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Horse Problem - Aggressive/Biting/Bratty Stud Colt - Yearling stud colt out of control biting/disrespectful









QUESTION: Hi, I am writing to you about a colt I am having problems with and would appreciate input/suggestions. My colt spent the first 5 months of life with his dam, his sister and her filly, in Iowa. At the age of 5 months he and his dam were taken to the sales barn, not by choice but necessity (I talked with his breeder). At this time the breeder gave specific instructions not to separate the mare and colt as he was not weaned. These were disregarded and the person I bought the colt from had no clue the mare was there - he had been thrown in with a bunch of colts. He was jumping the sale barn fences. Anyhow they bought him and brought him home. I saw him a couple weeks later. Shortly after this the colt became ill with what they called shipping fever. On top of this he developed a secondary infection (believe due to cutting a leg) that ultimately went systemic. It was a 2 1/2 month battle to keep this colt alive. He is recovering nicely though. In January the person whom I bought him from, and whose barn he was being kept at, discovered medical problems of their own and had to reduce the number of horses in their care. I live on a ranch setting and my bosses agreed for the colt to come here until healthy enough to go out and stay in pasture. He is 11 months old now.

Now with that background, to my questions. When I first brought him here he led nicely and was quite gentle. Occasionally I would see his ears go back, but not often. I realize he was still ill at the time, but recovering. He has been here since mid-January, so about 2 months now. About 3-4 weeks ago we were doing some trenching thru the pasture area he has, so he had to stay in a corral for a week. I went to take him out one day to work on trailer loading. At 500 feet leading him away from the corral, he bit at me. I did what I had been told - popped him on the underside of the jaw. He got mad and came at me again. I popped him again. This continued (3-4 times) until both of us were frustrated, which I figured was doing neither of us any good. By that time he was throwing his head around and I did what I had been told to stop that, i.e. put the rope over his muzzle. I can only say I wish I had NOT listened to what was told for it simply made matters worse. It made him mad. I did get him calmed down and put away, but I came away very frustrated. I know he was frustrated at this sudden change in treatment, and I was frustrated at having resorted to using it as I don't believe in it, was at a loss as to how to stop his biting at me. I have lost ground with him since that day.

In the time since that day I have seen him get more aggressive. I talked with one vet and she indicated his behavior was stallion behavior, said she had not seen this type of behavior until 18 months, and if he was showing it at 11 months, it would just get worse, and to have him gelded ASAP. I plan on gelding him, however his testicles have not dropped. I have since talked with another vet, as well as various horse people, ranging from breeders to trainers and get a totally different story. A friend who has been in horses for 50+ years (he is in his late 60's or early 70's), as well as breeders, say it is colt behavior and that the testicles will drop, to give it time. The friend, who was around the colt during part of his illness, also says that he believes that the illness could well cause a delay in them dropping, as well as stunted growth. The breeders say they have had stallions whose testicles did not drop until 2 years of age and not to worry.

Now in the meantime with this, his biting has progressed. Normally I can tell him a very stern "NO" and he will stop. However the day before yesterday I was brushing him, bent down to rub one hand down a front leg and he bit at me. I slapped (for lack of better term - it was not a hitting) on his leg immediately. He stopped until I began moving my hand on the leg again, then he bit at me again. This is not nipping, but outright biting.

I found out also about 2-3 weeks ago that another person, in the pasture working on a fence, had the colt come up to him, and knowing the colt was a nipper, he let the colt get his head down, and when the colt went to nip, the guy hit him on the underjaw with a wrench. Of course now the colt does not want his head touched.

Now I have been questioning myself, feeling I am in over my head. I am seriously wondering if it would not be best for me and the colt to sell him. He still has a ways to go before he is in good physical condition but is improving nicely. He is now in the yearling straggly stage. The person I bought him from had him on sweet feed but when I brought him here, although initially I had him on sweet feed also, I switched him (slowly) to Purina Equine Jr. and free feed grass hay. At the barn he was used to alfalfa but here is getting grass hay. I am slowly reducing the amount of Equine Jr and he is increasing the amount of hay. Until yesterday he was stalled at night in a lean-to stall (out of the wind and wet but still open to a degree) and out in a pasture area as often as I can. Until a month ago he was blanketed but I "weaned" him off that slowly as well, extending his time without it until he was without it all the time. Our weather is so nice that I have extended his time out in pasture until last night he stayed out all night. I watch the weather very closely and if rain is forecast or appears as if threatening weather is coming, I put him back in the stall. He has had short times out in the snow and light rain, in the attempt to acclimate him, but not risk getting wet, chilling, and getting sick again.

