14yr old Shy, Spooky, Barely-Broke Baby with trust issues :( - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 06-13-2012, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Krazinik View Post
I have had experience with joining up with 4 different horses, and have no qualms with it or the process. It's quite enjoyable at the end, and is worth the effort. ...the small 8x8ish "stalls"
I don't know if you read my post under 'join up' but I think it's important to consider those points before doing it & I don't know that I'd do it with such a fearful animal. If it's only enjoyable 'at the end' and takes a lot of effort, you may want to consider different ways of going about it too. Yes, 8x8 is a wee bit small! How about elec fence tape(not connected) & some tread-ins? That wouldn't cost you much at all, if you don't have them already. This being a lot less enclosed is also less confronting than solid fences too.

I am wary of treats because it's so hard to differentiate between a treat and a bribe, and I don't want him to feel like I'm bribing him. I also want to make sure I don't spoil him. One of my cousins lost a chunk of skin because he spoiled his horse and it got nippy and full out bit him when he didn't bring it a treat. But if I do go about giving him treats, what do you guys suggest?
I should have included in the last post learning the *principles* of c/t will help you understand how to be more effective with *any* kind of training. The big difference between a bribe/lure and positive reinforcement/reward is that a lure comes before the desired behaviour, to motivate the animal and the +R is given at the time of(or immediately following) the Right behaviour, to strengthen it.

I don't think luring is a bad 'tool' to have in your kit, but it is limited & while I might sometimes use it to get a new behaviour started, I don't continue doing this for long. It can also be helpful to create/change associations from Bad to Good.

I don't think it's the food that makes a horse nippy - it's just a strong +R. It's people not paying enough attention to *what behaviour* they're reinforcing. You don't EVER reinforce a horse for 'rude' behaviour & instead you reinforce the horse for conflicting 'polite' behaviour, such as back up a step & lower your head.

If you're going to use food treats for training, you're going to be giving a lot of them, but each reward only needs to be tiny(bonus ones can be bigger). But I'd use something healthy. I use the pelleted feed supplement they get otherwise anyway, or diced carrot or such.
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post #12 of 19 Old 06-13-2012, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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:) He sounds a lot like how Sky was when I first met him.

You're doing great so far. Spend time with him, has he let you try and pet him all over or brush him? That would be your next move.

I wouldn't do join up. Think like the horse for a minute. You don't really trust people, and now one is chasing you around and making you run, you're probably going to go into "on-a-different-planet" mode and lose focus and become dangerous (think run-a-way train.)

Cool it down, this isn't a race to get him handled and trained in 30 days. It took my horse clear to.. sheesh 5...6 months before he trusted people enough not to freak out around them.

If you get the halter on, work on getting him used to being touched all over. Some hot spots are the face, the shoulder, and the flank. So maybe start at his neck or his chest or something. If you hesitate then you seem strange and a little concerning so he'll probably not stand still or back off. If you're too fast, it's surprising.. so you have to find a good balance.

Continue working on your relationship. Spend time with him out in pasture. When a horse begins to trust you he'll follow you around instead of avoid you. If he follows you, you can also work on sending him away. This kind of begins the leadership role. Herd leaders push their herd mates around, so if you tell him to move away from you in pasture, and he does (he careful about him kicking out, etc.) then he'll start to think about you in a different light instead of "scary person who hasn't eaten me yet"

About using treats, it's fine to do so but if they start searching you for them, you need to stop and send him out of your space.

Don't even think about riding yet :) That will come in due time.
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"

Last edited by Skyseternalangel; 06-13-2012 at 08:20 PM.
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post #13 of 19 Old 06-13-2012, 10:12 PM
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I don't think any horse likes it when you are hovering over them while they are eating. First place that is a good way to get one to gulping feed, and that can lead to choke. Secondly, would you like it if I stood over your dinner and bothered you?

Leave horse alone while it is eating.

And this is not a 14 year old baby, this is a horse that has been left alone to do what it wants. Babying it, or thinking of it like that will accomplish nothing.

And while it is nice to think that trust is the main issue, to me the main issue is the horse doesn't want to do what it doesn't want to do. Period.

Quit worrying about what horse has been through so much, and work on basics from groundwork on up. The longer you agonize over "his terrible past and trust issues" the longer the horse has to buffalo you.

Treat him like he is a horse, not like you are psychoanalyzing him.

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post #14 of 19 Old 06-13-2012, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Palomine View Post
Quit worrying about what horse has been through so much, and work on basics from groundwork on up.
Obviously from my previous posts here I disagree on most of what you said, except the above bit ^^ To me, while it's interesting to know & can help me better understand how the horse got to the point it is, I don't tend to worry too much about past experiences(esp as many times I take on a horse to train I don't have much info on their past anyway) so much as start wherever the horse's at when I get them.

