A Horse With Trust Issues...What To Do? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-22-2011, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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A Horse With Trust Issues...What To Do?

I recently bought a 21 month old quarter horse gelding. The people who I bought the horse from said that the previous owner always had to rope the horse in order to catch him.
I can feed him, but he doesn't like to come up to me if I don't have food with me, he moves away when I try to pet him and sometimes gets a little nippy, it's like he doesn't trust anyone.
He is semi-halter broke, but he doesn't like to get close to me when I have him on the lead rope.
Just wondering if anyone has ideas on how I can get this horse to trust people again?

Just to note I have owned young horses before, but I've never seen one this scared of people before.
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-22-2011, 04:04 PM
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Time and patience! Lots more of time and patience on top of that. Hanging out in the paddock with him. His curiosity will take over.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-22-2011, 04:32 PM
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I would also recommend round pen work. This will help the horse respect you first of all, then you can build your relationship from there. I would definitely try to work with him for short amounts of time every day as well.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-22-2011, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubyaS6 View Post
I would also recommend round pen work. This will help the horse respect you first of all, then you can build your relationship from there. I would definitely try to work with him for short amounts of time every day as well.
- YES - round pen work helps a TON, if you have a smaller paddock - put him there and spend a lot of time with him to earn his trust.. I believe that to gain his trust can be accomplished without food and treats as that will only make him NIP and eventually bite. I taught my 2 year old filly to want to hand out with me like this using no treats whatsoever and she did not trust humas when I got her this past Christmas.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-23-2011, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks,

I'll definitely have to try those suggestions!!
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-23-2011, 06:42 PM
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Yes just take your time; I wouldn't round pen a horse with trust issues. Yes I know everyone will jump on me for saying that, but I don't feel it is the ideal way to produce trust.

Hand grazing, longeing (quietly), riding, and simply being trustworthy (consistent, quiet, firm, patient).
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-23-2011, 07:15 PM
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Remember that the horse is only trying to survive; his bad prior experiences with humans have taught him to be suspicious even beyond the natural caution of a prey animal. Remember this to avoid getting angry at him for it, ever!

Instead of angry/frustrated, your attitude toward him must be helpfulness. You want to help this horse with his unhappy past.

If you approach him with helpfulness, otherwise known as a good "feel", the horse will respond with trust, incrementally.

Your feel is all that he has to go on.
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-23-2011, 07:20 PM
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everyone here has given great advice as far as I know! Haha I would probably roundpen him if I were you, only use as much aid as you have to, even if its just a little hand flick to get him going or something, don't overdue it. And the best advice I have is to be his leader, be confident and patient :) good luck!

If there are no horses in heaven... im not going.
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-23-2011, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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I managed tonight to hand feed him a little and he allowed me to pet his neck without trying to bite me, so I'm thinking there is only going to be improvements from here on!!

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone, I will gain this horse's trust yet!
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-25-2011, 08:57 PM
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I'd say just stay out in the pasture with him. If you have a paddock you could put him in and have a round bale of hay that you could sit on I'd suggest just sit out there for a while. Maybe take something out there to distract you because you might be out there for a while before he comes up by you. That's usually how I bond with my horses when I can't work with them. I'll just sit there for a few hours all bundled up in the winter, sometimes even just lay on the bale and watch the clouds go by. X3

But of course if you don't have a roundbale you could just make do with whatever you do have. Something yummy like if you sat out there with some grain. Maybe after a few times just make him put the halter and leadrope on to eat (if you can get it), and then take it off when you let him back out. Then all of a sudden being hooked up becomes a good thing.
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