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.
Last edited by corymbia; 04-22-2012 at 04:27 AM.