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Leading yearling TBs as a pair

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  • Leading yearling TBs as a pair

    How many of you lead your youngsters in/out of turnout as a pair? And at what stage do you start leading them out as singles?

    I ask as I've been helping out on a friends barn with 2 broodmare and 2 yearling fillies. The yearlings go out in their own field and usually get led out as a pair. The more dominant filly is quite boisterous and usually snakes her head all around on the walk out to the field, the other filly tends to drag behind and annoy the dominant filly even further by testing her patience.

    The other day, I go caught in the middle of the fillies in the gateway as they were spooked by a big bird that flushed out of the hedgeline....basically, I got the business end of the dominant filly on my hip/backside as she was flipping out and I had no where to go....now I'm a bit wary of leading them out as a pair when I'm there but also know that trying to lead one out and close the gate and get the other through the gate without letting the other out will be a bit of a circus at the start.

    My friend has been not been very well lately with issues with her health coming back, and I think hasn't felt strong enough to tackle the training issue. I'm gun shy having been kicked by the one filly, but know something needs to be done here to nip this in the bud.

    Any training ideas? How do you guys handle your yearlings if you only have a pair on the farm?

    Thanks in advance, sorry for the long post.

  • #2
    I always do one at a time. The one left in the field solo for 5 minutes just has to deal with it. And I always carry a crop/whip - useful for 1. Getting one horse out and keeping the other IN and 2. keeping horse being led in line if they decide to be testy.

    In your sitution it sounds like it would be really helpful if you could get a helper to come with you? That way you both take a horse and deal with THAT horse - for your own safety until the owner can work on the manners thing....
    Celtic Pride Farm
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    • #3
      It depends on the horses. At one time I had 3 TB fillies I would lead out all at once-- they were great, listened well, and it saved a lot of time/steps and eliminated the anxiously waiting left behind problem nicely. Now I have 2 WB boys with whom it doesn't work well at all-- I have to turn them out separately, too, or they'll get themselves kicked pestering their pasture mates

      Guess I just don't have what it takes to deal with men.


      • #4
        one at a time

        IMO -( if you do not have help) take one at a time. fiesty first, and work on her manners every day. Then the quiet one. They do grow out of this phase ( most of the time). I always make my young ones halt then walk etc as they come in and out. Mind you they may halt only for a second or two, but they soon start to listen to you.
        Always make sure they have halters on! Too hard to put one on an anxious baby.

        I love the young ones, but i am always on the watch for the playful hooves! I have to say, on the days when they are wild for whatever reason, Im in a vest and helmet ( does not happen often, but when the wind is howling, well...)

        Nice of you to help your friend.


        • #5
          I never lead more than one horse at a time, it is just too risky and have known people that got severly injured doing so. I would go ahead and start doing this one at a time. If you can possibly get someone to come a few times and lead the other ones, start out with them about 10 yards from each other and gradually make the distance further until the second one is leading independantly of the first that would be best. Also can you throw some hay out so the first one can occupy themselves with that until you get the other one turned out. Or, if that doesn't work and one is hogging the gate, carry a dressage whip and whack them on chest (just watch for turning and kicking out!) to teach them to get back. Sounds like these two need some groundwork on respecting space!


          • #6
            I would have to agree with the previous post. I'd definitely be leading them out separately since you've had problems with them already. I was having a similar situation with a set of yearlings (one submissive colt, one dominant filly) I was helping out with. I ended up getting kicked in the side of my right knee and ended up having to take several months to recover. They ended up taking the quiet one out first however because the dominant yearling always was obnoxious to the quiet one when we put the quieter colt out second. The dominant filly would just go after the poor guy after lead in, but luckily this behavior was taken care of quickly and was never seen again.


            • #7
              If you've had problems, there's certainly no shame in leading each one out singly, particularly as you work on their manners. Meanwhile, the one who is left behind learns some patience. Just make sure that when you take out the filly who has been left behind, that she is respectful and focused on you, that she does not simply plow you over to get to where the other filly is at.

