Picking Up Feet (Your Foal: Essential Training Book 7)

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If you were the first person to someday ride your weanling, would you feel safer if the colt did - or did not - have a proper foundation? Based on the gentle and proven techniques of John Lyons, "Days" teach your horse to respect your space, to deal with fear, to stand calmly and to begin "giving to pressure. I call the individual segments "days" but you'll take this work at a speed that's comfortable for both you and your foal.

While you'll fly through some "days," others will necessarily require that you spend more time to really nail the material. You might want to split it up over days, weeks or months.. It's completely up to you - after all, you've got years till he's big enough to carry that saddle or pull that cart! Each chapter gives you a plan, a goal, theory and homework. The whole thing might take you a week - and it might take you months. Every trainer's different, every foal is different.

Regardless, when you arrive at the other side, you will have made significant progress in your foal's training and you'll be miles ahead when it comes time later to break him to saddle. Linda Tellington-Jones. Romy Miller. Lyons on Horses. John Lyons. What Every Horse Should Know. Cherry Hill. Marv Walker. Practical Horse Whispering. Perry Wood. Clinton Anderson: Lessons Well Learned. Clinton Anderson. The Emotional Energy Factor. Mira Kirshenbaum.

Barbara Sher. Clinton Anderson's Downunder Horsemanship. Hints for Hopeful Dressage Riders. Jane Richards.



Think Harmony With Horses. Ray Hunt. Storey's Guide to Training Horses, 3rd Edition. Heather Smith Thomas. Basic Training for Horses.

Care for Mare and Foal When Foaling

Gaydell M. Ash Green. That Winning Feeling! Jane Savoie. The Rules of Parenting. Richard Templar. I Love My Love. Reyna Biddy. Vincent Elkins. A Realistic Approach To Happiness. Rolf Nabb. How to Hug a Porcupine. June Eding. The Keys. Denise Marek. Mike's Horsemanship Ground Steps to Success. Michael Guerini. Judy Ford. Horse Training for Dummies. Henry J. Learning About Horses. John D. Clinton Anderson Philosophy. Sharon Wilsie. Loretta Laroche. Secret to Attracting Woman.

Pamela Paul. What If…? My Story Of Panic Attacks. Developing the Art of Equine Communication. Lee Anderson. How to Attract the Men You Want. Emma William. Horse Training For Beginners. Dave Wyatt. Decluttering Book. Andrea Luis. Brian Azarenka. Zen Mind, Zen Horse. Allan J. Beginning Western Exercises. Falling for Eli. Nancy Shulins. How Not to Rescue a Racehorse. Hilary Walker. The Power of Positive Horse Training. Sarah Blanchard. Black Beauty [ Illustrated ]. Anna Sewell. Brain Training for Riders. Andrea Monsarrat Waldo. When he gets quiet again, slip your hand through the opening above the brow band and in front of the headstall and slowly wrap your hand gently around the ear and try to bring it forward through the headstall.

Be sure to be gentle with the ear while you do this and any time he starts to get violent, just stop before going any farther. Once you get headstall over the first ear, take the loose end of your lead rope and tie the cheek piece of the bridle on that side to the halter with a loop that you can undo easily. This will keep him from throwing the bridle off his head when you change sides. Then, go to the other side and approach it the same way. When you come back after riding, put him back in the face tie again, and take the bridle off being cautious about his ears again.

The important thing to remember is to stay calm and deliberate yourself and non-invasive, just firm. If he also takes exception to the reins going over his head, just undo them and bring them up each side. No sense in creating more stimulus than he can handle. I have had this problem with a few mules in the past and this approach does work. It just takes time. Just a sweetie when it comes to people. The chasing has stopped he chases her , and they will tolerate each other long enough to stand in adjoining stalls to eat.

Not at me, but at each other. Can you offer any suggestions on how to deal with this behavior? Answer: This is a common problem and there are no quick fixes. You need to establish a detailed routine with these two. When you go out with them, you must insist that they behave while you are feeding.

Carry a short riding crop with you. Then continue what you are doing. When they are being good, be sure to talk to each of them calmly and quietly and encourage niceness! When you have animals eating together, you really should avoid going into the pen with them at that particular time. It is wiser to throw the feed over the fence or into the feeder from a safe spot. Space the feed a good distance from each mule and let them work out their differences by themselves. Question: We have just purchased the nicest saddle mule, but he will not stay in our fences.

He just jumps out for a while and comes back but I am concerned that sometime, he may not come back. What do you think of hobbles on him or if it would even help? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Mules are often quite clever and view the world as their own private playground, especially while they are younger animals.

