Need Help With People Shy Rescue Horse
 
 

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Need Help With People Shy Rescue Horse

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  • Horse is shy with people
  • Rescuing an abused human shy horse

 
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    03-05-2009, 03:53 PM
  #1
Yearling
Need Help With People Shy Rescue Horse

I recently started volunteering at a horse rescue and I love it there. But I wont lie I don't have a lot of experience with rescue horses, horses that have been abused and come from bad situation. I am sponsoring this cute little appendix mare named Margaret (horrible name, lmao) and im really trying to take an active part in her rehabilitation as well. But she is sooooo people shy she's impossible to catch without a sweet feed bribe, and she has no problem swinging her but at you and threatening to kick. Once you catch her she's ok, but she'll pin her ears and try to bite if you touch her anywhere besides on her neck. Anybody have any tips on how to approach her and work with her?? Thanks!
     
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    03-05-2009, 07:42 PM
  #2
Weanling
Just take it slow. If she does not give you permission to catch her, then don't. Just go in her pen and be with her. Study her. Watch for signs of acceptance, if any. See if she can turn her instinct to run away into curiosity. Don't press her when she isn't being receptive.
If she doesn't give you permission to touch her elsewhere, then don't for awhile. Once she accepts you, and begins to trust that you are not just another idiot human being coming to torture her some more, and that you might actually be somewhat interesting, you will find that she will allow you or tolerate you touching her besides her neck. Respect the fact that she has been in a bad place, because of humans. So honor that, take your time, and just be happy being in her company, and she will return your favor.
Be very careful that you do not cross your boundries too soon. Once you do that, you have justified her thinking that humans are inconsiderate jerks, and will put you back to ground zero. :) You are doing an honorable thing, good for you!!
     
    03-05-2009, 07:52 PM
  #3
Foal
It sounds like she needs some desensitizing. I would get her in a round pen if one is available and take a lunge whip and rub it all over her body and legs. Swing ti over and around her, this is what I did with my mustang and it worked really well. If her biting is a real problem, give her nose a little pinch each time she tries to bite. She will soon realize that each time she bites, there will be a consequence. I worked with a stallion that I did that with and he just made a game out of it, but it works well for the most part. If her biting is severe enough, you can (I know this sounds dumb, but it works!) strap a small board to your arm with a hot potato on it and if she reaches around and bites you, she will get the hot potato and I don't think she will bite again! I don't mean scorch her mouth with a hot potato, just enough to make her change her mind about sinking her teeth into you! I have worked with some horses that have had severe biting issues and this worked well, but Im not sure how bad this mare bites. I hope these suggestions help, they have worked for me!
     
    03-05-2009, 10:54 PM
  #4
Started
I agree 100% with koomy. Don't push yourself on her. Her opinion of people is bad enough, she doesn't need another human pushing themselves on her. Respect her feelings and thresholds and honor them. She'll see that and eventually start trusting you more, but it's going to take time.
     
    03-06-2009, 03:46 PM
  #5
Yearling
We took in a little mare a few years ago that came from a very bad place. Over the last couple of years we have learned a bit more of her story.

When she first came to us she would only let my hubby near her, she'd take off when she saw me coming. Made sense as the abuser's were always women. As an example,we thought that she had lost her teeth to old age, but have since found out that she was a bit of a biter, and the people that had her took a 2 by 4 board and repeatedly hit her in the mouth. She had so many broken teeth the vet was called 3 weeks later to pull what was left. So you can see that she was unsure if I was just one more women going to hurt her.

Koomy is right, get yourself a chair and hang out in her paddock. If she doesn't want to be touched and walks away don't take it personally, it's not you, it's humans in general.

As side note our little girl has come around to me, but it took a good 6 months.

This is her when we got her from the SPCA:

     
    03-06-2009, 03:49 PM
  #6
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by bilyeuamber    
It sounds like she needs some desensitizing. I would get her in a round pen if one is available and take a lunge whip and rub it all over her body and legs. Swing ti over and around her, this is what I did with my mustang and it worked really well. If her biting is a real problem, give her nose a little pinch each time she tries to bite. She will soon realize that each time she bites, there will be a consequence. I worked with a stallion that I did that with and he just made a game out of it, but it works well for the most part. If her biting is severe enough, you can (I know this sounds dumb, but it works!) strap a small board to your arm with a hot potato on it and if she reaches around and bites you, she will get the hot potato and I don't think she will bite again! I don't mean scorch her mouth with a hot potato, just enough to make her change her mind about sinking her teeth into you! I have worked with some horses that have had severe biting issues and this worked well, but Im not sure how bad this mare bites. I hope these suggestions help, they have worked for me!
Your joking, right? This thread is about an abused horse, not a BAD horse.
     
    03-06-2009, 04:34 PM
  #7
Started
I thought the same thing G&K. Even if a horse is being naughty and trying to nip I wouldn't do that.
     
    03-06-2009, 11:00 PM
  #8
Weanling
I would try the approach and retreat method. I would go out and walk around the pasture and every time she looks at you walk away and continue to do this. It will make her very curious in you and eventually will start following you around. She is probably use to every time aome ever came out they wanted something from her and if you ignore her she is going to wonder why.

I would probably try the desentiving method again approach and retreat. Rub her with an object somewhere where she is comfortable and then slow move to another spot and when she becomes aggitated go back to her safe spot. Continue this until she is okay with you touching her everywhere.

I can understand that she was abused but I don't think that is an acuse to for her to walk all over you and possibly injury you. There is a big difference between being firm and and being abusive. I would possibly try some natural horsemanship techniques to establish your dominance so that she respects you. Just probably take things s little bit slower then you would a different horse. You don't want her to fear you, just understand that you the alpha mare lol!

Use your best judgement! Your doing a great thing!
     
    03-07-2009, 09:43 AM
  #9
Weanling
It is different working with an abused horse rather than an unbroke horse. Abused horses, like in this case, do not need another human forcing it's dominance at it. It doesn't need to see people always as the dominant force, it needs to learn to see them as a companion as well. Horses in the wild, they have companions. Yes, there is always a pecking order, but within that order is friendship. There is alot more to horses than most people realize, and it isn't always about being making sure you're "in charge". Why not be a friend? A source of confidence? Something this little mare can look forward too. Not another lesson on human making sure horse feels inferior.
Sure, with an unbroke, ignorant, and uneducated horse who shows these symptoms I would agree completely with what you are saying. Abused horses, however, require something different that not every horse person is able.
You must do whatever it is that is appropriate to the horse. Not one method works for the same slew of horses. In time, BurningAmber will be able to move on and teach her mare to accept different things as their partnership progresses.
But for now, if she were mine, I'd show her some TLC and an understanding of where she is in her life.

One more thing, Burning Amber, if you have any other horses around, if it is possible to stick a friendly mare in there with her. Not aggressive, preferably. That mare will show yours slowly but surely that humans are ok. If you walk in there and the other mare comes to you looing for a scratch or a cookie, yours will get curious and want some too. Just an idea, if you have the facilities or the horses! :)
     
    03-07-2009, 02:57 PM
  #10
Started
Koomy brings up an excellent point. If you can put another horse in with her who really likes people that will set an example for this mare. Horses certainly make opinions about people by observing what the other horses in the herd think of people. They're very perceptive! If you do put another horse in with her, I'd go out into the paddock or whatever and scratch the other horse, give him/her treats, and just spend time hanging out and not really pay attention to the other horse. The less pressure you can put on her at this point the better.
     

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