4 yr. old gelding needs attitude adjustment

I have a paint gelding that will be 4 in March. I have had him since he was 8 months old and he has never been abused in any way and he is not spoiled. My problem is: He has a bad attitude. Whenever I come near him, he usually puts his ears flat back. He never tries to bite but he always looks like he is mad at the world.I have a paint gelding that will be 4 in March. I have had him since he was 8 months old and he has never been abused in any way and he is not spoiled. My problem is: He has a bad attitude. Whenever I come near him, he usually puts his ears flat back. He never tries to bite but he always looks like he is mad at the world.

Story originally posted by: Maggie FlowersHorseCity.com Training Director

Hello,
I have a paint gelding that will be 4 in March. I have had him since he was 8 months old and he has never been abused in any way and he is not spoiled. My problem is: He has a bad attitude. Whenever I come near him, he usually puts his ears flat back. He never tries to bite but he always looks like he is mad at the world.

He is healthy and is ridden or worked with 3 or more times a week. I have tried bringing him a treat or something which works for about a minute then he puts his ears back again.

I have tried just ignoring him also. He just doesnt seem to be happy unless hes hanging out in the pasture being bullied by the mare. (My mare has a good attitude.)

What can I do to make him have a better attitude. I wonder if he’s trying to bully me the way the mare does him. Help!

Thanks.

Hello Ms. Billy The Kid,

Being bullied or not, a horse is a very social creature. The fact that he is being bullied is not a negative characteristic in your horse, its just that he knows his place in the pecking order among his home herd. Within the herd, he enjoys the pleasures of grooming one another and can become very upset if separated from each other.

As humans have personalities, so do horses, and as just like people, he is probably requiring more variety in his life. Your horse is probably telling you he needs more companionship, another pony or a goat, cow, cat or even a chicken to befriend and help make his life a little more interesting.

Vary his training sessions to make them a more interesting part of the day. Spending more quiet time talking to, touching, and grooming him can provide much-needed socialization for him, and also help to build an important bond between the two of you. This will remove any anxiety your horse naturally feels when he is not part of a herd. Take quiet walks with your horse, it helps him bonds better and helps start the day in a more relaxed manner for both of you.

Not creating a more stimulating and satisfying environment, can lead to many vices, including wind-sucking, weaving, wood chewing, kicking, biting or, as in your case, an all-around bad attitude or disposition. These vices are to some extent difficult to correct if not caught early and you have that advantage because your horse is only a 4 yr. old.

In some cases the problems we experience in our horses today can also be traced to the way we feed. Horses are mentally and physically adapted to eating small amounts of high fiber food spread out over their day. When they are feed two nutritionally concentrated meals per day they can get very hungry by meal time and bolt their food, which can lead to choking or they can develop colic more frequently because their system is not designed to process larger portions of feed all at once. By keeping a horse in as natural an existence as possible, the fewer problems will occur.

However, if your horse must be kept in a stall more often or longer than his turnout time, you may need to be more creative with your efforts in entertaining him. Leave a radio on in the barn for part of the day, for some reason Classical music seems to help soothe most horses.

What I’ve been trying to tell you with this explanation is that your horse’s attitude may not be something he’s doing, it could very well be something you are not doing. Try working on his environment and after doing so see if you can gauge how you are doing by your horse’s mood. See if he, slowly, doesn’t change his body language for the better. Remember a happy horse is a more cooperative horse.

Good luck, hope this helps and Happy Holidays from HorseCity!

Maggie Flowers