View Full Version : cranky foal

03-09-10, 05:59 PM
what do you do with a 12 month old foal, he is gelded, he tries to stand over you and dominate you, if he got the chance and maybe have anip, it is starting to get serious, and will not back off, some say use parelli on him , he has not been ill treated in any way, he really throws a temper tantrum , when mum is not in sight, they are in separate paddocks
maybe he has had too much TLC. when he was ill, trying to save his life
what would you do, i do not like smacking him all the time, it only makes him worse

03-09-10, 06:15 PM
he needs friends. either chuck him in with some mares, or chuck him in with a someone close to his age who will safely play with him and a couple of older horses that will teach him manners.

It comes down to socialisation and handling.

He's not to dominate you, but please ignore the polypipe/whip advice brigade - you need to strike a balance between saying - i'm not a horse so don't do the dominance rubbish with me mate - versus - the scaring the bejezus out of him and teaching him to swing his hindquarters at you, double barrell you and run off (and yes, I had to re-educate a yearling filly several years ago who's young well meaning owner had taken the advice about whips and polypipes offerred on cyberhorse and eques).

if you haven't got people around you who are experienced with young'uns - then agist him with someone who breeds and produces well mannered youngsters - and chuck him out with some other yearlings somewhere where he'll be wormed, have his feet done, have some quality minimal handling and bring him in later down the track.

otherwise consider taking him along to young horse groundwork classes.....

but socialisation is the best thing for youngsters - yearlings like to bite and kick and some friends who like to bite and kick but aren't going to break his legs are good.

03-09-10, 06:24 PM
the alpha horse shows he is the leader by moving all the other horses feet and not their own - the second he gets imposing, tell him to back his little legs up as fast as they will carry him... there are lots of ways to cause this to happen and i am sure someone will be only too happy to elucidate....

also remember the elbow is the strongest part of your body - use it judiciously ; )

03-09-10, 06:47 PM
I feel he needs plenty of ground work (not NH and no "games"!) and teaching respect. Not belting the crap out of him either. Reward good behaviour, but be strong, a little threatening, and rather fierce when he does the wrong thing. He has to learn to respect your space, and do do as he's asked. And if you ask him to do nothing, and just stand there, he should also do that!

03-09-10, 06:54 PM
unfortunately i only have the brood mare his mother in one paddock, and cosi, the foal in the other paddock, i know he needs another mate, i avoid the poly pipe issue, unfortunaltely my daughter is frightened of him ashe got the better of her, which started this all off, so where ever possible i donot let her near him, he knows she is afraid of him and he thinks, everyone is the same,
i need an old bossy pony from somewhere, that will put him in his place,
i was thinking of sending him to away , which may be the best t hing for him to learn some respect,

03-09-10, 07:45 PM
You've been too soft he needs rules, no need to get violent or anything but be strict and enforce them... Look up horse problems and have a read of his site... It handles these sorts of issues. He is a successful professional and his methods work.

03-09-10, 08:01 PM
Well it's time he came in for a" mini prep".Handling,feet,rugs on/off,hosing and in hand WALKING ,with a bumrope,brushing,in and out of box etc.No need to bully,just explain what you require,they learn so fast at that age.

03-09-10, 08:10 PM
what do you do with a 12 month old foal, he is gelded, he tries to stand over you and dominate you, if he got the chance and maybe have anip, it is starting to get serious, and will not back off, some say use parelli on him , he has not been ill treated in any way, he really throws a temper tantrum , when mum is not in sight, they are in separate paddocks
maybe he has had too much TLC. when he was ill, trying to save his life
what would you do, i do not like smacking him all the time, it only makes him worse

chuck may be he/she need a companion ^_^ it need a playmate

03-09-10, 08:12 PM
OK I will play devils advocate- I would take poly pipe with me in any paddock where there is a youngster who has become a stand over merchant! The minute you take a step back he has won the battle- so I while I would not advocate hitting him with it- I would use it to threaten him if he incroaches on your territory.

By not taking something (poly pipe) in the paddock with you, you seriously run the risk of being kicked or bitten. Unless you want a main role in Jackass it is not advisable to take on a horse in a paddock with out some protection.

You need to do some serious ground work with him and teach him your personal area and where he is allowed and where he is not allowed **without * your invitiation. You do not need to race out and buy another horse to keep him company (if you happened to have one that would be great though!)- you need to spend some time teaching him his boundaries

I can also tell you that while you can instill excellent manners into a horse with a halter and lead on; they can still play silly buggars when you let them loose in a paddock- they are not stupid and know the difference between being under control and at liberty!

