Today she got extremely upset... I'd like some opinions...
 
 

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Today she got extremely upset... I'd like some opinions...

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  • Touched horse and it didnt let me gor upset
  • My horse got sold im extremly upset

 
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    08-07-2008, 12:26 AM
  #1
Foal
Today she got extremely upset... I'd like some opinions...

Today, my grandfather and grandmother came over to come take a look at my horse right? She's a yearling as I said in my other thread and she refuses to let me touch her. However she'll stand right next to me, no problem, it's when I reach to touch her that she gets upset. She especially gets upset when I try to touch her body, especially her withers. I've tried a few times and when I do she'll turn her head to me and tuck her ears back completely, you can tell that she's warning me she'll bite if I try again.

So, as I was saying, my grandfather and grandmother came over today. My idiot grandfather who took care of horses of his own on a ranch he used to live on - he has years of experience apparently, was talking to me about the horse.

My horse, Epona(I have never told you guys her name, I apologize. She's beginning to respond to her name too, it's nice ^^) was mistreated by humans almost her entire life and in her last home she was extremely underfed and the woman would never take off her halter or lead, right? And since she won't let me touch her the most I've been able to do is take off her lead. I can't touch her halter.

So today we were discussing that. I mentioned to my grandpa that since I can't touch her she won't let me take off her halter. But I know if she would she'd probably be extremely grateful and understand that I just want to help her. My grandpa turned to me and said,
"Well what you need to do is when she's close to you like you said she'll do, you need to just grab onto her halter. She'll pull back and resist but you need to do it to take off her halter, it's the only way you can do it. So what you gotta do is just grab it and hang on."

Honestly, I seriously thought, "That would just upset her! She hated when I tried to tug on her lead, of course she'd hate it if I grabbed her HALTER!"

And so I responded with, "Iiiii don't think she'd like that..."
"that's why you just need to hang on and take it off."
"I really don't think that's a good idea, she'll just get more upset and I don't want to do it."
"It'll work. You said yourself that she's never tried to bite or kick you, she won't mind, especially if you take it off."

So I'm watching him and her, and he apparently decides it'll be a good idea to try it. He holds her some grass hay and reaches out to grab her halter.

She immediately pulls back and tucks her ears back. She rarely does that, except for when I try to touch her side.

But he decides to try it again.

This time, she pulls away, and he continued to hold her the hay but she doesn't take it.

Then, she REACHED UP and tried to TAKE A BITE OUT OF HIM!!! NO JOKE!!!

She was PO'D!!
And as soon as it happened my mom shouts, "OH MY GOD SHE JUST TRIED TO TAKE A BITE OUT OF HIM, DID YOU SEE THAT!? SHE has NEVER done that before!!!"

And finally he figured it out. He still held her the hay and she refused to take it. Even when he tried again later.

This says to me that it is clearly obvious that she was halter broken incorrectly, in a way that was uncomfortable, or where she was injured. And by someone like my grandfather. And she knew he was going after her halter.

What should I do? Should I continue like I am, trying to pet her, or should I find a way to get that **** halter off!? I can almost gaurentee that if I get it off, she'll be so much happier! And she may trust me more. I'm beginning to wonder if that halter hurts her, because if it does I need to get it off immediately.
     
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    08-07-2008, 01:32 AM
  #2
Weanling
Im sure she would much appreciate it taken off .....but......

How do you intend to get it back on? And how would you intend on training and working with her if she doesnt let you put it back on?.

I find it difficult to give advise over the net about abused horses, as it varies so differently and really needs to be seen in person.

As far as the touching her goes......it honestly sounds like she knows how to keep people away from her. She is very aware of her pesonal space and how much you are allowed into that.
She needs to know that a touch will not hurt her. To be honest I think your grand pa was somewhat right in the fact you will have to be a bit more forward in your approach to desensitizing. You don't have to be forcefull but a bit more perssistant.

If you have her on the lead , just place you hand on her for a quick second , maby by her shoulder, be aware of her head and control it with your other hand on the lead. Don't pull away with the hand on her shoulder if she tries to bite,.....( it shouldnt be there long enough for her to react like that any way)...... it will only reinforce her biteing you. Praise like mad with your voice and possibly a treat if she's ok with that.

You could even put a hand shaped object on the end of a stick/ arm just to put a little more foom between you and her.

Another possibility is clicker training. Are you aware of this training method?
     
    08-07-2008, 06:40 AM
  #3
Showing
Do NOT take the halter off. You'll have horrible time trying to catch you horse to put it back on. If you just need to replace it (say put nicer one on or want to switch to break away) you have to do it in stall so horse couldn't run away.

