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Hard to halter colt


We have an a 8 month old connamara colt. (which we are going to geld). We have had him 4 months. The main problem with him is he bites the halter when we try to put it on, he holds on to it and we have to battle him for it. We used to give him a hay cube to keep him occupied while we put the halter on. but now he's getting to be an expert to holding the hay cube and the halter. This is quite frustrating. Other wise he knows how to lunge and back and stand and can be brushed and his feet filed. So you can see we have been working with him. This halter biting and fighting is really getting out of hand. I have tried to reward him (after I get it on) but that's not working either.

Thanks, Diana

Hi Diana,

Do you have a round pen? That would be a good tool to have. It is very helpful in modifying equine behavior you do not want. It would make this a bit easier if you did have one. I shall assume you do not and give you what to do without a round pen available.

Put the halter and lead rope on (anyway you can). Have another halter, perhaps one a bit bigger. A rope training halter should work well. Once the first halter is on, take the second halter and begin to put it right on over the first one. The instant the horse grabs the halter, begin to circle him (lung) him in small circles around you in several times in both directions. Then offer a WHOA! Then try to place the second halter on the horse again. As soon as he tries to grab it, he goes in small circles again. Then offer a WHOA! and try again. Going around in circles is work and no fun for the horse. He will very soon understand that if he grabs the halter he goes to work. If you had a round pen, I would do this 'at liberty'. In other words, the horse is loose in the pen and standing with you. You try to put the halter on him, as soon as he grabs it he goes to work a few rotations around the ring (both directions). After several rotations offer a WHOA! and then you try to put the halter on again. Usually within several attempts with this process, the unwanted behavior is modified.

What you are doing here is making the wrong thing hard (the horse goes to work) and the right thing easy (standing there while you put on the halter). Let me know how it all goes and if you have any additional questions. I am happy to help. Good Luck,

Sincerely, Franklin

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