I have no hesitation in carrying a piece of poly- once you have established the boundaries keep carrying it for another week or so until you are sure you have taught him where he can and cannot be- and then leave it beside the gate for another couple of weeks- just incase.

As I said you do not need to beat him with it or even hit him; but you do need to back him off you when he makes you uncomfortable or threatens you in any way.

There is the second value to carrying poly- it gives you the mental strength to know you can defend yourself- you would be surprised at how much a horse senses- and they know if you are frightened or apprehensive of them- with the poly firmly in hand you have every confidence that the horse will not beat you and this comes through to the horse.

You do not have to believe me on this one- but it works! Really competant horse people dont need the poly- they have enough confidence in themselves that the horse will not tackle them: most horses react totally differently when they know the handler has no fear! Having said all that I have still seen some genuine experts take poly into a colts paddock when the colt has no respect

I cant see how carrying poly can do any harm- it is not going to flog the horse without you applying it! But if the devil decided to turn tail and go to boot me I certainly would give him a single whack in return- better he learns a lesson than I break a bone!

The last thing is - that if you do need to physically discipline him- make sure it is an immediate response and that it is hard enough to register (with the poly). I have seen several youngsters who have absolutely no respect for any human- they got "smacked" by their owners but it did not intimidate them- infact they seemed to enjoy the game of "being naughty and getting tapped". I do not beat horses- ever- but I will give a decent single whack with poly if it is needed- the noise is what frightens them- there is certainly no pain factor !

Now go for it all you anti poly people- but put forward your suggestions on how not to get injured in the paddock by a youngster with no respect before you totally condem my methods!

03-09-10, 08:15 PM
This is a very timely thread my 7 month old filly is a very cranky little thing she's had a tendency towards kicking and being narky from very early on (like 3 weeks!) and while groundwork has really helped with her having respect on the lead she recently ramped it up quite a lot and I took her to her first show without firmly establishing those rules and got thoroughly flattened, I broke my arm when I fell so I am unable to do any more work with her at the moment :(

I am getting a professional handler to work with her, my friend has learnt some stuff from him and she has done a bit with my foal mostly just working on getting her out of the human's space but it works really well and doesn't involve poly pipe or beatings :) I don't know where she got this narky attitude she's not spoilt and her mother isn't like that :confused:

Anyway I would recommend getting a professional make sure it's someone who has come recommended by people you know but it really is worth it they can help and give you the best tools for dealing with it.

03-09-10, 08:27 PM
Even a few good halter lessons should help him. Make him back, walk forward, move over. Just a step at first - so pressure on his lead (putting slight pressure on the nose piece), and chest with your hand if necessary, and say 'back' and reward with 'good boy' when he takes even one step. Ask him forward with light pressure and reward when he comes forward. Stand at his head (near side) and stare him in the eye and walk at him, saying 'over' as you press on his shoulder to make him step his forequarter away from you (you will probably have to pull the lead away from you as well to take his head over). Repeat for the offside. Within five or ten minutes he should be backing several steps, coming forward and moving over by pivoting on his hindquarter (try for a full 360 turn on his hind quarter as you say, 'over, over' walking into his eye and pushing on his shoulder).

Repeat these simple lessons, forward, back, over, with you in command at all times. Then do them with your daughter with you so he sees he has to obey with her there as well. If he nips or chews the lead, growl with a gutteral, frightening 'Agggh - no!' and make him back up. If he strikes, well, that is really dangerous - get his head low and back him up a long, long way. You can make his hindquarter step over by staring at it and pushing it with 'over' as well. These aren't games, they are just basic handling lessons that make a young horse realise that he does what you want him to do, and it will almost always make the horse more respectful as well as more comfortable, more relaxed, more secure that he has a boss who will protect him and safer.

The western training methods for Showmanship give you well behaved, respectful horses that respond lightly and obediently when you are on the ground. No doubt many will make fun of Showmanship, but they are great classes (I don't do them but I admire them) and it is excellent groundwork for any horse. I'll find some videos for groundwork as well as the Showmanship stuff...

Here is a good series of videos for ground training from eXtension Horses...

(this first one is fairly basic but still good ) http://www.youtube.com/user/eXHorses#p/c/D2C18DA626A5D33F/0/2rbd-awLyYY

Handling the horse from the ground


placing the head

Training the pivot...

Yielding to pressure

A showmanship run so you can see how obedient the horses are - this young girl controls the horse by body movement alone, you can't speak to the horse or touch it, and it has to stop dead, back, pivot, trot and walk.


and another...

