Spooky and Forgetful? Horse
 
 

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Spooky and Forgetful? Horse

This is a discussion on Spooky and Forgetful? Horse within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    • 5 Post By TXhorseman
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        06-25-2014, 11:45 AM
      #1
    Foal
    Exclamation Spooky and Forgetful? Horse

    Can a horse forget who you are?

    My uncle recently gave me a horse he had (Toby) who hasn't been ridden for 5 years. He's a little spooky while I'm on his back, usually nothing that a few pats and some reassuring words can't calm. But it's when I'm off and/or away from him for any period of time when he starts acting like he's never seen me before. When I go to catch him, he usually tenses up and runs to the far side of the pen. One time you can see that he's just being a turkey and making me work, and the next I'm some big scary monster who wants to eat him. Sometimes, he will back himself into a corner, and you can see the debate in him to run away or stand scared. I talk and coo to him the whole time to let him know where I am. I never hide the halter, I don't agree with it and I'm not good at it anyways
    If he lets me close, I hold my hand out for him to smell, and 98% of the time, his head drops and he relaxes and puts his own head in the halter, after that he's okay.

    We had one incident last weekend, where I was working cattle with family, and had to hop off quickly. I ground tied him beside another horse, and much to my surprise he stood patiently and waited. He could see me the entire time. When we were finished loading, I turned and walked toward him (talking of course). He gave me the "who the heck are you look?" And threw his head up and back away as fast as he could. It wasn't until he let me close enough to sniff, did he relax.


    I hope this makes sense, I've rewritten this eight ways from Sunday to try to get it to make sense to someone who can't see it. Is it possible that, since we're new to each other, that I haven't established a clear Leader role?
    Bad sight, maybe? Or is he just actually forgetful?
    Please help!
         
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        06-25-2014, 11:50 AM
      #2
    Weanling
    You might want to have this horse's eyes checked.
         
        06-25-2014, 12:11 PM
      #3
    Foal
    He tends to hide his right side against the fence or barn (not leaning, just standing) but any DIY eye tests, such as flicking, he either blinks his eyes or flinches his head.
         
        06-25-2014, 12:35 PM
      #4
    Trained
    Check his vision.

    You're also thinking of him as a person. He doesn't decide one day to make you work and the next just forgets who you are. He has some sort of problem - could be bad vision, could be memories of abuse, could just be an ill-mannered jerk, could be poor training, or any number of other things. He sounds like he's associating something bad with being caught so until you get his eyes checked, try approaching him in the field every so often and give him treats and rubs then leave him be. Build a good association with being caught.
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        06-26-2014, 04:45 PM
      #5
    Showing
    He's got your number and is sometimes playing it for all it's worth. When you approach him, don't go directly toward him but instead circle way around him and don't even look at him except for quick peeks. When you are directly behind him suddenly run toward him to make him move. Don't get within kicking range tho. Do this a few times and he'll start watching you and will make it difficult for you to get behind him. That is when you approach him with your hand extended and downward. Don't close the gap but wait for him to come the last inch. When he does, walk away about 10 paces. He may even follow you. If he does, slip the rope over his neck and put the halter on then immediately remove it and start walking away. If you do this each time you want him he should start coming to you rather than you going to him.
    jamesdean57 likes this.
         
        06-26-2014, 08:02 PM
      #6
    Weanling
    I totally understand what you are talking about! My beloved Fargo does the same thing. I have owned Fargo for 5 years and some days he canters to the gate to meet me, some days he wanders away like he just wants to avoid work and occasionally he will totally freak out like I suddenly grew antlers or something. I refer to my horse as being bi-polar. Every time I go out to work with him, no matter what frame of mind he is in, I ask him to come to me, I don't go to him. I have done "join up" (or something like it) with him so he knows at liberty when I am asking him to come, it helps him when he is feeling spooky to calm down, and when he is being defiant it reminds him who is the boss mare.

    It sounds like your horse is mostly having issues around being caught, I would try doing some approach and retreat exercises on the ground using a long rope so you can come at him from a distance. I would also try things like skipping up to him, walking quickly towards him, or pulling a few dance moves so he gets used to you approaching in different ways and learns not to freak out when you act a little differently. Join-up might be another option you could try.
         
        06-27-2014, 05:12 AM
      #7
    Super Moderator
    I do not think there is anything wrong with his eyesight - the problem lies with the way you are handling the situation.


    Quote

    He's a little spooky while I'm on his back, usually nothing that a few pats and some reassuring words can't calm.

    This is rewarding his bad behaviour. Spook or look hard and you get a pat! Let's keep doing it!


    Quote

    When I go to catch him, he usually tenses up and runs to the far side of the pen. One time you can see that he's just being a turkey and making me work, and the next I'm some big scary monster who wants to eat him. Sometimes, he will back himself into a corner, and you can see the debate in him to run away or stand scared. I talk and coo to him the whole time to let him know where I am. I never hide the halter, I don't agree with it and I'm not good at it anyways
    If he lets me close, I hold my hand out for him to smell, and 98% of the time, his head drops and he relaxes and puts his own head in the halter, after that he's okay.


    Instead of billing and cooing to him issue the command of "Stand" be much firmer and take the lead. Offering sympathy is going to get you nowhere fast.
    I agree with not hiding the halter and with holding your hand out for him to sniff.

    Quote
    Is it possible that, since we're new to each other, that I haven't established a clear Leader role?
    Bad sight, maybe? Or is he just actually forgetful?


    He is not forgetful, you are not offering good leadership so he has no trust, as such, in you. Be stronger in your commands and insist that he does what you say, when you say. Firm but fair and consistent at all times.
    jamesdean57 and sea like this.
         

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    forgetful, spooky horse

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