Fearful / trust issues with horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Fearful / trust issues with horse

I have a 12 year old mexican gelding I just saved from going to slaughter. He was reportedly used as a camp horse. He is well broke. I've only had him going on 3 weeks. Initially I was able to get close to him, brush him, and even put a blanket on him, (all in the first week) He still talks to me every time he gets feed and hay, and comes to the fence when I get close to it. In the past 2 weeks he seems to have regressed. I can get him to come to me if I have a treat or food. But just walking in to collect feed bowls, or if I just try to spend time with him, he won't let me close to him. Does he just need more time or is there something else I can be doing? What am I missing here? Thanks for any help.
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 04:53 PM
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Is he in a paddock with other horses? If so, then my guess is that in the beginning you may have been his "lifeline", but now, the herd is.
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Is he in a paddock with other horses? If so, then my guess is that in the beginning you may have been his "lifeline", but now, the herd is.
He was quarantined for 2 weeks. He started acting this way before I put him in with the others.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 06:50 PM
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I could be wrong here, but this is what I'm getting:

How experienced are you? Because it seems to me like he's losing respect for you. Three weeks is more than enough time for a horse to have "tested" you-he is now beginning to form a clear picture of who's the boss. He was good the first week because he didn't know what kind of a handler you were, and he was just doing what he's been trained to do. If you've missed his subtle 'tests' along the way, he's figuring out that he's got your number, and he doesn't really have to be on his best behaviour. If he doesn't have much respect for you, he'll keep acting like this, and he'll get worse over time if you don't get a handle on it.

Last edited by pintophile; 12-15-2011 at 06:53 PM.
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 06:57 PM
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The weaker and less healthy a horse is, the more submissive they are. When they feel better, they start to test and space themselves since they're feeling better.

I think you just need to keep introducing yourself throughout the day to this horse, and slowly build up a trust that you bring the food, you are not a predator.

There are so many resources online that either demonstrate way to gain trust with a previously abused horse/rescue/new horse/wild horse.. but the main thing is you don't rush them, and you don't put too much pressure on it. Give them all the time in the world that they need and always go back to what they feel most comfortable with.

Good luck :)
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pintophile View Post
I could be wrong here, but this is what I'm getting:

How experienced are you? Because it seems to me like he's losing respect for you. Three weeks is more than enough time for a horse to have "tested" you-he is now beginning to form a clear picture of who's the boss. He was good the first week because he didn't know what kind of a handler you were, and he was just doing what he's been trained to do. If you've missed his subtle 'tests' along the way, he's figuring out that he's got your number, and he doesn't really have to be on his best behaviour. If he doesn't have much respect for you, he'll keep acting like this, and he'll get worse over time if you don't get a handle on it.
I grew up around horses, and have had my own horses for the past 7 years. I've never had to deal with a horse ever acting this way. He's been a little skiddish from the beginning. I figure after what he had been through the prior weeks it was best to allow him to adjust to yet another new place. At first he wouldn't come near his food until I backed away from it. Then I would stay, and even keep my hand on the bowl, and he would come over and eat despite me being that close. I had gotten a mare that was unsure when I first got her, but after brushing her and just spending time with her, she improved alot. This one doesn't freak out, or turn his hind quarters toward me. He simply avoids me getting anywhere close to him unless I have a treat for him. And if I manage to give him a treat I have to try to sneak my hand up to get his halter.
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
The weaker and less healthy a horse is, the more submissive they are. When they feel better, they start to test and space themselves since they're feeling better.

I think you just need to keep introducing yourself throughout the day to this horse, and slowly build up a trust that you bring the food, you are not a predator.

There are so many resources online that either demonstrate way to gain trust with a previously abused horse/rescue/new horse/wild horse.. but the main thing is you don't rush them, and you don't put too much pressure on it. Give them all the time in the world that they need and always go back to what they feel most comfortable with.

Good luck :)
All I know is he was a camp horse. I don't know how he was treated. He is a little thin, and that being a fact, I thought he might warm up to me a little quicker since he didn't look as though he was eating very well before. I have been giving him his space in hopes he will come around at some point. I haven't been pushy with him. I guess I better stock up on carrots so I can get my hands on him to begin the process. Seems once I can get my hands on him, he will stand still for a period of time. But once I walk away and come back later, it's like he forgets who I am.
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 07:23 PM
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Well it takes some time for them to trust you. I'd say that's a good idea.. make him want to be around you =)
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
Well it takes some time for them to trust you. I'd say that's a good idea.. make him want to be around you =)
I'm trying....so I just came back in from finishing my evening feed. I took a carrot out with me. I walked into the barnyard, and of course he went any where I wasn't. My mare was standing there, so I gave her a little piece of carrot. Then I was able to coax him over to me too. I gave him a piece then another. The carrot was gone, but he still stood there looking for more. But I managed to touch him and was able to get a hold on his halter and stood there and rubbed his neck and head. I just find it odd that once I have him in hand he's ok. But getting him that far is a task. One other thing I did notice... he really has no clue about being hand fed. I was always told put whatever in your hand and hold your hand out flat, so you don't lose any fingers. I've done that and he still goes straight for my fingers. Could this all be that he was strictly a work horse with no real personal interactions with people, other than riding?
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-15-2011, 07:58 PM
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Well he can't see down there :P have you tried guiding your palm to his mouth instead?

But yay you got some progress with him :) Very nice, just keep it up and he'll get less weary and more curious to be around you!
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