quiet. We also tie quite regularily in tie stalls for feedings etc.. works for us.


    • #3
      My best TB mare produced sweet, easy to handle fillies, and colts that were very difficult. But, the colts eventually turned out great, much later than the fillies.

      Anyway, does your colt have any buddies his age to play with? I think at that age some of them just have to play. They must get in their daily quota of challenge play fights with male buddies their age. If they don't, then you are IT, like it or not. That means a lot more discipline, and dealing with his constant nipping/biting stuff. It's like some of them are hardwired to do this at that age, and he won't get it out of his system until he's been able to go through that stage properly.

      I would try to find him play fighters his own age to tire him out during the day. My colt could do this all day long when he was a yearling through his two year old year, and he was so horribly nippy. He turned out to have great manners and not be the least bit mouthy, but he had to grow out of it (as well as getting firm handling when needed, including the extra hardware as suggested above).
      Spotakiss, now a two year old colt, born 3-22-07 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rhf7Bkb_4Gs


      • #4
        Originally posted by hunterprincez View Post
        Ok this is our first colt we have ever had. We have had all fillies in the past and they have all grown up to be well behaved easy to work with animals. This guy is down right a terror. I feel like such a failure. .
        welcome to the wonderful world of baby boys... mine are so obnoxious to their sisters that by 5 mos old they are seperated into two herds and when weaning time comes they live with really grouchy geldings...

        their wrestling matches can last over an hour***...and then start again 40 min later...interspersed with eating and sleeping and pooping...I have found the best way to deal with this is to make sure they have the play time together....as rowdy as they wanna be...and from the time they are old enough to look me in the eye (I'm 5'6") they are lead with a chain over their nose...even the fillies....period...

        I also make sure to not accidentally hit a "trigger" like one of their playmates would...(ie don't just reach down and grab a leg out of no where and wonder why he tries to nip you it's their favorite game)...be methodical and repetitive and fair....

        he cannot run ahead and he cannot nip and he cannot grab....if he is totally obnoxious right now, find a broom handle and drill a hole putting a stud chain thru the end and then lead him with it...you are out of range of those teeth and legs and can still steer him....if he sees you as a source of amusement if make take a few weeks to convice him to the better...

        and finally,take heart that for everyone that says they have never ever ever had a naughty baby colt....2 million more people will be sending you secret sympathy

        ****as their are five 2 yos and 3 yearlings here it makes for good entertainment and study time
        Last edited by Tamara in TN; Mar. 30, 2008, 08:59 PM.
        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


        • #5
          not all yearlings are bad though. I have an 11 month colt that is an absolute doll. He is still whole - gets plenty of outdoor exercise - he is in a herd of 11 horses - mares, geldings and some ponies as well as a 2 yr old filly.

          I know I am going to hear - get him out of there - but I dread the day I have to. He loves his herd - he has learned great discipline from the geldings and the alpha mare, plays with the ponies and generally has a great time going from one to the other pestering them all.

          As for manners, he cross ties, stands for grooming, the farrier, leads and trailers really well. Day to day he usually doesn't have a halter on to go in and out of the barn - none of our horses do as they all know the routine and know where they are going - as well, all our horses lead well without halters.

          When he does have his halter on he knows it's time to work, leads and has been shown at breed shows including the royal winter fair. He bathes and has had a full body clip wihtout sedation.

          Just to let you know that not all are bad.


          • #6
            My colt will be two in April. He also leads, clips, cross ties, baths, trailers and is out 24/7 with preggo alpha mare who so far has kept him humble. But, I can definitely see his confidence growing right along with his strength & size. He is going to be pretty big. I have never had to use a chain on him until the last month. Now, I have a chain circling the noseband - in the manner where it won't tighten down, just makes a circle and he has been great.

            The other day, my husband was dumping a wheelbarrow of dirt in a low area along his fenceline and, while the other horses ran away, this colt ran up to it, rearing and pawing, definitely challenging it. Then, this weekend, a group of kids went running (and screaming) down around the bottom of his pasture. He was not happy. I walked up to the gate - very high, pipe metal - he ran up, reared up and struck the top bar of the gait with his front foot...about two feet from my face. I immediately roared at him and flung my arms at him and he backed off. I'll have to say that is the first time he has EVER challenged me and I know he was pretty mad from the kids & was all worked up but still.

            I considering getting him a job even though he is only two.


            • #7
              If he is really really trying to bite, I don't know if this will work, but it helped my colt very much with the nippy behavior. Someone on here recommended it.

              If he gets nippy, I grab his top lip, where you would twitch them. Hold on firmly, because he will try to pull his head away. And then just play with his lip. Move it up and down, back and forth. Pretty much just annoy the crap out of him.

              If you tap his nose when he nips, he will think the nipping is a game. Colts play the biting game with each other. That is why getting him in the nose does not work. Smacking on the chest with a long whip would work better IMO. A dressage whip is a very good size, because it lets you keep some distance if you need to, or if he nips and then scoots away.

              I never had to use a chain with my boy (who was a stud until he was 19 months), but if he was rude while leading, he got the lead rope wiggled HARD at him. As boys do, he would sometimes get pushy, and when he did he got the lead wiggled at him to make him back up. I wouldn't do that with a chain, but with a rope halter it could be effective.

              That's all I have to add because my boy was really good. He just had the baby moments from not being handled much as a youngster.

              Also, could you ship him off to live with a pregnant alpha mare? That really helped put manners on mine. She was not mean to him, but she was firm.