If there is a way out of a pen, these clever individuals will find it. The only things that I know work with mules is first to have a hotwire on inside of the top rail of your fence and keep it charged. They will respect this and will rarely hit it more than once, if even once. The other thing is to make sure that you have chains on all your gates with a clasp that is smooth all around.

They can undo snaps! If you have a wooden fence, this will also discourage cribbing. Question: Thanks for the reply. I would like to further pick your brains on this matter. I am 53 and have been riding mules for 6 years. A lot has been on my own. I started with a 20 year old easy going guy that I still have—mainly trail work. Anyway, I have done a lot of lessons privately with him both trail riding with another woman and then dressage basics—which I really want to continue doing.

However this mule is not forward—I really have to get after him with the dressage whip. Is it just that it takes quite awhile to get the trust and compliance of ones mule, or can it be this guy is just a extra headstrong case, and might I do better to look again…. Can such a mule transfer to a new owner who is fairly experienced and very willing and not heavy handed??? Does Lloyd really get mules trained English?? I have your book and your videos and they are great, although if I had a pocketful of oats as a reward, my guy would never get his face out of my pocket!

I love your books and videos, they have great info. Thanks for your advice. I feel stuck, frankly. The very heart of our program is the grain reward they receive for their efforts. No reward, no effort. I agree that he would try to be in your pockets, but it is up to you to do the corrective training that is described in DVD 2, if he bites, or kicks. If you follow this course, this mule should be able to perform for you obediently and willingly.

Our program can help you to do this safely. I have trained all my mules this. My mules are all very trustworthy and will do anything I ask willingly and safely. I suppose you could say I have earned it. Loyd Hawley trains mules for trail riding in a gentle way that works, but regardless of where you get the mule, the relationship is up to you! Question: I am following your video series. I am on the first video. I keep my training sessions short. I started out in her stall with imprinting. This spring I started training sessions in a small paddock and in her pasture. I am positive, patient, and work hard at rewarding good behavior with oats.

When this happens, I ignore the attitude, back up, and get her to do something else, then reward her for it. Am I handling this right? Should I do the whip training anyway? Answer: Limiting behaviors, or negative reinforcement, is covered in Video 2 of the video series biting and kicking. To discourage kicking, we tie the animal to a stout post and run a buggy whip over his whole body paying particular attention to the rear quarters.

If the mule, or donkey, is not bothered by the whip, or is showing some tolerance, take this opportunity to encourage him and reward him with crimped oats for being quiet and allowing his whole body to be touched with the whip, without so much as a flinch. A mule that is not bothered by the touch of the whip will probably not need further kicking training. Be assured that this will make your mule or donkey nervous in the beginning, but it usually only takes about 15 minutes to a half hour, one time, and he will learn to wait, tuck his rear and stand instead of firing a kick.

This approach is the best way to avert problems with kicking, which can have injurious or fatal results. There will be times when you will need to set these limits to keep the animal from becoming pushy and dangerous, but usually they get the corrections immediately. As you see by the correction, we let the animal know that the behavior is unacceptable with negative punishment which does not really hurt them, I might add and then immediately go to the positive and reward their good behavior of stepping back and giving you your space.

Question: What do you do with a new mule that is a loaner? I have one who is 21 yr. If you want her to start coming to you, then you have to take the time to establish a rapport with her. Wear a fanny pack with oat treats in it and encourage her to come to you for treats. Then spend time stroking her and massaging her body all over from head to tail, paying attention to the things she likes most. Make her come to you. In the beginning, she may be a little slow about it, but over time, she will be happy to see you and will come to you anytime, anywhere. Our resistance free training series can give you the guidelines you need to do this.

If you need help along the way, you can call me. I can help you through any rough spots. I had progressed from stroking all over and scratching and brushing to picking up his hoofs. I want to know if lunging would work in this size pen. We have been working on Whoa, and stand and he does well with backup. Sometimes he wants to stop when I use the lead rope and use this as an opportunity to say whoa.

He has at times been unwilling to proceed forward. So I use this as a time to teach move left or move right using his halter to help with this. Any suggestions to help me keep him moving since we are still building trust. I would like a book reference for training tips. Any information you can provide me will be helpful. I will thank you in advance for any advice you can give.

Answer: Training donkeys is even a little more different from training horses than training mules. They have a very distinctive way that they want to learn. It sounds as if you are started the right way, but there is a lot to do on a lead line before you even begin to lunge him. The pen you describe would be too small. It is difficult enough to do circles in a foot pen feet is ideal.

Question: When can I turn my weaned male mule back into the herd with the other animals? Answer: You can turn your weaned, male mule back into the herd when he is two years old. It should be fine to put him back in with the mare after weaning. Mules will always love their mothers, and that connection will always be there. I keep my mules separate from the mares, because the mules were driving the horses crazy with their need to be near them. A male mule will assert his dominance much like a stallion would.

