I Expect Too Much...She Doesn't Trust Me - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-20-2011, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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I Expect Too Much...She Doesn't Trust Me

I'll just get right to the point here.

My sister recently bought a filly to join our small herd. She's 2, very level-headed and trusting, and I've really seemed to "click" with her. I can't explain it-our personalities are just compatible-moreso than with my own horse. Or seem to be, anyways. I've worked with her a little bit (my sister's fine with it) and yes, she's really green and "naive" and wondering at the big, wide world, but she's so, incredibly trusting and though she has her headstrong moments, she's really willing to try and learn as well.

I'm not used to having a horse so trusting and faithful. I'll take the filly places she's never been before, and she might get high-headed about it, but in a few seconds she'll see that I'm totally calm and settle right down and continue following along with her head at my shoulder.

My own horse...is not like that. She's seen who the real me is, and has actually experienced scary things with me, and I've shown her that I'm not someone she can trust. I didn't mean to do it, obviously, but she was my first horse, and in the process of me learning the ropes, I totally ruined her. The filly's current unconditional trust is not something I will take for granted, and I will not make the same mistakes I made with my horse, but...I don't know what to do about my horse.

I think part of the reason I get along so well with the filly is I know what she's capable of. I know what pace to go at, when she's had enough and how much more she can take. With my horse, I don't know. I expect perfection out of my horse. I expect her not to be scared of things while at the same time expecting her to spook at everything, and to try her hardest when really I'm not exactly asking for her hardest, and to just be...good, but...I'm just not on the same connection level with her. Basically, I expect her to be perfect but don't ask her to be perfect, if that makes any sort of sense whatsoever. I think if I'd known what she was like when she was younger, and during training, I would have a better idea of what I can realistically expect, but...I don't.

I'd appreciate your opinions and/or advice, and what I'd really like is some idea on how to regain my horse's trust. Is there any way to get it back once you've lost it? I know she'll never adore me as much as she could, but I at least want her to look up to me when she's scared before thinking she has to take the situation into her own hands.

Last edited by AllThePrettyHorses; 02-20-2011 at 05:50 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-20-2011, 06:17 PM
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Why did you how did you loose her trust?
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-20-2011, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Whenever she got scared, I never knew how to react, and apart from "punishing" (making her work, trying to get her attention back on me, which is not how my horse operates when she's scared-little did I know), I never really gave her the chance to ever just stop, look, then move on. I was always so desperate to maintain and keep her attention that I never realized that it's ok for her to just stop and look; just because she's not focused on me for a couple minutes doesn't mean she's going to explode.

I've made her a more wary and looky horse than the filly just by doing that. She doesn't look up to me or trust that I'll protect her.

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post #4 of 9 Old 02-20-2011, 06:32 PM
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There's your answer! You need to go backwards. Do you see that? If you have time for this filly, you definitely have time for your own horse. Go back to just hanging out with your horse. Then work your way to retrain her brain and help her to trust you. You can do it if you really out your mind to it. Keep your self positive.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-20-2011, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Do you think if I set up a bunch of potentially scary, or even just plain difficult, obstacles, and took her through them, showing her that she can rely on me that it would help?

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-21-2011, 01:19 AM
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yeah I think you answered your own question. Just remember shes just a horse and she will make mistakes. Its Okay. Nobody is perfect either so don't beat yourself up and think you ruined her. Just start trying to be better with her, more patient, and more confident in her, etc. She can and will look up to you as much as she ever would have.

I would reccomend and this is just my opinion so if you don't like it don't do it, but I wouldn't try to scare her or do difficult things with her but do the same things your doing with the young horse. Do the easy things like your doing it the first time and then be proud of her that she did it so well.

I have a mare that is the love of my life and is an excellent horse in any book. I too started expecting too much from her (perfection). After taking a minute one day to think, I realized I was expecting to much and went back to the basics. I gauged this a lot off of the fact that she used to follow me around without leading her when we worked(she like me), then when I expected to much she stopped following, now she follows me again. Anyway their just horses and even the best are not perfect.

Hope it helps
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-21-2011, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by AllThePrettyHorses View Post
Do you think if I set up a bunch of potentially scary, or even just plain difficult, obstacles, and took her through them, showing her that she can rely on me that it would help?
You know, anything you lead her through anything you ride her passed is all training. You can set up a obstacle course. There's no guarantee that she will be ok off the property, but I suppose anything would help.

You need to remember, in order for her to see you as her leader (trust), you need to be very confident in everything you do with her. An animal can sense a smidge of hesitation or fear. It will have a huge impact in the way she responds. Also, calmly getting her through a scary situation is so important. You have to just remember to breath and have fun with it.

When my mare is scared of something, I will non shalantly walk over to scary thing and talk to her as I'm ignoring the scary thing. I smile and use that smile through my voice. Use your love for her and your confidence to help her see you as a trustworthy leader.
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-21-2011, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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So basically, just go back to the really easy things and build her confidence? Start again from the very basics, like I would with the filly, and move on from there.

Thanks both for your replies. I take everything way too seriously. I'm a bit of a control freak, and a huge perfectionist, and...I guess I'm not seeing the whole picture here.

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post #9 of 9 Old 02-21-2011, 10:59 AM
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great advice all and yes! back to basics. rebuild trust. even if it means getting on, patting her, and getting off. simple simple simple. she will tell you when she is bored and ready to do more - this will let her learn to trust you again. there's no reason why regardless of horse's age you can't go back to the beginning and start over for your and the horse's benefit to fill in any holes you created or that existed in training over the years - intentional or not - and fill those in with love and trust and move forward from there :)

good luck!

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