Link Image Marv Walker Index Page

"My Foal Acts Frighteningly Foolish"

She sent for the bonder and in the body of her request she included the following:


I am very interested or should I say curious as to how the 'bonder' works. I am having some respect problems with my new little 6 month old filly and I need to address the problem she is having right away.

At first, I did not seem to think it was a space issue. But now that I think about it. Her visciousness is directed at me. A couple of weeks ago she started rearing all by herself in the corral. I thought it had to do with impatience in getting her food. Also thought that our older horse, who is not a good influence on her since she tends to mimic things he does, runs around the corral when he wants to eat. Irritating but still not a big problem.

Yesterday, as I went to sweep her board (I have to sweep the board that her feeder sits on because we have lots of sand) she reared up and struck out at me. I proceeded to throw the broom at her since I had no whip in my hand. Now, I'm worried this nastiness will continue. This is why I am interested in the 'bonder' technique so I can maintain some type of boundary thus allowing the problem to not get worse.

One of the things I've noticed in observing horses is that young horses are cut an awful lot of slack from the adults in the herd. If an adult horse gets fed up with the antics of a young one and decides to address it, the young horse starts popping its gums which in essence is the young horse pleading for its life - "I'm just a baby! Please don't hurt me!" And the adult horse almost always honors that request. It may nip the youngster, but for the most part, it lets it off the hook without serious bodily harm.

The antics described in this email are really nothing more than young horse actions. It is, in effect, play for the purpose of learning what it can and cannot get away with in life. There is no viciousness. It is just what horses do among themselves in life among the herd. If you watch them playing amongst themselves it is normal everyday rough housing. As they get older and have worked out their status in life these actions disappear for the most part.

Now we as humans can't take too many blows from a horse of any size before it starts screwing up our Karma and so we view these actions a little differently than horses do. Any horse action that looks like it might result in bodily harm to us unnerves us and so it should.

How do you deal with young horse who display these actions toward you?

First of all you increase your margin of safety. You watch young horses very closely when you are around and do not get into a situation where they can easily get you should they act up. You never position yourself directly in front of them. I was kneeling in front of a loose two-day foal examining it. when it abruptly struck. Luckily I was wearing a helmet at the time and the hoof hit on the visor. If I had not been wearing the helmet the hoof would have hit me right between the eyes. When you see you are in a good position for the young horse to play, "TAG! You're it!!" you want to angle off to the side. When leading you want to be beside the horse and not ahead of it.

When the foal is small and it acts up you can often physically restrain it until it settles.

When the foal has some weight and age on it you may have to use a more obvious method of telling it that behavior is unacceptable. You may want to get yourself a crop while you are working the foal or you are around it.

I'm not advocating beating a horse at any time. There is simply no excuse for wailing away on a horse. I do advocate "biting" the horse as another horse would bite it if the same actions were directed at it. Since my teeth won't stand a mouthful of horse hide, I have to bite in a different manner. I use "teeth" that allow me to reach the horse without getting too close.

For instance, if I'm leading a young horse or it plays with me, and I have an object, I tell it "NO!" and I firmly apply the object to a muscular part of the horse. I do that one time and then I forget it. If the action is repeated I do it again when the action is repeated and I forget it happened.

This is exactly how it works in the herd. The horse understands and accepts that it has come against one who won't accept that treatment.

When I'm leading it and it acts up I use the lead line to pull it off-balance. Notice I did not say pull it off its feet, I said unbalance it. When the foal rears I pull the lead line until the foal jerks back and then I release the resistance. This results in the foal propelling itself away from me and forces it to concentrate on getting its balance back. Try pushing hard against something with no resistance. It can be rather jarring. Sometimes the foal goes off its feet which gives the results a little more meaning, however, it is not my intention to take it off its feet.

When the result is not what the foal intended, the foal soon learns to yield to the slightest pressure.

Generally, as the foal gets older, this type of behavior lessens.

But the original email was what effect the bonder has on very young horses.

All I can say is try it and see what happens.

You want to be very low-keyed when doing the bonder with any horse but especially so with very young horses.

I personally have only been involved with bordering two 4 month foals and both of them belong to us. My former horse partner Kellie Sharpe Click here for Kellie's account. took them into the RP one at a time and put them through the bonder and while I noticed no real sign they were responding the same I'd seen many adult horses respond, I did notice they had a more compliant attitude afterwards.

The bonder procedure was performed after some leading practice around the barnyard along the order I mentioned earlier. Which of the two sessions had what effect on the foals, I have no idea. I have not used the bonder on any other young stock up to this point.

NOTE: We have used the bonder on very young stock since this page was originally put up. We have great success with little snots when we do not "bonder" them as much as we move them casually around an enclosure like a lead mare would do. "Mine! Move away from that!" "That's mine too!"

For your free copy of the bonder Click Here. In a few moments you'll receive an automatic email containing the URL of the procedure. You can put him through the procedure and see how that helps.

And I also now have a video that you may find helpful in this situation. "How To Mentally Connect With Weanlings, Yearlings And Young Immature Horses" DVD Video Click here for video info.

Click here to check out my very reasonably priced DVD inventory covering many of the subjects featured on my site's pages in greater depth.

Back To Top

For Further Information Contact Marv Walker 706 816-7190 Evenings 9 to 12 PM
Questions, comments or suggestions
Back to Marv Walker's Index Page

vBulletin statistics