Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Oxford, Nova Scotia
• Horses: 0
First of all, can I suggest that you try to make your writing a little more clear. Your post was hard to understand. Some periods would help.
Because you have just gotten this horse, and he is older and set in his ways, it will take some time to work out the kinks. Remember that horses are not cars, stick in the key, turn it on and go. They've got personalities and plans of their own. So don't give up.
I think you need to get some coaching, at least in the beginning with this guy. Having someone there to guide you will give you more focus and confidence on teaching him to mind you in the basics. It seems to me that at this point, he hasn't decided to let you be the boss horse. So you will have to earn that and the first step is getting basic riding dominance over him.
Regarding the halter issue, I had the same kind of problem with Sierra over her fly mask. And what worked there was giving her her grain, and while she ate it, standing beside her (for days and days and days..)just gently rubbing her head, her face, her ears. It could be that his problem is a combination of being somewhat headshy, and knowing that if the halter goes on, he'll go away from his place of safety. The feeding and head rubbing will help him learn that you are a safe place for him to rest his horsey-soul. If it is more being headshy, you may find that you have to start lower on his neck where he is comfortable and then gradually work your way up to his sensitive zone and sneak in a little pet now and again and as time passes, spend more time in that area. If he was shown before and clipped regularly, particularly in the ears, he may remember the clippers and the twitch and all that nasty business and so figures that it is safer to keep you away from his head which as you know, means no halter. At least to him.
Now I don't do the showmanship thing, but it seems to me that if you are trying to get him to stretch out when he hasn't even agreed to let you put a halter on or ride with respectful attitude (on his part), you are fighting a losing battle. I would leave this alone until you have the other issues ironed out.
Just remember that the minute you feel yourself getting frustrated, back off by asking him to do something that you know he will do without a fight, even if it is only walk forward five or six steps, and then quit. That way he doesn't get the idea that he won on the hard issues. In his mind, you won because he gave in to the easy thing. And be kind, and fair in all things. Don't give up because it's tough right now. It will get better if you persevere.