My male mules were claiming certain mares for their own, so the mares were not able to peacefully graze together. They were at the mercy of these male mules. The molly mules did not pose this problem; they just grazed with the mares and, in some cases, kept the male mules from getting too obnoxious with the horses. If you have a larger group, you should consider the aggressive behaviors of the male mules. You should not put any younger 2 years and under , older 18 years and older , or smaller animals in with your mules.

The mules will chase them, possibly causing injury or even death. Cattle, goats, etc. This is a mutual respect that develops with your help when the animals live in close proximity. The best companion for a mule is another equine of a comparable size and age. Question: I watch your show a lot and really enjoy. I have a horse question. She has never ever offered to rear before. I have a huge ditch on one side, and an electric fence on the other.

Is there any way to nip this backing up and rearing in the bud, before it gets worse? Thanks a lot…. Answer: The behavior you describe is typical of a horse that has what I would call fragmented training.

She has, at her young age, been exposed to the basics in training and performs the tasks, but does not have a secure bond with the rider nor the adequate muscle conditioning to perform these tasks. This happens when young animals are pushed too fast through the training process from the very beginning. It is not where the muscles that surround the bony columns obtain strength. The core muscles need passive exercise that comes from extensive lead line training to become strong. It is much like raising children. Before they are able to be placed in a school and learn the technical aspects of growth, children need to be nurtured and encouraged to interact with rewards for their good behaviors from the time they are born while dealing with the seemingly smaller issues such as routine bathing, going to bed, etc.

Exercises need to be appropriate for growth phases. These routines shape and mold the way an individual will react to different situations in life. The animals need this same kind of nurturing and support from the beginning. We do this with imprinting, and with employing a process called Behavior Modification in which we learn how to identify positive behaviors in our animals and then reward them, set limits for negative behaviors and encourage a more intimate relationship with the animal that is built on mutual respect and consideration.

We spend a lot of time in lead line training establishing good core muscle strength, balance and coordination. The work done in the round pen just fine tunes this mutual respect and working relationship, moving on to issues such as dominance and tasks to be completed. Without the social skills before the round pen work, the animal can become lost and confused and negative behaviors such as you describe begin to arise. It is much like the child who has not had the benefit of a loving family and good exercise before he enters school.

I encourage people to back up and use our resistance-free video training series to establish better working relationships with their animals. It is designed to begin with DVD 1, where you develop these skills, and take the training in sequence no matter the age or experience of the animal. By doing this, you will improve the communication between you and your horse and she will gain confidence and a willingness to do anything that you ask.

Question: I had written to you before about wanting to know a little more on mule behavior. I already have a mare horse and she is very moody, much like most mares I have seen. I was wondering, even though mare mules are sterile do they come in season and are they moody like most mare horse?

When a female cycles, there are times close to estrus when the body is crampy and uncomfortable and that is what the mares and mollies react to. On those days, it is important for you to be considerate of the way they feel and not ask as much from them. So, yes, molly mules do cycle like all females and will exhibit the same kinds of behaviors in varying degrees just like humans do. It is better to just be sensible about what you ask from your animal and when. Question: I have since acquired a molly mule, 13hh about 20 or 25 years old.

She is very pretty, black with a blaze and stockings. Amongst other things she has been used for endurance riding, pulling a trap single, transporting kids double on an animal farm and giving mule rides to kids. She was found by a friend of mine at an abattoir in very poor condition. Would scream and yell if taken away from her friend. When I rode her, her first reaction was to rush back to the stable.

She also did this when we tried to drive her. She was not being naughty, but it seemed to be a fear related response. She has been with me for a month now and is responding well. She has put on weight, comes when called, follows me around, is more comfortable in her stable, gallops around with my Sec C welsh driving pony, and has even been seen to give the occasional buck! I have not tried to work her since the first time. My question to you is. How can I stop her charging back to the stable? It is not too bad if you are riding her but jolly dangerous in a carriage.

She does not like to be on her own and might be better if driven in a pair, but I do not have a suitable pairs horse as my Welsh pony is very hot and forward moving. Daisy is also forward moving with an exceptionally long stride. It is important for each individual to establish their own relationship with any animal they acquire. This is how trust and compliance is cultivated in a relationship. Though the animal may be a show champion and broke to death, they will not be able to trust you unless you have built this trust over time on a good solid foundation, just as the trainer did who trained them.

It is not unlike human relationships. It takes time before you can make demands and get compliance. I think you would find our resistance-free video training series helpful. We teach you in a natural step by step manner how to gain their trust and compliance through the use of Behavior Modification. For more details, visit our website at www.

