Adopted 3 "Abused Rescue" horses, now what?
   

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Adopted 3 "Abused Rescue" horses, now what?

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  • Eternal freedom horse rescue
  • Eternal freedom horse rescue starving horses

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    10-22-2012, 05:20 PM
  #1
Foal
Question Adopted 3 "Abused Rescue" horses, now what?

Yes, I felt compelled to do my part in taking the burden from a local horse rescue ( Eternal Freedom Equine Rescue) and offered to take in a few since I have ample excellent pasture and time to help out. I was graced with 3 boys, a TWH stud/colt (rack of bones and very little hair), and 2 geldings (5-6 yr olds) with ribs, terrible coats, split hooves, and every other condition you can assume from abondoned starving horses! Now it's been a month, and their body conditions have improved damatically, along with certain personality traits, and obvious diffrences in thier past handling.
The stud-colt is totally unaware of humans as dangerous, especially if food is in his face, which should make his progression normal..he just lacks basic ground rules.
The biggest, a small frame QH gelding is the boss, has some trust issues, leads very well, allows a halter on and off, get very touchy on his legs and feet, but grooming is fine, and has been trained in a round pen, understands cues and voice commands, but very high necked still most of the time. Does alot of blowing and snorting when exposed to new things.
The last gelding is the prettiest, prob has a touch of arab other wise QH, and is terrified of anytihng new..jumps sideways at the drop of a feather!!! That's why I think there might be a touch of arab in him..his llateral movement is so fast..his flight reflex is so sudden I have to be aware all the time..but he wont run into me, or bowl you over, on the contrary, he is scared of being touch..it toook a full month for me to use a facebrush on his head, chin, and neck! He is the master at putting distance from his hindend from my reach, and will literally jump at my slightest movement! I take his halter off at night in the stall, and have to go thru a cornering rountine every morning to get it back on, while he stands trembling and ready to bolt out the stall door. I try to work my hand towards his withers, and occasionally I can touch the side when he is super relaxed, but one little movement and Biong! Back to giving my hand a rope burn, and throwing up his head with all the whites showing! Sheesh!
What can I do to bring these boys back to being happy horses with a purpose in life? Im dedicating so much time to them I can only get a couple hours in with my other 5, and one is a filly needing starting too. Should I have my broke, relaxed horses mingle with them? Do I need to tie them down and attempt to desensitize him while hoping he doesnt break his neck? HELP!
     
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    10-22-2012, 05:47 PM
  #2
Showing
What is your purpose in taking in these horses? Are you fostering them, or did you actually adopt them from the rescue?

First thing I'd do is get that stud colt gelded, and have complete physical workups done on all three, especially the spastic gelding. There might be physical issues (bad eyes, pain) that are making him so spooky.

If you already have 5 horses of your own and need to work with them, maybe these 3 need to go back to the rescue and fostered out with someone else who isn't stretched so thin, time wise.
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    10-22-2012, 05:58 PM
  #3
Showing
I can help you deal with the filly but pm me. Too lengthy for the forum.
     
    10-22-2012, 07:21 PM
  #4
Yearling
I wish I had pasture here like Florida pasture! I used to live in Ocala and get annoyed having to mow the lawn in the summer every week to prevent it from being 6' tall! First thing I'd do is kick 'em all out there 24/7 if you aren't already. Can't imagine why you'd want to use a stall with that land at your disposal. =P

Just that one thing alone will improve everything about them. Fitness, health, attitude, mental saneness. Half of your training work will be done for you as they chase each other around teaching one another about personal space. Then I'd do frequent short, focused sessions with long breaks in-between. As far as methods, it can be anything you want (I've experimented with a bunch of different ones) but over the past few years I've gradually come to realize that I haven't changed the horses so much through training as we've just gotten used to how the other does things from spending time together. If I were going to ride them I'd do 90% of it out on the trails, once I had enough control for myself to be safe I'd be out the gate. They'd get a huge variety of experiences as well as miles under their feet and learn to enjoy being ridden for the adventure it provides. Then when they were really solid and settled I'd let some other people ride, maybe give a few lessons on them, maybe lease them out so that they'd get experience being ridden by many different people.

I think that that kind of life would create a horse that stands a good chance of being re-adoptable in the future.
     
    10-22-2012, 07:34 PM
  #5
Green Broke
I have to say.. that with the horse afraid to be touched is it likely he was unfed (from your description) and has never been touched. The other two just sound untrained and need of work.

For the scared horse I would put him in a loose box (and if you have an attached, SOLID paddock that would be good). This will take a lot of time (but you are putting that in anyway). He gets NOTHING unless it is from YOU. IOW's if he eats grain, you are holding the bucket. If he eats hay, you are holding it in your arms or standing next to it. If he drinks, you are there with the bucket.

In order to get enough food and water, you have to be there a LOT. If he does not drink for 6 hours, then I would leave the water bucket (because of health issues) but never leave food with him. He has to go thru you for food.

I had a horse like this a few years back. He would cower in the back of his stall and shake. He had a good eye and was a pretty good horse otherwise so I bought him and took a chance. We did the loose box and no other horses.. just me and me alone bringing food.. and and food leaving with me. In a week he was nickering for me. In two weeks we started to train (he was a horse I was told had been ridden.. and so I put a saddle on him and tried to ride him and found no evidence he had been ridden EVER).

This horse turned into one of the most reliable horses I ever had. Took me about 6 months of training (just like any unbroke horse) but he was really good. He was good on cattle too. Sold him a few years later as a reliable mount to a lady who was in remission from cancer. Lost track of him after that.
     
    10-23-2012, 12:14 AM
  #6
Yearling
I work for a rescue and you are going to have your hand full, very full. Maybe you should consider just one of them for now since you have others who also need to be worked (just a suggestion unless you have help). But either way: First you need to be 100% consistent. I know that's a rule for all horses but its even more so for abused or neglected horses. Keep them around well behaved horses only, as rescues are great for picking up other horses bad habits. Also let your herd teach them about herd dynamics which is helpful for teaching space and respect. Rescues also tend to require a million times more ground work than any other horse I've met as well. Treat them like you would any other horse. Special treatment does not help and often makes things worse. For example my mare was starved when she was 2-3 yrs old and when her last owner adopted her, she felt sorry for her and thought she should be "babied". Biggest mistake ever! My mare is now 9 and has respect and space issues because of it. Good luck, it wont be easy but I can promise it is totally worth it in the end :) Im glad to hear you adopted as well, that's awesome, if only we could place all of our rescued horses in awesome homes :)
     
    10-23-2012, 12:33 AM
  #7
Trained
My biggest suggestion from working with a variety of horses, untrained, abused, and otherwise; DON'T tiptoe around them! Be confident, and intentional in your movements around them...don't sneak; sneaking is the motion of a predator...you prove frightening everyday when you move slow and sneakily. If they move away when you go up to them at first, let them...let them move their feet until they realize that you aren't leaving, and you aren't going to kill them! When you do desensitization, move the same way, confident, and keep the object near the animal until he stops moving his feet and relaxes. I prefer a round pen when working with an untrained horse of anykind, since there are no corners for them or me to get caught in, but large stalls, or paddocks work too. I agree with 100% consistency...short sessions a couple times a day get you further than one long session every couple of days.
     
    10-23-2012, 09:16 AM
  #8
Showing
I stated I could help you with the filly. I stand corrected, the flightly gelding.
     

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