Feeling stuck without a good training space
 
 

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Feeling stuck without a good training space

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        01-27-2013, 11:47 PM
      #1
    Weanling
    Unhappy Feeling stuck without a good training space

    I got my filly, Nova, as a 4 month old, and she's the first horse I'm training myself. My plans have always been to take my time and not rush anything, but I'm feeling stuck because we don't have a good, smaller space to work in like a round pen, only the main pasture (about 3 acres).

    She's impossible to catch, therefore impossible to lead train, and I've literally touched her only a handful of times since I bought her. Those times were just touching her nose while she ate hay from my hand. When we first brought her home, I stalled her for a few days to get used to me, but clearly it wasn't enough time. She hasn't had a lead rope on since.

    *IF* everything goes according to plan and we can afford it, we'll be putting up a round pen about 3 months from now, then I'll be able to sort of herd her into it and shut the gate behind her. In the smaller area, I should think I'll be able to make much better progress before completely exhausting myself running all over the farm after her.

    In the mean time, she's getting more and more of the "mare" attitude that some horses have, and has taken to pinning her ears, pointing her butt, bucking/kicking in my direction, and generally being a brat. She's also getting bigger, older, and stronger, and I had anticipated having all of the respect issues long since sorted out before she was that big.

    I'm starting to wonder if she wouldn't be better off with someone else... She doesn't seem calm and happy the way our other horse is - she practically spooks when I toss their hay over the fence. And I keep thinking she would be more suited to someone with more experience with her age, her breed, et cetera.

    I don't want to give up on her, but I know I have to do what's in her best interest. Would a training space even make that much difference at this point, or are we past that now?

    Is there anything you all can recommend that would help in either her training or in making the decision to sell/trade her for a different horse?
         
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        01-27-2013, 11:53 PM
      #2
    Weanling
    How old is she now? It sounds like you're starting to feel a bit over-horsed. My suggestions would be to first really think about if you'd like to keep her, what you want to do with her and whether she will be suited to what you'd like to do. If you decide that you do really want her, I'd enlist the help of a trainer (as needed). If you decide that she might not be worth the trouble at this point, there's nothing wrong with passing her along.
    LynnF, boots and LisaG like this.
         
        01-27-2013, 11:58 PM
      #3
    Foal
    If you have trained/worked a horse before successfully, I would say it would be worth waiting. However, if not, or you are unconfident or nervous around her, she's probably better with another person. Or, if you have your trainer or someone you know to help you every step of the way, it may be another thing to consider. However, if you are not comfortable or scared around her, she will need someone who can put her in her place and is confident in what they are doing. I hope I didn't offend you in anyway! I'm not assuming anything, this is just a very general answer.
    boots likes this.
         
        01-27-2013, 11:58 PM
      #4
    Yearling
    So she is in the pasture with one other horse? What I would suggest is if the other one is easier to catch, I would take that one out. The filly has been haltered I am guessing. Once the one is out, tie it up somewhere safe or put in another corral if you have one. The filly is going to want to be with her pasture mate, how I taught a hard to catch horse that was boarded here was you had to get your halter on for feeding (pellets) or to come out. Go out with the halter/lead, if she turns her butt to you swing the end of the lead at her....make sure you are far enough back so she can't kick you. If she turns to look at you, stop swinging and turn to walk away. Stand in a relaxed manner looking at the ground. After a short time turn and walk towards her again, if she turns her butt to you repeat that.....if she runs, don't chase her.....if you chase her she will think it's a fun game and will just make it harder for you to catch her. Don't walk directly in a straight line to her but weave your way and keep looking at the ground. Once you get a round pen it will make it easier for her to learn to face up to you and not turn her butt to you......I don't know if this will help, I'm not great at explaining on how to go about it, but it does take time and patience....
         
        01-28-2013, 03:37 AM
      #5
    Yearling
    You don't know how LUCKY you are, having this kind of challenge and no way to easily confine her. Now you're going to have to raise your own level up and/or become more patient in order to be able to catch her. It may take awhile. I once spent two months catching a horse and I've heard of others taking even longer. It is sure worth the doing though. Provided that this is the kind of thing you want to spend your time on, of course. ;]
    LisaG likes this.
         
        01-28-2013, 08:25 AM
      #6
    Foal
    Get a trainer to come out and help you catch her and work with you. The trainer can help you evaluate her behavior and your handling abilities and help you decide if you and she are a good match.
         
        01-28-2013, 09:47 AM
      #7
    Showing
    I think I need to copy this to keep it handy. You need to walk her down on the 3 acres. Put your halter and lead hanging off your left elbow as you want her to see it. Walk an arc so you will wind up about 30' directly behind her. Don't look at her until you are directly behind her. The get her to move with as little energy as possible. If a kiss will do it, or a small flutter of your hand, great. The goal is to make her move her feet not run to the far corner. Keep making the wide circles repeating as before until she will stand and watch you with both eyes. If she looks to her left, you look to your left and this will draw her back. If she starts to walk away you must immediately do the same, walking away from her. She needs to think it was your idea, not hers. When she will look at you turn your back to her and take a step or two away. Horses often follow things that move away. Sneak a peek to see if she is doing. If she followed turn to face her but no eye contact. Slump you shoulders and extend your right arm, fingers down and wait if she will touch them. She may linger the last inch but it is imperative you not close that inch. If she doesn't, back up three or four steps. She may start licking and chewing which is a release of pressure (whew). Give her half a minute then approach again. When she touches your hand turn and leave the pasture. She may follow you but at this point don't do anything else with her. If you have time, give her a break of 15 min or more, go into the pasture and repeat the initial exercise. She may approach you so greet her with her hand extended, smile, say hello and leave. The more you do this the greater the bond you are building. I went to the pasture often 5 or 6 times a day. You are asking nothing of the horse, just greeting it. You can do this even if there are other horses in the field. If they get too nosey just swing your halter rope in their direction. They'll back off.
    canteringhearts likes this.
         
