Rocky: Horse Training Lesson One

Rocky is a Curly Horse. He is six years old about 14 hands and a stallion. He is totally preoccupied with mares and fillies. I can relate to these overwhelming preoccupations with the opposite sex, but not lately. A long time ago I watched a young stallion rage in the pasture, I thought to myself… “Golly I’m just like that only I have to keep all that energy bottled up. The stallion rages and struts for the whole world to see. You can imagine that there are special problems, dangers and challenges of keeping and training a stallion.

Like a teenage boy, it is difficult to keep a young stallion’s attention. They are always looking over the fence at the latest filly that happens by. Nevertheless, like a teenage boy, a stallion can learn to be polite including politely respecting your space. Unlike a teenage boy (at least in my experience) stallions seem to be quick learners.

I spent some time before Rocky arrived at our place making sure the electric fences worked, but when his owner and I turn him loose in the small paddock he almost immediately dove under the fence but stopped at the gelding’s pen to strut and show off while geldings made violent, taunting faces at him and apparently feeling safe because of the fence between him and them. Before Rocky dove under the gelding’s fence, we herded and him back up to the original little paddock. I tied him in the stall after his owner left and isolated the electricity to only the little paddock where I planned to keep him. When I turned him loose he struck the same place and dove under the fence again, but I could see from his reaction that the fence worked this time. I put him back in the paddock and this time he paced along the perimeter his nose 2 inches from the fence, but he didn’t go through it again or touch it. Nevertheless, I’ve been keeping him in the barn at night in a 12 x 12 stall.

When his owner was here we didn’t talk much about Rocky’s past training. I assumed it was very minimal. When we started the round pen training I could see that he hadn’t done that before, but he was quick to learn stopping and turning when I asked him. However, he never totally stopped looking at the mares at least some of the time. Nevertheless, he showed the usual signs of submission by licking and chewing and ‘mostly’ paying attention to me.

On our walk to and from the round pen, several times, as we passed other horses, Rocky seemed to completely forget about me by walking into my space, strutting, pawing the air nickering and then roaring. I thumped him with the halter every time he misbehaved to get his attention back on me, just the same as the high school teacher does with the teenage boys in his charge using the tools or threats that are available to him.

After he had shown the signs of join-up, I brushed him and put on the saddle. He showed no concern or fear of the saddle. He did not arch his back. I asked him to trot and he moved out with no concern. I took the saddle off and jumped on bare- back. I asked him to turn both ways with the bosal. He was a heavy especially moving left. He did not want to move forward with me on his back and I pushed him gently but didn’t force it.

I planned to keep the training going, but it’s been raining, windy, muddy and now icy, regular April weather around here.

I originally wrote this on April 21 and finally posted it here yesterday May 28. I’ll catch up today with the other Rocky posts that are in my documents, but not posted on backwoods buckaroo.

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