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4 year old thoroughbred bites and herds pasture mate


Winston is my new thoroughbred gelding. We bought him in Houston as a green broke horse, and he has beautiful ground manners. We sent him off to training, and two weeks later discovered that he was showing signs of EPM. We brought him home and one month after the Marquis treatment, brought home a 3 year old Arab. Winston perked right up, and seemed so much happier and energetic. He has for the past 4 weeks progressed into an aggressive bully, biting, and racing then herding the little guy around. We have had to separate them for obvious reasons, and we want to train Winston that biting is a big time no-no with other horses. Is this possible? He doesn't bite us...just the little horse. It would really be a crime to isolate Winston from other horses, as he's really a social creature. Would you recommend just leaving him in his own pasture just socializing over the fence?

Thank you for your time and words of wisdom.
Denise

Hi Denise,

Sounds like Winston may have not been socialized with other horses a lot. Perhaps he was low man in the pecking order and now he has the chance to move up easily by pushing this new horse around. Winston may have a bit of a bully in him. Some horses are like that. The new horse is pretty young and an easy target for Winston. How old is Winston anyway? If there were other horses you could put Winston out with, perhaps even some mature mares, they may teach him what he needs to learn in the way of manners. He will still bully the more subservient horses, but will get better socialized. Some horses just push around whoever they can, horse or human.

It's easier to train a horse not to bite humans than not to bite other horses. The problem is that you are not there when he goes after the Arab most of the time. Anyway, you could try this: Get Winston going good on the ground making circles around you on a lead rope as well as a lung line. Get him making smooth direction changes and speed transitions for you. Once he is good at this, begin to bring the Arab around him, walk the Arab by him and around him. If he pins his ears at all or gives the Arab a 'dirty look' put him to work by having him go around you in energetic tight circles, both directions, five or six times. Then offer a WHOA! Let him be peaceful next to you. Then bring the Arab around him again, repeat the process until Winston gets that if he even looks 'funny' at the Arab he goes to work. Next step is to ride Winston with the Arab being led or ridden (if you can ride the Arab do so) near him. If Winston gives the Arab any nasty looks he gets bent into small circles in both directions 5-6 times (similar to turns on the forehand in dressage). Then he is offered a WHOA! He gets to stand peacefully only if he is a good boy by not aggressing the Arab. Next phase it to begin to 'pony' the Arab off of Winston. Do you understand what I mean by that? Winston is ridden and the Arab is led from Winston's back. This should be done by someone who is a competent enough rider to handle Winston being a bit rude to the Arab, as Winston will need to be 'checked' somehow by his rider should he be a snit to the Arab. That 'check' could be a quick lift by one rein that is abrupt enough to get Winston's attention without much else. It could also be an abrupt smack on the neck and a 'QUIT! With the Arab in hand, the rider will not be able to circle Winston in those tight circles. Once you can 'pony' the Arab off of Winston without incident and Winston not being snooty to the Arab at all, your problem should be mostly solved. By that time, after all that schooling, Winston and the Arab should have become pretty well socialized together.

Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Aloha, Franklin

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