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View Full Version : Why would a gelding attack a foal???


Brandy's Mum
10th January 2011, 09:38 PM
Hello,

I have recently bought a foal, who one of my other ponies took an instant dislike to. The Pony is rising 4 and is used to being top of the pecking order, but has never acted this way to another pony before. When we first put the two in together he was chasing the foal around, kicking and biting her. Not leaving her alone, all she was doing was running away, not threatening him at all and he kept attacking her. It looked like he was trying to kill her. Even in stables next to each other he tries to bit her through the bars and kicks the side of the stable if she gets too close to the wall. We've tried to put them in together since and he's acted exactly the same, our other horses have been chasing him off and positioning themselves between them to protect her from him. All the others have accepted her without any problems. This behaviour is completely out of character for this pony, he is used to being in with ours, and sometimes other peoples and he always gets along with others perfectly. However, I don't know if he has ever been turned out with foals before I've owned him.

I don't understand why a gelding would take such a dislike to a foal, a filly foal especially, who is showing him no threat whatsoever!

If anybody could shine any light on this unusual behaviour I would really appreciate it. I've posted this on another forum, and so far nobody has had any idea what would cause him to behave towards the foal this way.

Thanks
Rachel

Ambers Mum
10th January 2011, 10:41 PM
My bosses broodmare nearly killed her own foal in this manner, it was so bad that Moonshine Romany Luck had to be hand reaered after the first hour and the foaling bank found her a gypsycob mare (hence Lucky's name) so shewas able to have a normal life but to he day she died she was never really keen on the stud foals and the last one was the only one she never attacked in all her years.

No one ever found out why but all they could do is keep her away from foals altogether.

Maybe withit being winter he is protecting his food? Ifind mine can get unusually aggressive when the grazing is poor, even when they have bucket feeds and loads of hay.

Hope you find an answer soon as it is terrifying to watch. My 15 year old took a real dislike to my 37 year old when we first got her two years ago and even after we managed to sort her a protective pair bond in the form of my 30 year old we would often see my younger horse pick an oportune moment to attack the oldest one.

fougere
14th January 2011, 12:20 PM
At a livery yard where I kept Gemma, one gelding took an instant dislike to two NF foals that were put in the field. A few of the mares gathered the foals in a corner and protected them until the offending gelding was removed. The gelding had always been rather riggy in his behaviour and we put it down to that.
But at another place, one girl had two 17hh geldings that behaved like that to a 13hh pony mare she got for her daughter. She's turned them out together in the morning and went to work. When I arrived in the evening the boys were still chasing the mare around and she was fit to drop. A friend and I managed to get her out, but just before we did she fell down and the geldings continued to attack her on the ground. It was horrific to see. I've no idea why the two behaved like this. They were fine in with other horses, but hated this dear little mare.

fairyfeet
14th January 2011, 12:38 PM
Horses of any age and gender like and/or dislike other individual horses, reasons unknown.
They are just like people in that respect. They get on with all horses until they meet one they don't like.
Geldings and mares can both be protective over their herd, grazing and even their human.
In the wild stallions often kill off foals sired by the previous stallion as do other species.

Until they can actually tell us, we'll never know.

Brandy's Mum
14th January 2011, 03:56 PM
Thanks for the replies.
I'll just have to continue keeping them seperate. Hopefully when she's bigger than him he wont be so eager to pick a fight with her. It's just so strange that this pony who will share his dinner with another of our ponies, would attack a little foal like that. Oh well, I suppose you can never really predict what a pony will do.

My Crazy Clan
14th January 2011, 06:45 PM
Some just don't like others, it could be as simple as new horse, young horse that can't stick up for herself so hes getting in first to show her hes boss! or could be as simple as hes jealous of her and the attention?

You could always try a calmer, it might work it might not.

