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Alpha Yearling Filly - Need Some Advice with Leading

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  • Alpha Yearling Filly - Need Some Advice with Leading

    Okay, long-time horse owner, rider and even riding instructor. New to babies. I purchased a lovely half-Arab weanling filly last year who had an excellent foundation on her with regards to groundwork, leading, tying, clipping, etc.... She has been great, respectful and very sweet. We have had a few issues, but I nipped them in the bud pretty quickly. She is alpha, but generally always knows who is boss.

    Problem is that I am in Central NY without the best set-up for my barn. We are working on that, but for now I have to make do. So, when there is excessive snow/ice I often can't get the horses out for a few days. Mainly because I have to lead them from the barn to the paddock and it's not always safe for me to be leading them AND should they get loose from me (or if I would need to let go) they can go directly to the road from here.

    Okay, so the problem is that the yearling filly is getting mega-bored in the stall. I take her out for walks around the barn, but it's not like playing. Which she sorely needs. I know this. So, in the last month, when we do go out, she has gotten extremely excited to go out and very pushy/playful. I have gotten after her with my dressage whip and put a chain over her nose lately, but I'm not feeling like I'm winning this war, just the small battles. Moreover, I'm a bit concerned about getting hurt, as the ground is a bit slippery. The other day she got a little rowdy and slipped and fell down while I was leading her. I stepped back and let her pop up. She was good and didn't panic and led decently from there on, but it spooked me a bit. Leading back to the barn that evening was okay as well, but as I mentioned....I'm feeling a little less brave about this. Now I need to turn her out tomorrow and I'm admitting I'm a bit worried. She's full of herself and while I've consistently made her listen to me, I am not feeling confident about this. She leads perfectly in the barn, ties great, has good patience for her age. I really can't complain. This only happens when she's overly excited about getting outside with her friends and I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do.....

  • #2
    Honestly, it sounds as if you are doing everything you can, maybe spread more salt to melt the Ice where you walk them to and from the paddocks, but in the end it just sounds like she's a baby been pent up with no place better to put her energy.
    First and foremost about the horse.
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    • #3
      Can you leave her out instead of leaving her in?

      I'd also get a pair of Yak Trax for your shoes, to give a bit more grip...

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        There are run-ins to leave her out, but my broodmares are such princesses they will not tolerate being outside 24/7. Seriously. My one mare HATES the snow. She tolerates going outside for a brief period and then, paces endlessly until someone lets her back into the barn, no matter how much hay is out there for her to eat. All these horses were brought in from warmer climates, so I guess I can sympathize. Needless to say, when the mares go in, the yearling has to go as well.

        I think I'm mainly being a worrywart. I obsess over my horses (internally) and am always concerned that I'm doing the wrong things for the yearling. As I mentioned, she's my first and I am convinced that somehow I'm ruining her.

        Good point about the Yaktrax. I have several pair for around the yard, but generally don't put them on to work with the horses. No reason why, other than my brain blanking on it....

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        • #5
          I think you're doing what you should. Get some Yaktrax for your shoes and maybe put some sand down. I find usually after a good slip/fall they tend to smarten-up. I would also vote for the out all the time if you can convince one of your others to keep her company.

          Also, are you bringing her out first? That way she doesn't feel like she's being left behind in the barn and rushing to get to the others.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JustMyStyle View Post
            I think you're doing what you should. Get some Yaktrax for your shoes and maybe put some sand down. I find usually after a good slip/fall they tend to smarten-up. I would also vote for the out all the time if you can convince one of your others to keep her company.

            Also, are you bringing her out first? That way she doesn't feel like she's being left behind in the barn and rushing to get to the others.
            I agree with this post. And yes, I would bring her out first so that she doesn't get overly excited while in the barn. When its not frozen out, I would practice walking exercises/drills to teach her to watch you closely and pivot and stop with you as needed (kind of like heeling training with a dog). I find that this helps the young ones when they do get cooped up for a while to keep it more under control.

            And I would definitely use a chain over the nose (and the best way to do it for yearlings, in my opinion, is to go over the nose, to the lower side ring, then under the jaw to the higher side ring on the opposite side). The chain that way gives you even more control and prevents the halter from slipping in their eye. I was shown that way by a very well know sport horse handler (since young ones often get quite excited at shows too). Hopefully you won't have to actually use the chain, but if you do, you will have the control you need on the ice.

            Here's an example of what I mean about the chain on a yearling. https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot..._4985166_n.jpg

            https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot..._2126016_n.jpg
            Kris
            www.edgewoodmeadowfarm.com
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            • #7
              I just registered to try an answer for you but I'm reading COTH for a while now.
              I've raised 6 foals, 2 alpha mare in the lot and my latest alpha filly is now 30 months. I am still learning but I had the same problem with my filly last year.

              I do not use chain over the nose, personal reason but if you feel more safe with it, do it.

              If she is clearly an alpha, she will challenge you for another year or 2.

              I do a lot of groundwork, at this age she should be able to back up and move her shoulder and haunches when you ask her. My filly started to get overexcited at the gate and here is what I did.

              To clearly set up that you are the leader, make her move, back, move the shoulder, the haunches along the way, get back to the barn and come back until she listen. It can take a while. When she is finally walk calm, go ahead and when she starts to get excited, move her again.

              My filly was running in the pasture the moment the gate open. So once, I open the gate and move her until she was calm. I make her wait and moves a stride at time with waiting pause between every pause. And if she didn't listen and run, we started all over again. Finally, she got in the pasture one stride at time and I let her off when she was finally calm and I was satisfied.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by EmiVal View Post
                I just registered to try an answer for you but I'm reading COTH for a while now.
                I've raised 6 foals, 2 alpha mare in the lot and my latest alpha filly is now 30 months. I am still learning but I had the same problem with my filly last year.