              • #8
                I was taught to either grab the lip or even grab the hairs on their chin to deter nipping. It wasn't until later I realized how bad that is. When you get to where you are working with their head all the time - bridleing, clipping muzzles, etc and they anticipate you holding their nose with punishment, it creates a huge problem. I never do that now.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for the support guys, i am glad to know i am not the only one out there with a terror. We don't have andy other babies this year. We did not even plan on having him past weaning but when it was time for his owner to take him she decided she did not need another baby and gave him to us. He currently goes out with our old broodmare/alpha mare and she keeps him in his place as far as manners and submissivness in the pasture. She does not let him take a step out of line. We also have two mini donks that play really hard and rough that i would love for him to play with but he has no intrest in them. I guess boys will be boys. He got smacked with the crop quite a lot yesterday and today and i am thinking he might be getting the idea that it is easier to just give in than constantly get smacked in the neck/chest.


                  • #10
                    It's his job!
                    ... _. ._ .._. .._


                    • #11

                      ...interspersed with eating and sleeping and popping...
                      So much for THAT bad behavior. POP! My Irish Draught colt,Louis, was a pasture shark as a foal and kept 7 TB colts moving nonstop until he was gelded. Then at one he was a very sweet girlie-boy and now at two he is starting to bash gates and swagger again. He still makes these very precise manure mountains and if the girls didn't mess them up with their indescriminate pooping he would make poop towers. He's my sweetie. PatO


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by columbus View Post
                        ...interspersed with eating and sleeping and popping...

                        So much for THAT bad behavior. POP!

                        well that is a good way to put it....

                        He still makes these very precise manure mountains and if the girls didn't mess them up with their indescriminate pooping he would make poop towers. He's my sweetie. PatO
                        yep...perfect poop castles...added to by each successive brother following in the line behind him toward the pond....I know it well
                        Last edited by Tamara in TN; Mar. 30, 2008, 11:15 PM.
                        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tri View Post
                          I was taught to either grab the lip or even grab the hairs on their chin to deter nipping. It wasn't until later I realized how bad that is. When you get to where you are working with their head all the time - bridleing, clipping muzzles, etc and they anticipate you holding their nose with punishment, it creates a huge problem. I never do that now.
                          Re: biting and nipping

                          A cowboy taught me to stay calm, have a halter on the horse so you can catch their head. Then slip the dirtiest stinkiest hand you have into the side of their mouth and grab their tongue. Pull it out and hold it until they say uncle, they'll drop their head, a sign of submission. Do it every time that they even hint at using their mouth. No hitting, no smacking, no yelling - calmness! You know, and they know what the consequence is and will be (a lot like the nanny) and a lot like a kid getting their mouth soaped for cussing. I wish that I had known how to use discipline like this back when my children were little. It taught me how to be totally calm. When you are calm the horse knows that he is the culprit.
                          The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton


                          • #14

                            nipping is so easily controlled with just a flash noseband attached to the halter, he cannot open his mouth he cannot nip you, no need to smack or engage in rough housing with him, from that it went to cross ties being groomed and letting the stallion hold a brush in his mouth and chew on it or stand there with flash on. and when being good he can get a treat wedged in through a crack and suck on peppermint or something with the flash on. it he tries to head butt you thats different and then you do need to get after him for that, but that is unusual and doesnt last long, it is easier to prevent the behaviour than to punish it


                            • #15
                              When one of my horses was a foal, he was known as Baby Badass. He wasn't as much of a terror as the OP's colt, but he certainly was a mouthy little bastard until he was about 6. One useful piece of advice I got regarding the biting was not to swat back at him when he nipped. He saw this as a game, just like when he would play with his buddies. Instead, pinch him HARD on the neck or shoulder. This makes the game much less fun.
                              Amateur rider, professional braider.
                              Save a life, adopt a pet.


                              • #16
                                My vet says...

                                use a whiffle ball bat - I don't know how to spell it but it's the big very light plastic bat that you hit the light balls with the holes.... Whack anywhere but the eyes, makes a noise but doesn't hurt them...I always hit the offending member (sometimes that is the front leg or nose and no, they are not head shy and yes, I have good aim). It only takes once or twice. Leave it in the aisle where they can see it while cross tied and it is effective while laying there! The only problem is - those dang youngsters decide to misbehave when you don't have a weapon - very smart. It's hard to remember to bring it with you when leading to the field especially when they haven't put a foot wrong in a few days... I feel your pain! Hang in there.


                                • #17
                                  hahaha boy am I glad I found this post and can share my frustration on "little boys". My little boy was my foster that well never left. lol. He's had a rough life to begin... SPCA had taken his mother and several VERY under cared/starved horses from this person. 2-3 days after they where rescude the mares where having foals. Titus-my little boy now- had a very rough start, was a twin (twin died), had crooked legs- now he looks great!, mare didn't produce milk so he had to be bottled fed (part of his pushy/biting problem), had to have a blood transfusion--had BAD reaction to it.... ANYWAYS--now he thought people are at his level and showed NO respect when you entered his paddock. We had meeting on the minds one day-- was not pretty--but got my point across. the nipping and bitting was solved with some VERY HOT sauce!!! My husband love hot sauces and so I thought hummm wonder if this will work. Took an old raty sweatshirt and sprayed some on it (I had to wear extra layers of clothes and rubber gloves to keep it off my skin--that's who pungent this stuff my husband like is!) Well Mister Titus tried some---yeah he won't do that again!!!! lol
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