Friday, July 23, 2010

stallion vs shetland

Wild stallion gets taken down by fat miniature pony.This probably one of the most entertaining things Ive ever seen. But more on this later. iwanted to write about horse behaviour and what is acceptable....

The morals and rules instilled in us as we grow up, are us ally the ones we live by later in life. I'm sure if you raise a kid who's allowed to through tantrums, spit, swear and hit they don't miraculously grow out of it, they carry on with the behaviour they got away with in the past. So to with horses they only repeat behaviour that they have been allowed to exhibit previously. If you let them be aggressive, push, nibble or lay there ears back at you, these behaviours will only continue and usually continue to escalate. Lets face it horses are big animals and can cause serious harm if allowed to. If you watched aherd of horses, aggressive behaviours are only used to show dominance in herd dynamics, around feeding etc. The horses that accept this behaviour from other horses, are the ones at the bottom of the pecking order.If we accept this behaviour from our own horses,we are basically saying we are less dominant and can be pushed around.

So from day one you have to show them that you are in fact herd leader and what you say goes. You are in a sense instilling in them the rules and morals of life with humans. You have to teach them these rules from the beginning just like humans as they wont miraculously learn them at a later date. The bay boy even though wild has always been expected to behave with perfect manners. Stallions especially want to be dominant, they unlike geldings still have all there natural hormones and are driven by them. They will usually try to assert dominance, they are just doing what nature interned and be herd boss. Just like a child they are going to try throwing tantrums etc to see what exactly they can get away with so to speak, and you just have to calmly show them that this is not acceptable.

i know the old ways where the old horseman swore you had to throw a horse on the ground,tie them to a post 4 three days or beat them to show him who boss. But really you don't need to do that. Plus I'm 50kgs and 5.6ft there is a limit to what i could do physically to control a horse. i have to use my understanding, timing and patience to help a horse to understand which behavior is and is not acceptable, when i around.

This is actually easy, as usual with horses it is just correcting all the little things. Especially with stallions you just start by never letting the attention stray from you. if I'm ever working with little bay on the ground, he has to keep focused on me, if ever try' to look or communicate with the other horses, its as simple as making him keep his eyes on you, or do exercises like stepping his hind end away to remind him that he listening to to you, not looking for girls.It is important that they learn to get out of your way not you out of thires. theses are the first lesson any horse learns with me. this too is simple. If you step towards there hindquarters , they must move them, if you ask them to move there shoulder away, move away from pressure on the rope or move in a circle around you they must do this immediately. As soon as they give you the required response you always stop asking as a reward for their behaviour.

This sets the foundation that you are the one in charge. It is important to note to that you always ask them to come to you. Not the horse choosing to come to you. I hate passionately horses that come marching up and walk all over you. i feel like I'm about to be trampled. so whether in the paddock or the end of the rope little bay knows he must wait to be invited to come to me. As when i got back from Thailand i noticed that little bay wanted to turn and face me rather than focus on what i was asking him to do, or he would come marching up almost aggressively in the paddock to be caught. This has now been quickly corrected, fixed by asking him to back up and move away every time he thought about invading my personal space. he got a quick tap from the whip if he didn't respond quickly enough. Same thing applys if any horse ever puts there ears back goes to bite or lifts aleg. you don't have to be mean but you do have to correct the behaviour immediately. then you never have big problems later down the road

most of all the bay is his usual angelic self. With an expression of interested, but pure innocence. My training works to as he never looks away from me when i work him. This theory was put to the test the other day, in the incident with the (completely untrained, disrespectful tantrum throwing exception to my rules loved but spoilt) Shetland that runs at free will all over the farm.

i was working the stallion just doing some lunging work etc. It had poured the night before so we had several knee to waist deep ponds all through the paddock. i was asking bay to walk in and out of these as something a bit more interesting to do. Coco the Shetland pony is the scruffiest black brown (depending on how much dirt hes rolled in) hairiest/half sheep thing you ever seen, and only comes up to about my waste so is tiny but fat and round like a barrel. he loves water and takes any opportunity available to swim and roll in it. Seeing the activity with the boy, the pony came barreling under the fence to investigate. he proceeded straight into the puddle splashing and rolling. The bay and me just kept doing are own thing. When suddenly coco comes galloping out of the puddle and barges straight into bay stallion, crashing into his shoulder. He then rears up and bites him on the neck.and gallops off again.

Theses surprise attacks kept happening for the next 20 minutes. Coco looking absolutely jubilant with himself the whole time. He would rush back and forth between the pond and attacking bay. It was more play than anything,as he never left a mark and i watched laughing. At one stage coco reared up as high as he could and even got his front legs hooked over the bays wither, nipping at bay the whole time. Poor bay stood their like a saint and never even glanced at the pony, but watched me the whole time with an expression that seemed to say 'this is embarrassing, what do u want me to do now'. The more ignored he was, te more extravagantly coco tryed to demand attention until i eventually chased him back to his puddle, not wanting to find out out just how deep little bays saintly behaviour really was. to the end of my days i think the image of a pint sized ,hairy ball of fat fury attacking the wild stallion and getting away with it one of the more amusing things Ive seen.