Unfriendly horse question - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-26-2012, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Unfriendly horse question

This is my first time to horse forum. I hope I am posting in the right spot. I was hoping for some feedback on a problem I have with my gelding.

I got him about a year ago. When I got him he hadn't been taken care of very well. He had ticks on him so bad along his mane that he was bald in patches from rubbing it.

I have worked with him a lot of the last year and he is now very healthy looking. He rides great and goes anywhere I ask him to. My boyfriend and I usually ride together and he can occasionally be difficult when I ride him away from his "buddy". That is really the only problem I have with him under saddle.

My problem is that when I go out to the barn I can hardly catch him. The other horses are friendly and won't hardly leave my side but he won't let me close to him at all. I have to either have feed or get him into a stall. I go out there every day to feed them and spend time with them, not only to ride. I have done ground work and round pen with him and never been harsh with him.

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas/tips on way to make him more trusting or friendly. I love him to death and hate that he doesn't seem to like me or trust me.
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-26-2012, 05:25 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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Ha, ha, we've ALL been there.
This is how I solved the problem in the 1980's. I had a small herd of 6 horses and none were easily catchable. I fed them grain 1x/day, so I thought I might be able to catch one or two of the herd that were further down the pecking order. I did catch one horse, haltered him and led him outside of their turnout, tied just him up and fed him his grain. He was easily visible by the rest of the herd. I didn't grain any of the rest of them that day. When he'd finished I put him back in. NEXT day my herd leader was waiting at the gate to come out for "treats." I learned that they do EVERYTHING in their pecking order. Very soon, I would halter each horse over the gate, lead out, tie up and feed grain (in rubber buckets.) I would put them back in the same order. Each horse had to hold his head over the fence before I'd take him out, and after they ate I would cue them to go through the gate, turn and put their heads over the fence and wait to be released. It became a habit and I never had trouble catching those horses after that, even when I walked out in their turnout with them.
I still teach my horses this today. My 16'3hh gelding knows to wheel around my 13', 5' high gate to turnout, and he puts his head over the gate, lead loose, and waits for me to unbuckle his halter. Often he wants me to scratch his head, but I don't care if he runs off after this, but I want horses that I can catch, and I don't want a horse to trample me when I release them.
Julie Goodnight has a very good video using body language to help, too. She says that your horse is playing with you, and you have to break the cycle. It works, too.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-29-2012, 03:49 PM
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I had the same problem with my horse! He used to pin his ears and run away from me. I used to have to sneak up on him and sort of lasso him with a leadrope to catch him. Of course now he runs up and meets me at the gate when I call.

With my horse, i would walk out into the pasture, give him a treat, and then leave. (repeat, repeat repeat). Then I would work up to catching him, taking him in and brushing him, spoiling him, and putting him back in the pasture. (repeat repeat...) This may sound pointless and tedious, but it teaches him that he doesnt have to do "work" and be ridden every time you catch him. To this day, when i catch my horse, he gets a treat when he meets me at the gate, and gets another treat when he stands for the halter.

In short, I spoiled my horse into meeting me at the gate. Hopefully this helps!
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-29-2012, 04:07 PM
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My horse has me well trained. If I don't show up with a carrot, I don't get a horse! I, however, don't mind this agreement we've come to as when I do have the carrot he is always good to catch.
How I did it? Every time I haltered him - there was a treat. So now it's halter = treat, but if there's no treat I don't get to halter him (smart little bugger). I used to have to herd him into a small area, but once he figured out there was a treat every single time he got better.
Horses are also into instant gratification, as long as you aren't mean and beating them (which they would remember) riding them after you catch them isn't going to make a difference. You do the following: catch them, give a treat, go in, groom, ride, groom and turn out, they will probably have a fuzzy recollection that the halter came with a treat and maybe going out the gate and that's it! My horse doesn't seem to care what happens in between halter/food time and turn back out and run around time, he's always the same to catch.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-29-2012, 04:46 PM
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Location: Arizona
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Treats always work for me too. And I don't always have to have them on me, but my horses are always expecting treats so they come to me either way. I don't know who has trained who.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-29-2012, 10:51 PM
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Every time he walks away from you drive him off then stop wait if he looks at you take a step back then try again repeat until he allows you to approach or comes to you , the trick is that everytime he walks off make him move forward and make sure you take that step back when he stops and looks at you so you are releasing on him giving a try.
Until in the end he realises its harder work trying to not be caught than it is to let you catch him I use this method and it works everytime but may take a while the first time .
snowynkate is offline  

gelding behavior , training , trust , unfriendly

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