03-09-10, 09:12 PM
Good advice from Lea-owens as always :)

If he is getting dominant and pushing you around you must put a stop to it or it will get worse. Lots of leading lessons getting him to back off you, move away etc when asked. In the meantime in the paddock if he gets rude and pushy make him move his feet away from you in any way you can, make yourself big and loud - so arms raised and spread, yell, clap hands, stomp feet whatever to make HIM move his feet away from you, and don't let him back in near you until he is being nice!

03-09-10, 11:55 PM
i have tonight rang a professonal horse breaker, he has agreed to take cosi, the foal , for a week ,or 2, i will go over every 2nd day and work with him, and hopefully things will get better for both of us, thanks for all who gave advice, my husband actually takes the poly pipe with in the paddock, and if cosi gets too agro, he gives a light tap. not too harsh but enough to make him back off, believe it or not he comes running when he sees me come out to the paddock and whinnies, maybe he does not dis like me after all,
if this darn rain clears up , i can put some time in with the foal before he goes, 6 inches in 4 days,

04-09-10, 02:48 PM
Once you have sorted out the handling issues with the pro, why not find somewhere to turn him out with a suitable peer group for the next 12 months?

05-09-10, 08:59 AM
that is a good idea, have some people in cowra who offered to do so, once cosi is sorted out
thank you for assistance

05-09-10, 09:09 AM
When he's being naughty you need to drive him away as the dominant mare in a herd would do. Take a rope with you into the yard (not to hit him with). When you're working with him (in a smaller yard preferably,) if he tries to nip run him away from you baring your teeth. Start by gently swinging the rope stay behing his shoulder if possible. If gently swinging doesn't cut it, swing it faster until he starts to move away from you. Keep pushing him around you either at walk, trot he doesn't have to be galloping in mad circles, until he starts to ask you to let him back near you (ie: the mouthing thing). Each time he misbehaves likes this, drive him away from you until he learns you are the dominant herd member. Don't let him back easily either, when you're ready to let him in, stop swinging the rope and turn away from his shoulder, he should come in to you. If not, do it all again.

Or another good method is John Chatterton but you'd need to read and apply all ten steps to really make it work however it's fantastic and how I train all my horses. Even my mistrustful little pony will always come to me when I call. Actually most of what Lea Owens is suggesting is very simliar to how John Chatterton works. He uses his pulling on the rope method but I actually substituted that with the growl and the abrupt Ahhh. All you're doing is giving them a cue that lets them know the behaviour is not desired and it's safer to be with you than away from you. It is a dedicated training method though and while it would be suggested training you do need to be willing to put in the time. No wonder you're ponies are so well behaved Lea LOL. It's a lovely gentle method (when you get away from the hauling on the head which I just couldn't do) and gives such nice natured trusting horses.

If it was a small foal, I'd bite it back or if it tried to kick, you spin around and back up to the foal and kick them. LOL, they're so startled when you do that, they soon stop kicking. You could end up getting kicked by a yearling though so I'd drive them away. (I've never had to bite a naughty horse and baulk a little at the thought but know many people who swear by it).

These are just various ideas I've heard along the traps, some I've tried, some I haven't.

05-09-10, 09:26 AM
the power of the elbow was good advice LOL

but sometimes even an elbow gets tired. lookes like youve solved the problem but just thought id add, if he comes back being angelic for the trainer but soon as he looks at you or your daughter and remembers hey i did i before, maybe its only the trainer i have to be good for.

make time to go to there and see how he signals him so you use the same.

one thing i discovered helped was finding a good strong stick so when ace began shoveing me and my elbow became too sore, held the stick across my tum with the end so it would go into into his neck or shoulder when he began to come over on me again while i was leading him.

he still kept having a try and when the stick did it for the 4th time he had a hissy fit and bit the stick, funny i suspected he was contemplating having a bite at my arm before my elbow got sore. so the body language was telling me what he was thinking after all.

mind u we were walking up and down the drive for over half an hour before he finally got the message and was walking beside me without shoving. so no, lessons aren't always going to be a quick fix. takes a lot of repetition to get the message imprinted satisfactorily

ive found teaching mine to back up until they have it down well enough that all i have to do is point a finger and say back and they will, gives you much better results in the long term.

so if out in the paddock n nothing to defend yourself with than the dreaded finger, will still work.

be careful, these games can get downright dangerous, a friend had her liver split, she is sooo lucky to be alive. just one kick n they have no idea how much they can hurt u

05-09-10, 09:46 AM
lol the 'dreaded finger', Mindari. I have one of those, too! You can walk into the stable of a massive QH stallion who is feeling full of himself after a night at a competition with mares in stables all around, and he gives you the pricked ear, "I'd like to play now" look and steps into your space and you raise a finger and glare, and he takes two steps back with the, "sorry 'bout that, no offence, won't do it again" apologetic look. When SEF met the boys at Tamworth, she came with her 'dreaded finger' and when Mambo did his usual 'space invasion' tactic that he uses on all strangers to test them out, she raised that finger and glared and he took three steps back with the very apologetic look. So funny to see how much power a raised finger has when some people are hitting and thumping and whacking and punching to get the same results.

