I have the opportunity to buy a handsome 7 yo Welsh pony gelding who is well trained under harness and green broke to ride. According to the owner (who has only owned him for a very short time) he is a sweet little guy (only 13 hh) with excellent ground manners and a good work ethic. The BAD news is that he is exceptionally ‘studdish’ around ALL other horses. He constantly screams and acts aggressively and for this reason, requires individual turnout. No one knows when this boy was gelded and I have a suspicion that he might even be a rig.
Is there any hope that I could 'teach' a horse like this to behave in a civilized manner toward other horses – including mares? I am a semi-experienced horse owner but I do know my limitations and I think this may be beyond me!
As you know, I have a VERY bossy mare who could/would make mincemeat out of him and a sweet old gelding whom I would never subject to this little character’s abuse. I don’t know if I could ever get this pony to the point where I could safely and responsibly turn him out with others. Is it possible? Is it worth it?....at this point, my instincts are saying “NO!” I’d love to hear your thoughts on this since your advice has been so valuable in the past.
Thanks so much!
If he acts like a rig, he could cause some real problems. A rig is a horse who was not completely castrated for one reason or another; the leftover testicular tissue is inconsistent, and makes the horse less predictable than an intact stallion.
If you're willing to invest the money, without knowing whether or not you'll actually buy him, you could have him tested to see if he *is* incompletely castrated. If so, then you would at least know that if you wanted him to behave, you'd have to invest even further in surgery to correct the faulty work. And you couldn't be sure that the surgery would correct the problem, so you might spend all that time and money in vain.
Something to consider: a horse who acts aggressive and so is confined by himself develops even worse social interactions. Basically, a lonely aggressive horse is likely getting more aggressive all the time. If he were to find a compatible turnout situation of *some* kind, he might settle.
On the other hand, he might not. I *have* known horses that I would not want to try to handle, not even if I had full custody of them and had all the time in the world to make over their personalities (as much as possible).
To sort of summarize what I'm saying: this doesn't sound like a situation *I* would want to take on--unless I had no expectations for the horse, and a permanently available field where he could be turned out solo if necessary. I certainly wouldn't buy him without having him tested, and if he needed surgery, I would insist that his price be lowered correspondingly.
After some consideration, I agree that this is not a situation I really want to take on either. Just thinking about it gives me the collywobbles and that isn't a fair way to approach any new horse relationship.
I have my hands full at the moment with rehabilitating my bratty mare and that is quite enough work and *adventure* for now.
As always, you are the voice of reason. No wonder you have so many fans here in the discussion forum!