Okay, so I have tamed an unhandled pony before, however my naighbour who has had ponies for years but they are just left in the field like cows or sheep but get their feet down a couple of times a year and they breed them, I know not a good situation, so they have ask me to help them, I am by no meens an expert as I have only had ponies for 4 and 1/2 years how ever most of them haven't been very well handles so I have gotten quite good at working with differcult ones, but there yearling filly I am working with them is a hand full, caught her today but she was flinging herself about and was going to hurt herselve and she has never been on a halter let alone walked on one so I am in for a real fun time with her.
I have had her on the halter in a pen she would rear abit but nothing at me, she wouldn't walk so we had to herd her up the road into a smaller field as they don't want her to stay in my stable, so I have put her and her unhandled friend that belongs to another naighbour into a smaller field with one of my very tame, sensible fillies that has a fantastic temprement and was baught taming one of our fillies which she helped greatly with.
So apart from catching her every day brushing her ect what do you guys do, oh and if it helps she is a minitndure shetland yearling filly and in maybe around 6/7hh
Well she certainly has to learn how to accept people. Brushing is nice, but horses need to learn to enjoy it, they don't naturally like a foreign object being rubbed all over their body.
I would suggest separating her into her own rather small paddock, round pen if possible. Then get a good book and park yourself. Wait for her to get curious about you - this won't happen as easily if she has her pony buddies to hang out with. When she does approach you (I promise she will) do no reach out to touch her immediately, let her smell you all over like I'm sure she'll want to - let her run off and come back, you can talk quietly and calmly to her, but don't scold her for anything. She may paw at you if you're sitting though so be careful of this, do not scare her away if she does this simply pop your hand in front of her leg, it's going to be a curious pawing not an aggressive striking (if you haven't startled her), so just block it and say in a quiet low voice 'heeyyyy'.
Once she is willingly greeting you, you can attempt to slowly reach out and touch her, when you do make it feel GOOD - do not tickle her like a bug or pat her hard like a dog, scratch her and rub her make it feel nice. Finding her 'itchy' spot will make you her best friend. How horses bond with each other is by grooming each other, you can do the same, but don't introduce the brushes until she excepts you hand.
Once she accepts being touched - all over - practice 'giving to pressure'.
I'd suggest leaving the halter with a short rope attached to it all the time (about a foot, maybe less if she's that tiny, short enough she can't trip on it). Now when she comes to you and you can pet her, take the rope and rather than trying to pull her forward right away try teaching her to turn her head. Here's how:
Pull the lead rope either to the left or right, pull it just enough so it is taught, putting just a tiny amount of pressure on her face, wait, if she flips out you applied too much pressure, if she does nothing - very slowly add more pressure. This is the important part - the moment she moves, even an inch in the direction you're pulling, release the pressure and pet her. Practice this skill turning her head in each direction, toward and away from you until she touches her nose to her girth area with just a small amount of pressure. Remember the release of pressure needs to be timed just perfectly and needs to be consistent.
Once she is turning, practice the same thing, but taking a step forward - if she won't step forward try turning her but standing further away so she needs to take a step of two to be able to turn with the pressure. Practice this until she is leading consistently.
Once she is leading and turning her head then you can teach her to yield the rest of her body, her hind end and front end and backing up. You do each by applying a small amount of pressure to each area of her body, the moment she moves away - release and rub the area so she knows she did the right thing.
Once she is yielding and turning and yielding introduce as many new toys and tools as you can!
Okay so I haven't been updating this and it has been over a month so here goes. I found out that Dinky will do just about anything for biscuits so that is how we started, so for the first day I just sat on a rock and if she came over she would get a little bit of biscuit, she so soon learnt that coming over for means biscuit not getting eat so we managed to get in a little neck scratch as she was a very head shy, we then started working on head collars, she learnt to put her nose through the nose band for biscuit but due to the head shyness I could do it up the normal way so ended up having to do up the neck part first then do up the nose band which was fine by me as it was a place to start but would freak out when you applied any pressure on her head so I stopped that a while so not to break to bond we were forming, so no more head collar for a little while I started putting a lead rope over her neck got her used to that feeling then fashioned it into a halter of sorts, then I tried leading her with it just around her neck and she was fine with that and started walking really well. So I decided it was time to get the head collar work started again she was a little easier to catch but still had to do it her own special way. Once she was caught I started making her turn and go back to learn to give to the pressure as she still didn't walk forewords, after she started giving to the pressure we started thinking about walking forwards I was still big an scary at this point so I had to do it sitting down, I would pull on the lead as soon as she would take a step forward I would release and give her some biscuit. The next day she started taking more steps until we where leading around (but with me still in front of her) Then I got ill and bad weather came but to my immense surprise after one day with her to remember who I am I start walking her and she was leading better, then she would walk around the field at a bit a of plod but it is still something considering she had never been on a head collar before I started working with her. At this point she was a much braver girl I could but the head collar on her like any other pony is I was sitting down with biscuit, she was now leading like a good girl, she would still have her moments but nothing a bit of biscuit in front of her nose wouldn't fix. At this point I could just about lead her around the field she even let me walk her over to say hello to my Mum. But today well she was just another pony all together. Wow is all I can say. She stood there in the field and let me catch her for the first time whilst I was stood up, then she let me tie her up and stood still like she was doing it her whole life. Then came the moment of truth how much did she trust me well I managed to brush everywhere (apart from back legs) and she didn't bat an eye lid even when I sprayed mane and tail detangler in her mane and tail, she let me stroke her face, but most of all she lets me pick up three of her feet and trim the front two, she finished eating her food by the time it came to the last. But just a month ago she had never been touched by a human to this well it just makes me so, so proud of her and how far she came, I really do wish she was mine she is a real sweat heart without a bad bone in her body and she is for sale but there would be no purpose behind us getting her apart from my attachment so I feel she would be wasted, I have come to really think of her as one of my own and will be sad to see her got to the sales on Friday. Who ever get this special girl is one lucky person. Sorry for the essay enjoy, Oh and do you think I have done anything wrong for the future. Plus is you say not to use food as a training method you have never met a Shetland; it is the easiest way to get them to do as you ask and learn something new.
It's great to hear you are making wonderful progress. Instead of feeding her and she's eating while you do her feet, try offering a biscuit when you set her foot down. Always do her feet in the same sequence, near front, near hind, off hind off front. Make this a routine. Horses like routine as they know what to expect.
Fantastic to hear she's making such great progress, you're right food motivation is great for fearful horses. It helps keep their mind focused on the positive and the reward and away from the scary.
My only suggestion for you, if you're going to use a food reward, I'd make a bridge sound for her. Like a click, or a smooch noise. This bridge, once understood as being connected to food, gives the horse a clear 'yes', it also buys you time to get the treat out.
You should look up some clicker training techniques. What I do is teach a horse to be respectful with treats, while teaching them that the sound=treats. So I stand in front of them, with my container of treats, they start by mugging or being rude, then the moment they turn their head away I click and treat. I repeat this until the horse connects the idea of click=treat and in order to get the treat they need to look away, not mug me.
Your pony sounds opposite, you may want to start by having her target your hand for the treat, to encourage closeness.
I typically play with the horse for 5-10 minute sessions about 2-3 times a day, this gives the time to process what they learned and come down from the excitement over food.
Dinky today, she will walk most of the time, she will pick her front feat up without food but prefers to have a bucket of food for the backs, she has had her feet trimmed been wormed and brushed, she has had the matts cuts out of her ears and she now follows you around everywhere looking for biscuit I think and she is also good to catch now. Now ready for the sales on Friday.