Halter breaking untouched yearling... what's your method? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-11-2011, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Question Halter breaking untouched yearling... what's your method?

Just got yearling filly, she has not ever been handled or haltered. Have been doing some Clinton Anderson round penning with her, she is very smart and catches on quickly. She turns in toward me for changes of direction consistantly but the second stage of his Method is to let the horse stop on the inward turn and you walk away, incouraging the horse to move toward you. My filly doesn't do this at all. In fact as soon as I step away from her, she turns back around to the fence.
I can tell that she reads body language VERY closely, and so far we have done well "talking to eachother" as long as it's a moving excercise.

What else can I do? I don't like the idea of running her into a stall and trapping her to put the halter on her, I would rather her accept the halter and touch on her own.

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post #2 of 11 Old 06-11-2011, 12:35 PM
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I am sure more knowledgeable people will reply.. but my thought would be to make her work MORE when she turns away from you. Then she can relax when she faces you. I was taught that when they turn from you and show you their butt it like the equine version of the middle finger. I agree that pinning her and forcing her to halter may not be the most beneficial to your relationship. But that's just me....
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-11-2011, 06:13 PM
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I got 2 yearlings like that. I just approached each very slowly in stall (NEVER forced) and worked with putting it on/taking off every day. Took about 1 week on one before I just took it off completely in field, and 2 weeks on other one. Never had issues ever since. BTW, I didn't do any round pen work, real ground work, etc. with them. I started all that after they got used to me handling them.

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post #4 of 11 Old 06-11-2011, 08:37 PM
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I've never dealt with a filly like that. I've had my girl hands on as soon as she was born! However, my friend is boarding her wild mustang gelding at my house now. Just brought him over a few weeks ago. He's been wild for 8 years and domestic for 1 year. My friend got him for free from a lady that was terrified of him and never really worked with him too much. Once you've caught him he leads and such, but you can tell he is still afraid of that halter a little bit and still shies away (snorts, shakes, ect..) I've only really worked with him one day so far. School and stuff has been limiting me. When I got back to my dad's next week though I plan on working with him more.

That's good, I wouldn't trap her either. That might make it take longer to train her in the long run if she develops trust issues. However --once you are able to approach her nicely and she seems to trust you more. I wouldn't let her get away with that too much!

I would try possibly just hanging the (or a) halter by where you feed her. (As long as she's not going to ruin it by nibbling --I can't leave ANYTHING where my filly can reach it haha) That way she can see it and get used to it. At first I would just working with approaching her. If you get close to her and she looks at you interested then take a step back maybe. Let her know maybe that curiosity is a good thing and as soon as she is a little curious you're not going to rush up on her. Also, I'd work with approaching her then walking away (first without the halter). Then, once you can approach her without the halter start approaching her with the halter. I wouldn't put it on her the first time though, let her smell it and get used to it in your hand. That way, she won't expect to have something strapped onto her head each time she sees it. I've done this with my horses

-I let them loose to graze in my yard. At first, they realized that if they saw the halter in my hand it was time to make a run for it. Soo, I started going up to the with the halter all the time. Sometimes I'd put it on them then take it right back off. That way they don't associate the halter with being put away. Just a suggestion, I'm not a professional trainer by any means especially with scared horses. Keep us updated! Good luck!

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post #5 of 11 Old 06-12-2011, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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My problem right now is that she is in my round pen and the gate to the barn is alllll the way on the other end of the yard (about 500 yards). Her stall is ready, but without her being haltered and leading, she could run loose and out into the road. Curse the bright idea of her being delivered to the round pen! And curse me for putting the round pen in my unfenced yard instead of in the pasture! (It will be fenced eventually....)
Right now, she will walk all the way up to me with feed, but she still doesn't want her face touched then. I can slowly walk up to her in the round pen and pet all over her, face included, as long as I start on her neck and work my way up. She stands perfectly still to be pet at this point.
I have been doing the round pen work in hopes that she would choose to come up to me (without feed). I have been doing the approach-retreat method as well. She will turn her head and look at me, I retreat, but as soon as I walk away she looks the other way instead of attempting to take a step toward me. She has yet to turn her whole body in toward me. Even during round penning, she does change of direction perfectly and turns on her hindquarters naturally but when I retreat from her turning inward (the point in which most horses will stop and face you wondering where your going!) she keeps turning anyways and then looks out of the round pen. So I make her move more. I have stopped the lesson when she is consitantly stops and turns her head toward me, even though her body isn't square to me. Her head is better than nothing. I just keep hoping eventually she will trust me and figure it out.

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post #6 of 11 Old 06-12-2011, 12:14 PM
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Could you instead of haltering put a rope around her neck and see if she'll move forward from pressure?

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-12-2011, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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kitten_Val,
I have just started working with walking up to her with something in my hand. She is a little more skittish of the new objects, whether it be a halter/lead rope or training stick, but she does let me touch her still with my hand, she runs from the touch of the object so far. I just keep trying.

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post #8 of 11 Old 06-12-2011, 01:38 PM
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I think if you keep doing what your doing she will give in. You need to give her a lot of time and patience. Not every horse responds to round penning or the methods of Clinton A. Even though I use his techniques. But she just sounds like she needs time. Have you ever just sat with her while she is in the round pen? Let her come to you on her own. If you go to reach for her and she spooks, let her. Just act like nothing happened.

With time and work she will begin to trust you. Don't rush her and don't get her cornered. She should always have an out.
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-12-2011, 09:37 PM
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Hmmmmm.... All I can tell good luck then! Just take your time so she'd figure out you are not going to hurt her. Or you can always chase her to the stall and deal there (I know some people did it this way). I was lucky enough to have a halter on already, so I could just keep her in stall while working on halter.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-13-2011, 03:24 AM
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We had this problem with Shay-las filly Eve, she was brought home as a virtually untouched yearling running in an enormous pasture. Shay-la has done join up (Monty Roberts) all her life with her horses and never had an issue.

I'd really like to know what magic some of these cowboys weave because we could NOT get Eve to join up. I am almost positive it was due to the rail round pen and the ability to see other horses loose in the pasture. Shay-la must have worked her for half an hour, and all she accomplished was Eve soaked, completely uninterested, and starting to get marked up from bouncing off the rails.

However, in general, if the horse is not walking up to you when you turn your back, they aren't truly relenting. I have tried join up on several horses, and they may stop and cock their head but they lose interest almost immediately and begin grazing. This is a problem because it means the horse has learned nothing and we probably aren't reading the body language correctly.

If she lets you pet her all over, I would start working with objects. It took us a few days before we got a halter on Eve, and we made it a point to take it off after every sessions so she had to be re-caught.

Clinton Anderson and those folks have some good methods, but we have to consider that we AREN'T them and we don't have quite the education they do. If the method isn't working for you the way you anticipated, I would try a new method.

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