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Haltering a horse


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#1 An American Breeder

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 03:57 PM

Now at first glance this sounds ludicrous. But I have a yearling filly that somewhere/sometime/someone in her first 5 months of life scared her badly and/or hurt her. She does not want a halter on period! And no, it is not just being a horse and pushing the limits; she is terrified.

I have had horses since I was 12 going on 13 and am now 67. I have had, in my lifetime, lots of different horses. I have worked and worked with this lassie to let her know I am a friend, not to be afraid. She has come a long way in a year's plus time. About 6 weeks ago a friend came and roped her; only way possible to get to her, and we got a halter on her with a long rope dragging. Long tales later she is doing great. I can at least keep her in a specific area and work and work. She will now let me run my hands over her body on the left side and now working on going down the front leg to the knee and working on getting my hand on her rump, hip -- no hind leg so far !!!

She is not great about her head, ears but has finally accepted that. If you could see her eyes, big, afraid, watching you one would understand. I tried going to the left side and she went wild. I could barely hold onto her. Back again to the beginning. Work with the head, etc. Now I am working on standing on the left side and running my hand/arm up over the neck. Once I get anywhere near the poll area she starts to tremble and freak.

I am running out of ideas so though I would ask here. She now leads, and follows willingly. I am using feeding time as a reinforcement.

Anyone?

#2 JRS Gentle Hills

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:55 PM

Lots of approach & retreat. Only retreat when she shows a sign of relaxing. If you're rubbing on her and she lowers her head, even by a few inches, walk away a few steps. Give her a couple of seconds and then repeat. Soon, she will learn that if she relaxes, you will take away the pressure. Horses learn from the release of pressure.

You may just have to start by rubbing the "air" around her. Meaning, if she will allow you to rub the air a foot away from her, then rub the air until she shows a sign of relaxing and then take away the pressure by moving away. And then repeat. You may have to start by being three feet away. Don't know but start somewhere.

The worse thing you can do is take away the pressure when she's acting up. They quickly learn that as well.

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#3 Cindymac

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 08:34 PM

Now at first glance this sounds ludicrous. But I have a yearling filly that somewhere/sometime/someone in her first 5 months of life scared her badly and/or hurt her. She does not want a halter on period! And no, it is not just being a horse and pushing the limits; she is terrified.

I have had horses since I was 12 going on 13 and am now 67. I have had, in my lifetime, lots of different horses. I have worked and worked with this lassie to let her know I am a friend, not to be afraid. She has come a long way in a year's plus time. About 6 weeks ago a friend came and roped her; only way possible to get to her, and we got a halter on her with a long rope dragging. Long tales later she is doing great. I can at least keep her in a specific area and work and work. She will now let me run my hands over her body on the left side and now working on going down the front leg to the knee and working on getting my hand on her rump, hip -- no hind leg so far !!!

She is not great about her head, ears but has finally accepted that. If you could see her eyes, big, afraid, watching you one would understand. I tried going to the left side and she went wild. I could barely hold onto her. Back again to the beginning. Work with the head, etc. Now I am working on standing on the left side and running my hand/arm up over the neck. Once I get anywhere near the poll area she starts to tremble and freak.

I am running out of ideas so though I would ask here. She now leads, and follows willingly. I am using feeding time as a reinforcement.

Anyone?


American Breeder,

First and foremost let me say that I am no expert, so to speak. But I have had many terrified, abused or mishandled horses over the years. It seems to me that you are doing the right thing...but there is no short court here. TIME is what will bring this filly around, however, TIME will only heal part way. Depending on how deep her fear lies. It also seems that you have come quite far with her but I would not measure it by a normal horse. What she has given you already is as much as she can and you are a source of comfort for her.

I had a mare that was co\w-boyed and dominated when those who had her were not considerate of her fear. When she came to me she showed aggression and dislike for my presence. It was her defense mechanism kicking in. She came to trust me but it was not absolute...I praised and appreciated what she did give me and our respect for each other became mutual. She showed me a softer side and it was then that I realized that her beginnings were good as she seemed to recognize kindness but was not able to trust it. She knew love once a time in her life and was recognizing it but the darkness that pervaded her soul was unwilling to let me in completely...so I took what I could get...and accepted her as she was...

This was a older mare...your filly has a lifetime of learning to garner trust towards you...patience and time and continue with your current path and I believe that you will see results...

At they same time...this type of horse will accept fair and just discipline and will also respect it. I do not allow rude or pushy manners in my barn...when you draw that line clearly...they will respect and not fear...

Hope this helps...

