Is my horse a rig?

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22 May 2013 13:53
Now some of you may remember me, i posted a thread about my youngster who became far to much to handle and after a lot of work he came round. So far hes been fantastic! BUT! its the same time of year again and hes become a problem. Over the space of two three weeks he went from dream horse to nightmare! Could he be a rig that only shows his dark side when the girlies are showing off!
Before i could school him on his own and hack in company with no issues what so ever. It started with him being a bit more vocal if he was schooled alone, then if something spooked him or he got excited he began to do the odd rear and strike out. the other day i was riding him in one school with another horse in the other school right next door he was perfect. there is a road next to our schools which horses regularly hack down from other yards and some body was doing just that.But that horse trotting past caught his attention which led to several rears twists and bucks and a moment of trotting with his neck completely arched and tail in the air (I also ended up in a n e with a fractured elbow!)he didnt calm down until the horse had gone out of sight and then he was acting same old Henry again!

On the other hand he has been in trouble recently in the field biting and kicking out at mares! and generally being a bully. He was cut just before he was a 2 year old and for the past 3 years ive owned him has been with mixed herds. He doesnt get any hard feed this time of the year and has been in the new field for about a month. so whats my horses problem? is he a rig? and is it likely he will only show this side to him at this time of the year?
Horse Hero Guru
22 May 2013 20:53
Hi Ami

The only person who will be able to tell you definitively whether or not your horse is a rig is a vet who will undertake a blood test to measure testosterone levels.

However, if your horse was properly gelded as a two year old – and most are – then you need to look at other possible causes for the deterioration in your horse’s behaviour. It might be worth contacting the vet who undertook the castration and ask if he can remember whether both testicles were removed correctly to put your mind (and those of the other horse owners) at rest.

There are two possible reasons that spring to my mind. Spring is the first – the grass is growing and is now a rich feed even if he is not getting any hard feed. Is he putting on weight as well?

From what I remember your horse is now rising five and has always tried to assert his authority over you. It sounds as though he is now trying to do this in his ‘herd’. This need not be because he is a rig, merely because he is big, strong and wants to be boss. If he is trying to be boss of the herd then as far as he is concerned, any and every passing horse needs to be informed of this fact! Of course, the good grass is only encouraging this behaviour.

So, what can you do if the problem is the quality of grass in the field? I would suggest that you bring your horse in to his stable for part of the day, providing him with hay (soaked for several hours to remove the majority of the nutrients) to eat while he is in.

There is nothing you can do to stop him trying to be boss of the herd – you could try having a little chat about sharing and all being equal, but these are not concepts that horses understand, so you will either have to leave the herd to sort out their own hierarchy, which will involve a bit of kicking and face pulling, or you can split the herd into smaller groups and try to avoid the arguments that way (splits are usually by sex, size or just who gets on best with whom). This is something that needs to be discussed with the yard owner and the other horse owners.

You have managed to sort out your horse’s dominant behaviour before and I am sure that you will manage to do so this time.


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