I got a youngster myself, which was a bad combination of never touched and abused. First week I kept her in stall just taking her to round pen once a day to run and play (she also was full of worms, so wasn't a good idea to let her in field anyway). First 3 days I kept both - halter and lead rope on all the time (otherwise wasn't impossible to come close to her even in stall). I tied her and just kept brushing her once or twice a day (made it our routine) - very lightly and just on shoulders at first, and then more and more. Yes, she wasn't happy at first, but I kinda ignored her "unhappiness" just calmly keep approaching and doing it. Couple days was enough for her to figure out I'm not going to kill her. For her to be completely OK to be touched everywhere took me while (and it took at least a month to teach her to pick her feet to be cleaned), but all you need is patience and persistence, and it'll all come.
     
    08-07-2008, 10:07 AM
  #4
Started
Melony, You need to do a lot of desensitizing. Do you get RFD TV? If so try to watch some of the NH clinicians. Get your hands on some videos and/or printed material. If you have someone in the area who can show you how to do it safely that's even better.

Basically you can use the end of a leadrope or a "stick", anything that will keep you out of her reach at first. Touch her all over, rub her, scratch her etc. Do approach and retreat, meaning where she will let you touch her do so, keep your hand / or stick at a spot just before the spot she objects to until she relaxes.. It may not be easy but you cannot allow her to continue to tell you that you cannot touch her. Take your time, easing forward as much as you can safely. You may need to do some round penning exercises that will help her come to you for comfort. There is a lot to learn if you want to do it right..

If you already have or can get her into a smallish work area, like a corral or round pen you can work with her and eventually get that halter off. To make the best progress you may need to ignore the halter for a while. Just have your goal being able to touch her, then work toward her head.. If she turns to bite at you block her with your elbow.. Let her run into it don't swing at her.

I know and understand your grandfathers reasonings.. He is from the "Get-er-done" school as I'm sure he used horses as part of his livelihood. My dad was kind of the same way. They had a job to do and didn't tolerate much lip.. ;)

Best to you, positive vibes and be safe..
     
    08-07-2008, 10:29 AM
  #5
Trained
Melony, Do NOT remove the halter! I would encourage you to get some help. Maybe, your Grandfather? He has the right idea IMO. Sometimes you have to use a bit a of a heavy hand to get the horse to a point where you can begin to change it's mind. What I mean by this is, think of wild mustangs that the BLM rounds up. Some of them go on to be wonderful companions and very trustworthy mounts. Their beginings aren't always picture perfect though. Round ups are rough on the horses and they are caught with lassoes and herded and pushed and scared....the end results are fabulous though. I would suggest leaving a short leadrope on the halter as well. If she has a safe pen to be in with it on. It is going to take LOTS of handleing. I have even seen some horses that you have had to use portable panels to ever shrink the size of their pen untill the horse was kind of sandwiched between the panel and the fence so that a halter and lead can even be put on them. Please be safe!
     
    08-07-2008, 10:39 AM
  #6
Green Broke
If I were you, I wouldn't do one more thing with that horse until you get a someone that has experience to help you. You are going to get hurt and the horse could get hurt too.

You are dealing with a really specific situation that needs special training and help. I hope you take my advice and the next post we read isn't about you or the horse getting hurt. :(
     
    08-08-2008, 05:27 PM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten_Val
Do NOT take the halter off. You'll have horrible time trying to catch you horse to put it back on. If you just need to replace it (say put nicer one on or want to switch to break away) you have to do it in stall so horse couldn't run away.

I got a youngster myself, which was a bad combination of never touched and abused. First week I kept her in stall just taking her to round pen once a day to run and play (she also was full of worms, so wasn't a good idea to let her in field anyway). First 3 days I kept both - halter and lead rope on all the time (otherwise wasn't impossible to come close to her even in stall). I tied her and just kept brushing her once or twice a day (made it our routine) - very lightly and just on shoulders at first, and then more and more. Yes, she wasn't happy at first, but I kinda ignored her "unhappiness" just calmly keep approaching and doing it. Couple days was enough for her to figure out I'm not going to kill her. For her to be completely OK to be touched everywhere took me while (and it took at least a month to teach her to pick her feet to be cleaned), but all you need is patience and persistence, and it'll all come.
I know what you mean ><UU I know, I know! But she will NOT LET ME TOUCH HER. Do you mean you want me to TIE HER DOWN so I can brush her?? She gets extremely upset everytime I go to touch her withers or flanks.
     
