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post #21 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Ladytrails View Post
He probably will not "want to be with you" until long after he learns to trust you with the things you ask him to do. So, the advice from MLS will help him learn to tolerate and trust you. Just like one of the other posters said that their horses are sensitive to sudden actions, etc., one of my horses does not "want to be with me" unless it's feeding time, and then he doesn't like to be touched. He tolerates it, because he has manners, but he does not crave human contact. I've had him for 30 years, since he was 11 months old. So, don't beat yourself up if your horse is like that, too. He may never be a pocket pony, but if he turns into one, it will be after the trust and respect is there.
You make a good point. Some horses will never be pocket ponies. Just because a horse does not want to snuggle with you does not mean anything more than they do not want to snuggle with you.

It is sometimes best, when training a horse, to forget all the crap people have told you about the animal in front of you and work with it like you do not know anything about its past. Having a preconceived idea about the horse being afraid only lends itself to the horse proving you right.
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post #22 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Darla,

I am sure that the advice given by MLS is sound, but you have plenty of time to go there. I , for one, think you are doing a very good job and there is nothing wrong with doing the first things very slowly. Are you in a hurry?
The weather is bad and now is as good a time as any for the two of you to just explore each other, no demands, no expectations.
After awhile, you can go back to the halter and try again, but I see nothing wrong at all with doing just as you are doing. I commend you.
Contrary to many, I agree with this, too. There is nothing wrong with taking it slow. In my experience, further training progresses much faster and easier once your horse is very comfortable with just being handled, from touching and brushing to handling feet, picking hooves, etc. During this time, however, do not accept any 'bad' behavior, e.g. Pushing, nipping, etc.... enforcing respect will just establish leadership and limits and will not hinder building trust.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #23 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares View Post
Contrary to many, I agree with this, too. There is nothing wrong with taking it slow. In my experience, further training progresses much faster and easier once your horse is very comfortable with just being handled, from touching and brushing to handling feet, picking hooves, etc. During this time, however, do not accept any 'bad' behavior, e.g. Pushing, nipping, etc.... enforcing respect will just establish leadership and limits and will not hinder building trust.
There is slow and then there is getting nothing accomplished. There should be progress. 30 days of letting the horse sniff the brush? What happens on day 31 when you decide to try something different? Horse is going to say - ah - No way.

Another thing to look at - what if the horse gets sick or hurt and HAS to be handled? At minimum the horse should be haltered and TOUCHED.

It's he!! To try and medically treat a horse that is terrified. (speaking from the POV of a BO, trainer and vet tech) Yes - me.
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post #24 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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MLS, I agree with everything you said, but I think you misunderstood one thing. I only 'showed' him the brush about 3 weeks ago and he freaked out so I put it away. It was only yesterday I brought it back out again and worked with him enough that he finally let me brush his face and left side with it for a total of about 3 minutes.

You made my point exactly about being my being able to at least touch him. Here is what I DO EXPECT from him:

1. He must be respectful and never show signs of aggression towards me.
2. He must not be destructive and/or tear up fencing, stalls, feed/water containers, etc.
3. He must not be cruel to my other animals. (We plan on getting 2 more horses in the spring)
4. He must let me take care of his medical/personal hygiene needs (ears, eyes, nose, teeth, feet, etc.)
5. I need to be able to approach him should he ever injure himself or need medical attention, especially in an emergency (exactly what MLS said).

These are the only things I expect from him. If he gives me more than, then great. If not, then he will just be my 2000-pound, big hairy brown, hay-burning, manure-making pasture ornament. (although I believe he will be so much more given the chance)

:)
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post #25 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Darla719 View Post
2. He must not be destructive and/or tear up fencing, stalls, feed/water containers, etc.
Good luck with that.

Horse = destructive creature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darla719 View Post
3. He must not be cruel to my other animals. (We plan on getting 2 more horses in the spring)
You might be setting yourself up with this one too. He is again, a horse. They deal with life differently than we do. Biting, kicking and such are how they communicate.
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post #26 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Alwaysbehind - I'm referring to things that are beyond "normal" behavior. Thanks for your support.