While the 'main issue' may be the horse not wanting to do what *people* want him to do, I think it's helpful to understand *why* it's an issue - fear/lack of trust - in order to most appropriately deal with it. For eg. if he were a confident horse that was 'calling the shots' I may well get after him & cause him to think 'giving me the cold shoulder' doesn't work so well, but getting after a scared horse will likely only make matters worse.
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-06-2012, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Louisiana
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Wellp, quick update :3

We've gotten a lot better. His ground manners have improved considerably and he doesn't spook nearly as much anymore. He'll follow me around, stop and go when I stop and go, run if I run, walk if I walk. He no longer walks off when approached in the pasture and waits for me to get to him. He's grown quite fond of "luvin's," and has even "asked" for more when they stop. He's practically a different horse!

We worked on spooking and trust a lot. I'd put him on a long lead and we'd take walks from time to time. One walk I spent twirling/spinning some excess rope as we walked. Once he was used to that, I'd let the rope occasionally hit the ground as it spun, to make a nice, random *thud*. I'd keep an eye on him and monitor his reactions. It was always Spook, Ears up, Shake it off, Walk on. Another walk was spent getting him accustomed to the dreaded metal sheets. By the time we were done with that walk, he was trotting over them, chortling with happy ears. We take these kinds of walks randomly with our regular walks. I've noticed that he's a lot more comfortable being led around and isn't as hesitant when it's time for a walk. He recognizes me more quickly these days and will walk towards the fence until he sees someone looking at him (he'll stop and wait for you to stop looking before he gets any closer). That's just him being a prey animal though, so I'm not too worried about any of that.

I'm aiming to restart him on riding this winter when it'll be more comfortable for the both of us to really get down and work. We're gonna keep it nice and slow for now and continue our walks and handling :)

Thanks for all the advice! <3 Ya'll can expect a thread about getting him riding again some time in the winter :P
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post #16 of 19 Old 07-07-2012, 12:29 AM
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #17 of 19 Old 07-08-2012, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AHiddenStar View Post
I don't have much to add; I'm a huge fan on starting with Join-Up. This way it grows the horse's confidence in himself AND you as the herd member to look to for guidance.

Something to think about: why do you think he's so much more comfortable in the paddock then when he's not? Watch his interaction with the herd. Really study him and get to know all of his minute body language changes. Being observant has helped me, personally, grow to understand what he wants, what he needs, and what you can do to help him transform into the horse he can be and the horse you strive for him to be.

Above all, be patient. Don't think about saddling or riding him until he is the most relaxed, supple horse on the ground.

Good luck to you, I think you're doing a phenomenal thing!
i have a horse like this
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post #18 of 19 Old 07-09-2012, 08:19 PM
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You actually don't need a round pen to lunge. It's called "free lungeing". My friend's mare will do a 20meter circle around her just by listening to her body language, no matter how big the arena is.
Anywho, it's harder in a larger space, but once you get used to it, it works just fine.
I don't think he really cares about the rodeo when he was younger. I doubt he even remembers it. It was a one-time thing. Most times the horse only goes out once and only for like 30seconds max. Nothing that will really leave a huge impression. And he doesn't actually need or want "emotional companionship" from your step-dad. He's a horse. He's got other horses to talk to. He doesn't really need people.
The best thing you can do for him is to ignore his spooking. Never let anything frighten you or make you nervous when you're around him. He'll look to you for direction.
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post #19 of 19 Old 07-10-2012, 07:29 AM
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I would really advise against riding him until he’s more people friendly. Both of my horses were not trusting people and extremely dangerous when previous owners tried to ride them first and work on the people issues later. What happens when someone walks out while you’re riding? Because horses are fight or flight it’s more than likely he’ll take off with or without you and you could get seriously hurt and/or set back all the progress you’ve made. Being saddled is a different experience for a horse and when they get scared you become a predator on it's back. As he is a green horse in a large area it really doesn’t seem safe to me. I would work on getting him people savvy before I would ever think about putting a saddle on him. He needs to be 100% ok with other people coming up to him, petting him, and catching him or you’re probably going to have more steps back than steps forward. Riding should be the last thing on your mind when it comes to a horse in this situation, it's great that he's good with you but he needs groundwork, something to learn the gaits and to listen to you before riding as well.
I hope all goes well for you and wish you the best of luck.

Show me a horseman who hasn't fallen and I'll show you a man who has never truly ridden.

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