Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southeastern US
• Horses: 0
Well....if he acts *that* much different it does make one wonder if he'd been aced a little bit. I know there are dishonest people out there who would give a horse a calming agent to make him/her seem a lot calmer than in reality. Of course, it could be that he's a little slow to gain trust and that the new environment, smells, people, etc. have him a little worried. But in reality, if there is a radical difference in how he acts with you and how he acts with his previous owner, I'd really wonder about the tranq.
The method I described is good to use with any kind of equipment you are trying to use to desensitize. It's ok for a horse to show fear of a new thing, and I indulge them in being cautious, curious, afraid, etc at first. But the best thing for a horse experiencing fear is to be asked to do something familiar and that he/she already knows how to do. Moving his feet will help him settle down. It may be very very slow steps at first, like just getting a pad on his back, but like I said, discourage his moving away by asking him to work. Then give him plenty of opportunites to rest and "explore" this new item. It helps to be able to do free lunging so you're not trying to handle the lunge line in addition to a saddle or equipment, but it can be done either way. The biggest thing here is your timing, and not overtiring him. Also always end on a positive note. That is important too!