Recently I noticed spots on his neck/chest where something had eaten the hair away - or he scraped it away rubbing (he is shedding and very itchy) and was told to dust him for lice, so did. He did not like it but agreed to it.

Now my question is, I would appreciate your opinion from a professional viewpoint, if I am out of my league and causing more damage to this colt than good. Will his behavior worsen? By the way I have tried the backing up - I had him where he backed up nicely - barely a touch on the lead. Now he tosses his head and back go the ears. Speaking of ears back, he has them back a LOT. Not pinned vs head, but back. If I talk to him, they come forward, then immediately back. And he swings his butt to me. On the other hand he whinnies when he sees me or my truck and will meet me at the fence or gate from wherever he is in the pasture. I do not feed him by hand, and will not. Your input would be greatly appreciated.

REPLY: Thanks for writing. Great overview there. Gives me a very clear picture. Where to begin here...

First...yes, definitely this is stallion like behavior, absolutely. the wild (best way to show you what "nature" has set up there in the first place) the stallion's only job in a herd is to:

  • 1) Drive away other male stallions who try to challenge him and take his mare harem, or drive away predators that threaten his herd. And to do that, he uses his mouth to bite and his front feet to rear up and strike. Sometimes his back feet, but his first line reflex is to bite & strike -- face the enemy head-on. Is complete instinct in him and is what his high levels of testosterone tell him to do;
  • 2) Get attention. The stallion must keep his harem mares interested in him and he's constantly nipping at them to get that attention. Stallions are a) very, very mouthy -- their mouth is like another appendage on them like our hands are and b) 10 times more social than other horses/mares, has to be, to keep his harem with him and keeping their attention.

Those are a stallion's only/main jobs in a herd.

It is the lead mare's job in a herd, on the other hand, to discipline the bratty youngsters, teach them how to behave, keep the herd orderly/compliant so they can be maneuvered as a group in case of emergency, and it is she who decides where and when they eat, and when and where to move on.

By the time a young (ungelded) colt starts growing like yours there (again, look to the wild to understand what's natural, instinctive behavior there), his instincts are to start sparring with other young colts to learn the skills he needs to learn as a stallion, in the hopes that some day, he too, will have a harem of his own to breed with -- but to attain having that, he has to learn the skills to fight off a dominant stallion to either take over his herd of mares, or entice the mares to come and join him. Busy social structure, huh!

While he's sparring as a youngster with other colts, they play a game of "tag" with their mouths. It's kind of like...two teenage boys about 13-14-15 years old taking turns socking each other in the shoulder until one gives up. Young colts do the same thing, but with their mouths/biting. So...when you are bopping him back there, as you described, and because he's still a stud, not gelded, he knows instinctively this game of tag (down to his DNA level) and he comes right back to bite again, because...that's the game! He's not exactly "playing" -- it's much like teenage boys testing their prowess by socking and tussling until one caves, cries "uncle"/exits, one the victor. That's what your stud colt is doing there and you're playing right into his game without realizing it.

Now...if a young stud colt tried to do that with a lead mare (the real "boss" of the overall herd, remember), she would come after him and chase him away to discipline him for this disrespectful-to-his-leader behavior. Not sparring, but chasing him away, doing whatever it took to move his feet, running him off to the perimeter of the herd. Banishing him.

Now...every horse's deepest instinctive fear in life is: being alone, because they are a prey animal (food for predators!). And it is the horse left alone in the outskirts of a herd that a predator will pick off first to kill/eat. And horses know this deep down, instinctively. This fear is absolute involuntary instinct in them as well. Furthermore, that colt who just got chased off to the outskirts of the herd by his leader is going to worry inside himself: "ohhhhhhh dear, am I in trouble now!" He's going to stand there staring at the lead mare, working his mouth, lowering his head, groveling in body language to ask permission to come back in closer to the safety of the herd, promising to behave himself better this time. He waits for her response. This is all communicated via body language, a language we in NH call "equus." If she doesn't want him to come back in again, she keeps her eye contact on him, shoots her ears back, shooting him a "dirty look." Pressure to keep him away. He waits. Works his mouth, lowers head, grovels. "Please may I come back in? Can we renegotiate this? I'll be good!" When she says it's okay to come back in, she turns her shoulder or back to him, ignores him and he comes back in, this time more respectfully and with a "whew, I'm never going there again with her, and I'm sure glad I didn't get eaten by wolves out there when she moved my feet and gave me time out waaay over there, away from everyone. I'd better behave so that doesn't happen again!"

