The Untouched Yearling - Suggestions and advice would be appreciated!
   

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The Untouched Yearling - Suggestions and advice would be appreciated!

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  • How to catch a untouched colt
  • Looking after a yearling

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    11-24-2012, 11:22 PM
  #1
Foal
The Untouched Yearling - Suggestions and advice would be appreciated!

I was given a colt about two in a half months ago by my barn owner. She had saved two trailer loads of wild horses from a SPCA case here in Fresno and he was apart of them. Well he supposably was "people friendly" at one point according to the female they got him from. That definitely is not the case today..
You may have seen him in my old post when I first got him, I still have not named him either! (I'm horrible, I know)
Well he is not fond of human touch. He gets that crazy look in his little face when a person walks towards him. I have been working with him since I was given him and I believe he's progressed a bit but not really that much. He used to run away as soon as someone came into the pen, or came within a certain radius of him and strike at you if you tried touching him. However he never pins his ears so I know its strictly out of fear.

Fast forward to today, I can enter the pen and he doesn't run for his life. He sometimes backs away but that's still better than taking off. When I put out my hand he will come to me and sniff it, however I still can't touch him. I am sometimes able to barely graze my fingertips on his whiskers/muzzle after doing the approach/retreat method with him. He fusterates the living poo out of me because he will let me stand like a foot away from him as he basically dozes off, but the minute my hand gets within an inch from him he will move.

To answer a few statements I'm prepared to hear a lot of, YES I do have a trainer if I need one and they provide lots of tips and advice as I am doing this on my own. I would just like to hear you guys advice as far as what I should try next? Sorry if none of this makes sense, I m typing out all my thoughts as they come. Lol
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    11-24-2012, 11:24 PM
  #2
Foal
Yep, I just read it and it sounds like I'm 7 years old. Lol I'm sorry everyone..
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    11-24-2012, 11:32 PM
  #3
Started
Here's just about to the only thing you can do:
Quality Time.

Go into a small confined area with the horse. Preferably a stall with no distractions. Bring yourself a book. Park yourself next to his food and spend the day. He may at first flip a gaskit. But soon he'll find the courage to venture over to you. Don't just jump out and try to pet him right off, let him pet you.
At our rescue we have a few little wild ponies here. One of them a young girl (13) has got following her around like a puppy dog by now xD That pony will do anything for her. This was a 14 year old wild pony, never touched.
Just by spending quality time. She later ventured into Clicker Training, but you can use anything.
I suggest looking into Pat Parrelli's seven games (while I'm not his biggest fan, those games are fantastic bits of groundwork, valuable for any horse to know).
But all this can only come once you can touch him. So quality time is all you've got until he's comfortable around you. Devote a few good days with him.
     
    11-24-2012, 11:41 PM
  #4
Foal
Thank you for the suggestion I appreciate it! (:
Since the day I got him I have been going out every other day for 2.5 months and have been working with him and his trust issues. I'm the only person he let's get super close to him now. I can stand super close to him (withing a hands distance between us) and he will have his head lowered, eyes half closed and he looks like he's falling asleep. But as soon as I put my hand either near his face or his shoulder, he lifts his head super high and gets that scared look in his face. I'm not trying to rush him, but he does need his feet done and to be wormed as well as gelded so I need him halterbroke!
I guess my question is more-so how do I get him to let me touch him without just roping him in and letting him flip out cause that's out of the question. Lol
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    11-25-2012, 12:41 AM
  #5
Yearling
I like to get a halter and drag rope on the horse. And start doing ground work. Join up, all kinds of stuff for respect, and also get the horse leading and more control of its body before you go touching it.

A friend of mine uses join up a lot.

Horse faces him and eventually he gets if to come to him, and tries to touch the nose or neck of the horse, horse moves away, it gets sent away.

Worked on a mustang I had. The horse ended up being super easy to catch cause of you entered his pen, he would 'join up' automatically lol.

Everyone does it different. I have patients but not the kind to sweet talk them into letting me touch them.
First thing, they get a halter
     
    11-25-2012, 12:54 AM
  #6
Foal
I can not even get a halter on him..
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    11-25-2012, 09:43 AM
  #7
Started
Janna I would do the same thing with an adult, but it sounds to me like this is a colt - I would never round pen a horse under 2 1/2 myself, but some will do it a little younger. I also don't like roundpenning a brand new wild horse- they are already terrified, let them learn we aren't going to eat them first.