If the articles are too general, you can find more about Behavior Modification at your public library. It works the same no matter what animal or person you are talking about. I was just wondering if there are any mule clubs in Ontario and if you could inform me of any.

A comparison of romifidine and xylazine in foals: the effects on sedation and analgesia

Also I was wondering if you could help me on a little problem we have with our team. You see they are very attached to each other like many are. For example, we were at a show and one of our mules went into the line class and the other was back at the trailer and started freaking out… not to mention kicking anything that came into view including myself.

Would it help at all to separate them or just to leave them together and get them used to getting separated? Or do you have any other suggestions.

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I would really appreciate hearing from you sometime. We have a link to their website from ours at www. They may have a more updated list than I do. In answer to your question about working teammates individually, it is important to develop your own relationship with each of the team members, so they are as confident with you as they are with each other. It is much like having more than one friend. You may have a friend that is your best friend, but there are others that you can have fun with as well. This takes a little time and effort.

Before taking them to a show, you would need to work them individually at home. The training would begin with very simple things done on a lead line that are rewarded when done correctly. You may have to begin by doing the exercises in DVD 1 with the other teammate present for a while, much like we work foals with their dams. Training sessions are kept short and positive to avoid resistant behaviors. When done correctly and in an orderly fashion, the animal learns that it is just as fun to be with you as it is to be with their teammate.

Our resistance free video training series is designed to help you to do this. Be sure to read the 2 articles posted about how to use the series and about Behavior Modification. These articles explain the theory behind the video series to help you approach it with the right attitude for the best results. The results speak for themselves. Question: My cousin bought a 6 yr old mule. They tried keeping him tied for a few days and leading him to water and feed, then exercising.

The mule does not want to lock on at all. I have gentled and trained two wild mustangs and they were not as nasty as this. My thought was to work with him like I did the mustangs, slowly and very gently. If they would let me touch them with a finger, they got a small bite of alfalfa.

Within 3 or 4 days they were let out into their run, as by that time they would accept my touch almost anywhere. Is it too late for this mule? Answer: It is not too late for this mule, but there has to be a drastic change in attitude towards training before he will even begin to respond.

You are on the right track with gentle breaking him like the mustangs and you may have to keep him in a smaller area to begin with but not just a stall. He needs room to move about. Be willing to give him more freedom as he begins to comply. Feeding is also very important and longears do not do well on alfalfa at all. It actually causes hypertension in the equine.

I would not keep him in the smaller area all the time. I would feed him there and keep him overnight. If I decided to work with him the following day, I would do it and then turn him out for awhile. Mules need no-stress times just to be a mule like we need time to ourselves to stay on track. Be generous and reward his every positive response. Our resistance free DVD training series can be a great help to you.

It is designed like grade school where one thing builds upon another, slowly and logically. Question: I have a few questions about mules: Does a mule kick with its front or back legs? What would provoke a mule to kick?? Answer: If a mule is treated fairly and humanely, the incidence of kicking is very rare, if at all. If you learn how to approach and communicate with equines with the right attitude and the right approach, the safety factor is greatly increased. There is a point in training where kicking and biting are dealt with. Question: The other day when I was leading my mule through the gate of the pasture, he spooked and practically ran over me!

Then, when he got to the other side, before I even had a chance to close the gate, he jerked the rope out of my hand and ran off! How do I stop this? Ask your mule to follow your shoulder to the gate and halt squarely then reward him with crimped oats for standing quietly while you unlatch the gate. When going through the gate, whenever possible, push the gate away from you and your mule. Transfer your lead line from your left hand showmanship position to your right hand and open the gate with your left hand if the gate is hinged on the left switch positions if the gate is hinged on the right, but be sure to keep your body closest to the gate.

Ask your mule to walk through at your shoulder, to turn and face you on the other side of the gate and to follow you as you close it. Then reward him again and latch the gate. After latching the gate, turn back to your mule and reward him yet again for being patient and standing still while you latched the gate. This repetitive behavior through gates will teach him to stay with you and wait patiently instead of charging through or pulling away from you.

This is especially helpful when you are leading several animals at once. Even if the gate is only two mules wide, you could lead as many as four through by simply lengthening the lead lines of the back pair, asking the first pair to come through first and turn then encouraging the second pair to come through. When trained this way, they will all line up like little soldiers on the other side of the gait and receive their rewards. They will stand quietly while you latch the gate and will proceed from the gate only when you ask.

When you return your mule to a pen with other animals, wave the others away from the gate and return to the pen the same way we described. Do not vary this routine. The repetition will build good habits! Once the others have learned that they cannot approach when you wave them away and each mule knows the routine of going though the gate properly, you can take one animal from the herd by calling his name and waving the others away.

