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Franklin Levinson's

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Colt in training lays down

Hi, I read your site and I have noted what you suggest to do when a horse lays down, but our problem I feel is a little different.

We break and pretrain racehorses, we have a colt that we broke in and sent out for a spell. Now he had this problem when we were breaking him and we managed to ride him thru it, but now on return he is still doing it and to make matters worse, when we tried him again this morning he just wanted to flip over when he thought we were getting the edge on him.

He is a very well bred horse with good sensible bloodlines, so we don't know what's prompting this behaviour:

When you put a roller on him or a saddle he just lays down. He will do it anywhere. If you lunge him without a roller he is fine, its just the feeling of the saddle or roller. When my husband was breaking him he done the rein pull and kick thing, which is a normal response to do but this fellow just lays there with absolutely no desire to get up unless you take off the saddle or roller. We have tried everything with him with no success. We have been around horses for the best part of 40 years and have never seen a colt be so submissive and just lay.

What can we do, we don't want to see this horse sold on and hurt someone or worse sent to the doggers.


Hi Janine,

Personally, I think it sounds like a result of some trauma. The behavior is indeed somewhat extreme. The trauma could have been early on when he was a foal or when sent away. The behavior sounds like a psychosis and could be the result of the colt being pushed too hard or having too much demanded of him at some point. If he were mine, I would allow him about 6 months off and then begin training again and very quietly and slowly bringing him along. Another thing would be to somehow try to make it uncomfortable for him to lay down under saddle. But this might make his trauma worse. Tough situation for sure. I tend to go to extended time off and then slowly returning the animal to a thoughtful schedule of training. Good Luck.

Sincerely, Franklin

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