Approaching terrified horse.

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Approaching terrified horse.

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    07-13-2013, 05:03 AM
Approaching terrified horse.

Okay, so I have just bought a horse due to be dogged.

She was dropped off over 3weeks ago.

For the first week she was in a small pen until l I could halter her, when I went to approach her, she would tremble, her eyes would roll in her head and she would tremble when I touched her or leap away, once I got the halter on she settled right down, like there was nothing wrong.

Anyway she jumped out of her pen over night, this wasnt a major issue, she was relatively accepting ,as soon as she saw me in the paddock would run away to the other horse or cower behind him, that was all fine she'd allow me to catch her, still shaking and snorting/eye rolling and trying to jump away.

Now that horse who she was buddied with has been sold, and she's now in a much bigger paddock thanks to agistment owner leaving her gate open. Anyway, it is near impossible to get with 10 meter over her before she is moving. Food bribes do not work, and the other horses do not work. Does nyone have any ideas - PLEASE NOTE. Doing join up or chasing her off does not work, she proceeds to work herself stupid and the next sessions she is just as terrified as before
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    07-13-2013, 05:19 AM
If you have her in her stable or an enclosed area, don't try doing anything with her...Just sit. Maybe read a book or play games on your phone (on silent!).
Then she'll know your not actually going to do anything to her, and she should relax in your presence.
It might take absolutely ages, but it works!
CowboyBob and As You Wish like this.
    07-13-2013, 06:38 AM
Green Broke
Curious. What do you mean by "due to be dogged"? I haven't heard that before.

One of our rescue mares is similar. If I have a halter, she doesn't let me approach her, not at first. Most of the time, I can approach her without a halter if she is next to the other mares and I rub on them first. She isn't very trusting yet.

I try to bring a halter with me each time I go in their pasture, even if I'm not trying to catch one. That way they don't relate the halter with being caught. If I am trying to catch her, I keep her moving, but not really chasing her. If she wants to walk away, she's going to keep walking, unless she stops and faces me. Then I turn my back to her for a few seconds and try walking to her again. If she walks off again, I follow and don't let her stop, again. I know she wants to be with the other horses and by the hay but I just keep her moving. As she lets me get closer, I'll hold my arm out for her to sniff. If she does, I'll walk away and try again. Kind of reverse psychology that I don't want to catch her.

It does take some time but it does get better. I don't like to bribe a horse to get them to be caught. Don't offer her food or a treat to come to you. Offer the reward after you get the halter on.
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    07-13-2013, 06:49 AM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by usandpets    
Curious. What do you mean by "due to be dogged"? I haven't heard that before.
My guess is going to be dog food.
    07-13-2013, 07:02 AM
Originally Posted by anndankev    
My guess is going to be dog food.
yep dogged = slaughter

I use a similar technique to usandpets. It does work just takes persistence and time.
    07-13-2013, 07:20 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by anndankev    
My guess is going to be dog food.
That's what I was thinking. I guess I would have said "due to be dog food" or off to the glue factory but dogged is just easier.
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    07-13-2013, 09:57 AM
Hrm, she's in a 10 acre paddock, can't get near her is the problem, I don't have stables either, and she jumped out of the round yard, as soon as I go into the paddock she gallops to the other side of the paddock, if im on the outside of the paddock she will mill around with the other horses, all im doing is handing out biscuits to the horses that are at the gate and ignore her, she kinda just watches, hich is all I am doing at the moment - ignoring her haha
    07-13-2013, 10:45 AM
I'd try making a run from the paddock to the roundyard if at all possible, and herd her through it. Working with her in such a big paddock is going to be very difficult. If you can't do that, try and fence off part of the paddock to make it smaller.

Honestly, the next thing I'd do is work on making sure she doesn't think that jumping fences is acceptable or a smart thing to do. That's only going to cause problems.

How old is the mare? Do you know any of her history (has she been abused, is she unhandled)?
    07-13-2013, 12:23 PM
Super Moderator
I agree that you have to get her in a smaller area and away from the other horses. Best way to do this is to 'stampede' them all together into a smaller area and then take the others away.
Someone rides the lead horse and circles the field at a good fast canter and another rides behind making sure all follow the leader. Simple!
Once she is away from the others you can revert to what you were doing.
    07-13-2013, 12:45 PM
Green Broke
Sounds like she will be a great test of your patience. She comes across as traumatized to me so it'll take twice if not tenfold the effort to make progress with her at least in the beginning. If you're leaving her in the big paddock, then your options are limited - she needs to see you as nonthreatening and approachable (as do the other horses in there already); I think you can only realistically accomplish this by spending many hours daily probably over many weeks in the paddock with her using approach and retreat - walking around, hanging with the rest of the herd. If you're going to get her back into a smaller space, then (as the other posters have said) you need to bring in the herd with her caught up in the movement. I also think she's going to need company if you contain her in a corral until you can get her "tamed".

Best of luck to you and I hope you'll keep us updated.

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