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Suggestions on gaining trust? (Really long post)

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        03-12-2013, 08:34 PM
      #11
    Weanling
    As I don't have many places directly around here (aside from my own- aka his own- pasture) or roads (and I have no idea how he is in regards to that, and don't want to try it right now) I'll probably be taking him where I took him last time, which is a large ranch that has lots of terrain- creeks, hills, gullies, etc and just seems to go on forever. I had forgotten about that I took him there, while back, and it was indeed one of the few times I saw his interest perk and seemed to enjoy himself.

    I know trust doesn't come immediately, and I'm not expecting immediate results, just hints or ideas to help it along. Makes sense though. I can work him all day long, and he can be respectful of me, but leading makes you a leader, and leaders are trusted, and in turn, more respected.

    Can't hurt, that's for sure. Being that he's so smart, I know that he must get bored as well (I try to switch things up, introduce objects, lots of direction changes, small obstacles, but there's only so many things you can come up with on a limited budget and he spends most of his time in the pasture). But exploring the world and seeing new sights is good for anyone.

    I can tell the difference between trust and respect, and usually trust falls naturally behind respect, but for him, it's a lot harder to do. To me, to effectively make a well rounded horse, you need both.

    Regards to an outside trainer- I am under guidance from a trainer, I'm not going in blind, and I have had experience with difficult horses (though I will admit I don't know everything, and don't pretend to). But, I do not (and neither does the rescue) have the funds to get a "professional" out. Therefore, he is in my hands.

    My fear with pushing him to far too fast is I don't want him to regress or to "blow his mind" , I want him to seek other options even if its just a few steps at a time. The last time I "pushed" him he wasn't aggressive toward me, but he reared up and flipped over into the round pen panel, and it took me about an hour before I could walk up to him without panicking. (He had gotten stuck in the panel, and if I approached he panicked, so I let him figure out the mess he got into. May have not been the right approach, but I didn't want him to break his leg either so seemed like the best choice) once he got free (that didn't take him long, a few minutes) I worked on desensitizing (that took forever), made sure he wasn't injured, and then went back to what we were trying before hand.

    I welcome and am open to ideas, suggestions- supportive or critical, and I haven't ruled out a physical problem, though I don't see it as very likely- but it never hurts to check. Thank you all for ideas, I'm always learning! I will try to keep responses shorter (I'm wordy, I know it's annoying. I apologize)
    Thunderspark likes this.
         
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        03-12-2013, 10:12 PM
      #12
    Banned
    You have some good intuitions IMO. Slow is best, and tends to be permanent. Quick fixes work, but only resolve symptoms - not the underlying issues, so are rarely permanent. Undesired behaviors resolved with quick fixes inevitably return, whether months or many years later. Patience is probably the best training tool a person can have in their toolbox.

    I figured from your descriptions of different situations he is smart. I like smart horses, but they can play games with you, so you have to be more consistent with a smart horse than an average one. If you make a mistake they take advantage of it and you have to back up a couple of steps and recondition them through the last few progress steps. But when you get done with their basic training, a smart horse is a lot easier to take through any advanced discipline training you might do...
    Thunderspark likes this.
         
        03-13-2013, 12:33 AM
      #13
    Foal
    He sounds to me like he was an orphan, or at least missed out on a large chunk of horse-to-horse interaction when he was younger. He seems to react to any uncomfortable situation like it's a death scenario and he needs to fight for his life, but not run for his life. Working him with other horses might help with this, so he can figure out which situations require running, which require attention, and which require relaxation by paying attention to what the herd does. It might also encourage him to look to the herd for comfort and he'll begin to learn socialization.
         
        03-13-2013, 11:16 AM
      #14
    Weanling
    Quote:
    He sounds to me like he was an orphan, or at least missed out on a large chunk of horse-to-horse interaction when he was younger. He seems to react to any uncomfortable situation like it's a death scenario and he needs to fight for his life, but not run for his life. Working him with other horses might help with this, so he can figure out which situations require running, which require attention, and which require relaxation by paying attention to what the herd does. It might also encourage him to look to the herd for comfort and he'll begin to learn socialization.
    You are absolutely right about his reactions, he has the fight or die reflex. He's figuring it out! Which is nice, but too much pressure and your can see it fester. We know nothing really of his real history. There are so many different scenarios available its just not really worth speculating about, nothing you can do about it.

    How do you mean working him with other horses, Laffeetaffee? He is pasture kept with 2 horses, so he is (almost) never away from them. Usually when I work them, I work them all at the same time, I go out and catch them together, lead them together, tie them together (though it was awhile before they could be tied in close proximity to him). I have also worked him in the pasture (on a line) to have him focus on me and I can "protect" him from them. (the others are very playful, can get rowdy, but I can send them off). I've thought about ponying him with my mare, but, again I'd have to be in an appropriate place (the round pen is here is not ideal, pretty small, and I have yet to get one set up) .

    Thanks faceman. I know he's smart. Incredibly so. I found out early on that he is very unforgiving of any small mistakes (on my part). But, it helped me immensely with my timing! I have had a few regressions with working with him (both with being too lenient and too harsh- both with immediate consequences), in those cases I would just figure out what I did wrong and go from there. Been quite a bit of trial and error to find that goldilocks formula with him.
    Thunderspark likes this.
         
        03-13-2013, 03:10 PM
      #15
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wausuaw    
    You are absolutely right about his reactions, he has the fight or die reflex. He's figuring it out! Which is nice, but too much pressure and your can see it fester. We know nothing really of his real history. There are so many different scenarios available its just not really worth speculating about, nothing you can do about it.

