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I'm in over my head

I don’t know what to do. I recently decided to get back into horses and bought two draft fillies (my first drafts), eight and nine months old. I have no other horses right now. The fillies were sold to me as “halter broke, leads, and ties”. They tie, but don’t lead. I don’t think they were handled at all as younger foals. We are still trying to work on leading, and I am trying to get them to pick their feet up- they have never been trimmed. One filly is all over me. She will be huge, at 14.2 hands and eight months old. I have never had drafts before and I have always raised my standard sized babies to be respectful and lead well. This filly has charged at me twice and literally steps on us when leading. I have tried to make her learn who is boss by putting her in the round pen and trying the “join up” method. No luck. I am getting more and more intimidated. I keep forgetting she is still a foal because of her size. I am afraid she is going to hurt someone if I can’t stop her behaviors. Should I sell her to someone that has more experience with drafts? I had thought about getting a mature mare soon to teach them herd manners, but I wonder if it would help me out. Any suggestions? Sorry for the long post.

In a situation like this “joining up” in a round pen is a waste of time, and may make things worse.

You need some horse handling help from a professional. A 14.2 animal is small. You need to get things sorted out yesterday, so get some good help. And buy no more horses without a pro accompanying you.

You “keep forgetting she’s a foal” meaning what?

Treat her like a green horse. Expect correct, respectful behaviour. The only allowance is for the fact that she is green and doesn’t yet know what correct behaviour is. So expect the behaviour that you desire and quietly, calmly correct her misbehaviours. It is actually easier and works better if you focus on the behaviour that you want and correct her mistakes than if you get too worried about “stop that!”

I hazard a guess that her charging you occurred when she was uncertain about what was wanted and just wanted to make the confusion stop. This is a defence mechanism, and one you want to nip in the bud before it becomes her go to defense. Horses who learn to use their size against the human are undesirable, and dangerous.

Focusing on the behaviour that you want makes it easier for you to recognize when she is being good, which allows you to be faster in praising the good behaviour. This in turn allows her to learn what is acceptable behaviour much better and faster.

If you can’t manage on your own, call a trainer sooner than later, please! For the horses’ sake.

I wouldn’t get a third horse. I would sell these two or return to seller and get back into horses with a mature trained horse. This should be fun, not stressful.

I really really admire your acknowledging you are in over your head. That is I think the hardest thing for any of us to do.

If they tie, I’m sure they were handled properly.

It’s probably you who don’t know how to lead those two correctly and you do need help right now.

Join-up at that age is WAY too much for them both on their mental and joints!!!

I supposed you bought them sight unseen and haven’t had a PPE performed?

And this idea of buying a third horse to teach those 2 herd manner is not a good idea. You don’t know what that other mare will do…

Buying these two fillies was a mistake, please take them back to their breeder. They shouldn’t have sold you this pair.

Go get yourself an older well trained horse you can ride right from the start.

You should try getting a stallion to have them both bred as soon as possible, being pregnant helps calm them down and then you can sell the babies to make money for training the other two. :mad:

Is this a bored alter trying to start a train wreck?

If you plan to keep them, then realize draft horses are not the same as riding horses. There’s a great book, “The Draft Horse Primer” that would be a good place to start. If you can swing it, there is a woman who has clinics and a week-long camp for people who want to work with drafts --she’s in Huntington, IN and her name is Cathy Zahm http://www.cathyzahm.com/clinics.htm. We were given a draft foal (six mo old) and having no clue what to do, send oldest daughter to the camp for a week. That horse is the best horse we’ve ever owned–he’s 25 this year. I think Zahm has some videos out too.

Some people buy into the “gentle giants” myth --but those gentle giants weren’t born that way, they are trained. People who have draft horses successfully, realize that poor ground manners can kill you dead fast --especially if you are a small woman. There is no tolerance for any aggression. A draft horse owner (friend) was holding my draft at a show while we had another in the ring. The horse head-butted him in the back (kind of playful, right?) the friend immediately turned and backed that horse of mine so hard and fast he nearly sat down. Now my friend his huge himself --6’6 and probably 300# --had my horse headbutted me, I would have gone flying --it was WRONG of the draft to touch the handler --he needed to be corrected to the extent that he would never do it again. Draft horse handlers know this --because the second choice is to put the horse down. No one wants a 18.2 hh 2100 pound pushy horse --it’s dangerous.

So if you going to have drafts, first understand they are never going to be pets --plan on having a job for them --biggest problem people seem to have with drafts is they don’t give them enough work. Even at 25, our Percheron harrows three days a week to work up the riding rings, and I ALWAYS work him before I hook him to the carriage. A frisky Percheron isn’t safe. Second -find a successful draft person who has draft horses like you want yours to be --big difference between hitch horses and working horses like mine who do farm work. There are draft boards on line where you can get good advice --but if you can’t find someone knowledgeable to help you --pass on the drafts before they become real problems.



Op, my horse was feral when I got him: you need to work with a trainer, be confident, and forget foal and think youngsters. Remember: you are putting on lifetime manners, teaching them what is expected, and forming habits.

Guarantee a good start on the ground makes backing easier.

Who knows but let’s hope enjoytheride is kidding!

[QUOTE=Pocket Pony;8488167]
Is this a bored alter trying to start a train wreck?[/QUOTE]

Who knows? But let’s hope enjoytheride is kidding!

I ditto the recommendation to have a trainer come out, and train both the horses and OP. Higher ed is usually a good thing.

I wouldn’t get a third horse. I would sell these two or return to seller and get back into horses with a mature trained horse. This should be fun, not stressful.

I really really admire your acknowledging you are in over your head. That is I think the hardest thing for any of us to do.[/QUOTE]




I have actually read that advice before and if some bored person is going to keep making alters asking crazy questions then that is the answer they are going to get.

If you want an actual answer it would be sell both horses, and take lessons with a trainer until they think you are ready for ownership, then have them help you find a suitable horse.

Getting young horse(s) is sort of like getting a puppy; you have to KNOW what the heck you are doing, or none of you will be happy, and the critters will not be well-trained. I agree with those who say getting two youngsters was a big mistake. Definitely trade them in on an already trained horse. (Green horse + green owner = black and blue owner)

I give you a lot of credit for knowing the situation is out of hand. You either need to have a trainer who knows drafts working with you and and the foals or to sell them as soon as possible to someone who knows drafts, perhaps back to the breeder if that is possible. Best of luck to you.

Take the fillies back to breeder or find a new home. Get an older gelding to ride and fool around on.

My 24 year old gelding keeps my two two-year olds in line when I’m not around but my youngsters are large pony sized.

Breeding them was a silly statement, no one really thinks that.

Really people we should helping to select a stallion to breed them to and setting up a gofundme. But in the meantime feed those fillies popcorn and some please pass me more wine, thanks.

I think you have two options if you want to keep them: Send them to a trainer or hire a trainer to work on them at home. If you choose one of these paths, be sure that you?e watching as often as possible as the trainer puts them through their paces.

If you are going to be overwhelmed when they grow up and you have to have a step ladder to mount them, then you could get a Vanner (aka Gypsy Vanner) which tend to be cob sized, and have a lot of fun driving or riding, or picking hair off your clothes… I´ve heard that they?e easy going, too, which would be wonderful for a new owner.

Good luck.

Did I miss the breed of these two draftys? Had you thought about how much a draft horse eats? :eek:

I would highly suggest contacting the seller and request about returning the fillies, if that is an option, and finding a professional to accompany you in your search for a new horse, one that you can learn from, instead of trying to teach babies. If not, place them in a professional trainer’s hands to correctly train for you or to sell for you to a more suitable home.