Open the gate and allow him to come through and turn receiving his reward, of course! You never have to get in the middle of their sometimes dangerous playfulness again, and your animals will all be easy to catch! I went each week and participated. Ruby was getting very sour about working in the round pen I spoke to the trainer repeatedly about getting her outside to experience other things.

Her cues and basics are very strong. My horse trainer, Taren, has volunteered to take her next spring to put some ranch miles on her. Do you have any suggestions as to what would be best for Taren to work on with Ruby to make her safe? I will be going over to ride her as the work progresses. I already have three of your tapes and will ask my horse trainer to watch them. Any input? Answer: Each week I get numerous e-mails and phone calls from people like yourself who are experiencing adverse behaviors with their mules on the trail, in the pasture, stall and even in the round pen.

These adverse behaviors arise out of mistrust, generally caused by putting undue demands on the animals. One simply cannot expect to train an equine to be safe and obedient in 60 days. Communication, whether it be between people, or between people and animals, takes a lot of time to cultivate before the elements of trust and acceptance come into play. You have to earn their trust. In turn, this fosters confidence in those involved. One should not even begin riding their mule until this bond is established. Then, there are steps to be taken between bonding and riding during groundwork training that are all essential and should be an integral part of their development and training.

I believe that the owner should be the actual trainer and the trainer should be a guide to help the owner. All equines can learn to work nicely in a snaffle bit, provided the rider learns to use the bit as a tool for positive communication, and not a means to force the animal into submission. Hackamores and curb bits are quite severe and will cause adverse behaviors if used on a beginning animal, or by an inexperienced rider.

Better that the rider learns to have soft, accepting hands and respects the damage that a bit can do to the soft tissues of the mouth that can ultimately result in avoidance behaviors. This really is the very heart of dressage training. Not only do we need to respect the emotional and mental needs of our equines, we also have to respect the physical well being of the animal we are training.

It takes a lot of time to build muscles correctly in your equine, so he can carry you without soreness from a shifting load, poorly fitting tack, too much weight and a host of other things that people seem to forget when they want to do things with their equine.

If someone were asking this of them, they might reconsider the approach. When you do this, things progress smoothly. Be sure to read the 2 articles posted on the website in the Mule Crossing section about how to use our series and about Behavior Modification for the best results with your mule.

I am always here to help should you have further questions. Question: I have Tennessee walking horses and am interested in mules because of a childhood association with them at my grandfathers. I cannot get them off my mind the older I get. However, I also raise English setters and quail hunt and train dogs horseback.

I am concerned that a mule may have the tendencies that a donkey has concerning dogs. My neighbor uses donkeys to protect his sheep and they have killed many coyotes. Question, do mules automatically hate dogs or can I use a gaited mule to work dogs and hunt quail? Thank you for indulging my question. Answer: Mules and donkeys have a tendency to chase smaller animals.

The smaller animals learn to respect the mules and donkeys and will learn to keep their space. Years ago, I did train a Tennessee Walking mule for use in the dog trials and she did really well. It just takes time to adapt the mule to what you want to do. Developing a good working relationship with your mule is the most important thing. Be sure to read the 2 articles about how to use the series and about Behavior Modification. If you use this approach, it will be easy to socialize your animals with one another. Behavior Modification works on all animals and humans as well.

Question: My husband and I recently two months ago purchased a Shetland and her foal. Her foal is the offspring of a Mini-Donkey. So I believe the baby would be called a Mini-Mule. I have just recently began to work with her and she is so nervous. She jumps and runs at the slightest noise or quick movement. I would appreciate any advice you can give on training her.

Or if you would recommend specific videos or DVDs I would appreciate your input. Answer: No matter what size, how old or how well-trained the equine, they need time doing the simplest of things to get to know you before they will learn to trust and have confidence in you. They need boundaries for their behavior clearly outlined to minimize anxious and inappropriate behaviors. The time together during leading training and going forward builds a good solid relationship with your equine and fosters their confidence and trust in you because you help them to feel good.

I do leading training for a full year to not only get them to learn to lead and to develop a good relationship with them, but also to develop good posture and core muscle strength in preparation for driving or for a rider. Even an older equine with previous training still needs this for optimum performance and longevity. During the time you do the leading training strengthening exercises, you should NOT ride or drive your animal.

If you ride or drive while you do these exercises, it will not result in habitual behavior and a new way of going, and will inhibit the success of the exercises. The lessons need to be routine, rewarded and done in good posture to acquire the correct results. We are building NEW habits in their way of moving, and the only way that there can be change is through routine, consistency in the routine and correctness in the execution of the exercises.