This goes on nonstop in the wild, and in domestic herds. Every minute they are communicating the herd hierarchy and the herd "rules."

By the time the young male colts are around 2ish, the stallion, or sometimes even the lead mare, drives them out of the herd and they go live in "bachelor bands," where they continue their tag sparring games. Like going off to boot camp to learn to fight/to be a "man horse."

Stop and read this link on my site --- and bear with me here...I'm leading up to something, but want to educate you first -- then come back to read the rest of this letter:

Okay...going to shoot real straight here, but hear it from the heart, I want to help you there:

Your horse is becoming a spoiled brat because: 1) he's being kept too isolated and not being raised by other horses to learn how to be more respectful as a horse, and 2) he's not been gelded to get rid of that testosterone which is making him aggressive with no check system in place there. Very bad combination and certainly a formula for disaster up the road for you, I think. Best place for a young horse to be "housed" is within a pastured herd. Preferably one that contains a "lead mare type." Older, more mature horses can teach a bratty youngster how to behave/respect often better than we can. Kept alone, I can guarantee you, you're going to have a spoiled brat on your hands. It has already started.

Of course, most folks are not going to want to house a "stud" colt with their horses, especially mares; they don't want to risk impregnation. Or even to deal with the fighting/more aggressive behavior that comes with a stud. Though putting him with geldings might be fine. Older, more alpha gelding being the ideal. But's time to stop babying him or feeling sorry for him because he was ill, before he becomes a real monster to contend with. And it's not going to improve until you: 1) geld him and 2) house him (preferably pasture turnout) with other horses and 3) get his training going better. You're swinging in the dark there and YOU are the one who is going to get hurt there (or someone else).

If this were my horse, and I decided to keep him, I'd probably look into getting him gelded ASAP. Undescended testicle or not (vets know how to go in after that). He's becoming a seriously dangerous horse and you are indeed in over your head. Problem is: the longer you wait, the longer it is giving him an opportunity to learn "stallion-like behavior" and just because you geld him, that doesn't go away overnight because now: it is LEARNED behavior. Harder to unlearn learned behavior but is much easier to turn around after he's gelded and there's not so much testosterone surging thru him (testosterone: the aggressive hormone).

Read a little more in this category on my site here:

Now, that said, say you decided to keep him a stallion. Training and owning a stallion is advanced trainer/handler stuff. Lay folks shouldn't even try to go there, in my opinion. Yes, stallions can be trained, of course, and they are all the time. But if you don't know what you're doing there 100% of the time, you should not own a stallion. They can be quite dangerous in the wrong hands.

Now....if you want training advice, say you want to keep him, and you really want to learn how to turn this horse around yourself, this is what I would do myself if I were called in there. I would start off by round penning him the NH way I teach it, and you can learn step by step how to do that here on my site:

My Whispering Way Round Pen Leadership DVD also teaches the art of natural horsemanship round penning visually. To learn more about and order that video: CLICK HERE

Round penning is one "tool" that is quite handy to pull out with aggressive or serious problem horses. Your horse has become aggressive now, has upped the ante, and to remain safe in that round penning session that you learned about in the above link, I myself would do this:

With a horse like that, they MUST hit that wall when they are aggressive like that. However, rather than use, say a whip, let me suggest just trying something else I've found works really well with these types. Take in with you in the round pen an extendable training wand with noisy plastic tied to the end and a 12-foot heavy lead rope as well. If you're right-handed put the rope in your right hand. As you come into the round pen, and if he comes at you aggressively, shake the wand assertively toward an eye (toward the eye moves the head away) and at the same time, spin that rope very wide overhand, slapping the ground hard and loud as you spin. If the horse comes toward you there when you're strongly directing him to move away, well...he's going to run into that swinging rope big-time, but farther away from you. Aim it so that if/when he runs at you aggressively (it's already spinning remember), it hopefully hits him in the face. Mind are not hitting him...he is hitting himself with the rope when he comes in too close, and he knows that full well. You are simply setting up a "wall" for him to run into all by himself there. You will be shaking the wand w/plastic nosily at the same time, as well. Practice without him first and you'll see actually how easy this is to do (not as hard as it sounds).

