Horse that doesn't like halter

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Horse that doesn't like halter

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    10-08-2013, 09:33 PM
Horse that doesn't like halter

I have an 8 year old gelding that has been put out to pasture by the previous owner for over a year. I can not get a halter on him to save my life. He keeps bolting every time I get close. This horse was trained in reining and has won competitions. From my under standing this horse also went through a tough spot where he was allowed to get away with a lot and threw the rider off which led to him being put out in the pasture. I'm at a loss to what to do with him.
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    10-08-2013, 09:41 PM
Maybe try to get him in a smaller area to try to catch/halter him and make sure its a breakaway and leave it on him until he gets easier to work with... Horses that are hard to halter or catch are a pain... :/
    10-08-2013, 09:51 PM
Well, he wants to run him.

Don't let him run away from you, you MAKE him run away from you. Its no longer his choice, its yours.

He's spoiled and needs to be put in his place. Stick it out with him, no matter how long it takes, make sure you win, and that you catch him and fuss with him. And do it multiples times a week. Daily would be best.

Eventually he's going to realize its SO much work running from you because your making him, so he might as well just let you catch him.

I would also keep a reward in your pocket. So when you do catch him, he gets something positive out of it.
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    10-08-2013, 09:57 PM
Does he bolt only when he sees the halter or does he run as soon as a person tries to approach him at all? Is he alone in the field? Can you get him into a smaller field?

If it's just the halter, try a neck collar instead as a step to getting used to something on him. Move to a war bridle slowly by getting him used to a rope on his head.

If he is scared of people, then never mind the halter for now. He has to lose that initial fear first or every other training step will be pointless and dangerous. Does he get any feed on a regular basis? If so, feeding time is a great training time. Be near him. But never let down your guard. He is an unknown so don't let him disrespect your space. As he learns that to associate the food with you/people while at also knowing that he doesn't have control over it you will progressively be able to be near him.

If he doesn't get regular daily feed of any kind, start doing it. Just a simple 12% pressed ration, nothing sweet will do fine. Initially, you'll have to teach him that it's yummy. This will only work if other horses aren't with him. Get his attention and put it down in the field in a bright red bucket. Doesn't have to be much. Just a cup will do. It's a training exercise, not diet change. It's important to do this at the same time every day initially. Back away and leave him be. Do this until he starts to look for you to bring the bucket. Once he starts to look for the bucket, don't leave. Hang out -- do chores, walk around, read a book, whatever. Just be in his sight. Keep progressing to get closer to his space.

If you have time, you could do this exercise twice a day. Just remember, never let down your guard and if he ever threatens you, give him heck. Level of threat determines level of heck.

You should be able to get to the point where you hold the bucket and he eats from it. Move to contact, etc. etc.

Its so tough when you don't know what kind of personality he has or what to expect. If he has been in the field for a year with no care, he more than likely has some serious hoof care needs and who knows if there is anything else going on (cuts, worms...). Poor guy. Any pictures?
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    10-08-2013, 09:58 PM
Green Broke
I agree with CLaPorte. When you catch him pop a snack in his mouth and unhalter him. Take him out for grass. Anything that will make him look forward to you coming to catch him.

For especially hard horses we have tried to catch them before dinner. If they don't give in quickly we hold their dinner. We try again in the morning. Never had one who didn't come running. They were haltered first thing and had a heap of hay waiting for them in their stalls. We feed them inside for a week or so the associate come in with something positive.
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    10-08-2013, 11:03 PM
He doesn't run when I approach him. He's fine with me rubbing all over him. When he sees the halter I can see fear in his eyes like the halter is the enemy. I was told that the husband did rope him and when he reared the roped ended up cutting into his neck. So there's some trauma behind this issue.
    10-08-2013, 11:04 PM
Green Broke
Can you just get a neck collar on him then? Then put the halter on?
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    10-08-2013, 11:16 PM
I attempted just to use the lead rope with out the halted to lay across his neck just to let him get use to having something on him but even that freaked him out. Anything other than my hands touching him or brush he's fine with me brushing him, he backs up ears pin back and he takes off. After about 5 minutes he does comes back and we try again
    10-09-2013, 03:21 AM
Green Broke
I doubt this is anything related to fear. This is exactly what a spoiled horse is like, and one that doesn't want to be caught. They are not the same thing.

I'd make him move. And quit dilly dallying around with him over this, or you won't be able to do anything with him.
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    10-09-2013, 08:37 PM
Hmmm... fear or spoiled? That is the question. Any chance you could get someone to video your interaction with him? For sure if this is just being spoiled, my first posting is completely off base.

I'm still inclined to think it's fear, but at least its not people, just the restraint. Can you put your hands on his neck and head and ears?

He obviously knows what is expected of him, so I like ClaPorte's feeding suggestion, except that you first have to teach him that the food will be provided only when he lets you put the halter on. So, when he comes and is happy, put the hay down for him. Then put the rope over his neck. If he takes off, then take the hay out of the field with you. Repeat the next morning. Then work with getting the rope around his neck loosely - so that if he takes off the rope will fall off - so just a twist in it, not a loop or a knot. But if he takes off before you do, the hay leaves with you.

Then change the order - rope first, then hay. He'll have it figured out by then. Then move to halter first, then hay. Teach him that you = hay, but on YOUR terms.

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