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Meanie horse or not?

I have a yearling colt that I am not sure of what to do with right now. When I go to clean his feet he pulls his feet away from me or will bite me. When I pet him he almost always bites. When he does something bad I slap him one and he gets all wild and won't get near me. One day he will act like a well-mannered trained horse and then all the sudden he turns into a meanie! I don't walk him with a lead rope anymore since he rears up and bolts but I have no choice but to let go of that rope. He is not gelded and has had no training. He recently tried to rear up on my brother. He is unpredictable and dangerous, I don't know what to do with him. I want to train him myself and don't want to send him to a professional trainer. But I think the risks are high training him myself. I have been doing the basic things with him like grooming. I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me any information and what I should do with him.

Thank You, Smith

Hi Smith,

First of all, stop slapping your horse. You would become a meanie too if someone's solution to making a point (communicating) with you was to slap you. There are appropriate ways to modify a horse's behavior without hitting, slapping or abuse in anyway. If your horse doesn't like spending time with you they act like your horse is acting. It is never about becoming a disciplinarian or punishment. It is not about controlling your horse, nor becoming the "boss" or taking charge. It is about great leadership, good and clear communication, compassion, kindness, very good skills and a willingness on the part of the human to learn about the horse's way of thinking and responding rather than expecting the horse to bend to our will, projections and judgments.

That being said, if you are not already too angry with me, it is risky for you to train this horse. He needs a skilled person to not confuse him and not to (unintentionally) abuse him. I am certain your heart is in the right place and it would never be your intention to hurt this horse. But he is getting abused. Your lack of knowledge and skill will only confuse the horse, which will make him more fearful and dangerous. Folks pay a lot of money and spend years learning about training horses. I have spent my life with them and am still learning (as any good horse person will say). I cannot give you these skills in an email. It would be unfair to you and your horse. I can advise on specific behavioral problems, but an overall training program with techniques for you and your horse cannot be given in an email. As this is a colt, it is even more dangerous for you to be attempting to work with this horse, as you have no skills in this area. Are there plans to geld the colt? That would be advisable, unless there is a really good reason to keep him able to breed. The older he gets, the harder this is going to be especially if he gets handled by inexperienced humans. Now is a good time to find a gentle horse trainer to come to you or to send the horse to. Either way you should stay and observe the training. This will be an invaluable experience for you if you are serious about learning to train horses.

Tell me your previous horse experience; describe your facility and tools for training. Please give me some more information on you. Your age, time available to learn (or train) and what you do for a career would help me to determine the best course of action for you and the horse. Training a horse well takes a lot of time, consistency, patience, the right set up and tools, and experience with the skills required. I could advise a better course of action for you with a little more information (if you like).

Anyway, I hope I have not discouraged you. I need to be realistic and you need to also. Who would be best to bring up a child (your horse is a child), an adult who has had no experience rearing children, another child or an experienced parent? What's best for the child (horse)? This should always be the bottom line question we ask about horses. What is best for your horse? I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely, Franklin

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