Miskriss it sounds to me like his area is too big for what you currently need. He needs to be somewhere small and distraction free. Sit with him and let him come to you, don't immediately reach up to him the moment he comes over. This is pressure to him and he's going to move away from it, this would tell him not to come over to you because each time yougo to touch him. Let him get completely comfortable in your prescense, let him brush up against you as he walks by, don't just reach out and touch him.
At the point you're at i'd be considering adding some more motivational positive reinforcement.
Is he in with other horses or are there some within reach when you're there? If they are this will slow the process. Horses a herd animals but they will look to herd with horses before humans. At this point you want you to be his only option in herd members. This will make you more valuable to him.
With our wild ponies their first touch we would just rest our hand on their whither and stay with them in their stall- they will back up, move forward and sideways, just keep things quiet and calm but keep with them. Once they stop moving take your hand off. Repeat this for only short 5 minute sessions at a time so as not to work them up. You can use a crop or fake hand or something if you need greater distance between you and the colt.
But I really think close 1on1 contact and lots of time is your best ally.

The method I just mentioned is what we used to do, ut always worked but it was slow. A new way we've been doing it lately, that the little girl used with the pony I mentioned earlier was with positive reinforcement. Start with the food next to you, let him work up the courage to come over and get it in his own time. Once he no longer hesitates about eating beside you (with you not touching him) you can move on. Stand with his empty bowl beside you. When he comes close click (i use a smooch noise) and put a little food in the bowl. Do this until he is readily comjng over to you anywhere in the paddock. If you can safely hand feed him this is better so he isn't following the bowl. Work on this until he is comprehending to follow you and that your click noise=food. Once he's readily following you now just reach out your hand, closed fist, slowly, give him time to try, if he gets close at first with just a whisker touch, click+treat. Gradually build up to be able to touch his muzzle and face and all over eventually. This is how the 13 year old girl can now lean over and give her pony a big barrel hug and the pony following her all around. They're working on unmounted agility now because the pony is too small to ride. She also used this to get her used to the farrier. If at any point he makes a turn around and actually becomes pushy for food, invading your space or rudely nudging you or pawing then you ought to nip that in the bud. This is where we start most not-wild horses. I stand in front of the pushy/invasive horse with the food giving a short growl or whack if they get too pushy (judging by your colt I don't think you'll need this) once thy turn their head away for any reason I click+treat. This teaches them the only way to get food is to stand patiently facing away. But right now you want him near you and you can build that up before asserting respectfullness. You can also help prevent pushiness by always feeding behind their chin so they have to back up a bit to get it.

Good luck keep us posted!
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    11-25-2012, 10:08 AM
  #8
Trained
The first thing I would do is get a bunch of people and quickly use all the help you can to get a halter and drag line on him. He may be pissed and traumatized for a few hours but back off and leave him be.

Then id make sure to touch him. He could dance around all day but at least id have a way to control his movements by having that halter on him.

I've dealt with quite a few untouched weanlings and yearlings and the faster I get a halter on them, the better.
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    11-25-2012, 10:54 AM
  #9
Started
I gentled a yearling mustang. He had a halter put on him while he was in a squeeze chute, and after he felt comfortable to come near enough for me to clip a lead on him while he ate, he sported a drag rope. He learned how to lead before he learned how to let me touch him.

Have you ever built something up in your head to where it seemed way more terrible and horrible than it actually turned out to be? I'm pretty sure horses do that to some extent. They don't know it won't hurt when you touch them... but occasionally you have to push past their comfort zone until they find that out, rather than waiting the whole time until they finally decide they'll allow it. The trainer that helped me with my mustang reached a point where she just shortened him up on the lead, let him back himself up against the fence, and gave him a rub on the forehead. After that day it sort of clicked for him and it got easier and easier to touch him. I'd say within a week or two of that event he started letting me groom him (which he quickly found out actually feels really good; now he'll happily stand loose while I groom him).

Of course, be careful. Don't put yourself in a position where the horse might knock you down trying to bolt away, kick, or strike. There is a delicate balance between pushing the envelope a bit and overwhelming them.
     
    11-25-2012, 11:25 AM
  #10
Yearling
Even if you know nothing about horse training you can still succeed at this purely through patience. It may take awhile to completely gain a horse's confidence going about it this way, but the advantage is that once you do gain it it'll be there for real. He'll never have been forced into accepting you and that's a good thing if your plans include riding him someday. What you've accomplished with him actually sounds appropriate for the time spent. To go from striking to allowing a person in close to his space is very good progress!

Don't be deterred, thinking that you have to get it done now. These guys who can start a colt in a day, they can do that because they've done it thousands of times. These mustangs are a challenge even to experienced horsemen. Everything about a normal horse is only more so in them.

Though if it's getting to the point where he needs to get halter-broke to get his feet done and it's getting ridiculous, Clovis isn't TOO far from me.
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