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Don’t Spoil Colts

Good day!

Recently on Horse Master, we were replaying episode 5, “Missed Manners.” It’s about a two year old Andalusian filly who is pushy, rude and disrespectful to her handlers. The barn workers at her boarding stable were totally fed up with the horse, since each time they turned her out or brought her back in, they felt they were taking their lives in their hands. Actually, everyone but the owner saw the horse as a problem and it was actually the owner’s friends and the barn manager that suggested she apply for the show.

There were a few things particularly interesting to me about this horse/owner team. First off, the filly’s dam was the alpha horse, so this filly had copped her attitude from living vicariously through her mother. Sadly, the dam had died a couple weeks before the episode was taped, so the filly  had lost her standing in the herd. I think that helped to make her more trainable.

Another thing that was puzzling to me was that Pamela, the owner, was a very skilled and accomplished horse woman. So I couldn’t help but wonder why she hadn’t taught this filly some ground manners—she just somehow let that slip by without noticing. Understandably, Pamela was very distraught over losing the mare, but on the other hand, it presented her with a good opportunity to start focusing on the training of this nice young filly. Just like with children, it’s never the fault of the child if they are ill-mannered and misbehaving—you always have to look to the parents. This filly had no ground manners only because no one had taken the time to teach them to her.

Using the techniques I detail on my Lead Line Leadership video, I showed Pamela some important exercises she could do with her filly to straighten her up and make her fly right. It took almost no time at all before the filly was attentive and learning. She just needed to know the expected rules of her behavior and have some consequences if she broke a rule. This is what happens naturally in the herd (if your momma is not the boss and spoiling you) so it is easy for a horse to adjust to.

All this filly needed was a little structure in her life, to turn her into a sweet and willing young horse. All her owner needed was a little push to start training her. I hate to see young horses learn bad habits and disrespect of humans. When foals are brought up right from the beginning and never allowed to misbehave, they have a much happier existence and they tend to remain obedient and respectful horses all their lives.

So many people today are getting young horses that do not have adequate experience with horses to manage a youngster and they inadvertently spoil the horse, which affects its success later on in life. Have you seen this happen? Or maybe you’ve had firsthand experience? In this case, Pamela was certainly experienced and skilled enough, she just hadn’t made it a priority. Happily, that has changed and Pamela and Millie are well on their way to success.

Enjoy the ride!






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  1. I think Teresa from a couple of posts ago explained it brilliantly with her comparison between “Brutus” and “Precious” – it’s sometimes hard to see when our own horse is spoiled, just as it’s hard to see when our own child is spoiled, because we’re too close to the issue. It’s hard to admit that your horse is a brat and even harder to ask for help.

  2. Dear Julie

    Let me start off with saying that you are a voice, eyes and ears for the equine public and more folks hear your opinion than do those of us who are trying to help preserve the Wild Horses of the U.S.

    Yes you have struck a cord with us Mustangers.

    The Native Americans have storys about the horse and what the colors mean and the Red horse brings Joy, and I have to say that mine does bring loads of JOY.

    I am a proud owner of a 6 yr old Sorrel Rabicano mare named Ruby.
    I adopted my mare in 2003. We had limited experiance with horses. I had owned an Amer. Paint mare (purchased at a auction)for just 4 months when I went to the adoption in Topeka Kansas in 2003. My heart cryed out and I adopted. I had no idea of what to do to tame a wild animal however I was going to do what was needed for the animal. I had made a commitment to this animal when I signed those papers. I searched out help with our local 4-H, internet groups on Yahoo and RFDTV.
    I have to say that this has been the most rewarding adventure of my life, this wild horse has tought us so much about horses and life in general, she touches my soul like no other horse/animal we have ever been owned by, yes my critters own me.
    We have managed to tame, train and ride her on our own, well we did have help from other Mustang owners and the MidwestMustangHorse group at and other yahoo groups dedicated to wild horses. The Midwest Mustang group was there the day I adopted my gal with info for a internet support group to halp make us more confidant with the task ahead and have been with us the whole way. One little long yearling has given us an extended family that was never expected, with that little horse came other Mustang owners who care and are more than willing to help and its has became a wonderful extension of our family, we love them all, horses and humans.

