New Horse Paso Fino, scared of halter/rope - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-06-2010, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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New Horse Paso Fino, scared of halter/rope

I purchased a Paso Fino 6 months ago. He's an ex show horse, used to win everything I guess. But he's scared to death of the halter and lead rope. Pins his ears when he's approached and would rather walk away from us then be with us. I've heard of some horrible things that were done to him, but what could have possibly happened to him with the halter. He's been taught to go into the stall to be "caught", Then he's sooooo fearful that it takes some time to halter him. Taking the halter off is much worse. As long as we don't wiggle the rope around at all, he'll lead fine, but as soon as we try to show it to him or do anything different......he's so fearful. One time he took off with the rope and thought the rope was going to kill him....he ended up in his stall shaking all over! This is a 13 year old horse who was shown constantly from the age of 2 -9 years old.

He doesn't trust humans or even like humans. Once he's haltered. He's fine and will do as asked. It's like he just gives in. He's a sad case. I bought him so I knew he would have a good forever home.

Your thoughts, opinions or suggestions would be appreciated. I'm new to this forum and am posting my first thread....Looking forward to spending time with you all!!!!
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-06-2010, 05:25 PM
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Pinning his ears doesn't sound like he's afraid, so much as he's pissed off and thinks you're going to make him work.

With the wiggling rope, is it possible he was 'Parelli-ized'? Many horses act like that if they've been subjected over and over to the Parelli 'games' by a less than skillful owner.

Regardless of why he acts the way he does, the things you need most in dealing with him are patience and plenty of time.

If he was abused, or even unknowingly mistreated by an inexperienced owner, you can't have a set timetable of when to expect him to be retrained.

Just keep working with him. Calmly, slowly, and take as much time as he needs in order to learn to trust you.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-06-2010, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Trust me.....He wasn't Parellied at all. He was trained by so called trainers who used horrible methods to make him do what he did to win ribbons. I've heard these methods are common in training Paso Fino's.

I've never heard of a horse with his many years of showing, so afraid of the halter and rope. Taking the halter off really traumatizes him. He cannot get away fast enough.

When we purchased this many of the Paso fino's were Pinning their ears. I couldn't believe it and was told that that is a Paso Fino trait by the previous owner. Well that explained alot to me right there. I went on to ask why do they cut the tails on Paso Fino's. Her reaction....oh....because they are always swatting at flies in the shows...Another explaination this owner wasn't aware of how horses use their ears and tails for communication. I learned later that this one show horse that we ended up purchasing...was put through alot of abuse the trainers who trained him.

The other two Paso Fino's who were pinning their ears when we bought this farm ( boarding horses ) no longer pin them. We've spent as much time with them to gain their trust as with the new horse, but he just doesn't come around.

We will use "Love, Language and Leadership" ( Parelli ) appropriately with him and love him regardless of his issues. Promise.....I won't over use "the games"! The games are a great tool, but never designed to be used so repetitively.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-07-2010, 11:48 AM
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Wow "those people" that owned those horses need strung upside down over a fire ant hill right about now with all the heat and humidity.

My thought is also much much patience and go back even beyond square one with this horse.

He needs a lot more than starting all over again. I may get some chuckles over this but so be it. I think in pictures as opposed to abstract which is a wonderful thing when horses are involved.

Once you get him to the point where you feel he isn't going to mow you down to get away, gently put your forehead on his face, close your eyes, put your hands on each side of face and gently massage circles on both sides. While doing that think pleasant pictures that include him.

Don't do it for a long periods of time. Start out for less than a minute. Just enough to let him know you want good things for him but aren't pushing him to change his mind. When he starts to come around you should "feel" the change in his breathing and he should drop his head ever-so-slightly but maybe not. At the very least he may stop breathing for a second or two taking it all in and wondering what's up?

Once any of that happens, for sure stop massaging, look in his eyes and say "thank you".

If he won't let you put your forehead on his face, drop your hands to your sides in a non-agressive manner, put your head down, close your eyes and do the process mentally without touching him. He will understand - it may confuse him because no one ever showed him kindness, but he will understand some THING and that it's pleasant as long as it's coming from your heart and not a mechanical "I have to do this because someone on the forum said to."

