Help with sacking a horse - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-22-2009, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Help with sacking a horse

Some of Carolina's murky past came up yesterday with the farrier.
She was edgy but fine til he started to shape the shoes on his anvil.

She went from being just a little on edge to galloping at the end of the lead rope (God knows how I held on), broncing around and even flipping herself over. It was not a fun time.

Bless the farrier he wasn't phased. Walked calmly up to her, brought her back and kept on trucking with trimming and fitting the shoes to her feet.

But each time he shaped the shoes she would freak out all over again and a repeat performance.

My vet was coming over to redraw her coggins and update her vaccines for the health certificate because we're moving to Indiana. I talked to him about what was going on, the vet asked to see it so the farrier tapped the anvil with his hammer and she exploded all over again.

So she was getting highly stressed out, I was beginning to think I should just leave her feet in the nasty state they were and send the farrier home. The vet got out a sedative and gave her enough so the farrier could do his job. The vet stayed the whole time to make sure she was ok, checking her temp and heart rate every few minutes.

I know she was sedated and I'm not a fan of that, but I didn't want her hurt or the farrier hurt. I tried to make sure the time the farrier was working on her as un-scary as possible. And for some reason she doesn't hate me after everything I had done to her yesterday.

I can do most things with her, even fire shotguns around her, but there was something about that hammer on the anvil that just set her off.

My biggest thing is safety - I simply do not want someone hurt, or even her hurting herself - because of this.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-22-2009, 01:21 PM
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Interesting... And sad.

I wonder what could have happened to her to make her be that fearful? Stupid people in this world. >.<

I'm glad you and the vet were there for her. =)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzaner gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat

Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat

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post #3 of 10 Old 08-23-2009, 12:16 AM
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Sad, yes, but safe, no...time to get creative on how to get her to realize this is not something that is going to hurt her.

In a way, what a farrier does (shaping one shoe at a time), can actually make a 'fearful' reaction like this worse, because inadvertantly, each time he stops, while your horse is in this 'reactive state' she is rewarded. Nothing may have ever even happened to her, but if she reacted this way the first time she was shod, and no one thought, "hey, we need to pound a bit longer, until she stops reacting" they enabled her reaction to turn into what it is today. This could have been something that was easily 'fixed' before it got to be such a stressful thing for her.

So, now, you need to get creative, and BEFORE the farrier comes out again, you need to be finding something that sounds similar to the anvil, and have someone lightly (at first) pound\tap on it. Wait until she stops moving, then stop the pounding...that is her reward, but you cannot stop the pounding until she stops reacting; which is why you are going to start out 'lightly tapping' the anvil, not the hardcore pounding the farrier actually does to the shoe. As she becomes desensitized to the light sound of a hammer tapping an anvil, gradually bring up the sound, until she no longer reacts to it.

Unfortunately, unless you stop shoeing her, you HAVE to get her desensitized to the sound, because it's not feasable to lead her back to the barn, or somewhere out of earshot while the farrier works, because he needs the horse as he is working the shoe to shape. Start out light sounding, and get louder, and never stop while she is reacting. Just let her circle around you, until she figures out that the sound isn't hurting her. I don't know if you work her in one, but a rope halter may help keep her from leaning too much against the lead, so she isn't pulling you all over the place.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."

Last edited by mom2pride; 08-23-2009 at 12:18 AM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-23-2009, 12:25 AM
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Sedation stinks, but you gotta keep everyone safe. I'm sorry for you and your poor girl. :(

I am not a professional or even particularly experienced trainer, so take this with a grain of salt but... Is there a way you could replicate the sound of metal hitting metal and do it from a safe distance or behind a fence? That's how we introduce the scary stuff to our new Mustang who tends to explode at *everything*. We start out from our other horses' corral until he calms down a bit. Silly? A bit, but it helps me feel safer and he honestly needs a lot of distance at first. I've been banging wrenches together around him, and that's worked pretty well. It's hard because he will have a total freak out, even if he'd been calm for a while. He also does better if our other horse is near by (though not in together, of course), sort of a moral support type thing.

The trick would be keeping her safe too, working in a place where she won't be able to hurt herself either. Does she try to go through fences, or just go nuts in general?
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-23-2009, 01:26 AM
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If you have a round pen I would put her in there loose and then try to duplicate the sound let her move around however she wanted. Just start out quietly and then get louder untill it bothers her then quit when she settles down. You could also use a blocker tie ring and a long(30ft)rope on the halter. PM me if you want more info on that. I have seen that work wonders. Holding onto her likely just scared her more but if she can get to what she sees as a safe distance without getting hurt by the halter she'll calm down. Then the next time she won't have to go as far before she feels safe and pretty soon you could put the anvil underneath her and bang on it until it cracks in half and she won't care. Just don't try something stupid like tying her to a big post and torturing her.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-23-2009, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I really appreciate it. Yeh this is definitely something we have to work on.

There are three things I know of now that gets this kind of reaction from her.
The first is she will wig out when she's tied. Not always, but it's happened enough that I'm really going to have to work on it.

The second is flyspray. She would jump to the moon to avoid it.

The third is this hammer and anvil sound.

I believe I'm going to have to try the Blocker tie ring at least for training to be tied up.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-23-2009, 02:39 PM
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Good luck with her...just take your time; sometimes waiting for the calm reaction is the hard part, because you get to thinking the horse just isn't going to get it, but she will...Hang in there!

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-23-2009, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Well, maybe something good came out of it. While grooming her today I was able to pick up both her back feet without any issues at all.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-23-2009, 07:52 PM
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Just hang in there! I really like what mom2pride stated - I think she was on to something with the intermittent stopping of the hammering. Monty Roberts has a great site with a special section on how to "de-spooks" horses. Monty Roberts | Login His concept is that if they spook, you take away the stimulus, then they think they are controlling the situation with spooking. So, you can reverse that. Take away the stimulus when they stop moving. Then they learn they control the situation by standing still. Then, eventually they learn that the stimulus is nothing to be concerned about when they are exposed to it enough.
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-23-2009, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Ohh I like that site thank you!

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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