Don’t Spank Your Baby Horse

You do NOT need to spank your baby horse.

That copy/paste thing that’s been going around is right about one thing – it is your responsibility to teach your baby horse to be a good citizen, to be comfortable with the skills they need to know in order to get along in a human’s world.

But you don’t need to “spank” them to do that.

It doesn’t matter what their mama would do, because your baby horse isn’t stupid. They know you’re not a horse, and the last thing you want to do is teach them that they should treat you like one.

Baby horses are going to try to play rough and tumble horse games with you. They’re going to explore the world (and humans) around them with their teeth. Not because they’re bad, just because they’re babies.

That doesn’t mean you’re just going to let them bite and crash into you and rear on you. Instead, teach them what we DO want them to do. Teach them games they CAN play with humans. Give them the motivation they need to make the choices you want to see repeated. Help them stay comfortable with every small step along the way, so they don’t feel like they ever need to defend themselves or give a big dangerous reaction.

We need to stop focusing on what we don’t want, and instead focus on how to more effectively explain to our horses what we want them to do instead.

We need to stop talking about our horses “having respect” (the concept of which they don’t have the pre-frontal cortex to even understand).

In the video below is 7 month old Boudica, who stands to be haltered better than many adult horses, does obstacles at liberty, is good for the farrier, and (mostly) keeps her teeth to herself.

She is a very good baby, who follows all the human’s arbitrary rules of behaviour as well as any baby can be expected to. No spankings necessary.

Please don’t consider spanking an essential training tool for your baby horse, or horses of any age. No matter how many people share it on your Facebook.


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