The reason this is a better route to go with such horses than using the whip, etc., is:

  • Horses can only focus clearly on one thing at a time. The wand with plastic AND the spinning rope going at the same time, two opposite sides of you, well, his brain goes "Nrrrrrrtt..." and totally short circuits his aggressive thoughts and they usually always stop dead in their tracks with a "huh???" When he stops, release the pressure instantly! "Right answer." Reward with the release for that, "take the try." NH tenet: All horses learn from the release of pressure what it is you want, not the pressure itself, so get your release timing very quick for his right-answer responses. He stopped charging didn't he? If he comes at you again, repeat. Release at his stop/his keeping his distance. I don't shake the wand/spin the rope for them rearing from a safe distance, I just keep the wand up at that to let them know they may come no closer with that. Showing their feelings is okay in my training book. Just please show those feelings at a safe distance, horsey, that's all I ask, thank you. Showing their feelings, and accepting those feelings is like....evolved parenting...letting the 2-year-old have his apparently-needed tantrum, lying on the floor kicking/screaming. We don't punish for that. However, if that 2-year-old crosses the line to getting destructive, well then we take charge there and keep him from hurting others, blocking that. Is the same thing with an acting out horse. Draw the line in the sand. Go ahead, act out horse, but you're going to do it from a distance and then you're going to start moving the direction I tell you (the round penning exercise/link I directed you to earlier). This is evolved natural horsemanship training.
  • THEY hit the spinning rope wall all by themselves. You aren't hitting them; they are hitting themselves, because they saw the spinning rope before they ran into it & they know full well: they made that thing hit them, not the other way around. So it is truly in the natural horsemanship category of (another NH tenet): "making the right thing easy, the wrong thing hard." And them "hitting that wall" all by themselves to find out: "ooops, that didn't work." So: they learned.

This route works much, much better than using whips or any kind of brute force or abuse, which we greatly abhor using in natural horsemanship. I'd like to see people lose the whip for good and ante up the creativity instead. Whips are aggressive. Using the shaking wand AND the spinning rope at the same time and allowing the horse to run into that wall is not aggressive, it is assertive; there's a difference. And if he gets whacked of his own accord, well...yeah, it might (or might not) hurt, but he will absolutely file that the way you want him to: he did it to himself by running into that wall himself. In NH...and this comes from Tom Dorrance's direction (the grandfather of the NH movement), we like to set up choices for horses as often as we can, so their mind is used productively to make the right decision all by themselves. This way they don't feel forced, but instead: directed/lead properly by a soon-to-be-perceived fair and wiser leader (lead mare), who has no anger toward them, just: directiveness, to teach them the rules for behavior in our "herd." And those two choices we pose before them at such times are: 1) one that is really easy, and 2) one that is very, very hard for them. Set it up creatively enough, cleverly enough, and they pick the easy choice every time. Moving around the round pen at your direction -- (who cares if he bucks/kicks/hollers/whatever at first, as long as he's going the direction you asked and keeping his distance?) --  is the easy choice; whereas, turning and coming into you unasked for/charging/trying to bite/being aggressive is the harder choice (because there's a spinning rope wall and loudly rattling plastic on end of wand with that harder choice).

This works much better than taking the aggressor route of hitting/whipping, especially when you're dealing with a stud (that you don't want to misconstrue you/this as any game of "tag") when they come into you because...with the above route...they are forced to use their MIND to make the right choice and using their mind is called: learning.

Don't mindlessly longe this horse...round pen him the NH way, using round penning applied prey animal psychology. Proper round penning is not about just mindlessly running a horse around & around in circles; it is far, far more than that --- it is an equine science of direct communication. Keep focus on round penning psychology there (print out my round penning section if you wish, to really, really study it). Do lots & lots of turns there in the round penning session, again, using both spinning rope and wand if needed. If he complies, starts remaining consistent there, you can drop the wand and just use the rope when needed to get the turns (you can always pick up the wand again if he backslides).

And only let him make OUTSIDE turns until he is much, much more compliant. You don't want an aggressive horse being allowed to make inside turns toward you too early on in that learning curve because an inside turn can quickly transfer into a charge at you. He must make his turns away from you until you start seeing the signs of submission/compliance (remember those 4 signs to look for that I teach in my round penning section & in my Round Pen Leadership DVD), listening to your leadership there. Then and only then, allow inside turns. If he tries to make an inside turn unasked for too early on, force him to go back and repeat it as an outside turn.

