how to halter break a "wild horse" - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 10-02-2009, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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how to halter break a "wild horse"

I've always trained younger more manage-able horses and never had the opportunity to work with a very close to wild horse before. Calamity is as close to wild as I've seen. I can touch her shoulder for a few seconds but that is it. I can't touch her head and she's very jumpy if I move around. How do I get a halter on her? If I can do that..they I can do everything else I need to..just not sure how to accomplish this without spending months trying to gain her trust.

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post #2 of 20 Old 10-02-2009, 10:06 PM
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my suggestion would be just to sit with her in the pasture. Let her get so darn curious about you that she has to go over and see you or else she'll go crazy. Horses are very curious animals.

Let her know you are not a threat and play approach and retreat to be able to touch all over her. Then try it with a halter and a lead rope
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post #3 of 20 Old 10-02-2009, 10:11 PM
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I don't know that this is much help, but with really wild ones the only way we have gotten them to come to us quicker without all the months of trust work is to bring out an older horse that it knows and allow that horse to sort of bring it to you. If it sees that the older horse likes getting attention then it may come up, a feed bucket could be helpful too
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post #4 of 20 Old 10-02-2009, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SavvyHearts View Post
my suggestion would be just to sit with her in the pasture. Let her get so darn curious about you that she has to go over and see you or else she'll go crazy. Horses are very curious animals.

Let her know you are not a threat and play approach and retreat to be able to touch all over her. Then try it with a halter and a lead rope
Worked great for Robert Redford!!

I usually rope them with a xx soft lariet and teach them to give with that. If you can't do that you might have to spend a couple of weeks getting close enough to put the halter on. I trained a big black mare that was 6 years old and the only time she had been touched was when her owners choked her down and gave her a shot for west nile virus. It took two weeks to get her to lead and get a saddle on her and another two before I could ride out of the round pen. After two months of training I could rope and doctor cattle off her. Take however much time you need. Horse training is a marathon not a sprint.

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post #5 of 20 Old 10-03-2009, 12:57 AM
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kevinshorses is right, not all training has to be physical. Me and Shay-la are not ropers in the slightest definition unless you count the loop I dropped around the neck of a miniature pony that sprinted by me and tore my hand to heck a few weeks ago She bought a wild yearling Clydesdale X Thoroughbred filly last summer. She'd been run on 5000 acres her entire left and never handled except, again, to be basically hog tied for a single trim (they gave up after that).

It took weeks until we could halter her. She was kept at the neighbours briefly while we fixed fence, and she had a big sturdy round pen right in the pasture. We'd grab a bucket of grain, get all five horses into the round pen then lead the others out. I know I know, enormous pain in the butt, but you work with what you have.

And then it was just about association. Heck, this filly was so wild, she bathed me in grain half a dozen times because everytime her lips touched my hand, she'd freak out. We'd just hang out in the paddock, very gradually getting her used to our presence. Eventually she just got curious and let us touch her more and more.

It definately took longer then usual, but a year later Shay-la can hop up on that filly bareback in the pasture. She's the first one to the gate, and just a big overgrown loveable hairball. It was definately worth taking the time instead of insisting she wear a halter immediately and having to fight her for it!
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post #6 of 20 Old 10-03-2009, 02:43 AM
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I agree with the others; take your time, you will be more pleased with the results if you do. I like how Kevin put it "horse training is a marathon, not a sprint..." Good one...

You may be surprised in how quickly just spending time with her will help her overcome alot of her fear and mistrust.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #7 of 20 Old 05-27-2012, 06:25 PM
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We have a yearling Andalusian filly who got a hawthorn spine stuck in the soft tissue on the underside of her foot when just a couple of weeks old. We had to catch her and restrain her, of course, to get the thorn out and clean the wound, then catch and hold her every day to administer oral antibiotic. The experience left her very, very leary of human contact--so much so that we gave up on haltering her until this spring, when we realized we were never going to get this girl registered, turned out, or anything until we got a halter on her. In the long run, getting her to poke her nose through the halter to get bits of apple got the job done--took a long, patient time to get past her jerking her head away when I tried to buckle the strap behind her ears. But once it was on, she reared and took off for about ten yards--then stopped dead and stood there thinking. I believe she was thinking, "So this was all they wanted? What's the big deal?" because she turned around and came back, let me take the halter off and put it back on, and just went on eating as if nothing had happened. Bribery works, sometimes.
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post #8 of 20 Old 05-27-2012, 11:34 PM
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I tend to push a little faster, maybe, to get previously unhandled horses to put up with being caught and halter trained. Something might happen where they would need to be caught and led for their own safety or health.

I will get them into a smaller enclosure and using a soft rope, rope them. Yes, they tend to get excited, but I stay calm and am always surprised at how quickly they get used to it.

I spoil with treats at this point, too. The only time I use treats. Ever. Often, after going to this routine consistantly for several days, they walk up to me as soon as they are contained in the smaller area. The few that don't at least go into the smaller area easily and let me walk up to them and get a halter on.
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post #9 of 20 Old 05-28-2012, 01:25 AM
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Tie the horse up with a nylon halter to a strong post and get out of the way. The result will be 'halter broke'.
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post #10 of 20 Old 05-28-2012, 01:40 AM
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Ian, I loled.

I agree with sitting in the pasture with her.

You could also try getting her into a round pen ever other day. Something to that effect.

Sit with her in the round pen and either make noise or have something to fiddle with.
In my experience, I've had horses who really like a quiet, soft high pitched whistle. Just stare off and away from her and whistle lullabies. They love it. Peaks their curiosity. You could also try fumbling with keys. Gently moving them back and forth so that they make a quiet clinking noise. I'm sure you'll have her stepping on your toes if you're interesting.
Just do that for a few days.
Like another poster said, have a well handled and behaved horse around will speed up the process. After doing the round pen work, if you put another horse in with her, she might show interest in what you're doing instead of focusing on the other horse.

Work on haltering and unhaltering the handled horse with her in there. Jiggle it, make noise, fling the lead rope, catch her eye with it. Any interest shown is to be hugely rewarded. Either verbal or food, whatever works best with her. With working with the handled horse, give lots of praise and treats for having the halter taken off, put on, and everything in between.

She's bound to take interest and want to know what's going on. It won't be an instant thing but it won't take months.
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