Since this also requires that you be in good posture as well, you will also reap the benefits from this regimen. Question: I recently purchased an orphan jack miniature donkey that is 2 months old. He is very attached to me, but constantly nips and bites when I am around him. He is turned out with my mare that baby-sits him, and he does not bite her.

I have tried various methods of correction, i. For an animal that is so cute, he sure is nasty. Is this behavior going to continue, or will he outgrow it as he ages. I will have him gelded at 6 months. I purchased your foal tape today, looking for guidance. He is being fed out of a bucket only, and I do not feed him any treats by hand.

Answer: This is a common problem with young donkeys and can be with any equine. He just does not know what the limits are on his behavior because there is no predictable consequence to his actions. Believe it or not, you would have more success with him if you did use the treats as described in DVD 1 of our resistance free training series. We give the treats for desired behaviors only and withhold them when the animal is not cooperative. They can get aggressive for the treats, but in DVD 2, we tell you how to correct bad behaviors such as biting and kicking.

After getting treats for desired behaviors, it is natural for them to test the limits and begin to demand treats much as a child would. When they bite, for instance, they are making a demand. What is important is how you handle this. Be assertive! Not abusive. Slap the side of the mouth then put your hand up like a stop sign. They will throw their head back in the air and act like they are being abused. As soon as the head goes back, there is an instant that they are still, before they decide to back up, or run off.

Or girl and give them a treat for backing off and giving you your space. They will want to perform that which yields a treat. They can learn limits because the treats give you leverage to teach them the limits. Also, they learn to be careful about taking the rewards and are less likely to bite your fingers than one who has not had this practice. Bad behaviors are stopped immediately and reversed to a positive direction which is immediately rewarded. If you do not correct and redirect, they can learn avoidance behaviors and things get progressively worse over time.

In addition, the equine who receives rewards regularly will learn to take them gently from your hand. The one who does not could easily take your fingers as well from a lack of practice! For more details, visit our website and read the 2 articles posted about how to use our resistance-free training series and about Behavior Modification. Question: We have a donkey family, adopted six mo. We want to pasture them together.

Gelding took place one mo. We put them together yesterday and all was fine for c. As the father is a much larger, stronger animal, we were concerned and separated him from mother and boy once again. Was this normal? Should we have interfered? How can we assure that all will be peaceful? The father is normally gentle and affectionate, at least with humans. All of them are used to being handled. Answer: Though your two boys have been gelded, they have not had the time to adapt to their new roles as gelded males, nor do they even know what it means to be a gelded male.

I think I would be inclined to put the 2 geldings together and keep the jennet separate from them for one year. The grabbing of the neck is a playful male gesture, as well as one of determining dominance, and only becomes dangerous when males are vying for the attention of a female. If you take the female out of the equation, they will become playful buddies. Since the one male was a full adult when castrated, keep a close eye on the two of them as Spring approaches and watch that the older male does not get too aggressive towards the younger one.

You should be able to tell the difference by then between a playful grab on the neck and a full blown attack. Question: I acquired 2 young donkeys, ages 2 and 3, in the hopes that I could put them in with my goats to keep them safe from predators. Both were jacks, and I had them gelded. Several of my goats had kidded a few months ago and I caught the 2 donkeys and my mini donkey playing soccer with one of the kids.

Thank goodness I was home and stopped them before they killed it. Is there anything I can do to train the donkeys to leave the kids alone? If a kid gets its head stuck in the fence the Pasos will kill it. But, just because the younger animal grows up with the smaller animals, it does not guarantee that they will not chase them as adults. If they have an aggressive personality type, they may still chase them. Training and socializing them properly as they grow together would help, but the animals you describe are already too old for this process and will need to be kept separately.

If you want to keep your goats and other small animals safe from predators, you should keep them inside overnight in a safe barn. Question: I live in Va. I bought a small I had her for a year and when she got to trust us, she was fine. My husband rode her around the farm and we had no trouble. We never drove her as we have no harness. I sold her to a retired couple that wanted one to ride some and work some. The first two days, all was well. Then on the third day, Miss Emily decided she had worked enough and quit.

When the man tried to make her go, she bolted to the barn — dragging him along behind. She did this twice to him. The first few days, they had small children on her and she was fine. After the bolting thing, she then reared on the 30 yr. They seem to think that Miss Emily was trained for 45 minutes to a hr.

Could this be true? We never used her much, we are both disabled but Miss Emily never acted up on us. If this is true, how can we correct it? She will be no good to anyone this way. I am taking Miss Emily back tomorrow and can use all the advice I can get, as I am totally stymied. The man I bought her from was tying ropes to her front legs, beating her into a gallop then pulling her legs out from under her — he said he was teaching her not to run away. When I got her, she had no hair and very little meat on her knees and a great fear of people.