    08-08-2008, 05:31 PM
  #8
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitless
Im sure she would much appreciate it taken off .....but......

How do you intend to get it back on? And how would you intend on training and working with her if she doesnt let you put it back on?.

I find it difficult to give advise over the net about abused horses, as it varies so differently and really needs to be seen in person.

As far as the touching her goes......it honestly sounds like she knows how to keep people away from her. She is very aware of her pesonal space and how much you are allowed into that.
She needs to know that a touch will not hurt her. To be honest I think your grand pa was somewhat right in the fact you will have to be a bit more forward in your approach to desensitizing. You don't have to be forcefull but a bit more perssistant.

If you have her on the lead , just place you hand on her for a quick second , maby by her shoulder, be aware of her head and control it with your other hand on the lead. Don't pull away with the hand on her shoulder if she tries to bite,.....( it shouldnt be there long enough for her to react like that any way)...... it will only reinforce her biteing you. Praise like mad with your voice and possibly a treat if she's ok with that.

You could even put a hand shaped object on the end of a stick/ arm just to put a little more foom between you and her.

Another possibility is clicker training. Are you aware of this training method?
She no longer has her lead on her, but I CAN put it on. If I hand-feed her and as she reaches her head out over the lower door to eat, I can manage to clip it on her halter. I've done it once, I can do it again.

Problem is, how will I be able to control her head that way? And when I hold her halter, if I try to get anywhere near her, she'll just keep pulling back until she's in the corner, should I honestly back her into a corner??

She will let me stand near her, but she just won't let me touch her, and when I go to she moves back as far is necessary to keep away from me...

However, I'm liking the hand-shaped object suggestion. That might work. If I get her desensitized to it first, then touch her with it, maybe she won't have a problem with it touching her. I'm not sure though. Also, I've been trying to desensitize her to ropes, if I approach her with a rope lately, she's been seeming to have issues with it.

And I am not aware of this method, I don't have much training with horses.

Also, just to put everyone's minds at ease, my parents are finally talking about getting a trainer that will come and train me to train my horse.

It was all a matter of money before, but my birthday's coming up. So they're beginning to tighten the slack.
     
    08-08-2008, 05:39 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solon
If I were you, I wouldn't do one more thing with that horse until you get a someone that has experience to help you. You are going to get hurt and the horse could get hurt too.

You are dealing with a really specific situation that needs special training and help. I hope you take my advice and the next post we read isn't about you or the horse getting hurt. :(
Everyone has been saying that but 1. We don't really have the money and 2. She's not a bad horse. And she's never gone after anyone before. She's never even gone at me as a warning. She's a great horse, she's just afraid of human contact, likely because she's been manhandled and wacked for being bad or whatever else. She's been extremely mistreated, so she hates being touched by humans. I'm gradually desensitizing her to it, which she doesn't have too much of a problem with. While she feeds from my hand I can pat her nose a little and she'll pull away, but I'll try to pull away before she does. And she'll still reach for more food. She doesn't hate it so much that she'll refuse to eat from me -- which she did with my grandfather. And honestly, I've reached for her halter before and she has never had a problem with it. I honestly think it's people like my grandfather that hurt her, and that's why she had a shorter temper with him than she does with me.
     
    08-08-2008, 05:43 PM
  #10
Foal
Every time you retreat after any aggressive behavior from her, your teaching her that that behavior is ok. This is how they operate in a herd. If she wants you to go somewhere else she'll bite at you. A lead horse would bite back and chase her off. You need to be a lead horse. At the moment you are in a hard situation because not only does she not respect you, but she doesn't trust you either. Do you have any training facilities at all? I would recommend a strong post and a long stick to start out with.

Wrap the rope around the post (don't tye it, just wrap it so it acts like a pulley - if she tries to pull back you will still be holding the end but she won't be able to get away since you will have more leverage) and use the stick and 'stoke' all over the her body. If she throws a fit, stop til she calms down then start all over again. Don't stop until she relaxes. Let her know what is acceptable and what isn't though. Getting scared and dancign aroudn a little is ok. Trying to bite, rear, or kick is unacceptable and you need to let her know that NOW. Give her a smack with that stick of yours. She's a yearling now. Think of this behavior in a couple years when she's full grown and a little smarter... not a pretty picture. These type oof horses are generally either sent to slaughter or euthanized because of dangerous behavior. Not to scare you, but you can't let her get away with this behavior. Get help NOW.
     

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