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Kicking Colt


I have an 8 month old stud colt. We are planning on gelding him in the spring of 2004. I am always at school while my parents are taking care of my horses. I come home every week end to train my colt as much as I can. I have done all the ground work and imprint training on him myself from day one. I have 8 years of horse experience, and I am attending college to be a horse trainer. The mare my foal is out of is my mare as well, I have had her for 8 years.

My mare has had no problems with wanting to kick or bite a human, however it seems since I've been away at school, since august, and my foal has obtained a kicking habit. Every time I walk into the stall with him, he immediately turns his rear towards me, or who ever it is that is walking in the stall. When he does this I grab a whip just to move him out of the way. I have never hit him with it, and he seems to respond fairly well to that. I just don't want him to turn his hind to anyone when we walk in, and I really don't want to have to walk into the stall with a whip 'just to be safe'.

How can I fix this problem? And what advice can I tell my parents to do with him during the week while I am gone? My mom has horse experience, and my dad got gotten experience just being around my horses. I dont know what to do. I know some of his behavior is due to the fact that he is still a stud, but kicking is an unacceptable behavior. Thank you for your time, and any advice that you may give us would be great!!

Thanks, Kit

10 Questions
from a student inquiring on "what it takes" to be a horse trainer.

Hi Kit,

Thanks for your question. I would try this; get the colt to face you before you go into his stall. When he does, give him a bit of praise. Do not reach in to touch him, only offer verbal praise. Let him face you and follow you with his eyes and body while you move back and forth in front of the stall door. As soon as you reach in or go in to the stall, you will stop him from following you. Be patient and make certain he is hooked on to you before you go in with him. Talk to him all the time. You do not need to touch him much. Less touching is usually better unless there is a reason for it. You will probably keep his interest and his head towards you if you do not try to do anything to him physically for a bit of time. Only after you can sense he is relaxed with you and interested in staying forward should you go in with him. Do not touch his rump or reach to his face. When you can feel he is ready halter him slowly and gently.

Your parents need to handle the colt like you. Consistency is paramount to good training, especially with a youngster. It only takes one incident to undo a lot of good beginnings. Teach them the ways that have worked for you. That is all you can do. If one person handles the colt one way and you another, he will resist everyone. Consistency of training and handling builds trust and confidence in horses. There is no substitute for that. Good luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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