When she left here 5 days ago, she was a lovely mule with the best manners, even small children could ride her — but then, I never worked her for a very long time either. Answer: Many people think they can treat mules and donkeys like they do horses and it will work. Mules and donkeys are very intelligent, thinking and feeling animals.

If they are not treated with patience, kindness and understanding, they are intelligent enough to try to leave the situation any way that they can which, in this case, is bolting. The problem here is not with the mule, but with the man who has chosen to approach her in an abusive manner.

She is simply defending herself from what she knows is an abusive situation. Children are innocents and do not put pressure like this on animals until they have learned to do it, so equines generally do not have a problem with children. It sounds to me like this is a simple case of a poor match. When you buy a mule or donkey, you are buying more than just a riding or driving animal…you are investing in a friendship. If you want it to go well, you need to be willing to take the steps along the way that will help the friendship develop in a positive way, which you have obviously done with this mule.

Our books and video tape series can help people who are willing to learn how to do this, but you must also realize that there are people who are resistant to change and they may not want to learn. Better to send her to a person who is of the same beliefs in gentling an animal than one who uses forceful methods. If your mule enjoyed the company of these people, she would be willing to spend all day with them and not just the 45 minutes.

If they can learn this method, I guarantee that the mule would work for them the way she did for you! I called the radio station to find out why, and they said that they got it from a source that did not explain the answer. I am still wondering what the explanation might be.

I think that mules would probably be too smart and avoid it but that is my opinion. Answer: You are absolutely correct! They are too smart to do something that would be harmful to them. It is more a case of their senses alerting them to danger and they pay attention to their senses.

Often, there are those who might feel danger, but will go ahead anyway. A mule is not like this. He takes heed and will not budge. Question: First off I would like to thank you for getting back to me the first time. I have one more question though. When I tie my mule, she tends to rear up when she gets frustrated. How do I keep her from doing this? Answer: Rearing and pawing is a common behavior with mules, particularly younger ones. It is an expression of anxiety, a way to command attention or express of dissatisfaction and impatience. There are ways to minimize rearing and pawing and to teach the animal not to paw while you are working on them, but to expect them never to rear or paw is unrealistic.

Anxiety can be caused by feeding. If the feed is too hot, the animal cannot help but react to the hypertension the feed is causing. Making sure that her feeding program is appropriate will help minimize anxious behaviors like pawing. She will be calmer and more receptive to training. Mules also do not like being by themselves, especially in a strange place. You can minimize anxious behaviors like rearing and pawing simply by tying another animal with her and leaving yourself plenty of room to work on each animal independently.

Rearing and Pawing can be a way to command attention, if the animal has not learned that she can get more attention and rewards if she is compliant. If the animal is rearing and pawing during grooming, or tacking up at the hitch rail, it is important that you learn to wait for her to stop rearing or pawing before you approach. If she rears or paws on the approach, just turn away from her and ignore her until he stops.

When she finally does stop, then quickly go to her and reward her with the crimped oats reward and stroke her. While you are waiting for the rearing or pawing to cease, you will need to speak to her in a calming voice and encourage her to calm down and be patient. If you get mad at her, the behavior will only escalate. Mules will often rear or paw when they have been left tied somewhere by themselves in a spot where they are not comfortable like to a trailer at a show or a hitch rail at home that is not strategically placed.

Mules have been known to rear or paw and then swing around the end, or jump over the hitch rail. If your hitch rail is strategically placed along the side of a building, they will not be able to swing around the end, or jump over. Make sure you tie her with the ideal length of rope, not so short that she feels constricted and not so long that she can get a foot over it. You can also hang a hay net filled with grass hay, so she has something to keep her busy.

This is called setting the animal up for success. Spending enough time on the simple groundwork exercises and doing them properly will facilitate confidence and trust more than any other stage of training.

‎Your Foal: Essential Training on Apple Books

Of course, there are some mules that will still rear or paw intermittently no matter what you do, but at least it can be minimized, and they can learn to at least stand quietly while you work on them. Young mules will often be more aggressive about rearing, pawing and not standing still, but this will usually subside with age if it is given the right kind of attention which, in most cases, is no attention at all.

Question: I recently visited your site and I love it! I was raised around mules and have been a farrier for 15 years and have recently started raising mules again. I would like to ask you about the incidence of facial markings on mules.


I had a foal born this fall with a star. I would really like to know how many you have come across in your dealings with mules. Keep up the wonderful work on your site letting people know how great these long eared friends really are. If more people would learn how to properly discipline their animals they could enjoy them more.

