Nutso TWH coming Saturday

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Nutso TWH coming Saturday

This is a discussion on Nutso TWH coming Saturday within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        09-29-2010, 10:58 PM
    Nutso TWH coming Saturday

    Okay, he's not nutso. I just said that to draw you in. ;]

    There's a gelding coming out to my place this Saturday for me to work with. He is a Tennessee Walker, and he's 16 ish hands. I have already worked with him a few times at his owner's place and here's what I've gathered from him.

    He is timid and doesn't trust people, but he will let you do whatever you want to him as far as picking up his feet, saddling him, etc. He just keeps a very wide eye on you the entire time, and he flinches every now and them. In the saddle, he is very heavy on the aids and wants to go go go. He will rear, he will spin, and he will buck.

    I've got my own approach on things as far as dealing with a horse like this goes, but I'd love to hear how others would treat a horse like this. I will gladly share my methods as well, but any tips or tricks will be appreciated and considered.

    Bombs awayyyyy!

    PS, I'll put a video on here or some pictures or something of him when he comes. He's gorgeous.
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        09-29-2010, 11:18 PM
    How solid is his ground work? Personally that's where I would start. Getting his trust will help take care of some of that. He may (not sure because I've never met him) be acting out because of fear and anxiaty. If that's the case then I would go back to the basics and try and work that out. If he has ever been abused then you will have to work doubly hard also.
        09-29-2010, 11:51 PM
    Well they got him from what they considered to be a bad situation. He was running out with 30 other horses and hadn't been ridden in about a year. I don't think he was abused. His groundwork is stinky.
        09-30-2010, 12:20 AM

    I too would start with getting his trust. That to me means, to begin with, taking it very slowly & easily, spending time with him, doing lots of approach & retreat with stuff that's not far out of his comfort zone & getting him confident with all that before asking for a *little* more, little longer, etc.

    Just because he's compliant doesn't mean to say I'd start with those things. Eg. If he's 'obedient' but wide eyed & flinchy about saddling, I'd take it that he wasn't ready for that step yet. IME it is often horses like this that have been pushed too far too fast like this who may be 'obedient' ones but also the 'out of the blue, for no reason, without warning....' reactive ones. I'd go right back to the basics & teach him to be truly relaxed & *confident* with the steps along the way.
        10-01-2010, 09:14 AM
    I would do exactly as stated before, get his trust. A very timid horse, very submissive horse is one that has no confidence, and therefore feels insecure. He needs to know that he can trust in you, and he needs to be rewarded by love and praise when he does the right thing. Anytime he is doing the right thing, if he standing tied and being still, encourage him so he knows he is doing the right thing and can be confident in it.

    To be confident in you, you need to be the leader, and you need to do it nicely. I would do join-up with him. I did this with my 2 1/2 yr old filly last night. It took under five minutes. She ran around the pen, ear on me the whole time, I made her turn a few times, my body always facing her. As soon as I turned sideways to let her in, she trotted over to me as quick as she could and stopped right beside me, never touching me. I didn't have to touch her, smooch to her, or look at her. Whichever way I went, she followed me around that pen. She had confidence in me as her leader without a doubt.

    Hope this helps =)
        10-01-2010, 09:46 PM
    Thanks guys. I'll let you know how it goes. We're going to get him tomorrow. I'll post a picture; he is breathtakingly gorgeous, although his mane is choppy... :(
        10-03-2010, 07:23 PM
    Originally Posted by ChevyPrincess    
    he needs to be rewarded by love and praise when he does the right thing. Anytime he is doing the right thing, if he standing tied and being still, encourage him so he knows he is doing the right thing
    Perhaps a bit of nitpicking here, but important point IMO.... Positive reinforcement/reward is something that is desirable to THAT animal at THAT time. I would guess that 'love and praise' are not something this horse is likely to feel are rewards. They may even feel like punishment to him. At this point, anyway. Once he learns to trust, learns that it's truly OK to be touched and learns that 'love & praise' may stand for real positive reinforcement, such as treats or a good scratch or such, then they may become a Good sign. But also IMO when an animal is afraid and it is reinforced - be it with real goodies or perceived by the human, such as praise, it can actually be counterproductive, as the animal associates the thing/word with the fear, discomfort, whatever. Eg. Getting all sing-songy & saying 'Good boooy' 'It's OOOK' to my dogs causes them to cower, because they've associated this to unpleasant happenings like vet procedures.