Sidesaddlelady
15th January 2011, 03:57 AM
Hello,

I have recently bought a foal, who one of my other ponies took an instant dislike to. The Pony is rising 4 and is used to being top of the pecking order, but has never acted this way to another pony before. When we first put the two in together he was chasing the foal around, kicking and biting her. Not leaving her alone, all she was doing was running away, not threatening him at all and he kept attacking her. It looked like he was trying to kill her. Even in stables next to each other he tries to bit her through the bars and kicks the side of the stable if she gets too close to the wall. We've tried to put them in together since and he's acted exactly the same, our other horses have been chasing him off and positioning themselves between them to protect her from him. All the others have accepted her without any problems. This behaviour is completely out of character for this pony, he is used to being in with ours, and sometimes other peoples and he always gets along with others perfectly. However, I don't know if he has ever been turned out with foals before I've owned him.

I don't understand why a gelding would take such a dislike to a foal, a filly foal especially, who is showing him no threat whatsoever!

If anybody could shine any light on this unusual behaviour I would really appreciate it. I've posted this on another forum, and so far nobody has had any idea what would cause him to behave towards the foal this way.

Thanks
Rachel
If the others are standing up to him and protecting the youngster he is not at the top of the pecking order. He may never have been or he may recently have lost his place as is suggested by the fact that you say he will share his feed with the others. The dominant horse in a herd will not do that. In either case he sees the newcomer as a threat and has to make her realise that she is beneath him.

If possible I would separate them. Not only may she be badly hurt if this goes on but it may affect her temperament and make her nervous with other horses. Is it possible to section off a strip of the field with electric fencing and put him in it for a while? He will be able to see the others and interact with them in a safe way. When you feel he is calming down and accepting his position with the others you could start letting him into the main field for short periods and monitoring his behaviour. Try and make him understand that being allowed in with the others is a reward for good behaviour. As soon as he starts acting up - even if it's only a black look or a snarl - take him back into his enclosure even if he's only been in the main field for a couple of minutes. When he learns to behave himself you can begin to put him in the main part of the field for increasingly periods of time.

During these training sessions you will have to stay with him - behaviour training doesn't work if he thinks he can do as he pleases if you are out of sight. Also you must take your time - festina lente - make haste slowly - Hurried training is a waste of time. Don't forget to talk to him during his spells in the main field, telling him he is a good boy and saying "NO!" in a firm, stern voice if he starts to misbehave. Always remember that YOU are the herd leader and he must understand this

Hope this helps

rozbug
11th February 2011, 09:56 AM
My gelding is horrible too!! He's chased mares around fields with teeth baring..at breakneck speed. it was terrifying!
Lately we tried again, he has a section a mare companion ,who he pushes about ,makes faces but doesn't actually hurt her-if you get my drift! For a year now they have been in the same field seperated by electric fence, the 2 stand by the fence with the other one, I fed a11 3 carrots-nose to nose- no agression what so ever. Turn the new mare in with them and he's just horrid. I wish i could read his mind!!

Loosey
11th February 2011, 12:30 PM
How long have you had the foal?

My big mare took a dislike to a mare we bought in on livery last summer and continually chased her around the field attacking her (pretty scary having shire horse at TB speed charging about!).

The next day I stayed in the field poo picking when I turned them out and when Bella charged at the other mare I shooed her away (actually using a pink poop scoop!).

The frequency of her aggression got less and less and eventually they lived out happily 24/7 with the two geldings. I don't know why she was so nasty to her ... maybe because she had gotten used to living with the two boys and didn't appreciate a newcomer or just to show her she was boss (she's normally very laid back and gets on with most horses). I guess there's always one!

Hope things calm down soon for you!

clippi
11th February 2011, 02:54 PM
Clippi is exactly like this with Noodle. Until recently Clip was in a field with one other gelding, they shared hay etc with each other and get on really well. Then we had a new gelding introduced who is very dominant won't let them get to the gate, herds them around etc. The I got Noodle who is 9 months old, Clippi hates him lunging at him with teeth bared and striking out with his front legs and this is when they are tied near each other, or over the stable door. I haven't dared but Noodle in with them as he's tiny with being a section a, and I'm worried that the big boys will kick him to peices. It's only been a week so I'm hoping that Clip will settle down as his heard dynmaics settle again