Answer: We have tried to be quite diligent about how we present things to get the best results. Kicking is a very dangerous equine habit and the results can be severe injury or death. The point was not to whip the fetlocks harshly, but rather to do what was necessary at the time to get her attention and define limits. Mules are considerably larger and stronger than us and can cause serious injury and possibly even death if they are not taught limits in their behaviors.

Actually, this training session is only one or two fifteen-minute sessions that will keep your mule a safe animal for the rest of its life. Mules just hate it when people start acting crazy and loud, so if you get that way when they are misbehaving, it usually startles them into standing still after which you are able to reward them for paying attention. Works like a charm! And, as you say, it keeps your farrier and veterinarian safe when they need to work on your equine! I have one other mule that is 14yrs old and the same size Mare. For instance, if I have to stop and take a break and my wife rides on, this younger mule is a hand full.

She rides in the front, middle or rear of the pack with no problems. Answer: The younger mule is just that, a younger mule. Sometimes we forget that they are very much like us in their growth process. When they are younger, they rely on older animals for leadership and confidence. As they mature, they become more confident in themselves and their handlers. Good habits build good partners.

Any animal would have problems standing while another rider, or group, rides off. One of the rules of safety is to wait for all riders to mount before taking off. This just saves you a lot of trouble and protects your health! Your mule will gain confidence about leaving a group as she gains more confidence in you. If you are considerate and understanding of your mule and employ good basic groundwork training, your relationship and her behavior will improve.

Our books and training series will help you stay on the right track with your mule. Question: We have a very nice App. Mule and have been riding her every week before a western trip. I got a map out of the backpack when I was on her and she got out of control. Took off at a fast canter, not able to stop her with the bit that was in her mouth. It was a schooling bit, something like a Harsha but with a straight port. Had to bale or lose my head in the trees.

Did have to have stitches in my head from the fall, but will still ride equine.

Is there a bit out there that takes control of your animal? She has no other bad habits other than not to stop her from running off and not able to stop her. Answer: I was sorry to hear about your accident. I would say this is not a case for a more severe bit, but rather an opportunity for you to learn how to get along better with your mule. There is no bit in the world that can stop a mule that has decided to run off. If your mule was paying attention to things around her and was not warned that you were going to pull something noisy out of the pack, then it is really no surprise that she ran off.

When we ride our mules, we set the standards that we expect from them. In groundwork, you set the stage for the riding behaviors to come so it is important to spend plenty of time with the right kind of groundwork before you even begin riding your mule. If we are inconsiderate and punitive, the animal becomes rebellious and more difficult to deal with. If we approach them in a kind and considerate manner, they respond with submission and a willingness to serve.

Every day you have with your mule, you set the terms of your relationship. If you take the time to learn to communicate effectively with your mule through your voice, hands, legs, seat and general body language, the mule will not be surprised about the things you ask and will become calmer in his response. When training, you would need to use an egg butt snaffle bit.

It is a mild bit and has direct rein contact to make communication as clear as possible. When you lightly pull on your left rein, for instance, you would try to keep it very light and help your mule to understand what you are asking by following the rein pressure with pressure from your right leg to push him towards the turn. Just learning a few basic riding techniques will help you and your mule get along better and will help you to ride a lot safer. Still, it is important to do the groundwork first to develop your bond and working relationship with them.

It sounds like you really have a basically lovely mule. Give her a chance and give yourself a break. Spend a little time on these things and you will be amazed at how much more you can enjoy things with your mule! Question: I purchased a 13 yr molly mule last May. She is beautiful and a joy to ride, but she is really scared of bikes and ATVs. I ponied her around our area, which is full of the above-mentioned offenders, and she makes sure the horse is between her and them.

On different trails where we have encountered bikes in the past, she is nervous always looking behind her. I would like to ride her by herself, but I am worried we will encounter the evil things. Any suggestions as to how I can help her conquer her fears and mine? Answer: I would suggest going back to the beginning and perfect your groundwork with this mule before you do any more riding.

Most people are in such a hurry to ride that they either completely overlook, or rush through groundwork. Equines are born with natural instincts i. When groundwork exercises are done correctly, their physical structure and natural instincts can be modified and refocused to produce an animal that is confident, trusting and obedient to your requests. When you take adequate time and pay close attention to good posture during leading training, core muscles that support the bony columns become strong, and movements that are required become easier for the animal to do. When it is easier, there is less stress and frustration between you.

When he is afforded time to process what you ask, the occurrence of anxiety and fear is practically non-existent because this approach prompts thought rather than an instinctually quick response to any situation. He will learn to think before he acts. Emotionally, he begins to see that you have his best interest at heart and this fosters mutual trust and cooperation. If you really want to have a calm and safe partner, you would teach them a way to handle their fear in ANY situation by teaching them to look to you first for support and direction.

Extensive groundwork exercises can do this.