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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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New Horses. Are we doing this right?

Greetings Franklin.

Wonderful Web Site you have. I've been reading/browsing it now for the last few months. A lot of my questions have be answered, and I have come to trust your knowledge.

My wife and I have recently purchased two wonderful horses (first ones). A 13 yr old gelding QH and a 9 yr old mare QH. Both were bought from the same stable at the same time and were near stall mates. Our background with horses is somewhat limited, as goes for the skill of riding (we are going to start riding them shortly after they get use to their new home with the help of our friends) . We are blessed to have several good friends that are very knowledgeable (and gentle) with horses. They actually went with us and helped find these wonderful horses.

What I would like your opinion on, is if we are handling them correctly? As of this email, we have had them for three weeks. They stay right behind our house in a 2 acre paddock/pasture. They have a brand new stable that I built for them (plenty of room for each). I'm with them nearly 6 hours a day just spending time with them. I sit in a chair and just watch. They come up to me, muzzle me, blow in my face, and mostly just stand next to me. I work each on a lead every day. Just simple stuff. I ask them to walk with me, turn, back-up, yield. They both are happy to comply with my requests. And of course they are very much praised when this happens. I can take the leads off, and they will still follow me. They meet me at the gate every morning when it's breakfast. Their stall areas are impeccably cleaned (probably to the point of annoying them, but they never complain). I just love being with them. Their company is so much appreciated. I truly believe I have their respect, and I have shown them respect first. I never agitate them to the point of them turning and leaving me. I usually just walk up to them, say hi (nothing else) turn around and walk off. They follow me. When I stop they stop. I do gently pet their necks and withers and talk lightly to them. I groom them every day (then they run out and roll). Hopefully, my actions have gotten them to accept me.

But I do have a question (which you probably answered several times). The mare is perfectly fine with the gelding when I'm not around. They walk together, graze together and they will eat hay together in the same stall without any fuss (Even though they both have their own stall). However, when myself or my wife gets near them, the mare will pin her ears and run the gelding off. She then comes back to us. If he try's to come back, she'll do the same. But she never pins her ears with us. I know horses have got to be horses, this is why I don't try to correct her behavior (is this wrong?). I feel she has the confidence in us to be the parent partner. But I feel for the gelding. Both are very gentle towards us. I feel that in horse terms, she is the "alpha" over the gelding. Is there anything I can help her with to accept the gelding when we are all together? They don't fight, she just runs him off. We see it coming and we make sure we are out of the way. Also, I should tell that she is just coming out of her heat cycle.

Sorry for the drawn out email. But I would surely value you input. And hopefully, we are doing the right thing with our new beloved friends.

Good Day Franklin...
North Carolina

Greetings Vic,

Very sorry it has taken a while to respond to your email. My travel and work schedule has put me way behind in responding to 'Help Center' questions. Please accept my apology. Lets see if I can offer some good suggestions here:

You are doing everything right. Terrific actually. The mare is running the gelding off because she wants all your attention. During her estrus cycle several things could occur. She may all of a sudden want the gelding near her a lot, but still run him off when you are around. She may have the response that he is not to her liking for some reason and run him off anyway. It is a bit hard to say as I cannot witness the behavior myself. What I might suggest is that you have both horses in halters and lead ropes and you both lead them together around the property. When you do ride one, lead (pony) the other from horseback a bit. Ride them together. If the mare pins her ears at the gelding at all you can immediately correct this by sharply saying QUIT! and providing a bump on one rein (or, if in hand, sharply jiggle the lead rope for a moment). This should be all it takes to begin to let the mare know she is to accept the gelding's proximity. Be consistent and a compassionate and precise leader. I think you are doing wonderfully well.

Please keep me posted and thank you for your kind words about the website. I am here to help......

Sincerely, Franklin

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