              When you feel confident you have a high level of respect from each filly, then start leading them in pairs if you want. With boisterous youngsters, I'd definitely be leading them singly until they were extremely respectful. I have no problem leading 3-4 of ours in a group, even - but I am on top of them and I make sure they're in the right frame of mind to focus on me. They're also all older now (over 6), so I have a pretty well-established partnership with each of them. Earn your space and be assertive (but not aggressive).

              As the leader, you are in charge - which means you can establish the rules. Earn the respect of the filly who's lagging behind so she keeps up, and earn the respect of the dominant filly so she is respectful and polite at your side. When you eventually put them together, your rules can also dictate that there is no fighting between the two. Our horses are allowed to get on each others' nerves all they want out in pasture, but the minute they're in my presence - the fighting stops (all it takes is a little assertive body language). That way too you're not dealing with situations such as the dominant filly chastising the more submissive filly, or harassing her because she's irritated at the other going so slow.

              Personally, I would leave the dominant filly in and take the submissive one out first. The dominant one is going to learn a little patience at waiting and if you refuse to take her out until she is relaxed in her stall (or wherever you are taking her out of), you will build on that patience you're already developing. Do not reward the behaviour of the dominant filly by taking her out if she is not in a relaxed state of mind. Wait until she relaxes (take the time it takes so that it takes less time).

              Hope this helps and good luck :P
              ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
              ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


              • #8
                Always one at a time!
                Free bar.ka and tidy rabbit.


                • #9
                  i've had pairs that lead well together (of all ages, including yearlings) and i've had horses that are a PITA to lead, even by themselves. if you don't feel comfortable leading them together, then don't do it, end of story. in the meantime, regarding the one filly, talk to the owner. i know that i'd be a little irked if someone took it upon themselves to implement a training program with my horses, without talking to me first. all it takes is a 'hey, the filly has been a little brat when leading, i was thinking of trying x,y or z. is that ok with you?'
                  Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by naturalequus View Post
                    Personally, I would leave the dominant filly in and take the submissive one out first. The dominant one is going to learn a little patience at waiting and if you refuse to take her out until she is relaxed in her stall (or wherever you are taking her out of), you will build on that patience you're already developing. Do not reward the behaviour of the dominant filly by taking her out if she is not in a relaxed state of mind. Wait until she relaxes (take the time it takes so that it takes less time).

                    Hope this helps and good luck :P
                    This is good advice........I did this with an impatient filly who was not dominant.......I put mine out in pairs........once I weaned I started putting the filly out with an older pony......all the other horses went out first 4 in all.......then the pony her pasture mate was put out followed my the filly ......well for the first little while the filly would run wild in her paddock waiting for her turn but over time she came to realize she was going out too and just stands and watches and waits patiently for her turn.



                    • #11
                      We always do one at a time. Teaching a youngster that they have to wait in the barn or wait in the field is part of training. I also saw my husband go through rotater cuff surgery (not from horses) and a couple of horse friends (from horses) and I'll do anything to avoid that.
                      Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                      "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                      • #12
                        I agree with others who have said making them wait is a part of their training because it is important to learn patience. Having said that Mr. Equilibrium still brings in the 2yo TB colts together in the evenings but their turnout is close to the barn and Mr. E would rather do it that way. Plus in general they are just extremely well mannered boys. The 2yo fillies would take any chance they could to mess around and make your life misreable! But all of them also know how to wait their turn if I'm bringing them in on my own.

                        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.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thank you all for all the great ideas and information(keep it coming!)...I must admit that I don't have a huge amount of experience with handling yearlings, but I've just been treating them like I would an adult--expecting good manners, and being calm but firm in my response to bad behavior...but it's nice to know that I'm not off track in thinking leading them out separately (at least for a while) would be benefical to their manners. I have less experience than my friend in terms of handling youngsters (but have been around horses my whole life), but perhaps I demand more manners from my horses? I don't know, but I'm glad to have all the help and info on here to take on board.