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Unwanted behavior from a lesson horse

In the past 2 weeks, my normally placid gelding has exhibited some unusual behaviour. He bolted with a lesson student, pins his ears, has tried to bite the farm caretaker, and supposedly tried to crush her in the gate. He recently was taken from the main pasture with all the herd, and placed in a back pasture with one other mare that he knows well.

A new mare was added just last week; and the 2 mares have bonded, leaving him out of the loop. He has always been the low man on the totem pole; not only with the other horses, but with the farm owners too. I feel that he is stressed and resentful; the farm owner is threatening to have him leave the farm because of his "outburst". I feel that this is unfair - he is young (just 4) but I don't know what I can do to help. Any suggestions? (The farm owner while experienced in some areas, is quite naive in horse psychology.)

Thank you- Holly

G' Day from Australia Holly,

You just happened to catch me with a couple of minutes to respond. Many thanks for your kind and generous donation to my website and work.

I suggest paying some attention to this horse. Consider beginning to handle the animal on the ground regularly. Horses love some attention, a job and thoughtful treatment. Also, has someone mistreated the horse when you couldn't see it? Perhaps the farm caretaker got angry at him. As he is "out of the loop" as you say, see if you can figure a way to allow the horse good socialization somehow. Lesson horses can get fed up with too many novice riders always riding inappropriately, pulling on their mouths, punching them in the sides, etc. Perhaps also consider a very good rider re-schooling this horse to help its attitude out. The situation you describe is quite common at lesson barns. Horses need to be ridden appropriately often and regularly by good, thoughtful riders who care. Also consider giving the horse time only with good riders and no beginners or novices for a good while (several months). That should get this horse back on track quite well. Please keep me posted.

Thanks again for your support and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

I just wanted to say thank you once again, and give you an update on my horse. I moved him to a different barn, much closer to home. From day one at the new place, he has been his old self again. In 3 short weeks he has put on some much needed weight. I am able to see him almost every day, even if just for a few minutes. He is calm and content. The new caretakers just do not believe me when I tell them of the previously reported behaviour. They have witnessed not one iota of it.

I have started groundwork with him again, and besides myself, only competent riders will have access to him. I believe that he was unhappy in his previous situation, and now we have taken the first steps in turning this all around.

Perhaps if you come out east, I shall have the opportunity to thank you in person. Your website is a wonderful source of information; and I check back on it frequently.

Warmest regards,

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