How can I change the behavior of a young colt from acting like a stallion?

Question: We have a colt pony that is approx. 18 months old.  He ran the pasture with our 2 geldings and mare for the last 10 months.  He is starting to act like a stud naturally.  We plan on gelding him. But in the mean time how do we keep him from getting so hot headed around the mare.  We have built a wood fenced area for him because when we pasture him separately he just walks through or jumps the fence to get to the mare.

We tried to pasture him with one of the other geldings and they just constantly bite and harass each other. (they also do this when they are all together) Is this just playing or him trying to be the boss because he is a colt?  They remove chunks of hair and skin.

He is becoming hard to handle, throwing his head, pawing the ground and getting pushy.

I know it comes down to training, but I don’t want to do the wrong thing and make him worse.  Any advice would be very helpful.

Answer from April Reeves, Horseman’s U.com: Your attempts to alter your colt’s behavior by changing his surroundings and pasture buddies will not work in any way, shape or form.

Colts (uncastrated males) have a deeper sense of ‘being’ in this world than a gelding does, simply because he has hormones that a gelding doesn’t. It’s that simple, yet we humans still try to ‘correct’ these bad and unwanted behaviors as if the horse was able to communicate like a human. They can’t.

There is only one solution: castrate him now. What are you waiting for? Call your vet the second after reading this. Nothing will change until you do – that may not be correct advice – he may change: he may get worse.

Putting a mare in with him could eventually lead to several things:

  1. The mare could get pregnant – I give it an 80% chance.
  2. The geldings could get seriously hurt – I give it an 80% chance.
  3. The little guy will get very seriously hurt trying to get through a fence.
  4. You will spend more in time and money trying to alleviate his behavior than the vet fee to castrate him.

We (humans) cannot alter what Nature has given the Stallion. We can soften the nature by teaching him obedience, but the underlying ‘currents of resistance’ will always be there. Colts are guided by this impending urge. If he walks the paddock now, he will run it soon.

He will need some ground manners though, regardless of what you do with him. I am going to give you a link to a very long but very useful article on groundwork and basic saddle work. I know you are not interested in riding him at this point, if ever, but there are good basic training tips in the entire article that will give you some insight into the mind of the horse.

This groundwork will help your relationship with him, and since he is a colt, you will have to do this work daily in order to keep him obedient. Stallions are a great deal of work, which is why so few people should own them. They take dedication and time. They also take a different approach to training. You are now working with ‘the raw material’. There are very few mares who get aggressive around breeding season, although I have seen one that could break out of anything she was put behind – and nasty. Geldings are great – they like girls, they just don’t know why.

Have fun reading through this article, and I hope you get on that ‘parts removal’ issue asap:

https://aprilreeveshorsetraining.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/groundwork-saddle-work-herd-bound-horse/

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