Progress and a new roadblock - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-07-2009, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Progress and a new roadblock

I actually managed to halter Red today without a huge fight. He still does not like the flap by/around his eye so I slid it up his neck as usual and he was a bit weirded out, but stood okay without panicking. I also did yesterday, but it took a few tries before he would stand for it.

When I got him you couldn't even approach him. Forget about even putting a lead on him!
Now, I am able to touch his face, neck, and shoulder and daily am able to touch a little bit more, or for a bit longer. I ran my hand down his leg just to try it and he was perfectly fine with it. PLUS he let me pet him without bribing him with a treat first. Major roadblock demolished! I did have to bring a gift of grass to halter him though

This is really huge progress for him. I am VERY pleased with how my can't-do-nothing-with-him three year is turning out!

With progress also comes a HUGE new roadblock.


I had my dad hold him for me, he is a very brave man. Very, very brave.

I started on the neck with little problem, but I sprayed very, very closely. Then I moved to the shoulder and gave him a squirt. Still close, and slowly. He completely flipped. Tried to bolt and rear. I got his shoulder, hindquarter, neck, and rump on both sides. Nearly got ran over twice, almost got kicked in the head. Dad faced being squished several times over.

He's not afraid of the bottle, but of being touched by the spray itself. Same with water. Augh.

I'm going to try later to get his belly and around his parts later this evening...with gloves this time. My dad has some rather ouchy rope burn now on his hands

But, after a few tries at it I expect he will be wary and a bit spooky of it still, but not nearly as bad as today. I'm going to be using a spray bottle filled with water to work with him to becoming more and more used to it. It will take time, it will be dangerous, but he will improve with patience and consistency

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-07-2009, 05:39 PM
Join Date: May 2009
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I understand you need to get him sprayed to keep the flies off, but generally speaking, if it will be dangerous, that means you're moving too fast with it. If he won't let you run your hands all over him, I'm not surprised that the fly spray sound, smell and sensation him sent him into a tizzy. Several relatively new-to-him things were piled on all at once- being handled, being haltered, being held by a guy, and being sprayed, none of which he seems comfortable with by itself.

I don't know how bad the bugs are, but I'd spend my time right now getting him to trust me to rub him all over and halter him rather than make him worry that you're going to do something scary like spray him. Once he's happy to be rubbed all over, I'd rub him with the bottle, then work up to spraying him. Teaching him that you're sometimes friendly and safe and sometimes unpredictably scary isn't going to help him learn that people are good, safe leaders he should work with and obey...

Yay for progress with the haltering! Maybe work with that to get it perfect and calm before throwing bigger challenges at yourselves. I apologize if I'm reading the situation's just what it sounded like to me. I agree with you though- patience and consistency is the key to it all. :)
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-07-2009, 05:40 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
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Don't start with the neck. Too close to the head which can be a real issue for most horses. What I did with Solon was to get a plain water bottle and I sprayed it near him but not on him. First I wanted him to get used to the noise the spray bottle makes. Then I got closer and I started with his chest and sides. I did his neck and legs last.

It didn't take much time at all before he was used to the sound and how it felt when it touched him. All I do now is say,"fly spray" and I squirt a couple of sprays out so he knows its coming and we continue on.
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post #4 of 4 Old 06-07-2009, 10:33 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Alberta
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Good on you with all the progress on the haltering and such. I agree with sharpie - maybe a little too much too fast. If you need to repel the bugs just get a cloth wet and rub him all over with that until he is more confident to tackle the big scary spay bottle. Just work one thing at a time and get that down so well that it's second nature for both of you. This will not only creat a fantastic horse but will build his confidence and trust - thus makeing future training easier. Have fun bonding with him.
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