                I do not use chain over the nose, personal reason but if you feel more safe with it, do it.

                If she is clearly an alpha, she will challenge you for another year or 2.

                I do a lot of groundwork, at this age she should be able to back up and move her shoulder and haunches when you ask her. My filly started to get overexcited at the gate and here is what I did.

                To clearly set up that you are the leader, make her move, back, move the shoulder, the haunches along the way, get back to the barn and come back until she listen. It can take a while. When she is finally walk calm, go ahead and when she starts to get excited, move her again.

                My filly was running in the pasture the moment the gate open. So once, I open the gate and move her until she was calm. I make her wait and moves a stride at time with waiting pause between every pause. And if she didn't listen and run, we started all over again. Finally, she got in the pasture one stride at time and I let her off when she was finally calm and I was satisfied.
                Absolutely disagree. A horse should never challenge you let alone challenge you for two years. You aren't getting the message across. I had a colt that was not even allowed to look at me when I lead him or else he got a correction. He was an extreme example but you have to do what you have to do to get your point across.
                McDowell Racing Stables

                Home Away From Home

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                • #9
                  Laurie, you have had more experience with young horses under exacting circumstances than most.. I agree a few years is a very long time to be sparring with a horse. I would just like to add that a chain, when used correctly, makes communicating your wishes to the horse a whisper instead of a shout.. Its like a spur instead of a kick.. It is worth IMO investing the time in learning to use one well. Unlike a rope halter with knots on pressure points, it can be completely disengaged/slack when not in use. IMO and IME it sets the horse and handler up for the progression of training with quiet, precise, quick aids. just some thoughts on a snowy day about babies and chains.
                  "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                  ---
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                    Laurie, you have had more experience with young horses under exacting circumstances than most.. I agree a few years is a very long time to be sparring with a horse. I would just like to add that a chain, when used correctly, makes communicating your wishes to the horse a whisper instead of a shout.. Its like a spur instead of a kick.. It is worth IMO investing the time in learning to use one well. Unlike a rope halter with knots on pressure points, it can be completely disengaged/slack when not in use. IMO and IME it sets the horse and handler up for the progression of training with quiet, precise, quick aids. just some thoughts on a snowy day about babies and chains.
                    Yes, exactly. The bolded above is why I use a chain, but I use it very judiciously and it is really there only for very fine aids. I rarely have to engage its use, but if they really act up, I actually have something (ie, the chain) to control them and bring their attention back to me. And if you do a lot of ground work, so that the youngster learns to watch you and follow your lead (like I said, like a dog and heeling), the chain very rarely has to be engaged at all. I train my young horses like dogs, with lots of positive feedback/reinforcement. And I do that when they are NOT excited so that they learn really well....and if they do have a moment that they become overly excited, the work in hand pays off and the chain is rarely needed (but there in case I do need it).
                    Kris
                    www.edgewoodmeadowfarm.com
                    Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/edgewoodmeadowfarm

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                    • #11
                      RP Where are you in Central NY. I am between Cortland and Binghamton and am more than happy to come over and help. I handled youngsters on a daily basis and have years and years of experience handling babies just like yours is acting. Email me jean@classicsporthorses.com and I'm more than happy to help you!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                        Laurie, you have had more experience with young horses under exacting circumstances than most.. I agree a few years is a very long time to be sparring with a horse. I would just like to add that a chain, when used correctly, makes communicating your wishes to the horse a whisper instead of a shout.. Its like a spur instead of a kick.. It is worth IMO investing the time in learning to use one well. Unlike a rope halter with knots on pressure points, it can be completely disengaged/slack when not in use. IMO and IME it sets the horse and handler up for the progression of training with quiet, precise, quick aids. just some thoughts on a snowy day about babies and chains.
                        That is a good point. I just didn't want the OP to think that she had to sit around and wait for the horse to get old enough that she would stop challenging her.
                        McDowell Racing Stables

                        Home Away From Home

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                        • #13
                          I know how a lot of people view chains and their use.. There is a lot of misunderstanding about them. I would hate for the OP to shy away from using, or learning to use, one.
                          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                          ---
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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                          • #14
                            I view a chain like a seat belt or a helmet personally. Almost never have to use it but when I do I am glad it is there.
                            McDowell Racing Stables

                            Home Away From Home

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                              I agree a few years is a very long time to be sparring with a horse. I would just like to add that a chain, when used correctly, makes communicating your wishes to the horse a whisper instead of a shout.. Its like a spur instead of a kick.. It is worth IMO investing the time in learning to use one well. Unlike a rope halter with knots on pressure points, it can be completely disengaged/slack when not in use. .
                              Just a couple comments: There are those "special" horses that seem to continue to present challenges NO matter what their age. No, they shouldn't be, but not all have read the book, lol! Secondly, I don't mind using a chain whatsoever if the situation calls for it, HOWEVER I also don't mind a rope halter as an alternative. It also sits "inactive" like a chain until engaged. I don't agree with the point that a chain is necessarily better/inactive. I have actually found that on some horses, the rope halter works better. Each to his own, but I just wanted to share my viewpoint....

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                              • #16
                                I've had foals go through phases and in the past years, being pregnant twice and what not, I wasn't up for a fight. So I just let them be and didn't handle them at all. Left them outside with the group.

                                And when I picked things back up after giving birth or just in the spring for instance, they had already matured and gone to another phase...

                                This might not be a conventional way of doing things, but there is a point where they obnoxiousness is about playing with you and they just outgrow it to level where they can really understand your discipline.

                                At least, that has been my experience and I always felt that if I can't win the war, I can also decide NOT to declare it!
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