Training my own filly this year..... need some help
   

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Training my own filly this year..... need some help

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  • How to desensitize 2 year old head shy filly
  • My filly runs away from me

 
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    04-05-2009, 03:28 PM
  #1
Foal
Question Training my own filly this year..... need some help

I have a 3 year old paint filly. What she knows how to do is lead, tie, stand for vet/farrier. I am starting her ground training, specifically desensitizing to start with. I did a short session today of about 10-15 minutes with tossing a rope up over her head, neck, back, and rear.... tossing the rope around her legs and up under her belly. She did absolutly wonderful for me, very head shy in the beginning but by the end she was relaxed and barely flinched versus throwing her head up.

My question is this, when I am on her left side and she turns her head away from me should I gently pull her head back? Or do I let her keep her head turned away till she wants to bring her head back straight?
     
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    04-05-2009, 03:49 PM
  #2
Started
Don't pull her head back to you. Because she is showing signs of unconfidence (head shyness) if you tell her "Hey, look at me!" that won't help her gain confidence. You would be forcing her to look at the thing/energy that is scaring her. Instead what you could do is walk backwards away from her tossing the rope above her head until she lowers her head and relaxes. Be sure to do lots of rubbing around her head, give her neck massages and make things really enjoyable for her around that area.
     
    04-05-2009, 04:01 PM
  #3
Showing
I'm probably saying this the same way as Sprithorse but here goes.
If you mean when you're touching her head then you need to do some advance and retreat exercises. Whether its an ear or a whole head that is shying away. Move your hand to the area then away, to the area then away, over and over till they will hold still and let you rub whatever they are touchy about.
If you are talking about she is moving her head away and taking her attention away from you when you are doing your rope desinsitizing. Continue doing the rope till she either licks and chews or stands still and relaxes then stop no matter what she is looking at. If your throwing the rope over her head and she is looking off at the mailman, then I would say she is relaxed and you can stop throwing the rope at her

Have you introduced her to a saddle yet? I have 2 3year olds I finally climbed on a couple of weeks ago. Scared the crap out of me but I climbed on They are doing great so far.
     
    04-05-2009, 04:30 PM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirithorse    
Don't pull her head back to you. Because she is showing signs of unconfidence (head shyness) if you tell her "Hey, look at me!" that won't help her gain confidence. You would be forcing her to look at the thing/energy that is scaring her. Instead what you could do is walk backwards away from her tossing the rope above her head until she lowers her head and relaxes. Be sure to do lots of rubbing around her head, give her neck massages and make things really enjoyable for her around that area.

I was wondering if that's why she pulled her head to the side and kept it there, I will make sure to adjust what I am doing there and not pull her head back center.

Thanks! Kris
     
    04-05-2009, 05:00 PM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vidaloco    
I'm probably saying this the same way as Sprithorse but here goes.
If you mean when you're touching her head then you need to do some advance and retreat exercises. Whether its an ear or a whole head that is shying away. Move your hand to the area then away, to the area then away, over and over till they will hold still and let you rub whatever they are touchy about. She is compleatly fine with me rubbing the rope all over her head and neck. And I can rub her all over with the stick also with no problems either. When she turned away from me her feet were still, this was while I was tossing rope over her head. Now when I tossing rope over her head I am swinging it like you would with a jump rope (if that makes sense) is this right?


If you are talking about she is moving her head away and taking her attention away from you when you are doing your rope desinsitizing. Continue doing the rope till she either licks and chews or stands still and relaxes then stop no matter what she is looking at. If your throwing the rope over her head and she is looking off at the mailman, then I would say she is relaxed and you can stop throwing the rope at her Yea she was looking away, wasnt tossing her head or anything. I will have to take out the camera so I can snap a picture of her expressions to post up here and see what you guys think.

Have you introduced her to a saddle yet? No not yet, I wanted to get some basics started first. Probably wont ride her till next year but will get her used to saddle and bridle. Maybe even lead somone on her a couple times this year. I am a heavier rider so she still looks a bit small for me to be comfortable to be getting on her yet.

I have 2 3year olds I finally climbed on a couple of weeks ago. Scared the crap out of me but I climbed on They are doing great so far. I am happy they are working out good for you. Its so much fun when you see your accomplished job afterwards.
Hope you have good luck with your training and thank you for the avice.
     
