New practically untouched pony help?

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New practically untouched pony help?

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    03-20-2011, 06:09 PM
New practically untouched pony help?

Ok so this is my new boy Steel. He's a three year old welsh X QH gelding. He went untouched from birth to two year old as his owner was going through a hard time. When he was two (last summer) he was herded into a smaller (but still healthy sized) pen with about 8 other ponies in the same situation (they were all born at the same time). The only human contact he had was when the owner would come and feed and water them. In November, he was sedated so he could have his feet, deworming, and vaccines done. He was also gelded at this time. They left a halter on him for the next month or so. When I went to meet him, he was fairly curious of people, but didn't trust them. He would come over and sniff my outstretched hand, and then turn and trot off the way a snooty welsh can. :) When he came home, we had to put him in with our other horses, as our smaller pen would have buried him alive with all the snow. When we went to turn him out, my lead mare came over and bit his butt, so he ran off before we could take the halter or leadline off of him. He's been home for a few weeks now, and I will go out with a bucket of oats and make him eat from it while I hold it, but I can only do this when the other horses are tied up, as they pick on him a fair bit. He will come up and take a bit, then back about 6 steps away and chew then come back ever so slowly and take another bite and back away again. We have made absolutely zero progress since he's come home. If anyone has any critique, advice, suggestions, or their own stories, I would love to hear them!
PS here's a pick of the little buggar, he's quite a handsome boy eh?
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File Type: jpg Steel.jpg (24.3 KB, 186 views)
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    03-20-2011, 08:01 PM
The absolute best thing to do, in my opinion and experience, is to keep him in a small pen away from the other horses, but perferably closer to you and your house and your happenings around the barn yard. This will enable him to be used to humans walking around and popping in and out and shouting and laughing and such. This pen should be large enough for him to be able to do normal horsey things, but small enough that when you enter the pen, he is still forced to see what you are doing (no larger than 30'x30' I would say) I like that you are making him eat from you. This is great! And the fact that he even attempts to eat from the bucket is a very good start. Other things you can try are to perform normal tasks in a chair while the bucket is at your side: I.e, cleaning tack, reading a book, etc... get him used to your calm and almost obsolete presence. Once he becomes comfortable with this, you can continue slowly onto other things such as brushing or touching him without a halter on. You want him to become comfortable with YOU working around his body, without him having to feel trapped. Once he is comfortable with you, this is where you can being normal training like a young filly or colt that is accostomed to humans- halter/lead training, picking up feet, bathing, lunging and all that good stuff :) He is a beauty! Best of wishes with him!
    03-20-2011, 09:57 PM
Thanks so much SAsamone! I really appreciate it. Thankfully all of my pens (all three of them lol) are really close to the house, and we only have two horses and two mini donkeys, plus him at the moment. Unfortunately, our small pen is on the exact opposite side of the yard, right beside the big scary c-can/storage bin, so I can't get him into anything smaller. I'm thinking in the spring though when there isn't as much snow, I will probably move the other animals and leave him by himself for a bit. Hmmm...maybe I will start doing homework outside with the ponies as soon as it is a bit warmer...It's so hard to do anything with them when there's 3 feet of snow outside, and it's freezing cold! :(
    03-20-2011, 10:04 PM
Oh geez, I didn't even think of that, I'm sorry!! I'm in Florida lol. But, when it does warm up for you, I have had a lot of success with this technique. :)
    03-20-2011, 10:32 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
I commend you for taking him in. These situations always take a LOT of patience! The filly I've been working with (Sour) lately shares a similar story with your boy- except that she did have some contact with people right before I started working with her, and unfortunately...all of that contact was negative, and just about ruined her. When I finally got to her she was agressive and very fearful. That isnt the case with your boy though, and that's fantastic!
Now I want to warn you, I firmly believe in a fairly fast pacedway of going. If you give a horse too much time to think, it will quickly come up with a reason not to do something (ie; trust you, accept you as the alpha, etc) if you keep them on their toes though, they'll quickly become trusting. For over a year I sort of 'danced' around my filly's warning boundaries, never stepping into them because I didnt want to make her hate me more. In reality though, she was beginning to hate me more and more every day BECAUSE I was being so chicken about it. She was bored and I was basically telling her I was too afraid to advance. Once I started making her just a 'little bit uneasy' every time, the rewarded her if she reacted correctly, we began to make a huge amount of progress. I've accomplished three times as much with her in the past two months as I did when I was being too timid about her training for over a year.

That beig said, I would personally recommend the react and reward method. Since you can't really move him at the moment, it might be a good idea to remove your other horses when you're working with him. Once you've done that, bring in his daily rations and make sure he notices you. Before he can begin walking towards you (as he's probably used to by now), approach him at a leisurely walk, with your eyes cast away and your body relaxed into a non threatening posture (loose shoulders, soft back, even breathing) Theres about a 99% guarentee that he will begin to walk away from you, possibly even in a startled manner. Don't slack or quicken your pace. Keep an even distance (atleast two yards or so) and follow after him, just slightly to the side so that he can watch you. I warn you that this CAN take a LONG TIME so plan atleast an hour to do this. AS SOON as he slows his pace AT ALL, slow yours to match his pace. After a while, hunger, curiosity, or maybe even both will win over and he's stop. When he does that, reward him IMMEDIATELY by also stopping. If he approaches you, take a small step towards him also. If he retreats, continue 'shadowing' him. Repeat this until he meets you in the middle for his food. Once he does, congradulate yourself! This is the first step towards establishing your dominance while at the same time being gentle. Carefully set his feed down and leave the ring. Youve made him uncomfortable, gotten him over it, and now you must reward him with removing the thing that makes him uncomforable. You.

Within a few days, he should let you approach him with minimal movement on his part. At this time you should begin staying with him as he eats, and even taking a step or two to the right, then the left, back, and even forewards. It may startle him at first, but he'll get over it. Generally about four-five days into this training, you can now move to the next step. Touching him.

Ok I don't want to type a whole essay right now just incase you don't like this method (many people would rather other ways, and many like this way.) believe me though, it works =] I would LOVE to help you more though in each step. If you like my way of working things, tell me and I'll shoot you some PMs on what to do next when I have a chance, mmk?

GOOD LUCK! And remember, boredom is the biggest killer.
    03-21-2011, 02:18 AM
Endiku, thank you so much for your advice! I will definitely get on trying that as soon as I can, though I don't know when that will be, considering the only pen the donkey's wouldn't drown in the snow in, they can escape out of the wiring :S Maybe I'll try it with them tied up outside.
    03-21-2011, 11:51 AM
Teen Forum Moderator
Definately =] if they do alright with being tied, you could just move them far enough away that they won't distract Steel, and rig up some buckets or something for them to eat their meals while they wait.
    03-21-2011, 05:18 PM
Good luck. It's time and patience. Put him in the barn in a stall and gentle him that way. Rub him and brush him daily or as much as possible. Rub a whip all over him to desensitize him. A feed bag works too. Bring him out to muck his stall. Do you have cross ties? Also using one stall as a feeding stall, and another stall as a holding stall(no food) will help him learn that being caught means food! Move him daily. He is beautiful!
    03-21-2011, 09:34 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
I believe that stalling or crosstying him would just make him very nervouse at this point. I wouldnt do it.
    03-21-2011, 11:13 PM
I definitely agree with Endiku on that one, he's never been in a barn before, and that will just panic him, plus I don't actually have a barn. Our horses live outside with very well built shelters

untouched trust

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