Help with wild horse - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 9 Old 04-21-2012, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Help with wild horse

Last week we took in a wild mustang unexpectedly. He is in desperate need of hoof work, worming and a few other things, the problem is he's almost 4 years old and has never been around humans. I don't mind working with him and taming him but the attention he needs can't wait that long. What should I do? I've thought about tranquilizers, I know you can get one from a vet that will work but I've also heard bad things about it.
This guy could be a great horse if I can just get him healthy and give him the time he needs to learn he has nothing to fear.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-21-2012, 11:06 PM
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If the care needed is that urgent, then a dart gun and heavy tranqs may be your best bet. That would be less traumatic to the horse and less dangerous to yourself, your farrier, and your vet than if you were to try to force all of it on him.

If the care he needs is not an emergency situation, I would take a week or two to work with him and just see how far you can get. Maybe you can get him to the point that a simple sedative would be enough for the first farrier/worming instance. I know not all horses are this way, but my mustang (who was the exact same as yours except 3 years old and still a stud) came around in just a few days and was really friendly after that, easy to shoe, easy to worm, easy to ride.

Whatever you decide, good luck with him.

Also, welcome to the forum and I, for one, would love to see some pictures of your new addition. I have a soft spot for the 'stangs.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-21-2012, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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My new mustang is also a stud. My biggest problem right now is that he has a halter on but you can't get close enough to touch him. I want to get a rope on the halter so I can work with him. I may have to go with a dart gun although it sounds so cruel. I will try to get some pictures posted of him, I named him Jesse James. He reminds me of an outlaw. LOL
Thanks for the help!
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-22-2012, 04:23 AM
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We recently took ownership of an unhandled 2YO colt which had been terroised by his owners and would try explosive escape behaviour to avoid being touched or handled. His "yard" was made of barbed wire, sharp metal and baling twine so we knew we couldn't apply any pressure to him in case he got injured trying to escape.

On vet's advice we gave him some acerpromizine in some feed and then after it had taken the edge off him, we got him into a small yard made of some of our round pen panels which he couldn't escape from and couldn't move his feet and then slowly and carefully used advance retreat to reward him for not trying to escape our touch. Each time he settled, even for a second we would remove our hand. We started with his neck and then moved to his wither and then up to his head and ears. It took 2 hours to get a halter on him without him having a big reaction to it. We then make the space a bit bigger so he could move about a bit and started to teach him the basics of a leading response. Same deal, apply pressure, release the second he moved a leg forward. He found this hard to deal with and did trial some big escape behaviours- rearing etc. We had put a pull back collar on him which wouldn't break when he pulled but also spread the pressure over a wider area of his neck. When we had the basics of a leading response we used it to get him on our horse trailer. Because he'd spent the two hours in the small pen he was desensitised to the feeling of being in a small space.

It was a two hour journey to home and he walked off the trailer very camly. We had in a cattle yard on his own for two weeks and handled him several times a day, using pressure release and food rewards via clicker training to reinforce the leading lessons as well as getting him used to being handled all over his body. We got proof the lessons were successful after he got out amongst a group of geldings intent on attacking him and we were able to catch and lead him back to his yard despite him being very wired at the time.

We found that frequent short lessons in which we prevented him expressing any flight reponse quickly led to him calming down and associating us with good things, as well as looking to us for safety. Once he is gelded we will start his training under saddle.

We found that taking a less is more approach, reinforcing the correct responses (stillness) and only moving onto more challenging things when he was relaxed and calm with the current step has resulted in him being safe to handle.

Good luck with your mustang.
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Last edited by corymbia; 04-22-2012 at 04:27 AM.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-22-2012, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winki268 View Post
My new mustang is also a stud. My biggest problem right now is that he has a halter on but you can't get close enough to touch him. I want to get a rope on the halter so I can work with him. I may have to go with a dart gun although it sounds so cruel. I will try to get some pictures posted of him, I named him Jesse James. He reminds me of an outlaw. LOL
Thanks for the help!
If his feet are as bad as you say, then it is far more cruel to leave him as he is. Dart gun is a little sting and then you wait.. and the animal falls asleep. He has NO idea what you are doing.

Use the dart and then you can geld him at the same time.....

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-22-2012, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Elana View Post
If his feet are as bad as you say, then it is far more cruel to leave him as he is. Dart gun is a little sting and then you wait.. and the animal falls asleep. He has NO idea what you are doing.

Use the dart and then you can geld him at the same time.....
Completely agree with both of these.

I need to add that my kids trained 6 BLM horses over one summer. The horses were all 7 and up in age and had only recently been gelded. They really were just horses. Any unhandled horses. There is nothing magical or neurologically odd about having some mustang blood in them. Just treat them like a horse.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-22-2012, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your help, I think I'm going to try the "Less is More" approach with him, he's really very sweet he just needs more "people" time. I have fallen in love with him over the last week or so he's been here, I just want him to be safe and happy. I know once we get past the hard parts he will. This is going to be a learning experience for the both of us but I figure since he's young, we have all the time in the world, no hurry!

Thanks again!!
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-22-2012, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Forgot to mention, my vet said there is a tranquillizer we can try that goes in his feed, if that doesn't work we will use a dart gun to get his health issue's resolved. Then "less is more" approach for everything else.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-22-2012, 11:08 PM
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if he is in a paddock, grab a comfy chair and sit just inside the gate. Give him only half his usual hay ration about 20' from your chair and pay him no mind, read a book. Gradually work his hay a few feet closer with each feeding. Put a few carrots in his feed pan and see if he likes those. The aroma of carrots carries so put some in a small pail near your chair if he does like them. At this time you can ask nothing of him nor even think of him as he will sense it. By gradually bringing his hay closer he is having to decide if his fear or his belly wins out. Only when he shows great interest in the carrots should you hold your hand out, fingers down to see if he will greet you. If not, look away and ignore him. That is actually a good way to peak his interest.
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