    04-05-2009, 05:19 PM
  #6
Weanling
Wait.. when you say she is turning her head away, how is she doing it? Were you reaching to touch her? Or is she just doing it randomly while your with her? Is she looking at something else (like other horses)? Why is she head shy? How long have you owned her? How long has she been doing this?

When I first got Dreamer, he would turn his head away from me because he would rather look at something else. In his case, I demanded his attention by pulling his head back. When I first got him he would also try to throw his head down to eat grass while I was leading him. Both of those things are a HUGE sign of disrespect and disregard for you as a handler/trainer/owner/friend.

And as far as this goes:

Quote:
Don't pull her head back to you. Because she is showing signs of unconfidence (head shyness) if you tell her "Hey, look at me!" that won't help her gain confidence. You would be forcing her to look at the thing/energy that is scaring her. Instead what you could do is walk backwards away from her tossing the rope above her head until she lowers her head and relaxes. Be sure to do lots of rubbing around her head, give her neck massages and make things really enjoyable for her around that area.
Whenever my horses are scared, they look AT whats scaring them, not away. I was desensitizing Charity about 15-30 minutes ago and every time she was alert/spooked by something she was staring directly at it... practically drilling holes into it with her eyes. This doesn't really seem like headshyness to me.. at least, not from reading the original post. I didnt see where she said she was trying to touch the horse's face, and that's why she turned away. From reading the original post it sounds like the horse just decided to look away on its own.

I think that advice would work better for an abused horse, but it sounds to me like this filly hasn't had a hard day in her life =) It really sounds to me like she is just looking around distracted.

I could just be reading the original post completely wrong though :p
     
    04-05-2009, 05:36 PM
  #7
Showing
I was thinking about your post and wanted to make sure you are not using a rope halter and then a lead rope with a clip on it.
When I do any rope work with my kids I use a lead rope without the clip. Just do a binding knot (square or granny) through the loop. Otherwise you run the risk of really whacking them in the face. That can kind of detract from the work you are doing.


Heres a visual aid http://www.bsatroop512.org/downloads\knots.jpg
     
    04-05-2009, 06:00 PM
  #8
Started
Skippy, not all scared horses will look AT the thing that scares them. A horse that goes introverted when scared, for example, will shut down, and some horses that are afraid of something will be looking OUT.....because out is where safety is, out is where they can get away from the thing that is scaring them. In either case for the scared/unconfident horse, making them look at the thing they are scared of is not the best thing to do. A lot of times people will say "You must have two eyes!" but sometimes a horse CAN'T look at you because there is too much pressure. That is where retreating to build confidence comes in.

Now, if a horse looks away from you out of boredom, I still won't pull his face back. Why? Because it's MY job to be interesting for the horse and to get him to WANT to look at me. Sure if you pull his head back he might look at you, but more than likely it's going to be a look of "Uhg, what do you want?" And if the horse truly looks at the human as alpha and as someone worth listening to, he WILL look at you on his own. It's just our job to cause this to happen in a way that doesn't involve MAKING the horse do anything.
     
    04-05-2009, 06:45 PM
  #9
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirithorse    
Skippy, not all scared horses will look AT the thing that scares them. A horse that goes introverted when scared, for example, will shut down, and some horses that are afraid of something will be looking OUT.....because out is where safety is, out is where they can get away from the thing that is scaring them. In either case for the scared/unconfident horse, making them look at the thing they are scared of is not the best thing to do. A lot of times people will say "You must have two eyes!" but sometimes a horse CAN'T look at you because there is too much pressure. That is where retreating to build confidence comes in.

Now, if a horse looks away from you out of boredom, I still won't pull his face back. Why? Because it's MY job to be interesting for the horse and to get him to WANT to look at me. Sure if you pull his head back he might look at you, but more than likely it's going to be a look of "Uhg, what do you want?" And if the horse truly looks at the human as alpha and as someone worth listening to, he WILL look at you on his own. It's just our job to cause this to happen in a way that doesn't involve MAKING the horse do anything.
I would imagine that a horse (being a prey animal) would want to do more than just turn a blind eye away from what is scaring it. In the wild if a horse sees a cougar coming out of the bushes, they'll run and always keep ears on the threat.. being introverted will get 'em eaten! I've always assumed that when a horse spooks and jumps away from whats spooking (rather than just ho-hum looking away) it that it's his instincts at work. I guess the horse must be much more domesticated than I give them credit for.

