calming a horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-07-2011, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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calming a horse

I have a 2yr old stud paint that is a very friendly horse in ways but not in others.He will follow you all around,eat out of your hand but will not let you touch him.I have benn working with him with treats.Over the last several days all I been able to do is touch my fingertips to his nose but as soon as i touch it he pulls away.I can tell he is very use to being with people just never had any hands on.What is the best way to calm him.
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-07-2011, 11:17 PM
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Sorry, but with so little info, I couldn't even say if he was necessarily 'uncalm'. Very basically, I would try to remove my fingers before he felt the need to pull away, &/or not try to touch him at all, but allow him to touch you. I would use 'approach & retreat' tactics to *gradually & non-confrontationally* desensitise him to handling.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-07-2011, 11:54 PM
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Is there anywhere you can pen him? I had two stud colts like this. They got penned in a 8x12 (roughly) area. Enough room to walk around, turn around, lay down, etc. I tried approach and retreat, treats, working them, etc. Nothing worked. You penned them in an area where you removed the "Oh, I can just trot over here and they can't catch me" and they tamed down amazingly quick.

They where also 100% candidates for gelding, which also mellows them out considerably.

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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yes I have him in a pen about that size now.I plan on having him gelded as soon as I can get him use to being touched enough to get a halter on and halter broke.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 06:38 AM
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This may help it did for me. I had the same problem with my 3 yr old qh and I used the latch on method by Sylvia Scott's Natural horsemanship program.

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post #6 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 10:12 AM
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One of the last horses I re-trained was a gelding that had run wild for 3 years. He as afraid of all things human.. tho he had been halter broke. I was told he had been ridden but the first time I tried him (about 2 months after I got him) I found no evidence of it (no steering and no brakes.. so we went back to retraining as if he had never been handled).

What I did was get Butch in a stall and then the ONLY time he ate was when I was there. He saw no other horses.. nothing.. unless I was there. He had NO idea what grain was (but got the hang of it very fast LOL). He could only eat grain if I held the bucket. He could only eat hay when I was standing next to the pile. When I left, the food went with me.

I think he made the connection of "Human shows up = food" in about 3 days. In a week he was nickering for me. At that time I haltered him and found he was very nicely halter broke.. but if he had not been then I would have held the grain bucket and rubbed the halter over his head and neck whiel he was eating.. and started that way.

I do not know if my method was over kill or not. I will say that Butch (who was Belgian and QH cross.. and a lovely flaxen maned sorrel) turned into one of the best horses I ever had the pleasure to ride and own. He was not beautiful.. not a dressage prospect.. but he worked cattle for me and learned to work with my dog to move cows. He was reliable.. and that from a horse who cowered on the far side of the stall when I changed his water bucket.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 10:13 AM
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I would say if at this point you can't get his halter on, definitely approach with the halter. Don't show him or try to talk him into it. Just act like it's nothing hanging in your hand or on your shoulder. He will be naturally curious about what it is you've got there. Torture device? Food? Monster? He will check it out and probably try to flip it once or twice with his nose, and with enough patience you can move on from there, killing two birds with one stone.

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.
~Author Unknown~
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 10:16 AM
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I know where i work with horses they have a mustange that is very good around humans but you cant touch him. so we round pen him and do join up and if he walks away from us when we trie to brush him we send him off again then he finally lets us brush him. I know your horse is not a mustange but you get what i'm saying. it shows them if they dont let you touch them then they get to work.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 10:18 AM
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BTW I retrained and resold a lot of spoiled horses in my day (paid for college this way). All these went to great homes after they were retrained.. a truly wild QH mare I had ended up a 4H project horse with a girl who had just recovered from rheumatic Fever.

I retrained Butch years and years later.. when I had the dairy farm. I kept him a number of years and eventually sold him to a cancer survivor who needed a reliable horse. She was amazed the first time she rode him that she could lay her hand on his butt behind the saddle.. and bought him on the spot.

There is no finer feeling on earth than to take a half wild animal and to get him to work with you as a partner. It takes time and patience.. and that means a ton of both in equal portions.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for all the advise so far.I have been working with jupiter today.I wont give him a treat till he lets me touch his nose.He is just starting to let me rub up and down his nose now.Im not pussing him but hes starting to get the idea im not going to hurt him.He was close to fence and I touched his shoulder and you would have thought I shot its going to be awhile on that.I wish he was already gelded and not sure just how calm hes going to have to be before I can get him gelded.I think it would help my progress If he wasnt still a stud.
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