QUESTION: I have a problem.
My yesterday-recently-gelded 2 yr old stud colt, Zues, tried to challenge me today. I just got him 4 days ago. I went to give him hay, and he started bucking and came around in front of me and started half rearing and striking out with front legs with his ears part way back. I, unfortunately, made the mistake of backing up. I didn't have anything with me, no riding crop or lead rope, and was a little surprised that he did this. (Not too surprised, considering he was a colt and the previous owner did not teach him any ground manners) I yelled at him, but I don't think he cared. Obviously, I know he doesn't respect me, otherwise he wouldn't have done this.
My question is: what do I do if he does this again, and what can I do specifically to make sure it won't happen again and to get him respecting me? I only have a small borrowed round pen, and it's not available because I have my 8 month old stud colt in there. I haven't had a chance to start working with him, at my peril it turns out, but I’m going out to work with him tonight.
If you could respond before I go out, that would be so great. :)
ANSWER: Hello Michelle,
First of all, if he was recently gelded, he will still have stallion behavior for quite a while. You need to set yourself up for success before working with him. You have to have an enclosure of some sort- a round pen or a ring.
It is serious if he is going into your space and acting aggressively. You could easily get hurt. If you are not experienced in training young horses, you need to get professional help-no question about it. Now finding the right person may be difficult. There are many ways to get a young horse to be "submissive" without being cruel. Chasing him around a round pen until he is exhausted, scaring him, or throwing him are actual things that abusive trainers will do. Usually they are fearful people, and the only way they can "master" a horse is by overdoing the submissive-dominant theme.
I find double -lunging, correct in-hand work, and, probably with this horse, CORRECT round penning are what you need to do. If you want to email me at SummersDressage@aol.com, I can give you more specific instructions. Do not get into a dangerous situation with this horse because of ego, i.e., you do not want to seem afraid. You SHOULD be cautious with a horse that acts like this. Please let me know what you decide. This may well be a horse that you do not need to own.