As mentioned before, he seems like a really sweet horse. He lived next door for a year before we brought him over here and they said he has ALWAYS been respectful, never aggressive, and has gotten along with their other horses. He is just 'untouchable' and terrified of anyone getting close to him (I assume due to his abusive past). If not for his disposition, he probably would have gone to slaughter and I would not have wanted to give him a chance.
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post #27 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Darla719 View Post
MLS, I agree with everything you said, but I think you misunderstood one thing. I only 'showed' him the brush about 3 weeks ago and he freaked out so I put it away.
And by doing so - you taught him he never had to worry about it.

We are the leaders in this situation. I do believe horses do have a thought process and can put two and two together - but we are supposedly the more intelligent being.

I've watched so many people over the years let the horse be the leader. Horse is naughty and horse gets put back out with his buddies. Horse is smart enough to figure out - If I do this - I get out of doing ANYTHING.

It's not mean or cruel to demand respect. I am easily the smallest person at our barn - yet I am the most respected human by all of the horses. My personal horses are spoiled rotten. But all I have to do is say QUIT in a very firm tone or even hold up my index finger (like mom does in church) and they know it's strictly business.
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post #28 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Darla719 View Post

So basically, it took me over an HOUR for him to let me touch the tip of his nose with a brush! Now don't get me wrong, I'm okay with this if this sounds reasonable to everyone here. I just want to know if I'm not being pushy enough. I was very proud that I got him to do that, but just wonder if this is typical of an abused horse and should I do be anything more than this for now?

Thanks :)

Darla & Argy
I think everything you're doing is awesome. It sounds like you have the patience of a saint and it will pay off a thousand times over, when your horse trusts you like no other.

He knows when you're happy
He knows when you're comfortable
He knows when you're confident
And he always knows when you have carrots.
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post #29 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind View Post
You might be setting yourself up with this one too. He is again, a horse. They deal with life differently than we do. Biting, kicking and such are how they communicate.
Agreed with this. There is not much you can do dicipline wise regarding your horses treatment of other horses unfortunately as you are not there in the moment to rectify the situation and they wouldn't understand what you meant even if you were there at the time. Trust me I know as I have a horse that IS pretty cruel to her paddock buddies. From time to time she is diciplined by THEM and often has the battle scars to prove it. In the end they ususally sort things out themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mls View Post
And by doing so - you taught him he never had to worry about it.
Agreed here also. If you are going to approach him then do so. If you are not going to approach him then don't dither about indecisively as it sends a mixed message.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darla719 View Post
5. I need to be able to approach him should he ever injure himself or need medical attention, especially in an emergency (exactly what MLS said).
This is true too and so I think you have the right goal in mind, perhaps just need some direction with how to achieve this.

Sounds like he is very fearful so your job is to show him that there is nothing to be scared of. The way to do this is to introduce things to him slowly and show him that he will survive each interaction with you. If a brush is too much, use your hands instead! It is a great way to groom and can be very comforting to the horse. You can always introduce a brush later.

When you approach him, make sure that you do exactly that. Sure, do it gently and in a way that doesn't intimidate him but you must approach him all the same. If you get halfway there and back off when he shows signs of stress, you have cemented in his mind that there WAS something to be scared of. Get him used to the feel of your hands all over him and once he is comfortable with this, re-introduce the brush. You will get there, it sounds like you have the time and patience for the job, good luck!

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.
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post #30 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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When I brought him over here, I wanted to see what his limits were. I put the brush away because he seemed way too threatened by it, so I decided to start with something less scary for him. This horse is not avoiding things because he just doesn't "feel" like having to face it. He is TERRIFIED! For now, I'm not trying to train him, I'm only trying to earn his trust. I wish I had streaming video out there so you could see what I mean about him being completely petrified of me, but yet wanting to interact and be close.
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