How to gain your horses trust - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 01-26-2012, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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How to gain your horses trust

Hi,

I have had Lakota now for about 3 weeks, he was a track pony here in Phoenix, I got him directly off the track his previous owner had no more use for him because of an injury to his collateral ligament.

Anyways, since, I cannot ride him yet, all I can do is walk him, which he doesn't do very well, he is a little spooky, maybe it's his new surroundings. Yesterday he reared up on me, when I was taking him to his pen. It seems that after we go for our short walk and we are coming home he wants to walk faster to get back in his pen. Which is another one of his issues.

But back to my original thought. What is the best way for me to gain his trust. Is it to sit quietly in or next to his pen. Should I be talking to him, so he recgonizes my voice. Or go out there and brush and touch him as much as possible. When I approach his pen, he practically ignores me. I have to walk around his pen, so that I am facing him. The only time he really interacts with me is if I am giving him a treat, which I know I can't do that all the time.
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post #2 of 21 Old 01-26-2012, 06:33 PM
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Well, I can only tell you what worked for me. I have a mare that really wasn't my biggest fan when I got her. I stand between her and the food. She has to come up to me, let me touch her and wait for me to move before she can eat. I don't know if that's trust but at least it's some sort of respect/tolerance. I don't have huge issues catching her now.

My gelding is the pushy one on the ground. HE was trying to herd me back to the barn. I whacked him on his shoulder with the rope and that stopped that.
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post #3 of 21 Old 01-26-2012, 09:44 PM
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For horses that are hard to catch or don't like people walking up to them, I put them in a pen by themselves and sit out there with them. Take pics, read a book, draw, listen to your iPod - anything that doesn't involve the horse.
They are social animals, and when his needs becomes strong enough, he will come up to you. This way, it's HIS idea, and he doesn't feel like he's being cornered.
From there, I move up to buddy scratching. Once you hook them in that way, two days and it's a completely different horse.

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post #4 of 21 Old 01-27-2012, 07:49 AM
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Be the boss! Be the worthy LEADER.

You have to establish respect. You have to be the herd-of -2 leader 100% of the time. Once you are established by this horse as the leader/ boss, the trust comes by itself.

You cannot 'buy' trust. You can hand-feed and treat and pet until your horse turns into a monster that hates you or you can be the total leader and he will learn to depend completely on and you as his herd leader.

That is just how they are.
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post #5 of 21 Old 01-27-2012, 08:18 AM
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I'd have to agree with Cherie. Being the boss is a very huge thing to do. You can't let him get in your way. :)
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post #6 of 21 Old 01-27-2012, 08:38 AM
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When I first got my mare, she was really pushy and had no ground manners or respect. She had trust issues from abuse from a previous owner. I spent time working on ground manners with her and showing her a gentle hand and praise when she did something correctly. I talked to her constantly and spent time grooming her and touching her. She was very spooky and would flinch a lot at first. It took days of just talking to her and touching her and grooming until she started to calm down. It's been a little over a month and now, when she's out in the pasture, I can call her and she'll come or if she sees me, she comes right up to me. Have patience...your guy will get there. Good luck!!!
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post #7 of 21 Old 01-27-2012, 10:09 AM
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Dealing with a track horse is similar to dealing with the race horse, altho this boy doesn't have to run his heart out. His routine has been turned upside down. Before you take him out of the paddock, place a feed pail/pan with a few carrots, pellets, etc. at about the distance he seems to get nervous. Now, when you bring him out, take him to the pail, let him eat and put him back. Add more feed to the pan and go get him again and repeat. By the third time his focus will be on the pail. Each day move the pail another 50' farther away and repeat the exercise. He is now realizing good things can happen away from the pen.
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post #8 of 21 Old 01-27-2012, 10:45 AM
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I agree with Cherie. Horses trust a leader. Respect has to come first.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #9 of 21 Old 01-28-2012, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
Be the boss! Be the worthy LEADER.

You have to establish respect. You have to be the herd-of -2 leader 100% of the time. Once you are established by this horse as the leader/ boss, the trust comes by itself.

You cannot 'buy' trust. You can hand-feed and treat and pet until your horse turns into a monster that hates you or you can be the total leader and he will learn to depend completely on and you as his herd leader.

That is just how they are.
If you're working with a pushy, obtuese horse, this method works. I've used it on my six year old stallion when I first got him, and a four year old mare with no manners.
But if you're working with a scared horse, coming on too aggressive as a leader can backfire. I have a coming two year old colt that I'm working with and we've made leaps and bounds, but slowly. He's timid and if I constantly push my leadership on him he mentally shuts down as he does when he is getting picked on in the herd.
While he repects my leadership, we're starting on a more level playing field. But different mothods work for different horses. Finding yours can be the tricky one.
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post #10 of 21 Old 01-28-2012, 02:22 PM
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What if none of those things work? My horse knows I'm the leader, and he will follow me around in the arena, and the round pen. He respects my space when we are working together, but when I get to the gate when he is in his pen, he starts walking the other way. It's frustrating to say the least. He isn't necessarily difficult to catch, because the other horses in the pen come over to me, but even still, he would rather sit in the far corner looking away from me.
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