Thursday, December 2, 2010

2 Year Old Standardbred Stallion

Hi I have just been asked to help a farmer in my area with a 2 year old colt that he has. The farmer bought the colts mother almost 3 years ago after being raced for 3 and she was pregnant, since giving birth to the colt he has never left her side and there is no room for a proper separation. They both stay in the same big stall because there is no other place to put him.

I have worked for a few hours with the mare and she has no problems being apart and remembers at least her ground training, but he seems to get a little bit panicked when she is being lead away and when he sees her through the window but if he can’t see her he is fine. During my time at the farm the owner tried to lead him out, at this point he was only hanging onto the halter for some reason decided not to use a lead rope. The colt started to get really strong with him rearing up and pulling back and quickly got loose, and it seems that the owner has had a lot of problems with this horse going up.

Due to the colts lack of training and young age he still thinks its fun to play and nip, the owner has tried no corrective training. My real question is for the rearing is it safe to use a stud chain to keep him in control and on the ground, he is not a small horse and I have all ready seen him almost hit the owner in the head. I do not take the problem with rearing lightly and understand that it is extremely dangerous and I would like to try to correct it right away but I have never had a horse with this problem before. I have also heard that as a corrective measure for biting is to immediately bop him under the chin, to teach him something will happen when he bites but not make him head shy. Both horses have not been let out in a field for a year, and I am working on getting a safe place so we can let them out to run around and graze.

The last time the owner let the horses out the colt picked up a small sheep and played with it until the sheep was killed. Working with the colt so far he does not look frightened or angry just playful and disobedient I am looking for some suggestions on how to fix some of his vices and stop him from rearing before someone gets hurt.

This whole scenario is dangerous and is not set up for safety or reasonable success. The owner needs to immediately have a veterinarian come and geld the stallion. They have to be separated and allowed to be in a field.

You cannot safely work with this animal if he is a stallion and still with his dam. He will breed her if he has not already...that he killed a sheep is inexcusable. It is NOT the horse's is the owners.....these horses are being kept in an unsuitable situation. It is nice for you to try to help but you can get hurt.

There is no reason for this animal to remain a stallion. If the owner cannot afford to have him gelded then he should not have these horses. I am sorry to sound negative....but I do not want you, or the horses, to get hurt.

Mitzi Summers

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rescued Yearling Arab Filly


I recently rescued a severely emaciated yearling filly from a bad situation. she has had next to no handling, and is quite fearful of people. I have been working with her daily, and building her trust. She will now stand calmly while haltered, stands calmly while being groomed, allows me to handle her hooves, and comes right up to me when i approach her stall. However, we are still having a problem with leading. As long as she wants to go, she follows without fault. but the second she no longer wants to come along (ex, being put back into a stall after grazing, walking past the wash stall, entering a new building) she stops dead, and will not yield to pressure. She will continue to back up, until she has her butt pressed against something. We have tried leading with a butt rope, having someone 'clap' behind her, tapping her with the lead rope, clicking, clucking, you name it! I'm totally out of ideas on how to teach her to lead nicely. Any ideas on what I can do? Normally I would take her into the round pen and work through the issue and win her trust, but she is very frail, and i'm afraid to push her too hard.

Hello Mollie,

This problem could probably best be handled by teaching your filly the "second position leading technique" or The Dingo, that Linda Tellington Jones advocates.

First be certain that she is not afraid of a whip. You will use a dressage whip for this. Show it to her and stoke her with it. She must accept it. Then stand at her left shoulder facing toward her barrel in back. You will have the lead rope in your left hand and the whip in your right. You will take the whip and STROKE (not hit) her twice on the back and then "Tap-Tap" the whip on top of her croup and at the same time pull a bit on the lead rope.

When you "tap" her on the top of her croup you will say "walk on". If she does not understand she may need the two strokes and then a slightly shorter Tap tap on her croup and then the "walk on".

When she goes forward you will say good and go a few steps and then face your toes toward her toes and say "whoa".

Keep repeating this. It is like a dance. She will associate the two strokes the the two taps with going forward. Pretty soon you will be able to lead her facing forward, but if she is not sure you just give her a soft tap on her barrel.

Again, you are not to make her afraid of the whip. You may want to get Linda's book on T.E.A.M. techniques for this. She also has a DVD on basic leading.

My email is and my web site is if you would like to contact me directly. I have never known this to fail..... but of course timing and technique are important and that takes a while to learn.

Mitzi Summers