    We have 5 horses, 3 domestics and 2Mustangs, we love all our horses but those Mustangs are so pure of spirit that they have a special place in our hearts. I think the fact that there is no human baggage with them makes it easier for the green horn to learn what is needed to be done and grow as a educated horse owner, they tought us true horse language.
    Yes we were and still are green horne’s and I hope to always consider myself a green horn so I always keep an open mind to learning more about good horsemanship and honorable natural ways for training…

    As for the Domestics that are in need. I agree there is a crissis in our country and it stems from over breeding in a time that there is no demand for all those extra horses, and those breeders that breed many horses in hopes of getting that special one that will bring fame and fortune, the rest are left with no future. When the slaughter houses closed that stoped a venue for the over population and now we are in a pickle of a mess…
    I dont have a problem with slaughter till it comes to the wild horse, if left alone it would be as all wild critters and nature would take its course however this nation places more value on the beef market and is taking away the land and giving it over to cattle which is creating a problem not just with the wild horse but all wild life in general…
    If horses that are in holding facility get an illness it is normaly caused from some someone slipping in a domestic into the herd while still in the wild that has that illness,setting it free to make sick the wild ones so that they will be removed and the cows have the land. You can not convince me this is not happening cause if you look at the wild herds there is evedance in the looks of some of the horses herds that shows new domestic blood lines have been introduced magically (hmmm), the BLM did not do this so where is it coming from. If all the herds had been left alone they would have been showing more of a norm in the herds like in the Kiger herds were most of the horses show similar coloring and conformation there is an expected norm for the most part. This is not the case with most of the other herds, there is such a large range of builds it is mind boggleing. I understand that some of this is because of the horses that were stolen/set loose from or by the pioneers and what breeds they were however it has been such a long time since then that there should be some kind of norm forming by now.

    I support the BLM Wild Horse program and try my best to help find homes for other wild horses.
    Our 2 Mustangs are out in the public as ambassadors to try to help with this task, it is their job and I think they know it.

    We were at the Women and Horses Expo also and you rode a little horse from our group, this was not a EMM horse and she is a fabulous animal that has such heart and loves her 12 yr. old little girl, they are quite the team, that horse would do anything for her girl. There were horses with us that were/are EMM horses and have changed the minds of their trainers about Mustangs and what they are able to do/be, this is good.
    I do think the EMM expos are contributing to the awareness of the wild horse and what great mounts they are. If a person looks hard they can find every thing they are looking for in the mustangs and not have the genetic illness’s that are coming from the line breeding of the domestic’s.
    The Mustangs have great feet and can go for ever and still have more go in them. I pray that every one can gain a open mind and adopt a Mustang and get the experiance of loving a animal that will give you their all, heart and soul cause once you gain their trust you have every thing, they give it all over to you willingly and compleatly.
    My Domestics are not like that they comply but it has taken years to get most all from them,
    I incurage you to go and adopt a wild horse so that you can say that you have gone full circle and have had the experiance of your life time too, open your mind and heart, you wont regret it and your horse life will grow to new heights.
    As for the Domestic horses fate that lies with breeders and the economy and the nation to change.
    Open back up the Slaughter houses with strict rules about the kill and processing in general.
    Slow down the production breeding. Pray fuel prices stay low so prices on all things lower and every one can afford to feed the animals they have and maybe get a few more.

    The Horse is a gift from God and he loves them. Equines are mentioned more times in the Bible than any other beast.

    Several of the Domestic Breeds in this nation have roots with the American Mustangs.

    It is time to take charge and make a differance in the lives of all creatures, be responsible and do them proper justice, be ethical, show some dignity, we humans can be better than this, give thanks to “The Creator” for what he has given us. We all have that inner voice that tells us right from wrong (God gave us that too)and if we tune into it, trust it and quit ignoring it it will guide us to what is to be done.
    Mother nature is SCREAMING at us that we are killing her, it is time to listen and take action. Stop taking things like land from the wild animals, they need it to live, quit being wastful with things we have been given and or take from nature.

    In closing Id like to quote our groups motto at the Women and horses expo. “Fall in Love with a Living Legend”. Adopt a Wild Horse.


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