        01-28-2013, 10:27 AM
      #8
    Weanling
    The main thing is you need to feel comfortable with what you are doing. If you feel you don't have the experience to work with her you have a couple options. You could hire a trainer to work with the two of you. Have the trainer come out and give you tips and teach you how to teach her, then practice what you have learned on the days the trainer isn't there. Learn and grow together with the help of someone with experience.
    The other option I see is selling and getting a horse better suited for your experience level.
    Option 1, if you could make it happen, would be the best for you. You would learn a lot and grow to be a much better horseman over time. It would be a LOT of work and probably cost quite a bit though.
    In the end the decision is up to you, you need to be comfortable and able to provide this horse with what is best for her.
    LisaG likes this.
         
        01-28-2013, 11:33 AM
      #9
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BadWolf    
    I got my filly, Nova, as a 4 month old, and she's the first horse I'm training myself. My plans have always been to take my time and not rush anything, but I'm feeling stuck because we don't have a good, smaller space to work in like a round pen, only the main pasture (about 3 acres).

    She's impossible to catch, therefore impossible to lead train, and I've literally touched her only a handful of times since I bought her. Those times were just touching her nose while she ate hay from my hand. When we first brought her home, I stalled her for a few days to get used to me, but clearly it wasn't enough time. She hasn't had a lead rope on since.

    *IF* everything goes according to plan and we can afford it, we'll be putting up a round pen about 3 months from now, then I'll be able to sort of herd her into it and shut the gate behind her. In the smaller area, I should think I'll be able to make much better progress before completely exhausting myself running all over the farm after her.

    In the mean time, she's getting more and more of the "mare" attitude that some horses have, and has taken to pinning her ears, pointing her butt, bucking/kicking in my direction, and generally being a brat. She's also getting bigger, older, and stronger, and I had anticipated having all of the respect issues long since sorted out before she was that big.

    I'm starting to wonder if she wouldn't be better off with someone else... She doesn't seem calm and happy the way our other horse is - she practically spooks when I toss their hay over the fence. And I keep thinking she would be more suited to someone with more experience with her age, her breed, et cetera.

    I don't want to give up on her, but I know I have to do what's in her best interest. Would a training space even make that much difference at this point, or are we past that now?

    Is there anything you all can recommend that would help in either her training or in making the decision to sell/trade her for a different horse?
    I see a lot of things going in the wrong direction:

    1.1 She's impossible to catch - I am sorry but that is not her fault, you let that happen. Roundpens are worthless for teaching horses to be caught easily, especially when only three acres is involved.

    She has already lost respect for you.

    When you comment that
    Quote:
    "I'll be able to sort of herd her into it and shut the gate behind her."
    the round pen is not going to be the answer to your prayers.

    My thought is to either hire a fair-minded and ethical trainer to help you see the correct way to get her started or sell her.

    I apologize for such stern words but I see nothing but a downhill slope here
         
        01-28-2013, 02:34 PM
      #10
    Weanling
    You're absolutely right - a round pen isn't a cure all. I know it's not going to solve my problems for me, but I do believe that it would make training easier. I've never *not* had access to one before and there's a reason nearly everyone has one.

    I never would have got her if I didn't think I was capable and if I didn't think she was worth my efforts in training her. What I'm struggling with is this -
    Is what I'm doing in her best interest?
    Would she have a better life with people if she was with someone else right now, or is it ok that she may not be lead broke until she's a yearling?
    Is our relationship already too far gone, or can I fix it?

    I feel like I'm ruining her by not having accomplished more by now.
    With this being my first try of this on my own, all I'm seeing is every mistake I've made with such little progress, and maybe the round pen is just that last bit of hope that I have a chance to succeed with her.
    It's getting to the point where I'm just overwhelmed by guilt every time I look at her.

    I can't afford to hire a trainer, so I'm having to rely on the advice of the regular people I know who have horses. The most common suggestion I hear from them is to build a round pen and run her around until she's too tired to do anything else but let me catch her. They also saddle break their 18 month olds by tacking up, letting them buck until they can't buck anymore, and then hopping on. It works, but I don't want to treat her that way.

    She's also my first horse that is *mine* - not borrowed, not leased, but bought and paid for mine. I'm trying very hard to separate the sentimental feelings from the issue of can I really train her, or is it time to move on. I only want what's best for her, and I don't want to make things any worse than I already have.

    I'm sure everyone who's been around horses for very much time at all has been through this type of situation, so I know I'm not the only one who's been in this spot before. As I'm typing all of this, and working it over in my head, I'm feel like it is time to throw in the towel and take a few steps back, but I'm just not certain.

    Do I need to get her in the stall and start over, as if we'd never met?

    I know you all can't make this decision for me, but it's helping to talk through it and get different perspectives.
    If I keep her and push though these issues, it'll be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.
    If I sell her, then I can move on, knowing she'll be trained by someone with more skill and savvy than me and I can give a loving home to another horse who needs it.
    I just want to do what's best for her, even if my heart gets broken in the process.
         

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