How do I gain my new horses trust when he comes from a possibly abusive past home?
   

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How do I gain my new horses trust when he comes from a possibly abusive past home?

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  • Is smacking a horse abuse?

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    05-19-2013, 10:59 AM
  #1
Foal
Question How do I gain my new horses trust when he comes from a possibly abusive past home?

I bought a 9 y/o paint gelding back in October and to this day I still have a problem catching him in the pasture. I believe that the person that owned him before me may have been abusive towards him when he didn't do what she wanted and I am trying to find a way to prove to him that I will not be that kind of owner and that I will not harm him. Does anyone have any suggestions. It seems that when he is in the pasture the only way to effectively catch him is to back up to him with a hand out palm down and SLOWLY... I have already tried the whole not just catching him when I want to ride route and it doesn't seem to matter with him. Is this something that he will ever get over or am I just stuck with a horse that is always going to be a pain in the butt to catch?
     
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    05-19-2013, 11:20 AM
  #2
Showing
What makes you think he was abused? Just because he won't let you catch him? That's not fear, it's disrespect. He knows if you don't catch him, he doesn't have to work.

Stop being so worried about his 'feelings'. Seems to me he has your number and knows you're not going to press the issue. Even if he WAS abused, which I highly doubt, you letting him get away with bad behavior is only going to make him less respectful, not make him trust you.
     
    05-19-2013, 11:31 AM
  #3
Yearling
I agree with SR.
I have two rescued horses, both of whom willing come to me in the paddock. One of which loves to work and throws a fit when she doesn't get to go for a ride or walk.

Sounds like a lot of disrespect. I would suggest doing A LOT of ground work, working on manners. Your horse isn't seeing you as a leader.

You don't have to ride all the time. Determine what you're going to work on based on how your horse is acting. About a week ago I spent an entire hour working on "whoa" with my mare.
boots likes this.
     
    05-19-2013, 11:39 AM
  #4
Trained
I have one that I bought back in Oct as well. Honey plays the "I'll come up and get a scritch but you can't catch me" game. She will come at the GALLOP if she sees a pail in my hand. Doesn't have to have food in it, just the POSSIBILITY of food makes her come running. So I walk to the pasture with a pail in my hand and it may or may not have a handful of grain in the bucket, she never knows. But she'll come when I whistle and show her the bucket, I halter her and give her a handful of grain often enough to make it worth her while to come and check it out. Slowly, I'm cutting back on the grain and just whistling for her to come. Eventually, she'll come to the whistle, not the bucket but it's a matter of repetition and retraining her to come to a new trigger.
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    05-19-2013, 11:45 AM
  #5
Foal
Charlie never pins his ears doesn't turn his butt to me and will circle me within the "catch me" zone but when you reach out to rub him he shy's away. I also would like to add that I know the previous owner and she has a pretty bad attitude when a horse doesn't do what she wants... not going into details but I have seen both said previous owner and her father take a horse that did not want to stand still tie their front feet together and back feet together and just leave them tied to a post. I have also witnessed them getting off the horse they were riding at the time to smack hit and use the reins to discipline the horse just because they wanted to grab a bite of hay when walking though a field. I may be new to this but to me that would be abuse. I'm not talking about smacking on the neck for doing something wrong... I'm talking about getting off the horse yelling and cussing and smacking them repeatedly for up to five or ten minutes at the time... to me that is going to far. They don't try to correct the problems they just retaliate and punish when it happens. Is there a way to get him past thinking that being caught may mean punishment?
     
    05-19-2013, 11:47 AM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by charliehorse2012    
charlie never pins his ears doesn't turn his butt to me and will circle me within the "catch me" zone but when you reach out to rub him he shy's away. I also would like to add that I know the previous owner and she has a pretty bad attitude when a horse doesn't do what she wants... not going into details but I have seen both said previous owner and her father take a horse that did not want to stand still tie their front feet together and back feet together and just leave them tied to a post. I have also witnessed them getting off the horse they were riding at the time to smack hit and use the reins to discipline the horse just because they wanted to grab a bite of hay when walking though a field. I may be new to this but to me that would be abuse. I'm not talking about smacking on the neck for doing something wrong... I'm talking about getting off the horse yelling and cussing and smacking them repeatedly for up to five or ten minutes at the time... to me that is going to far. They don't try to correct the problems they just retaliate and punish when it happens. Is there a way to get him past thinking that being caught may mean punishment?

Do you think maybe she punished them when she finally caught them? Because that's what it's sounding like to me. I see it in dog owners all the time (yeah I know they are different just making a point) dog runs out the door, owner chases dog, dog finally gets caught and gets a pop on the butt. I'd run too!
     
