Louisiana 2 year old Tennessee walker ridden in hackemore and western pleasure saddle in pasture by moderate level rider

Question:  he is a very head strong stallion. Every time I mount him he rears up and back, and I fall off. So how do I stop him from doing it.

From Panelist Laura

If this horse is only 2 yrs old and you have had this problem for 5 months, I would have to say that a big part of this problem is starting this colt way too early.  Why be in such a hurry?  Gaited horses live a long time and can be slow to mature - there should be no big rush to get on a baby before they are ready.  Taking time & care in the beginning of a horse's life will pay you big dividends later.

I would recommend you find a good trainer in your area and have them work on this problem.  If you continue trying to do this by yourself, you and/or the horse are going to get hurt.  Please be up front with the trainer and let them know exactly what the horse is doing (rearing & flipping over) and what you have done to try to correct it.  

Good luck.

From Panelist Bob

Have your vet come out ASAP and perform "brain surgery" (castration) on him. 
Also have his teeth checked. Start riding him in a D ring or full cheek 
snaffle starting the day after the surgery. This will serve two purposes. The 
exercise will help prevent swelling AND he will not feel like rearing and 
acting up.
Good luck,
Bob Blackwell

From Panelist Erica

Sounds as though something is hurting your horse - I would check saddle, girth, bridle, bit(s), teeth, etc. His back may be out of alignment as well. More times than not it is not the horse trying to be "stubborn" or "hardheaded" but rather tell you something with their actions. 

If everything  checks out and his equipment or back is not bothering him, then I would make sure it is not something that the rider is doing during the ride to cause discomfort. If the ride is not enjoyable for him, he is not going to want you to get back on him for another. 
Good luck!
Erica Frei

From Panelist Liz

This horse is way to young to be going under saddle. At this time I would be doing lots of ground work and learning ground manners and teaching him to understand and respect your commands and I mean this by teaching him not conquering him.

If he is this strong willed this may be a job for a professional and I would get lessons on understanding stallion behavior and how to work with one and if this is  something you decide you can not handle safely, then maybe geld the horse if he is truly head strong instead of just young immature and now confused by the work he has had to this point.

There are plenty of stallions out there and a good gelding is very enjoyable, not near the management and much safer.


From Panelist Stella

Facilities do make a big difference for even pro trainers. It is never a good idea to work any young horse in their "play" area, their own space, so riding in his pasture is not a good idea...especially with a colt, they are more territorial than mares and fillies. At least fence off a corner of the pasture(so you only have to put up 2 sides) as a designated "work" area, and dont let him graze or play in it. Start over from the beginning with groundwork, and establishing a relationship of respect as well as trust. He is at an age where hormones are starting to instigate certain behaviors, and colts in particular need more "reminders" - in groundwork at the beginning of each session...to establish a good work ethic as well as manners/respect and trust. Let him associate this new work area with these behaviors.

Another one of your problems may be in the type headgear selected. You didnt specify what type of hackamore, but I'm assuming from the horse's reaction that it is a mechanical one. Some sorts of these operate to exert either alot of pressure or none, with little in between, and it may be too much for your horse. It would be better to switch to either some other bitless headgear or a snaffle(with the rearing problem I suggest a solid mouthpiece, maybe just even rubber), and get him used it the bit gradually thru your 
groundwork sessions.

As I said, start from the beginning, from the groundwork to standing tied to be sacked out, saddled, lunged this way; get someone to help you even if practicing mounting with him tied or crosstied in a barn area...I would start just "bellying," half mounting and reward/praising for him standing quietly. Only then proceed to fully mount; again to just stand quietly. You need to break the mounting process into tiny steps...especially since you have allowed this problem to go on for so long, he likely has now established a mindless habit of it, from what initially started as an incidental reaction. Normally, when something happens like this the first time, its telling you something is amiss, time to investigate what "step"  you may have skipped (perhaps mounting before the horse was ready, being it 
a trust, rush, or respect issue), or error in environment or tack...and make  the change necessary asap. You need to have patience and perseverence in repeating these sessions of one-step-at-a-time before going on to the next, to establish new good habits and erase the old.

Remember, he is just 2, and may in fact not have been mentally mature enough in the first place. By taking your time, step by step, helps get him mentally ready as well...as a willing horse. As you're working, pay attention to his reactions, read them. Do not proceed with the next step until he is a willing participant, thru repetition, with the step he is at now. It may sound like a big mountain to climb, but your patience and efforts to think thru every tiny step will be rewarded in the end...once you get his willingness, trust, respect and cooperation, the training afterwards will go quickly. The initial foundations of training take the longest and are the most important....any "holes" here are "paid for" later. Even if it 
seems boring and tedious to us, we get rewarded later with a willing horse, eager and quick to learn. Take the time and effort to set your situation up to put success in your own favor.


From Panelist Theresa

2 year old studs are feeling their hormones very strongly, and become dangerous very quickly.Since he has already taken the dominant position you have very few choices. Im sure you wont wish to hear this, but with your level of riding ability, his disposition,and your facilities,  you would be best to send this horse to a professional, geld him, or sell him.
A pasture is not a place for a stallion who is "headstrong", and you are opening a can of worms that the longer you hesitate to take care of the more dangerous this situation will become for any human around this horse.



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