    At this point in the horse's training, I'd be 'encouraging' him with negative reinforcement - that is, the removal of pressure/Bad Stuff. Eg. If he stands tied nicely(even if it's only for half a minute to begin), I'd reinforce that behaviour by letting him go, taking him out of the stressful situation. I would also be rewarding him with food or whatever other *actual* reinforcement may be effective, whenever he's doing well *& was confident*.

    To be confident in you, you need to be the leader, and you need to do it nicely. I would do join-up with him.
    It does depend how you do it & the environment I reckon(eg. I'd def not do it in a little enclosed space like a pen until the horse was trusting), but IMO 'join up' is one game I'd personally leave until the horse had a fair bit of trust in me already. Too confrontational for a horse that hasn't yet learned to trust their handler.
        10-03-2010, 07:47 PM
    Hehehehe...he sounds like how my mare was when I got her last year at this time... I simply started over from the ground up; she was gentle on the ground, but had a lot of holes (nervous about feet, didn't know how to lunge, yield hip or shoulders, etc) I started as if she didn't know anything. I didn't really treat her any differently other horse, although some things I took more time on, but I really think the key to helping a horse overcome such issues is to essentially act as though they really aren't there; the more you acknowledge it (say he gets nervous about a bag making noise on a fence), by saying things like "good boy, or it's okay"...the longer he can take to get over those things. If you just continue to do what you are doing, say you were lunging, and let him work through it without interfering, he can figure out that it's really not a big deal, simply because he realizes you aren't reacting, so he realizes he doesn't have to either. I like alot of Clinton Anderson's exercises as well; like smacking a handy stick on the ground while walking away from him (horse is on the lead of course). You're not facing him, so he doesn't see you or the stick as a threat, and can figure out quickly that it's no big deal.

    When he is consistent and calm on the ground, then start doing the same stuff from the saddle. He may come around in 2 weeks, or it may take him 2 months, maybe even longer. I was on my mare in 2 weeks, but while ground work has been easy once I earned her trust, saddle work has still taken a bit more 'work'; It's taken a bit longer for her to relax, and work quietly...the ground work was huge, though, in that atleast I knew I could bend her around in order to prevent any buck and bolt behavior. Once you do start getting on him, make sure you continue with the ground work as that will help you guage where he is mentally on a particular day.
        10-03-2010, 11:32 PM
    Thanks for all the advice, everyone! He has arrived and is doing nicely fitting in with all the mares. He's even got a girlfriend. ;]

    I guess I'll share my typical method with you guys now :] What I do with a horse like this ... I will catch him, lead him around on a 12' line, and basically ignore him. Every now and then I'll stop, change directions, etc... but I never MAKE him get too close to me, and if he stops, I just change direction (I don't want to pull on him). He follows me like he's been taught to do, but I am not paying attention to him. I'll know it's time to move on when I feel that nose in my back; that "Hmmm, they're not so bad" nuzzle or investigative sniffing. Then I'll wait for the ears to relax back into a content state, for the lip licking, etc. Then, I'll start asking him to do stuff. I only want him to "work" when he is in a content thinking state. It's the "What horse?" technique ;] Horses like this don't WANT attention. They don't WANT you to pat them and rub them (at least not before they know you), they just want you to release the pressure and give em a cookie every now and then :]

        10-03-2010, 11:34 PM
    LOL@mini on the fence!

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