Treatment Type: Training Techniques
Rated for: Thoroughbred
Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Posted Nov. 21, 2018
Every now and then a foal comes into this world with the attitude that it is going to rule everyone and everything; it is a natural herd-dominant attitude. Horse herds have a naturally dominant stallion and a dominant mare that rule the social hierarchy of the herd. Some behaviors are learned from social interaction as horses grow and play with their friends, but some foals seem born with a personality that makes them the boss of everyone else. But how do you work with a young horse with that type of personality?
The key is patience. I work with a thoroughbred colt that was born a natural leader. He is arrogant, smart, aggressive, and athletic. The simple social interaction of grooming has been one of the most important tasks of every day to gain his respect and trust. He is groomed with a halter and rope on so that if he tries to bite, he can be told no with a pull on the rope. Hitting him will only turn him against you and make him more aggressive. Walking him to the field is done with two people and two ropes, one on either side of him, so that if he rears or strikes(both acts of dominance) he can not turn towards a handler. Two handlers also make it safer for the horse since they can keep him going straight and forward, making it less likely for him to fall over backwards and injury himself. Even when making the transition into his riding training, two ground handlers along with the same daily rider worked well. He caught onto his riding training very quickly due to the consistent patience of his rider treating his lessons as discussions. The colt had to feel that he had a say in everything in order for his training to work.
As with any horse, the relationship is built on give and take. Fighting with a dominant horse will only create loathing from them. Once a dominant horse earns your trust and respect, you will find that they will include you in the social circle of the herd and that they will be extremely loyal and willing to please.