For example: say you're driving him to the left in the round pen and you ask for an outside turn there by twirling the rope toward that inside eye to push that eye away and toward the fence, and say he suddenly makes an inside turn instead and starts going right. Instantly, as fast as you can, make him turn right back to go to the left, asking for an outside turn. Then ask for the turn again to the right to show him: he may only make that initially requested turn to the outside. After he does it correctly, leave him alone (no flagging/pressure off) for a lap or so, so he'll know he got a "right answer" there. Even in round penning you must release for right answers/stop asking so he finds the get along spot. Do not keep flagging when he's doing what you want, just keep facing him, full eye-to-eye contact, your arms down, but no more pressure. And he will learn to mirror your body language.

After he's succeeded in the round penning exercise (again, refer to my tutorial and DVD on that), then I would begin his further ground foundation training. And here's where I would suggest applying horse whispering/natural horsemanship training techniques in a very clear step-by-step program, which you can learn more about in my DVD set, the Whispering Way 12-Step Total Training System, and you can order that here: CLICK HERE

After watching the videos, and after learning and applying the methods, you, as the horse's primary teacher, will have taught the horse:

  • How to be bonded to you more deeply so that the horse trusts you to the max and they will be far more willing to do whatever you ask, even when they are in doubt;
  • That you both have a "bonding place" (a "safety zone") to come back to always, from then on, if the horse is ever upset or afraid, on the ground (or later, in the saddle); we plant a one-rein stop in the foundation of every horse, on the ground first, so that in the saddle, it is automatic. This keeps you safer and the horse more rational, and feeling supported, bonded, connected more deeply emotionally to you.
  • How to relax the horse when they are tense about something before they are called upon to react negatively.
  • How to have the horse yield easily, in any direction when asked -- they'll learn how to yield properly to pressure to receive the release of pressure. All horses learn from the release of pressure what it is you want, not from the pressure itself;
  • How to progress bonding to even deeper levels to the point of downright intimacy; makes a horse feel like they never had it so good being with you!
  • How to move the horse from the rear, and learning to do that rationally, which is so important to teach a horse to do before you ever ride them, and which you'll be using for a lot of other things like trailer loading, going in and out of a gate, into a stall, and so many other places/situations; this also teaches a horse that you are in charge of their feet.
  • How to address effectively any fears (and the horse's reactions to them) that you flush out in their behavior at any given time; my program focuses greatly on finding the fears before they find you and fixing them -- safely on the ground first! Even lay folks can do this. It's all about: safety. This then builds a far more rational, confident, happy, trusting horse, because, in essence, you have effectively raised the horse's "fear/anxiety bar." And you will have taught the horse simultaneously in the process, how to turn to you for nurturance support when/if they are ever afraid or upset.
  • How to do all this first on the ground, then later in the saddle, in that order.
  • How to keep you safe and the horse safe at all times, throughout all of this --- always my biggest training focus.

This video set will help you to lay down an even stronger, more solid and trusting foundation under your horse that will then serve you well, tremendously, actually, when you do step up into the saddle. By the time you complete the steps, you will have a transformed horse. The final steps are in the saddle and those exercises will more deeply plant into your horse's foundation the one-rein stop/the "safety zone," and more, that will turn the horse into a far, far more rational, trusting, happier -- and safer -- horse in saddle as well.

And you can do this yourself if you just back up and learn a few things yourself there. This video set will get you there the fastest with your horse, which is why I'm recommending this route. It's designed for anyone on any level, horse or human, to get professional trainer-like results.

And Whispering Way Complete Training Package contains all my videos and training tools that you need to train or retrain your horse yourself the natural horsemanship Whispering Way. You can check out/order the Whispering Way Complete Training Package on my web site here: CLICK HERE

I'm a very strong believer that every horse owner is their horse's primary teacher/trainer whether they realize it or not. Every time you are with your horse, that horse is learning something. You just want to make sure the horse is learning what you want them to learn, not what you don't want them to learn! My natural horsemanship training techniques are gentle, effective, and powerful. Works with every horse every time!

But it's real important to back up and break down all teaching steps in a way that you are releasing baby-gives, allowing the horse to feel the release for the right answers incrementally, so that they learn that's really what you want.

