Tips for getting my 3yr old to gain confidence - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-17-2010, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Vermont
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Tips for getting my 3yr old to gain confidence

I have a 3yr old whom i got from a kill pen early summer. He has come a long ways, is basically back to health, and is going well under saddle. He is basically a trusting and loving horse, but he every so often has moments where I can just see him tense. Just to look at his apperance he doesnt look tense, his head can be low ect, but knowing him, he just isnt as relaxed as he usually is. Sometimes this happens when i put his halter on/off, or if im ridding, or brushing...there isnt really a rhyme or reason that I can find. I have worked with him on accepting a tarp near him, on him, beside him ect. He was freaked at first, but now is like what ever and it seems when i point him at something new, he is like... "I can do it, its still not as bad as that tarp was". Anyways, i want to work on him some more with his confidence...i guess some might call this the parelli games? I dont really follow the clinicians....any tips?
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-17-2010, 12:03 PM
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I suggest just spending time with him. If you ride him, go for walks, brush hime and so on, he'll get used to it and he will also learn that he can trust you, in whatever situation.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-17-2010, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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I spend about 1 hr a day doing grooming, lounge work, ground work stuff and ride for about 1 hr a day.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-17-2010, 01:16 PM
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I think the suggestions about continuing to work with him are good. Just spend time with him for sure. The more consistent you are, the more he will learn he can rely on you. And when he knows he can rely on you and predict your behavior, he will begin to trust you.

As for the games and clinicians I do know the games, but I don't follow them to the T. I just work with each horse and what works for them. It's a great thing you are doing working with him around new things. I think you should continue with that and it will increase his confidence. The more times he is exposed to something scary with you in the lead and nothing bad happens - the more he will trust you. So, just keep coming up with new obstacles. Try a big trash can, a plastic bag, a yoga ball (or beach ball, just make it BIG), a mail box, a platform such as a flat trailer or solid (enough to support his weight) pallet, a plastic barrel, travel near dogs you know will bark at the fence - just make sure you know the fence is secure, and so on. Have fun with it, look up what other horses have found to be scary, and bring him too it. This goes back to spending time and being consistent so he can rely on you. If he knows he can rely on you when something scares him he will start to trust you, then he'll be confident in you. But also being exposed to so many things that would normally cause him to flight and overcoming that will build confidence in himself.

I think you're on a great path! Good luck! I have dozens of more suggestions if you want!

No single trainer or horse person has all the answers for every single horse. Take the time to learn everyone's methods and work on your own at the same time. Find what works for you. My journey with the horses I get to play with:
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-17-2010, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Vermont
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My Rocky Mountain who is 18 isnt bothered by anything, so this whole "baby" thing to me is new :). I have never had a young horse. I am trying to expose him to everything I can. Right now he is at my friends house and she is helping me, which is great because she is good with the youngsters. We went trail ridding the other day (he has only been on 4 other trail rides that i know of), and he was great, we had some dogs come running up to us and bark and he didnt even care. (they are dogs we know). I am thinking of doing a obsticle clinic with him next weekend, so we will see how that goes. We are only walking troting and whoa under saddle. I have no desire to rush with him and go fast. I want a nice calm trusting horse.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-17-2010, 01:43 PM
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Lead him around a lot, go for walks. Make sure you get at least one scary incident per walk-- preferably low-level-- because unless there's a little fear to overcome, you won't advance your trust, I've found.
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