Delilah's Progress... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-03-2011, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Delilah's Progress...

As some of you may already know. I've taken in a rescue. I've named her Delilah, and she is a 20 year old quarter horse. She's skinny and has obviously been neglected. I have some pictures of her at her previous home, and now in boarding. I've fallen in love, and everything about her makes me smile. She is my first, and very own horse. But rest assured, I have guidance for this journey she and I are embarking on together...

Delilah at her old home...
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-03-2011, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Delilah as of tonight, I still have the front of her mane to groom, and will be trimming it down since the previous owners were too lazy to feed her, and detangle her hair...
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-03-2011, 02:21 PM
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Lady, take your time before you put anything on Delilah's back.

Work her in hand and on the lunge but get some muscle development before you even think of riding her. Later, if you ride western then put some thick blankets under the saddle and work her on the lunge. After any work, feel her back for bumps.
Personally I'd first look for a young teenager who had a good seat. But nothing above a walk and take your time in building up the length of session.

It is important that you have her teeth checked for uneven wear


she'll need worming, but take care - ask the vet for advice as to which wormer and be careful with the dose.
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-03-2011, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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The vet already wormed her, the farrier did her hooves and her teeth were said to be in good condition. I started walking her this morning for only about half an hour, and we're gonna work our way to longer walks. My goal is to get her healthy by spring, but there's no rush. I have my trainer's other 6 mares to ride in the mean time. I did purchase a light weight saddle for her to use in the future. She's going to be used for light riding. Anything else I've got some feisty younger mares to ride. If she turns out to be unrideable, my husband says that we can get another once we purchase our own house and land. I feel that she deserves at least a good home to retire at. It's sad to know that once her previous owners got everything they wanted out of her, they basically left her to die in a dirt pasture with no food. For right now, Delilah will be a companion for me while my husband is deployed, and when he gets back stateside and goes to his months of training. Would you have any tips to earn her trust. I've been holding on the the halter where it T's when we walk, but she won't take anything out of my hands treat wise. I've tried apple slices, whole apples, and carrots. I feel like she's either getting used to her surrounding, or she's learned not to trust people. I do hope she comes around. I'll be going out to see her again this afternoon.
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-03-2011, 04:30 PM
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Would you have any tips to earn her trust. I've been holding on the the halter where it T's when we walk, but she won't take anything out of my hands treat wise. I've tried apple slices, whole apples, and carrots.
She's learned not to trust people. I do hope she comes around.

Lady, are you surprised she lost her faith in humans? We are so used to horses liking humans, that we find it difficult to think a horse might fear or even hate us. But maybe some horses have the sense to be wary of humans.

The satisfaction for you will be to see her regain a healthy condition.

Some owners believe giving a horse treats is bad - maybe Delilah doesn't yet know what a treat is. Try giving her a handful of green fresh grass.

I find my mare is addicted to treats in pellet form and I keep a handful in my pocket at all time. She also likes apples, and pears - especially juicy ones - fresh small carrots and young parsnips.

Make sure that there is field shelter from the wind. I'd also keep her dry with a rain rug complete with hood - but watch for rubbing around the chest - in which case fit a bib under the rug.

Your only chance to win her affection is 'routine'. Establish a routine which you can live with 7 days a week and keep to it. She's got a clock in her head not on her wrist. Never ever raise your hand nor shout at her. Use the flat of your hand or your finger tips to 'push' her into doing what you want. Get her used to the feel of your hands.
No whips, no tiedowns. No sharp movements.

Your first training objective is to get her to follow you at the shoulder on a loose lead rope. She is to turn right, turn left, to stop and to stand - initially at a voice command - later because you stop or turn or stand.

Be careful which humans you bring near her - those that have an affinity to horses - fine -but keep away those who are nervous or aggressive by nature.
Be careful with which horses she mixes with - she'll be vulnerable to infection and perhaps to bullying. Alternatively she might fight for any food.
Watch out for any poisonous weeds which might be growing in your area.

Your most valuable training tools are your eyes. Watch her constantly and try to reason for yourself what her responses mean. You must learn to sense when she is in pain or discomfort.

You'll know when you are winning - she will come to you for help.

Remember: Patience and persistance.


Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 10-03-2011 at 04:32 PM.
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-03-2011, 05:17 PM
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When I bought my horse 3 months ago now, she wouldn't take anything out of my hand, she's never been hand fed, didn't know that's what I was offering. I had a plastic tub of treats, with a screw on lid.... For some reason I set it down by the fence and left it there... the next morning, the bottle was crushed, the lid was off, the treats were gone... she loves treats now.!!! lol Never have left them in the pasture again!
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-04-2011, 10:31 AM
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When I'm trying to bond with a nervous or neglected horse, I make sure to spend lots of time in it's line of vision, just doing normal things. If I'm walking by the pen, I say hello. If I've got some time to kill, I sit down in their area and read a book out loud to let the animal learn my voice. I explain everything I'm doing - "this is a rubber curry comb, and I'm going to rub it in circles over your body. It's okay to be scared, but I won't hurt you." I probably look like a crazy person to others, but I find that horses are calmer if you explain what's going on.

Let things happen naturally. Don't force yourself on her, but appeal to the natural curiosity of a horse. Pretend to be real interested in what you're doing and she'll eventually get so curious that she'll have to come over and investigate. Continue acting really interested and ignore her and she'll come closer. Without looking at her, ask very softly if she'd like to see what you're doing. If you have a treat, show it to her and then offer it to her. If you're investigating a really tasty-looking patch of grass, step over a bit and invite her to take a nibble. If you're holding a halter, hold it out to her and let her check it out.
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-07-2011, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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It's been a while since I've updated everyone.

I am being gentle with Delilah, and have been spending most of my day with her. She seems to be slowly getting used to me. She's been able to graze in the 60 acre pasture twice this week for 5 hours. I do stall her at night so I can be sure she isn't getting pushed off the grain. We go on long walks in the morning to stimulate her muscles, though she does prefer to graze on our walks.

I'm becoming very attached to her. I've attached a picture taken this morning. She's slowly making progress...
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-08-2011, 04:14 AM
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Lady, you are doing a grand job.

The horse will need rugs this coming winter to protect it from rain and wind.
If it were me, I'd phone up a feed supplier, ask for the nutritionist and ask for his advice. I'd send a copy of this photo.

Remember the horse needs muscle as well as nutrition. Keep up the exercise
Don't bother with a saddle yet - the shape of the horse's back will change with muscle and nutrition.

Best of luck with the good work.

B G.
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