We have been throwing as much feed (hay) at Otto as he will eat.. and eat he does. My GAWD this horse has an appetite. I think he outdoes JB in the appetite department , and I never thought I would live to see another horse put away groceries like JB does. JB is not a big horse either. Ofcourse, in Otto's case, he is growing and he is alot bigger. His weight is still , in my opinion a little light but I think I am going to fight that for a while yet. At the same time, he doesn't have ribs showing anymore and he has "thickened" up a bit. I guess I will just continue to throw huge amounts of hay at my Hoover vacuum horse and be thankful we purchased an extra 5 ton of hay we didn't think we would need.. because now we probably will!
Bratty 2 Year Old
His energy levels are more than adequate and I think he feels really good, considering all of his antics in the pasture.
Regarding his growth, I was curious and wanted to see how typical or Atypical his growth rate was. The last time I had him into the vet on November 22nd for his last round of catch up vaccines, he was 760 lbs. That was 100 lbs heavier than September when I took him in the first time. I found this chart to give me a visual representation of where he was at for his breed. According to the ranges listed he should be somwhere between the 2 or 3. Surprisingly, his growth rate fell closer to the range 2. I thought he was alot bigger than "average" for his breed and age (19 months when I did this) but according to this, he isn't.
|embiggen to see the stars indicating his weight.|
Bratty 2 Year Old
He has gotten more challenging to handle in the last few weeks as the stud attitude has only increased. I was hoping to avoid this but it seems he is one of those colts that has the potential to be very studdy. He is very mouthy and wants to bite alot. He isn't mean about it.. no ear pinning or anything, but those hormones are just telling him that is what he should do to greet people these days.. uggh..
How do I get lucky enough to get a colt who is exhibiting two of the habits I hate the most.. rearing and biting.. gheez!!!
I am somewhere between trying to not make a huge issue out of the biting and trying to ignore it when possible , and also correcting it.
Sometimes with the "bitiness" behavior, it's tricky. It can easily create a bigger issue when trying to correct it. Horses can get to where they think biting is a game. When a horse goes to bite, what is our natural reaction?? well for me, it's yell something like.. "hey" or "Knock it off", and then smack the horse in the shoulder or wherever I can make contact, sans the eye area.
It's just that , a natural reaction , but I don't think it's necessarily the right reaction. If this cycle continues , it sometimes turns into a cat and mouse game for the horse,, try to nip the human before they scream and smack them. I really want to avoid that.
So, what is the right thing to do ?? I am still working that out in all honesty and would welcome any insights but here is what I have implemented in the meantime.
I use the flag.
***As a important thing to note here, I have done alot of flag work with Otto already to set the ground work. He understands that the flag is not something to fear. Correct application of the flag is all about intent.
Using the flag for Otto's biting issue is to keep him a safe distance from me, which in turn seems to negate the temptation for him to bite, especially whenever I feed him. He respects the flag and understands that he is to stay away, but he did test things out the first few times, turning his butt and backing up to me with his hind quarters.
Not cool buddy..not cool..
He got the business end of the flag right on the rump and quickly realized that wasn't the answer.
He is a quick study, I will give him that!..
When I bring his grain bucket in, he stays away , about 4-5 feet, until I have the bucket attached to the hanger and ready .
Then I "ask" or invite him to come in, ears forward, and I allow him to eat.
If he is the least but pushy, I send him off again with a shake of the flag.
I only shake the flag with as little energy as needed until he moves off. No need to get crazy waiving it around and creating a big reaction in him. I just want him to yield and try something different than coming in like a bully. He has this figured out and as a result, he is a perfect gentleman now.
I also make sure that once he is eating, I can rub him all over with the flag. He understands that I can ask different things with the flag. That is key and I find it works best to often reinforce this idea. It's easy to get caught up in using the flag to send a horse off. I try to be pretty specific about how I use the flag. My queue to invite the horse in is to drop the flag (plastic bag end) in the downward pointing position at my side.
This is all great for the time being but it doesn't solve everything . The down side is that it dlimits my interactions with him. Anytime I come in close, the biting attempts begin and the boy parts start dropping.
I am pretty sure I don't look like or smell like a mare.. good grief .
For now, I am limiting my interactions in close with him. No, it isn't ideal, but the way I see it, until I can get him gelded , the less negative interactions and the less likely the biting will become a habit.
Don' t get me wrong, I still halter him , brush him, pick up his feet, but we limit the time I am doing that for now. He's pretty sure that everything needs to go in his mouth
If there was ever a bratty 2 year old stage, he has definitely hit it.
The vet really wants me to hold off on his gelding until the footing is better.. That won't be until March. Hopefully we can manage until then...