Bonding with my horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-31-2010, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Bonding with my horse

I'm having a problem with my horse. When I first got him several years ago he had a pretty good work ethic and was a real sweetheart. Unfortunately one of our barn hands mistreated him by withholding food and water and teasing him at feeding time. She was fired when we found out but my boy never got his good attitude back after being mistreated.
Hes a domintant horse anyway and I've tried to love on him but everytime I do he pins his ears back when I come near him.

Any suggestion on how I get him back to the way he was?
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-31-2010, 03:46 PM
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I have always felt that the stable hand who controls the food and the routine of a horse holds the key to the attitude of the horse. Whether or not your horse truly holds you in contempt for his bad treatment by another human is questionable but you certainly lose out by not being there to feed him each day.
My horse's favourite treat is a "lucky dip". I fill a bucket with loose straw over which I sprinkle a handful of pasture mix. Then I cut up a carrot into reasonable sized (but not choke size) lumps + maybe a small but chopped up apple. Before I drop the bucket into her box, I give it a little shake.

There are few calories in this bucket - it won't interfere with her calory controlled diet. But she absolutely loves it. SHe buries her nose in the bucket instantly she sees it. When I go back , every grain of the pasture mix has gone along with the carrot and apple. But the hay is still there. I like to think I get brownie points.

Try it. The stroking will help too in the long run.

B G
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-31-2010, 04:32 PM
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So are you asking for help with how to make less sour at feeding time? or how to get his manners back?
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-31-2010, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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I just want to know If anyone had the same experience and how they got there horse to know that no one will ever hurt them again.
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-31-2010, 08:41 PM
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I have a horse that is very mistrusting of people on the ground. It took me a long time to get him to trust me, but I feel like he truly does now. I spend a lot of time with him that is not related to work...stuff I think he likes to do, like hand grazing, grooming, petting, going on walks, getting treats. Don't quit working him though. You have to keep him well balanced with love and staying respectful. I have crossed the line before and let my boy get a little pushy, but when that happens you just have to realize your mistake and balance things out again.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-31-2010, 08:51 PM
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My horse was like that when I got her. She had been abused and just wanted people to feed her and leave her alone. I can't really say I trained her or anything...just lots of treats and grooming. She gives me hugs and everything now, so it worked. And try to change it up alot. Don't give them a carrot everyday, or anything like that. Make them horse cookies and try new types of treats. My horse's like bananas, donoughts, and chips... :p

Good people get cheated, just as good horses get ridden
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-31-2010, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your advice, I'll try some different things and see what happens
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-31-2010, 09:06 PM
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Sorry for the double post but I just wanted to add that if he is being disrespectful now, I'd work on that first. Treats are not a good idea for a pushy disrespectful horse.
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-31-2010, 10:44 PM
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You could try just hanging out with him and doing nothing. Go out and sit in his pasture and give him treats every once in a while. Also try to do things that he likes to do, like take him hand grazing, going for a role in the arena, etc. That's how I got my crabby gelding to like me. If you can, take over all or most of his care for a while. If you're the one who consistently provides for him and he knows your routine, maybe he'll start being nice again.

And if you ever see that hand again, slap him into next week.

"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is ultimately to be at peace with himself.
What a man can be, he must be.
" Abraham Maslow, 1968

Last edited by Jessabel; 01-31-2010 at 10:47 PM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 03:41 PM
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I would also just hang out with him. My horse when I first brought her home, wanted nothing to do with people. I think she associated people with work. So I decided to halter her, and take her out of the paddock for fresh grass. Brushing and talking to her. Yes having a few goodies in my pocket helped but it wasnt something I wanted her to reley on. Only my body language and softness. Her and I are very bonded and trust each other to the end. It does take time tho. It took me almost a year for her to truely trust in me. Just depends on the horse and the background they came from. It will come and dont get frustrated, they can tell when you are. Pinning his ears back is a sign of mistrust and dominance but dont let him get away with that. Let him know who the leader is.
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