05-09-10, 10:21 AM
never thought of the elbow trick will try it this continues, his latest is, running up to you and bucking then spinning around and kicking out, the sooner the breaker takes him the better,
i know he is not really bad just trying to show me i am the boss and you cannot do anything about it, but it is out of hand

05-09-10, 10:35 AM
My horses all know the raised finger too, its so funny watch them step back and go uh oh I'm in trouble, I'm sorry wont do it again! One day we were at a show and a friends non horsie boyfriend was there with us, he had been instructed on numerous occasions to NOT let the stallion push into his space so he knew it was a no no! So my friend and I were a distance away and saw the stallion step in and challenge her boyfriend, he slapped him on the nose to which my stallion just stepped backwards one step and then stepped straight back in again, so this game went on for a few minutes, step in, slap, step back, step in, slap and so on. So my friend yells out stop slapping him and raise your finger to his face. So next step in the boyfriend raises his finger and the look on the stallions face was damn it how did you learn that trick, and quickly took 2 steps back and stayed there.

05-09-10, 10:38 AM
never thought of the elbow trick will try it this continues, his latest is, running up to you and bucking then spinning around and kicking out, the sooner the breaker takes him the better,
i know he is not really bad just trying to show me i am the boss and you cannot do anything about it, but it is out of hand

Go in armed with a big stick or a rope and when he comes running at you chase him off before he gets close enough to be kicking out etc (a friend got kicked in the face once by a foal doing that so you must stop it!) and keep him out of your space with the stick or rope and once he calms down then ask him to come to you and give him a scratch as a reward. He'll soon get the idea.

Silver Taffy
05-09-10, 01:35 PM
Some really good advice here.

I get my horses to back up out of my space if they've done anything I don't approve of. At times I'll even get them moving around and when they focus their attention fully on me, I stop them and allow them back towards me. I think the mistake some horse people make is that they miss the little signs of the a horse trying you out, especially a young horse. Little nips, moving into your space, roughly rubbing on you, leaning on you etc..

I like young horses to be socialised with others. Yes there is a chance of injury with rough play but I think the social skills, learning their place within a herd etc outweighs the risk. Keeping them in with other horses makes my job handling them so much easier. They're imo often more pleasant to work with than young horses that have been kept paddocked seperately.

My two and half year old colt is great to handle. He's never attempted to kick or to bite. I've had him since he was 5 months old, and he came halter broken beautifully with a respectful manner. He is kept in with my four year old gelding and yes they play rough at times but they don't suffer anxiety issues, fence pacing etc. At times they're swapped or both put in with my alpha gelding (he's cut proud). The alpha gelding is not a nasty horse and at times he even likes to play with them but he lets them know when enough is enough without having to get too physical or nasty. His subtle signs normally are a warning enough for them. Our alpha gelding makes a wonderful uncle for young horses.

I bought one of Lea Owen's geldings when he was only 1 year old. He was halter broken beautifully and well mannered. Three years on and he is friendly to every horse he meets and lovely to handle. You can walk him in and out of paddocks with just your hand on lightly on his neck, without a halter.
He's not so good at taking pictures of though, as he would rather stand with you than carry on to have pics taken :D

So I agree, a combination of using appropriate training and socialising the youngster with other horses.

05-09-10, 03:29 PM
it is go ing to be ahard task bringing this juvenile deliquent back to normal, he is going this week, and will go over every 2nd day and work with the breaker, on teaching him some manners, and what personal space is

13-09-10, 01:58 PM
I agree with what everyone has said about training and discipline etc. Have you considered stomach ulcers? Might be worth speaking with your vet. You say he was ill and being treated - what was wrong and what drugs were you using? Only because Bute and other drugs may increase the incidence of stomach ulcers. Just a thought :)

13-09-10, 08:24 PM
starting cosi on colloidal silver, he was on awful lot of antibiotics and tetracyclines when he was born, he is slowly improving, he has been learning his ownspace and mine, and he is more pleasant to get on with