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Franklin Levinson's

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Teaching manners to stallions.


I recently purchased a quarter horse stallion in June of 2003. He had been kept in a 30x30 stall for five years. He was out as a two year old to have about 30 days of riding. Then back in never seeing another horse. This lady that had him would just go in the stall with him and love on him.

After buying him and bringing him home he went nuts when he saw the other horses. Which was well expected. I should also say he has never covered a mare. The horse is so gentle natured. I have worked him in the round pen and we can now put geldings next to him without him trying to tear the stall down. He is great on the ground till you lead him by a mare. He raises his head and nickers which is not to out of line, but I want him to have perfect manners. I have also taken him to some barrel racing jackpots this winter and rode him around. I have ridden him between a couple of mares and he acted ok. But he wants to nicker his head off. I have been around horses all my life. I am 37 now. I have competed off of stallions before.

The thing is they all had been taught their manners before I got them. In the beginning I would whip him on the ground when he acted up. Leading him now I just back him and that seems to be working a lot better. I also have whipped him for nickering when I am riding him, but that doesnt seem to work. This horse is not broke well yet. He is just broke to ride around, stop and catch his leads. We have a long way to go, before I can say he is really broke.

Ok I'm sorry for being so lengthy but this is my problem. How do I teach him to have the best manners ever? Can you give me some suggestions? Gelding him is not an option, because he is one of the last own sons of Cee Booger Red. They are very popular and in demand so we are going to compete off of him. We will also ai. Thinking if we don't live breed it will help him with his manners.

Hope you have some great suggestions. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks, Tammy

Hi Tammy,

I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond to you. I have been swamped with questions. Quite an amazing thing actually.

Please, I need to ask you what you mean exactly when you say you "whip him" and what do you whip him with? With a mature stallion, even one who is good-natured, whipping may not be what you really want to do. It could backfire and you may find him start to go to war with you if you keep it up. This would not be good. Is he getting plenty of exercise? Obviously, this is quite important for him. That is one way to modify behavior without whipping, which I am not a big fan of. It sounds like you are quite experienced, so I am hoping your experience will help you understand the technique I am going to describe. ...I would try to set up the situation in a round pen that produces the behavior you do not want. As soon as he does something you do not want, put him to work going around the pen, both directions and enough rotations that he really does 'go to work'. Then offer a break and set the situation up again. If you get the behavior you do not want, he goes to work again. As soon as he does not exhibit the behavior you do not want (is a good boy), put him away with some praise. You must be consistent over time with this. It is non-abusive, does not promote 'war' and will actually modify his behavior. I have used this with many stallions, even dangerous ones, and it does work. You need to be willing to be patient, consistent, precise and let go of any agenda that looks for a quick fix (such as whipping).

Where are you located, please? I begin to travel in April and shall be going to a number of states to present clinics. I appreciate you asking for some advice and I hope I have offered something you will at least try. I do not like a 'quick fix' as they are generally abusive and a short-lived solution. I understand the occasional need to 'get after' a stallion. I really like that you said you "back him" and that works well. However, I look to find ways to modify behavior I do not want without physical violence. It is my belief that violence begets violence. I rather put the 'guy' to work. He won't want to run around that pen for too long, I promise. He is smart and will make the association. Please let me know how it all goes. I am very interested as I work with a lot of stallions and have found this to be valid and a good technique. In fact I am on my way to the Greek Island of Syros, in May, to specifically give a seminar on stallion training and handling. They do not geld any of their male horses. It seems to be a cultural thing related to the masculinity of the owner. They also know little of training horses. What happens is the colts grow to be dangerous mature stallions by about 5 or 6 years old and then they destroy them. Isn't that awful? Anyway, please let me know how this goes. I really would love to hear the results, if you are willing to try this. It takes a bit of time, but really does work.

Sincerely, Franklin

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