JMHO

Cindy

#4 Cheryl L

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 04:41 AM

I know I constantly say this.....get her on some ground flax. Not only is it great for the skin and hair coat....it has a calming effect on stressful horses. I don't know what kind of grain you are feeding....I would suggest something that is Low Starch/Carbohydrates and higher in fat.
She also needs an excercise program. That will give her a job and help to settle and focus her mind. Patience, patience and more patience. She is also only a yearling. A yearling that we got in for some halter training would not allow anyone near his head. He would rear, strike and try to bite. Just terrible. He went home after 3 months and still not able to touch his head, without a battle. As a 2 year old, he went through a great transition in his mind. He started letting us touch him, halter him and even clip him without a struggle.

#5 An American Breeder

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 03:45 PM

Hope I do not bore anyone. Little light bulb on -- the other day she ditched her lead rope somehow and wasn't about to be caught. So just waited couple of days and then yesterday went with the grain/feed can and when I took a firm hold on her halter, yes she backed up some steps, watching me carefully, staring at my face. I kept my eyes down and walked with her the few steps, and then quietly snapped on the lead rope and left it until evening feeding time when I carefully led her forward to her grain tub and then making quietly sure she knew what I was doing took off the lead rope.

I know I won't be able to just go in the pen and catch her/will need the feed can for quite awhile.

And, I know I asked for advice, but I do not believe she is yet at the stage where she could mentally stand a job. Her "job" right now is to give me more trust and accept my hand, leading, letting me snap and unsnap the halter rope at different times.

#6 janessa

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:58 PM

I think you are going about it the right way, just keep going out, every day with the grain tub and kneel, or sit down if you trust her enough and pet her face as she eats. In time it will click that she can trust you :th_angeldevilclub: And she will look forward to the time spent with you.

I got a filly as a yearling who had no handling. The day I went to get her she was stalled and it was a miniature rodeo to get the halter on, and as she was led to the trailer she sent a 240lb flying through the air. Now she is turning 4 and being trained to ride by me. She loves people.. I spent countless hours going through what I am sure you are now, but the payoff will be great. This filly is going to love you and appreciate the time you spent on her :)

#7 VanAlma

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 05:59 PM

Ditto on the pressure and release. I would also try telling her that you don't always want to be near her by telling her to get away from you like a dominant horse would do in the herd. I have a mare that is weird with getting caught, probably will always be, but when I have time to work with her and don't have to catch her (which is a game), I will often tell her to get away from me and I will "herd" her. I don't chase her - I just make her get out of my space. I tell her I'm the boss.
Funny thing is, when I have the time to do this, she looks at me like "can I come closer?" She'll often follow when I walk away. Sometimes I allow her to follow and get close. Other times, I don't allow her to and tell her I want her far away. Reverse psychology at its best, and I've seen it work on more than 1 horse. You need to let her know you are boss using her language, not yours. Once she knows you are the boss, she'll be way more comfortable giving in to your requests as a submissive.
That same mare has learned saddling, mounting, blanketing, spraying etc SO quickly because she is beginning to accept that I am boss and also that I am not going to hurt her.
Good luck!

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#8 JRS Gentle Hills

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 07:23 PM

Ditto on the pressure and release. I would also try telling her that you don't always want to be near her by telling her to get away from you like a dominant horse would do in the herd. I have a mare that is weird with getting caught, probably will always be, but when I have time to work with her and don't have to catch her (which is a game), I will often tell her to get away from me and I will "herd" her. I don't chase her - I just make her get out of my space. I tell her I'm the boss.
Funny thing is, when I have the time to do this, she looks at me like "can I come closer?" She'll often follow when I walk away. Sometimes I allow her to follow and get close. Other times, I don't allow her to and tell her I want her far away. Reverse psychology at its best, and I've seen it work on more than 1 horse. You need to let her know you are boss using her language, not yours. Once she knows you are the boss, she'll be way more comfortable giving in to your requests as a submissive.
That same mare has learned saddling, mounting, blanketing, spraying etc SO quickly because she is beginning to accept that I am boss and also that I am not going to hurt her.
Good luck!



Exactly right!!!

JRs Gentle Hills Farm
www.jrsgentlehills.com

STRAIGHT EGYPTIANS - DISPERSAL SALE.

JRs Al Shabah al Aswad "The Black Phantom", Homozygous Black,
PS Nominated
TDR White Stone (exported) x Alia Kateefa (by exported Ibn Layalia)
Pure in the Strain, Saqlawi

JRs Nabiel Shaikh, Flaxen Chestnut, no Minstril
Shaikh Al Glory x Schzerade Petite.
Strain: Bint El Behreyn

Arlene Magid write-ups available on each



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