Originally Posted by Saddlebag
As I watch his ears and his posture he's looking for the door ie. He'd much rather be elsewhere. The knotted halter will keep his head toward you as he moves his hips farther out. When you go to catch this horse, circle way around behind him, trying not to look at him. Focus on something to the side and behind. Line your self up directly behind him well out of kicking range and with as little energy as possible make him move and go stand where he was eating. Carry the halter and lead where he can easily see it, in your left elbow or shoulder. Continue to move him until he watches you with both eyes. Stand still. If he looks to his left, turn your head and look in the opposite direction. This will bring him back. If he starts to walk away you must immediately walk in the opposite direction. If you hesitate he'll think it's his idea. When he stops walking circle around again. He'll get so he'll keep his eyes glued to you and it will get harder to get behind him. When this point arrives, remain in front of him, slump your shoulders down and extend your right hand, fingers turned down (horse greeting) If he doesn't approach, back up a few steps and walk away. Just relax with your back to him. He may chose this time to approach you. If so, don't touch him. If he wants to check you out, let him. Then leave the pasture. If he follows, great, but ignore him. No talking no touching. You've just established a stronger relationship with him. Walking away has taken all pressure of him. Give him a bit of a break then repeat the exercise. If he touches your hand, back up a few steps, turn and walk away a few steps, same as before. Don't rush this as it's time well spent. He's also learning to trust you. Never ever run after him as it turns it into great sport for him. In a herd, horses rarely run at another but will approach another with ears pinned which tell the other to move or suffer my wrath. As long as that horse moves only a few strides, the dominant will leave it alone.
I just thought I would respond to this separately.
I have tried this method, and alot of others, (including walking into his shoulder/wondering around the paddock just so he's used to me, handling other horses and not bothering him) And heaps more. Quite frankly, he didn't give a cr*p didn't watch me, walked to the farthest place in the paddock, as soon as I entered the paddocks he'd be trotting away or trotting into the furthest place he could get to, if I even approached a horse close to him (and im not talking, being a meter away like 20 meters or more) he would disappear, I could not even get within reach of him for the first.. I dunno 2 months I owned him, he would just gallop around. One day he just walked into the cattle holding yards and hid in there, so I locked it on him. Fed and watered him in the pen, picked it out, ignored him completely but he couldn't run away in the space he was in. It may seem cruel, but my god did it work.
A week after of seeing him in the pen every day twice a day, he started approaching me, snuffling me and watching me. I made my first attempt to touch him and he flinched, not just a little quiver, he fell away underneath my hand, and his head flew up, he snorted and laid his ears back, but stood back up and half relaxed, he kept watching me ears where going everywhere. Ut after approach and retreat, he became happier about it, and eventually he reacted positively enough that I could halter him (he's 17hh and im no where near that standing on my tippy toes if he's heads up there lol) it took me ages of time just rubbing him and having ropes and things around. Ut after I got the halter on, he seemed to settle right down, I stated taking him out of the pen for walks and he was so jumpy would jump in the air and leap on top of me randomly, even if I was holding a lunge whip or stick anything ,he just went mad. But everyone has put it down to being severely abused. Previous owners had him in a tiny paddock for 18 months, and only lunged him every now and again, they said something like 6 times in the hole time.. Didn't handle him.
The more I write the more I remember! Alot of this now, explains things he is doing now, no work for 18 months is going to send you unfit, people nto touching you for 18 months is going to make you scared, only being touched and bad things happening is going to make you scared.. poor Dukie
His biggest come around was when he got really friendly with my other thoroughbred Red, he would follow Red, almost blindly, and would tolerate me catching him if Red was around. He meets me at the paddock gate 80% of the timem, the other 20% he is still very standoffish and wary, but has improved a ton from what he was 6 months or so ago..