Do you have a horse that just won’t get with the program?

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I don’t have a lot of patience for farm owned horses that won’t accept the routine and/or the minimal requests that are part of the daily schedule. Of course, this doesn’t extend to clients horses, but they’re temporary residents and pay their way.

Malcontent needs horse support for training aims

A yearling at the farm (sadly, we produced him) has been a major pain in more ways than I care to enumerate. His latest stunt has been to mow through the gate as we’re collecting horses to move to other paddocks and then refuse to be caught and/or decline to come when his herd group is being brought to the barn or rotated. We spent some time leaving him out alone, but this didn’t have any effect.

I’ve learned over the years to use the herd (or members of it) to teach horses things that the humans just don’t seem to be able to instill.

Frustration fosters creativity

Pissed to the point where I was less concerned about what happened to him, and more interested in getting back my quality of life, I decided to turn him out with the boys. The boys include a six-year-old (who I believe is a proud cut) gelding, an aggressive and combative gelding that was cut too late (a client horse) and an amiable three-year-old gelding who has taken pride in victimizing this youngster in the past.  It didn’t require genius capacity to conclude he’d be in for a bit of a rough time.  But, he had already demonstrated he didn’t appreciate kind arrangements and it was time expose him to a more “natural” setting.


The good news is, the boys are starting to work the belly off this lazy brat, have forced him to start developing a bit of a top line and certainly put him in his place. The great new is, this obnoxious and belligerent youngster so full of himself a few weeks ago was the first to run to me when I came to the paddock today (it’s a big one at about 10 acres). He was happy to be approached, pet and acknowledged. Of course, I’ve completely ignored him since his debut with the boys as the three others have enjoyed lavish attention and two of them have been brought to the barn for a grain treat and riding attention (which they relish and probably brag about when they go back to the herd). Problem solved.

Learn to use the herd

I’m fortunate to have a lot of horses here with various personalities and skills when it comes to helping support training aims. Of course, you need to have some horse sense too as you decide how to use the herd to school a horse. It’s equally important how you behave during this process. Still, turning this malcontent over to the boys for a lesson while I acted as if he didn’t exist changed his attitude fast. Thanks for the help, boys.

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