    05-19-2013, 11:56 AM
  #7
Foal
That is more than likely what happened. I know that the only way they caught him before was to run him and another horse into a round pen that was in the pasture and when in the enclosed space they would corner him and put a halter on him... Once he is caught he is yours all day long. He will do what ever you want him to do but just as soon as you turn him back out into the pasture you have to start the whole process over. I can turn him back out in the pasture and as soon as the halter comes off he walks off and will not come back to me unless I spend another thirty minutes trying to get back close to him.
     
    05-19-2013, 12:03 PM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by charliehorse2012    
charlie never pins his ears doesn't turn his butt to me and will circle me within the "catch me" zone but when you reach out to rub him he shy's away. I also would like to add that I know the previous owner and she has a pretty bad attitude when a horse doesn't do what she wants... not going into details but I have seen both said previous owner and her father take a horse that did not want to stand still tie their front feet together and back feet together and just leave them tied to a post. I have also witnessed them getting off the horse they were riding at the time to smack hit and use the reins to discipline the horse just because they wanted to grab a bite of hay when walking though a field. I may be new to this but to me that would be abuse. I'm not talking about smacking on the neck for doing something wrong... I'm talking about getting off the horse yelling and cussing and smacking them repeatedly for up to five or ten minutes at the time... to me that is going to far. They don't try to correct the problems they just retaliate and punish when it happens. Is there a way to get him past thinking that being caught may mean punishment?
He's playing games with you and being disrespectful. It doesn't matter if he came from an abusive home, he's been at yours long enough now (7 months) to have figured out that he's not being abused NOW. He has also been there long enough to get your number and work you. The person who suggested ground work and gaining his respect exercises gave you good advice. In the meantime, you can start letting him know that coming to you means food, either a treat or his meal to get him to come to you. No more chasing him, he comes to you or gets ignored and NO food. He comes, you feed, he runs you don't. Pretty soon he'll come to the sight of a bucket, then he has to stand while you get a rope around his neck or no food, then to be haltered or no food. Always praise him and give him a scritch for being good, in addition to the food right now, eventually when you can reliably catch him you start not giving food but always give praise. It takes a while but if you are consistent then he'll get it.
     
    05-19-2013, 12:08 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians    
He's playing games with you and being disrespectful. It doesn't matter if he came from an abusive home, he's been at yours long enough now (7 months) to have figured out that he's not being abused NOW. He has also been there long enough to get your number and work you. The person who suggested ground work and gaining his respect exercises gave you good advice. In the meantime, you can start letting him know that coming to you means food, either a treat or his meal to get him to come to you. No more chasing him, he comes to you or gets ignored and NO food. He comes, you feed, he runs you don't. Pretty soon he'll come to the sight of a bucket, then he has to stand while you get a rope around his neck or no food, then to be haltered or no food. Always praise him and give him a scritch for being good, in addition to the food right now, eventually when you can reliably catch him you start not giving food but always give praise. It takes a while but if you are consistent then he'll get it.
That sounds like some good advice. Would it work for people who board, and can't necessarily be there everyday to control the feed, or is the feed bucket an "extra treat" at catching time?
     
    05-19-2013, 12:09 PM
  #10
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by charliehorse2012    
charlie never pins his ears doesn't turn his butt to me and will circle me within the "catch me" zone but when you reach out to rub him he shy's away. I also would like to add that I know the previous owner and she has a pretty bad attitude when a horse doesn't do what she wants... not going into details but I have seen both said previous owner and her father take a horse that did not want to stand still tie their front feet together and back feet together and just leave them tied to a post. I have also witnessed them getting off the horse they were riding at the time to smack hit and use the reins to discipline the horse just because they wanted to grab a bite of hay when walking though a field. I may be new to this but to me that would be abuse. I'm not talking about smacking on the neck for doing something wrong... I'm talking about getting off the horse yelling and cussing and smacking them repeatedly for up to five or ten minutes at the time... to me that is going to far. They don't try to correct the problems they just retaliate and punish when it happens. Is there a way to get him past thinking that being caught may mean punishment?
I used to work at a barn helping to rehabilitate horses. I've seen some pretty messed up horses. I'm talking about broken pelvic bones, teeth bashed out with baseball bats, horses that wouldn't hesitate to turn around and kick you the moment they feel threatened. Not one of them ran away in the paddock. Abused horses usually have triggers, loud noises, confinement, certain people, etc etc ... One of the barns I ride at has a horse that is near impossible to catch, never been abused, the moment you reach out a hand to her she'll take off. Just because he's not pinning his ears, or turning his butt towards you doesn't mean he's not being disrespectful. If he's doing it out of fear he would probably have wide eyes, sometimes you can see the whites, his tail is clamped down, he is tense ... You've had him for about seven months, what have you been doing with him as far as work?
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