    How do you mean working him with other horses, Laffeetaffee? He is pasture kept with 2 horses, so he is (almost) never away from them. Usually when I work them, I work them all at the same time, I go out and catch them together, lead them together, tie them together (though it was awhile before they could be tied in close proximity to him). I have also worked him in the pasture (on a line) to have him focus on me and I can "protect" him from them. (the others are very playful, can get rowdy, but I can send them off). I've thought about ponying him with my mare, but, again I'd have to be in an appropriate place (the round pen is here is not ideal, pretty small, and I have yet to get one set up) .

    Thanks faceman. I know he's smart. Incredibly so. I found out early on that he is very unforgiving of any small mistakes (on my part). But, it helped me immensely with my timing! I have had a few regressions with working with him (both with being too lenient and too harsh- both with immediate consequences), in those cases I would just figure out what I did wrong and go from there. Been quite a bit of trial and error to find that goldilocks formula with him.
    I meant like roundpen work. There's a horse on my mom's boyfriend's property that I suspect may have had kind of the same problem, but he's terrified of everything, including other horses, more specifically geldings. You can see there's something wrong because if you run all 5 horses together in a roundpen and then step quickly towards them, normally the horses should all band together and speed up to get away, but he'll actually turn right around and split up from the herd to run in the opposite direction. It's like he never learned anywhere down the line that herd=strength in numbers. It sounds kind of like your horse might have the same issue, he just never really developed herd-like instincts, and the fact that he's aggressive about it says "orphan" to me.

    I've never worked with an orphan, but a good way for a horse to begin wanting to be in the herd is to test this, and if the horse breaks off from the main herd, I would block off the horse and start swinging my lunge whip hard to get him going the other direction again and mingle back with the herd. This would teach him that being away from the herd=you get eaten, while being with the herd=you get to stop and relax. The first step in getting him to want to socialize, if not for play, then at least for security. And when a horse wants to stick with a herd, then there's more incentive for him to socialize, otherwise he'll just isolate himself and be exposed again.

    Your horse is still quite young and it sounds like he's trying to make attempts to mingle with the herd, he's just not quite comfortable with it yet. If you gave him a "push" like that in a roundpen, it may just give him the extra incentive needed to give socialization a try.
         
        03-15-2013, 09:24 PM
      #16
    Weanling
    ... Little foster guy is sick, so he's been down and out (not dying, just sick) for a couple of days.

    But, on the flip side he's been seeming to really react positively to my presence (pricks up his ears when he sees me and such, rather than acting distant and indifferent), and has been interacting with other horses (I heard him neigh for the first time ever).

    Though a bit unplanned, the vet is going to look into any pain issues, but so far she doesn't seem to think so. He also gave the vet and assistants no problems (he's been handled by myself and my farrier, but I wasn't sure how he'd act with them, especially considering its a brand new place, etc- they were given warning and he was put in a stock just in case). I suppose we'll see if this new attitude swing sticks or not.
    Thunderspark likes this.
         
        03-16-2013, 01:58 AM
      #17
    Yearling
    I think you are doing a good job with the little guy.......some horses need alot more time/patience than others. I used to have a horse boarded here, he would just as soon run you over, bite you, body slam you than walk with you......I found doing Clinton Anderson's groundwork really helped with him, he didn't trust people at all, especially men. I would take him for walks, alot of times just in the yard and he would see something that would make him nervous. I would walk up to it, touch it and talk calmly to him, eventually he got where he trusted me and would come up to anything I walked him to. Backing is very important, that is the ultimate "I give, you're the leader".....so I would work some on his backing and take it slow if you have to but I do think it is important.....loved reading your posts!
         
        03-16-2013, 08:51 AM
      #18
    Weanling
    Thanks!

    I'm a bit more worried now, as this sickness seems to have spread to the other 2 horses here (my mare and a different horse I am working on) :( it's like the horse flu (coughing, funky discharge, they seem stiff/sore and a bit lethargic, fever, though still eating and all) There are 2 more horses I know about that live a mile away with same exact problems...

    Will be off to the vet again. The foster still seems to feel the worse (he's the most lethargic. Not laying down, just moving real slowly), my mare seems to have the worst cough (you can audibly hear the crap in her lungs while she's breathing).

    Ugh, I'm frustrated. I'm now fairly sure this isn't just an infection from allergies (which is what was thought).

    ... Oi.
         
        03-16-2013, 01:27 PM
      #19
    Yearling
    I'm pretty sure that is contagious, so you don't want them eating/drinking out of the same. You will probably get antibiotics to give but I wouldn't wait too long before having the vet out....
         
        03-16-2013, 04:04 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    I had called the vet last night.

    Took both to the vet this morning, is a mystery sickness, but vet said more cases are now being brought to her. When I went to load them, foster was laying down didn't want to get up (not flat, just curled up in a little ball and didn't want to move, he usually gets up when I get relatively close).

    Took forever to get them loaded (none have problems with loading) and every step was cough cough cough cough. Went to vet, more shots, more antibiotics, and samples. Snotty faces (pouring out now, not just thick and sticky), fever (low grade), cough (with phlegm), sweating easily, stiffness/soreness.

    Since there's no other horses around (but, at this point, they are thinking its being spread thru the air since they've been hearing same thing from others now, completely separated from horses).

    Prescription, aside from antibiotics and such is to keep them relatively confined and inactive, alleviate dust that may make cough worse, monitor them and call if anything gets worse, gets better, or changes in any way.

    But, they all have appetites, and are eating/drinking normally, and their lungs don't sound incredibly terrible, so we should be good, just some weird random bug going around in the horsey world I suppose. Vet is guessing about 2 weeks or so of this, but it's really a crap shoot.
    Thunderspark likes this.
         

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