Anything you do with him make it a very short lesson; as soon as he complies even a little, scratch him lightly and praise him a lot.

He isn't going to recover quickly. I don't know the forgiveness tolerance of Paso Finos but I know what it is for an abused Arab --- sometimes years. I rescued my Arab 17+ years ago and to this day he will occasionally have "halter flashbacks" if I forget to halter him in just the right way (as opposed to just throwing it on my TWH's any old way).

Good luck as it sounds like he's been deeply wounded mentally------
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-07-2010, 12:06 PM
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-07-2010, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Hey WalkInThe Walk..... I sure like your approach and believe in getting through to the horses head and heart first and foremost. If anyone should giggle at your approach of massaging the horses and using communicating telepathically......then they don't know how horses communicate with each other. They don't use verbal language,they use their instincts and horse language along with their entire body to communicate. That's my lame way of explaining how horses communicate....Tom Dorrance, Pat Parelli and others can explain it much better.

Look at the time these people I just mentioned put into their horses from the time they are born until they actually get on and ride that horse!!! Year of Love, Language and Leadership and learning about each horse individually.

Not the way this Paso was raised. It was brutal. Poor boy wasn't born to pin his ears and hate when people approach him, he learned that behavior because of what was being done to him hourly, day to day, week to week, month to month. When we bought this farm, the ribbons were plastered all over the entire walls of the foyer, kitchen and living room along with wall placks and trophies. This horse did so much to give the human what she wanted, but she wanted it in a hurry so allowed him to be trained brutally to get the results immediately.

I know he was run around the pole in the center of the round pen and repeatedly trip with ropes. So I'm sure that's part of the reason why he's so fearful of the ropes...he doesn't trust them.

The last thing I would do is tie this horse to a tree and run a hose or rope by him!!!! My god...what a way to set him up for failure!!! That's some of the brutal tactics that were done to him!!! Don't give him any options but to stand their and face the fear instead of taking the time to teach him his fears no longer have to be living inside of him.....I don't know who the guy is in the video, but I had to laugh because he kept saying "look, he's learning, he's learning!"....That horse looked to me as though he was wondering what the heck those guys were doing out their walking back and forth with a hose. He kept putting his head down and eating. Didn't seem to care....I couldn't see where they were "teaching" him anything, but forcing him to stand tethered to a pole.

If that would have been my horse, that telephone pole would have been down, I would have a very injured horse and if I'm stretching my opinions at all....then in the very least, he would have froze up and went inside himself and just stood there and quivered.....yes....I know that's what they do to "sack out horses"....But that is not my philosophy of communicating to any animal.

I do appreciate you sending me the video, Fifty and for your thoughts.

We bought this farm that happened to have 8 Paso's boarding here almost a year ago. One couple moved from our boarding facility and purchased her own farm and took her horses of course. They had purchased this Paso I'm talking about from the previous owner of the farm, per their description of what a bomb proof horse he was...Just get on and ride. Yes...that's true, once you do to him as he's been taught for so many years....force him into a stall....( He's now able to enjoy pastures as we don't leave him in a stall/ anymore ).... then take go through the steps of forcing the halter on, during all of this, his eyes are big and round showing obvious fear. When he's haltered....His whole body is tense and nervous.

Ground work with this horse was non-existent, so he's fearful of what is being asked and not sure of what one wants. So after a few months of trying to get through to this horse, this couple called us and asked us to take him. We couldn't say no as I didn't want him with another Paso Owner who might share the same training techniques as was done to him on this farm.

There was absolutely no bonding done to this horse. He has no clue.

Our mistake in purchasing him last January was giving him his freedom out to pastures with his old buddy who was also turned out to freedom in pastures as opposed to stall confinement. We let him alone except for feedings and working on approaching him and then brushing, scratching, some riding, but mostly wanted him to have his freedom.

He's had to much of that....our mistake.

I will definately work on his issues and report on how things go.

Walk......I'm sorry about your abused Arab. Good thing she found you!!

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