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Young gelding acting studly


First of all, I love your website. I have found a few Q/A with my general problem. I just want to make sure I am proceeding in the right direction.

I purchased a 5 year old appy gelding. He was kept in a barn of geldings only. No pasture time, just an occasional arena romp. He also had a bad case of thrush which we cleared up right away.

Got him to our barn and we keep new horses inside for a week to get used to their surroundings and schedule.

I rode him and I think he thought he got left behind, stepped of the trail and we had an accident. We were on a hill and he came backwards on to me and started walking away- this was near a road. As I got up and started to go after him, I called his name and he looked back at me like "Oh there you are" and came walking right back. This was after 3 days of working with him. I thought that was pretty impressive that he would come walking right back.

Anyhow, he got to go outside finally with the group of more aggressive horses-- some mares but mostly geldings. The first day he was ok but the next day he mounted a mare (fully erect) and then busted through a fence to get to another one. After that, we kept him down at the other side of the barn where there really isn't any horses around. Anyhow, I took him out on a ride with another experienced rider who was riding a mare who wasn't in heat and he was the leader. He stopped and backed up and wanted to be with that mare- it was all I could do to turn his head and get him moving again. He seemed to get quite pushy at times also with some nipping. The girl who owned him before us constantly fed him peppermint treats. If we have treats for him we put them in his grain box now.

After that, I didn't know if I really wanted to deal with this so I sold him. He has been gone 2 weeks and I went and checked on him at the boarding stable he was being kept in- he was kept in an aisle with no people traffic, no windows and dark. I did manage to see his stall and his stall was appalling. When he stepped there was muck and manure squishing up.

I am now purchasing him back again. I am planning on bringing him home and starting over totally. My plan is to work with him daily in the round pen- nothing but ground work for the first week to re-establish our relationship. Then for the next week I was planning on doing some saddle work after ground work. He will balk and either rear up or act like he's going to buck -- at least he did the last time I worked with him. Then if things progress well, I will still do ground work before riding him and hopefully, I can take him out on some easy trails that we have near our barn.

I am planning on having a blood test for testosterone for him to see if maybe he has a testicle that didn't drop to make him like he is. If he does still have a testicle, surgery may be a possibility too.

He is ridden western with a Tom Thumb Snaffle. Do you have any other suggestions as to bits or should I try a tie down or a running martingale? I would value your opinion and suggestions.



Hi Amy,

This horse may be 'proud cut' meaning some of his male organs are still intact and producing testosterone. Good idea to have him vet checked quickly. He is young enough to go through the operation in good shape. It does sound like that is the case.

I would suggest round pen training. Take him back to the basics of good ground schooling and develop manner with him. Driving him, a lot of liberty work and long line lungeing. Have someone lunge the horse with you riding him. Sack him out thoroughly again. A Tom Thumb bit is an OK transition bit. However, I do like simple D-ring snaffles or loose ring snaffles a lot. If you re-start him you could put him back in a snaffle and really develop a great stop and good forward movement, etc. with that easy bit. I try not to use martingales after initial training, preferring to develop a good head set and soft stop without them. But they have their place for sure. People use restraints because they are unwilling, too unknowledgable or too lazy to develop better habits without the restraint. Some specialized activities like ropingand some times events may require them. Most pleasure horses should not need them. I have seen horses rear with martingales on them. Get him going nicely on the ground, then with you riding in an arena and/or round pen, have someone else lunge him with you on him and be patient. He should come around well. Be careful.

Sincerely, Franklin

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