More often than not when I see my horses out in the pasture spook at something, they may run two strides then stop and stare at it, puffing/rattling their nostrils. Or they will set back a bit and have their ears perked WAY forward and stare at whats scaring them. Today when I was working with Charity she always had her full attention on the object I was desensitizing her with, regardless of the level of "spook" she had at it. Anywhoo... i've found that the bulk of horses I have worked with are more apt to stare at what spooks them rather than away from. I didn't say that all horses stare at what scares them because hey, I can't prove that :p! Infact, in my post I said when my horses are scared they look at whats scaring them ^^ I am very careful to not make generalizations =)

And as far as the boredom thing... I am no three ring circus for my horses :p Sure, I want the horses to want to be with me, but some people choose to do this by keeping their mouths stuffed with treats or trying to treat their horse like a god. I'm not at all saying that's what you're implying, and I do understand the general concept of getting the horse to want to focus on you. The way I achieve interest from my horses is by keeping things different. I don't have the same routine or path to lead them around, I change it up. When they get stuck on auto pilot they get much more easily distracted (i find). I am very proud to say that all my horses are increadibly attentive to me and stick with me with no resistence on the lead rope. And I achieved this without ever using any tools or performing any mean acts. I've just stayed consistent with them, and I think they really respect me for it =)

But I think its great that we have differing views on training and how to achieve certain goals. That diversity gives people in the horse world quite a few paths to travel in order to get what they want out of their horse =)

Thanks for your reply! =) I hope my response wasn't too off topic =)
     
    04-05-2009, 09:27 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy!    
Wait.. when you say she is turning her head away, how is she doing it? Ok, I was on her left side when she turned her head away from me (she was standing facing forward). She seemed relaxed when I was tossing the rope up over her head and she calmly turned her head to the right. It was not in a spooked, or frightened way. Her ears were relaxed with no sign she was looking at something that caught her eye, was not pinned. Just relaxed.


Were you reaching to touch her? No, was tossing rope over her head. I had already tossed it over her head several times before she turned away. Also forgot to say she held it away from me until I pulled her back, looking forward.

Or is she just doing it randomly while your with her? When I went back out for her second lesson, about 2 hours later, she did not turn her head away from me again.

Is she looking at something else (like other horses)? No she wasnt, right now due to weather I am working in a 12x16 stall.

Why is she head shy? Head shy is probably the wrong term. She is not head shy, but this was our FIRST lesson ever with this. She threw her head up several times before she calmed down realizing it wasnt going to hurt her. When she would relax, I would rub her forhead with the excess rope still bunched in my hand so that it would be touching her face too.

How long have you owned her? I have owned this filly since she was 2 months old. I just never have done anything with her until now. In my opinion, I believe working with them, but I like my horses to be just that, horses until I am ready to train them. They just learn how to pick up feet, lead, tie etc.

How long has she been doing this? This is our very first time with desensitizing.

When I first got Dreamer, he would turn his head away from me because he would rather look at something else. In his case, I demanded his attention by pulling his head back. When I first got him he would also try to throw his head down to eat grass while I was leading him. Both of those things are a HUGE sign of disrespect and disregard for you as a handler/trainer/owner/friend. I don't know if she was really just wanting to look somewere else, or if she was bored. She only done it once, 2nd lesson 2 hours later she did not turn her head away.

And as far as this goes:



Whenever my horses are scared, they look AT whats scaring them, not away. I was desensitizing Charity about 15-30 minutes ago and every time she was alert/spooked by something she was staring directly at it... practically drilling holes into it with her eyes. This doesn't really seem like headshyness to me.. at least, not from reading the original post. I didnt see where she said she was trying to touch the horse's face, and that's why she turned away. From reading the original post it sounds like the horse just decided to look away on its own.

I think that advice would work better for an abused horse, but it sounds to me like this filly hasn't had a hard day in her life =) It really sounds to me like she is just looking around distracted.

I could just be reading the original post completely wrong though :p
To the part in red, you are VERY right there. Like I said above, I let them be horses until I ready to train them. I havent actually saddle broke any in about 4 or 5 years. I been lucky enouph to sell my babies as weanlings or yearlings. But this paint filly, I had planned on keeping and then I also have a 3 year old appy filly that also needs broke this year. Thanks again for the info. I know I will probably be back with more questions as we go through our training process!!
     

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