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Too much like a colt!


I've just been reading through your archives and I was impressed with the sensible content and good advice :) So, I thought I might ask you about a situation that has just sprung up so to speak.

I'm in the southern hemisphere so it is now spring here. I have an eight month old Welsh colt foal and a ten year old pony gelding. The pony is very well mannered and laid back in nature, so the foal has been the boss. Up to now this hasn't been a problem, if I need to catch the pony and the foal has decided he wants to come too, I just quietly back him up. All of a sudden things have started to take a very serious turn. Yesterday I went to catch my pony and the foal started acting like a stallion trying to herd his mare away from me, things really did get out of hand. My pony started spinning and kicking to stop the foal from trying to herd him or even mount him, while at the same time the foal would not desist. I would hunt him away and the moment I would turn my back to lead the pony, the foal would come charging in again. Since I felt it was dangerous, I let my pony go and came back with an experienced friend to help. Between the two of us we managed to take my gelding out.

My reading of the situation is that now it's spring and since there are a number of mares around the colt has become 'very' coltish. I'm told he is showing a great deal of interest in any mares that go past. There is also a mature stallion within sight. The foal has not 'dropped' so he has not yet been gelded, and even only a few days ago it didn't seem a problem to wait for nature to run its course.

The action I've decided to take it to have the foal overnight in a yard and only out during the day, both so he has a regular routine of being handled morning and night, leaving the gelding when asked, and to cut down on the amount of spring grass he's been getting. I do natural horsemanship, so I've also decided to give the colt more work on respect issues.

However I'm wondering whether this much coltish behaviour is reasonable at this age? He was really aggressive yesterday and while he didn't actually come at me, he wouldn't take no for answer about the gelding either. To be honest it quite shook me up, since he's always been reasonable to deal with up till now. Should I consult a vet? Would the colt be better moved somewhere where there were no mares and no stallion- though this would be difficult to find -? I would love to get him gelded, but until he has dropped, this means serious surgery and I'm not sure I want to risk that either.

Any advice would be welcome. Carole

Hi Carole,

Your colt is exhibiting normal behavior. I think your estimation of the situation is fairly accurate. I would begin to do more ground schooling with the colt to get his manners better and respect for your boundries, no matter what. Horses certainly learn some behavior from the other horses around them and if he is watching the stallion and beginning to feel his own hormones, nature is taking its course. If you have the skills and are able to work with the colt on the ground to get his manners and behavior better, I would do that. If you are unable to do that, it might be better to move him until he is gelded. He needs handling to learn about manners. Appropriate handling and schooling......

Sincerely, Franklin

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