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Thread: Ideas for an overally intelligent and bored yearling?

  1. #1
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    Default Ideas for an overally intelligent and bored yearling?

    Oakley is getting so bored. Hes so clever its unreal, hes learnt how to undo bolts and knots (I now have to do a fnacy knot thats still quick release that he can't undo yet)

    He has so much energy, tying him up or asking him to stand still makes him explode. He'll stay still if he has something to focus on, trying to untie himself or chewing the leadrope keeps him occupied for a few minutes and then hes bored and looking for something to do.

    I did some clicker training with him yesterday and he responded really well, for 10 minutes, then he got bored and was looking for something else to do.
    Obviously at his age I'm not expecting him to concentrate on something for a long time as it would be unfair on him.

    I do inhand work with him, but not too much. He now knows he can trot in hand (before he thought he wasn't allowed), so we do some of that, to teach him to trot nicely next to me. But after about 10 strides it all gets too much and he wants to go faster, I ask him to come back and he does, but you can see the energy building up.

    He goes for inhand walks aswell, to get used to potentially spooky things, now, as long as we see enough interesting things hes fine. But being a quiet little village some days you can walk for miles and not see a single car/bike/walker etc (theres loads of footpaths through the fields so not many walkers on roads anyway).
    There were some roadworks that kept him interested for half an hour, and some sheep that he stared at for ages (and tried to touch them over the fence, although the sheep weren't very keen) but other then that not much more.
    I'm building him up to eventually walk a small stretch of the busier road, but don't want to rush him as hes not seen that many cars all at once and in both directions, so hopefully by the end of the summer he will be walking up there confidently.

    I'm looking to get a big gym ball for him to play with in the field, as his jolly ball and football get thrown about so much he'd probably lose them over the fence

    My question is really, what other things can I do? After I've done clicker or in hand for 10 minutes each is there any thing else others do to keep him thinking?
    RIP Forest,always in my heart.I can never forget the times we had together. Run free.I'll see you again one day

  2. #2

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    Mine's a bit older but I think the principle still stands. For tying up, I just ignored any silly behaviour - she would destroy anything in the vicinity and even taught herself a circus act but after ignoring it and quietly moving tempting objects away, she's learnt to accept that sometimes she's going to have to stand still for a few minutes - life's tough :P

    Otherwise I play lots of games with her (tig is our fave atm ) and give her something new and potentially scary like an umbrella or a giant bag to get her head round. Fun for her but at the same time it's desensitizing so we both win

  3. #3

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    Wont really help with the tying up but Scout loves his space hopper

    When clicker training him do you incorporate poles and cones etc. to work round?

  4. #4
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    I too have a bright and very inquisitive yearling. I try to introduce new things and experiences fairly regularly, but not enough to overload him - partly as fun for him but mainly, as Blaze said, to desensitize him to "scary" things. He is currently terrified of the two farm kittens, so that is quite a challenge! We go for walks, check out anything new that appears on the farm, and at the weekend he went to his first little inhand show and met a black dustbin with a rustly bin liner inside which was fascinating for him! He wasn't too sure about the large UK flag pinned to the secretary's table though, but quickly decided that the large coils of blue rope next to the rings weren't all that dangerous after all. My aim at the moment is simply to keep introducing new objects and get him out showing to introduce him gradually to the wider world.
    "There's nowt so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse"

  5. #5
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    Tarpaulins, plastic bags, umbrella's, bells, whistles, air horns - anything new that you can introduce in a 'safe' environment.

    Our yearling gets desperately bored tied up and starts performing but I just ignore the antics. He loves tarp killing and playing all sorts of games - our fave at the moment is copying. Off the lead in the paddock I stand at the side of him and then start walking - he walks, I jog - he trots, I do a really exagerated knee high jog - he picks his knees up, I run flat out - he canters. It's teaching him to pay attention and to watch me for his cue, anyone watching must think I'm mental but we enjoy it

  6. #6
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    you could try walking over tarpaulins, walking over a 'bridge', weave poles, s bend
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  7. #7

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    He's a year old. I wouldn't expect him to concentrate for more than 10mins at a time tbh

    He pretty much can't and forcing the issue will create more issues as he will eventually get sour. If you must - take him for walks and do a few basic obstacles such as Wyrd has suggested. Yearlings, apart from basic handling should be hooning around the field with other babies and some older 'Nannies' AFAIK. Not being asked to 'do' things.

    ETA - At a year old it's like suggesting that I want my nearly-3 year old toddler to concentrate for more than 10mins at a time.. not going to happen There is plenty of time for school. As long as the basics are sorted and adhered to then leave 'em be is my take on this.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIrish View Post
    Yearlings, apart from basic handling should be hooning around the field with other babies and some older 'Nannies' AFAIK. Not being asked to 'do' things.
    Agree entirely. At that age I would have him turned out in a herd 24/7 and just let him be a baby. Maybe give him some fuss in the field most days, occasionally bringing him in for a quick groom or an in-hand walk, but not much else. I don't see what the rush is.

  9. #9

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    I agree with BIrish & Joosie, I'd stick him in a field with plenty of company & let him learn how to be a horse. As long as he's civilised about the things he needs to do then that's enough, some of what you see as him being bored may actually be his mind being overloaded & he needs less, not more.
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  10. #10
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    I am not overloading him.

    Hes bored and destructive.
    Hes destructive in the field aswell.
    He can't be turned out with the herd as hes still entire and theres mares out in the herd.

    The longer I leave him in a field with only minimal fuss the worse he gets. If I bring him in everyday and do something with him hes fine and just plays in the field like a baby rather then pulling at fencing, trees and chewing Humbugs tail etc.

    Thanks everyone else for your ideas I'll give them a try.

    But for those that think I'm 'over working him' and 'not letting him be a baby' your very wrong.

    I know the importance of them being babies. There are other youngsters on the yard that are happy to be turned away, Oakley is not.
    And I'm certainly not going to leave him in a field when hes bored and hurting himself by being into every thing, when I could bring him in and entertain him for a few minutes.
    I'm not asking him to do loads of work for long periods. Simply give him something to do to help him keep his brain ticking over.

    Humbug is turned away to be a baby. He comes in maybe once a week for a proper groom and quick walk on the road to keep him used to traffic etc and hes fine with that arrangement. He doesn't try and get out the field, doesn't wind other horses up and is quite happy to play and eat. Oakley is not happy with that. And I don't see how 10 minutes ground work a couple of times a week is going to blow my yearlings brain. If anything its helping him more then simply 'turning him away'.

    I'm not saying that that applies to all babies, but in this case Oakley wants to do something, be that walk over 2 poles on the floor for 5 minutes or practice trotting inhand, practicing moving out of space, walking up the road and back, walking over tarp for 5 minutes, weaving in and out of cones and even the occasional game of football in the field. I'm certainly not going to fast with him, or starting him to early. Simply giving him what he needs, which in his case his mental stimulation.
    RIP Forest,always in my heart.I can never forget the times we had together. Run free.I'll see you again one day

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