I would stay very, very vigilant there to set up a black and white zone about the biting issues throughout the training. If he tries to bite, it's war and I'm going to climb the pressure scale big-time there so that it's real clear to him that we're not playing tag, I'm not another stud to spar with, I'm the "lead mare." And I am his worst nightmare lead mare if his biting problem is bad enough. I myself, if I were his trainer, would literally set him up to do that in the round pen, after round penning him, but I would be ready. I would have all my ducks in the row for this. And I would see if I could get him to do it at liberty because the second he goes there, I would instantly make him think he is going to die--faux die, mind you; this is all about posturing, my emotions wouldn't even be negative inside of me/only postured outside of me; we natural horsemanship trainers shut such negative emotions off when working with horses. You do not have to be angry to discipline a horse. If you do feel angry, exit, regroup. Anger has no place in natural horsemanship training.

So, I would have the wand in my hand perhaps, and the 12-foot rope and I would set him up to bite me, my hand hear his mouth (again, only after round penning him to get him on more compliant, respectful mode), and if he started to go there, trying to bite, I would klonk him good under the chin with my fist very fast (you only have 3 seconds to discipline there, so be fast; after that 3 seconds it means absolutely nothing to a horse, so don't go there), and I would get "big," with my body language, my arms going up, and I would make this sound: "SHHHHH" as loudly as I could (far more effective sound to use than "no" we've found), then I would shake the wand with plastic, spin the rope, and send him away, around the round pen to do some laps/some hard work. That's what the lead mare in a herd would do: move his feet so his brain rules out "this isn't tag."

I would work him hard a few laps, turn, turn, turn. Show him the black zone there (black zone: when they've crossed the line into bad behavior, where pressure is applied; white zone: when he's behaving and no pressure is applied and life is good and calm for him = the get along spot in "our herd"). When sent there for trying to bite, I would give him hard work he's going to be sent to do briefly. I would "make him go dig ditches!" Then, when he's compliant (watch for the 4 body language signs), let him come back in, and set him up to bite you again and repeat as often as you have to. Trust me, he'll very quickly change his mind about thinking biting ever served him well. It works! I've done many a clinic with seriously biting horses and honestly, after 1-2 attempts not only will they not go there with me again, I can try as hard as I can to get them to bite me and they just refuse to. They've learned the consequences there: work!

Make the right thing easy, wrong thing hard.

Round penning an aggressive horse, however, is advanced trainer stuff, and don't hesitate to call in a good natural horsemanship trainer to help out there if you have any doubts or hesitation whatsoever. I want to see you kept safe first and foremost.

Should you sell this horse? Move on to another/safer horse? Horse endeavors are supposed to be: recreational. Recreational = relaxing activity you do because it's fun outside of your work time. Are you having fun there? Have you had fun all along? Do you dread seeing him/working with him? Listen to those alarms in your head if they are blaring. Alarms are called: common sense. We don't manually shut off alarms in life; well, wise people don't. Alarms keep us safe & intact and well-guided. They're there for a survival reason. And alarms turn themselves off all by themselves when they are no longer needed.

So...though I'm not going to answer that question, only you can, I can sure show you the questions to ask yourself there to make that decision. If the bulk of your time with this horse is bigtime stress time for you, is stressful enough in our real lives; we don't need our recreational time to be stress time as well. If you decide to keep him, you need to get him trained and manageable ASAP, and I do believe you need to get him gelded ASAP, just my opinion. do need to take a closer look at how you are keeping him (he's not kept in a herd, naturally; that is contributing greatly to the problem there).

Tough decision, I know. But...just wanted to shoot straight to show you it upside down and inside out to see full clarity there so that you can make the decision you feel is right for you, no judgment. Every bit of your stud colt's body language there says, by the way: he respects you not, not one iota. That's got to be turned around ASAP or you are going to get hurt.

Oh...regarding the hair eaten away spots on him. Sounds to me like rain rot, could be. Ask your vet. Rain rot is a bacterial infection that enters the horse's blood stream via an open wound. Horses more susceptible to that are horses with weaker immune systems like older horses, younger horses and weakened-by-illness horses. Sometimes takes antibiotics to get rid of if bad enough, but that's one for your vet to check out/evaluate.

Hope this helps in some way. Good luck to you there and STAY SAFE!!!

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