Gaining Trust-where to even start?

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Gaining Trust-where to even start?

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    03-13-2012, 08:34 PM
Gaining Trust-where to even start?

I have the opportunity to work with 4 horses. (there are 5, but one is 35 years old and retired)

1 is totally friendly and I don't see any real trouble with him.
The next 2 are dis-respectful, but I was shown by a woman I use to train with different things in the round pen on gaining respect.

The 4th guy, however, is very timid. I met them today and he would not let me come up to him at all, while the others got curious at some point.

All of these horses are trained. The owner said they are all natural-gait tennessee walkers.

The owner does not get to go out and see them as much as she would like, and has given me the chance to go out and get them handled more often. (not riding..just ground stuff)
There is a man who cares for them and turns them out, but for the most part they are in a large pasture.

She said she is looking into getting a round pen, but for now I am going to buy a lunge line.

I'm not worried about the ones who need to learn respect. I've worked with a few horses like that.
I am a little confused on how to start going about gaining this ones trust, though.

I would just like to hear stories on how this has been done. Should I just go out and be around him a while? I feel it would be easier if they were stalled when I got there, but they're out for the most part.
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    03-13-2012, 09:29 PM
Just hanging out can be really powerful to a timid horse. Don't underestimate how much good you can do by giving a timid horse plenty of time doing "nothing." Training exercises can feel like aggression to a horse that doesn't trust you.

My Fargo was halter broke when I got him, but he still didn't trust anyone. I tried to pet, groom and love on him, but he didn't really respond, he acted scared. So, I started in on training exercises, and he would do everything I asked, but like I would kill him if he didn't do it. Then I started doing nothing with him. I'd sit and read a book in the pen with him haltered standing next to me, or just sit with him while he ate. After a little while he started "asking" to be petted, he would stand next to me and nuzzle me if I ignored him. From then on he was much more trusting in everything I did with him.

Even now he is much more responsive to attention if he asks for it first. It was really hard for me to not turn into a control freak around my horse and give him the time to just get to know me.
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    03-14-2012, 08:07 PM
The owner is going to be getting a round pen this month, so as far as working with them on respect.. I'm going to wait until she gets one.
I tried walking the 'leader' (Duke) of their little group around on a lunge line today and, well,
1) He stepped all over my feet. Wasn't paying a lick of attention no matter what I did.
2) Near crashed into me from a stand still for whatever reason.
3) When I did turn to him he started cantering around me like a nut.

I'm going to focus on 'building a bond' with them until said pen is set up. The owner said to focus on the friendly one (Blackjack) and the others would get curious/jealous and start coming up to me. Black-Jack was broken in by Amish folks. He's 3 years but did spook at a bunch. He throws his head a bit if you pull the lead too hard and it yanks the halter.

They are all broke to ride, but have not been worked since 'Season before last' (I'm guessing summer of last year?)
I have my work cut out for me. Once I can try them in a round pen I believe we will be better off. Would like to nip this behavior in the bud. UN-acceptable.

However, after standing by the stall for a while, the one who doesn't trust (Ebony) did come over and let me pet his head. :) Then Red (The second one who needs to learn respect) bit me on the shoulder and Ebony backed into his corner again.

I'm going to really need to sit down and plan out what my 'game-plan' is.
Do more research on different methods, too.
I see they are obviously going to need working on someone leading them in and out the barn. Right now they are allowed to run in and they all go to their stalls.
The passage ways are narrow and the stalls do that funny 'We open in the direction you need to walk' thing.

I just want order darn-it!
    03-14-2012, 08:19 PM
I would definitely try to work these horses individually, especially the timid one, because if you have to reprimand one of the pushy ones the timid one could be frightened by it.

It sounds like you have a good start on gaining his trust. He may be a bit different when he's not with the rest of the herd. From what you wrote I'm guessing he ranks pretty low in the herd hierarchy, if that is true he may get more confident when it's just you and him. He could also go all scatter-brained too, if he worries that his leader is not there, then you will have to become his leader for him to get confident.
    03-14-2012, 08:28 PM
He really is ranked low. I saw this the first day I went out there.
Duke only had to lift his head a bit and Ebony was very submissive.

Now I'm worried on what I should do when I am able to start working with Duke on respect. He's very pushy.
    03-14-2012, 08:37 PM
I'd spend lots of time teaching him to back and stay out of your space. Yielding his fore quarters and hind quarters will be very important in teaching respect, and don't be afraid to be as firm as he needs you to be.

If you think he is possibly dangerous, you can begin teaching yielding out of your space from the opposite side of the fence from him by getting him to back away from the fence.
    03-14-2012, 08:44 PM
I have to be careful with how I approach him, though. He's very head-shy and I'd hate to scare him further.

So, when you say yielding him out of my space, you mean in a way of....?
I can certainly waves my arms and get him to leave, but he's one of those horses that appears unafraid to turn quick and throw a good buck your way..
    03-14-2012, 08:53 PM
Just out of curiosity is this a "job" or is this a "favor"? They haven't been out of the swing of things too long they should be pretty easy to snap back to being respectful and trusting. I would expect a horse to return to lunging ect pretty easily. I have had horses out of the swing of things 5-6 years and they just pick back up like no time was lost. I also wouldn't diddle around with a lot of groundwork either...but that's just me. If they are broke they may just need ridden to refresh and gain your trust & respect. I don't believe a horse has to trust you for you to ride it either. I've gotten on a lot of horses who I met 5 minutes before I had to get on. For me at least nothing beats being ridden to refresh a horse. They haven't been out of it that long...get on em.
    03-14-2012, 08:59 PM
Neither really. The owner doesn't come out as much as she would like, and I am wanting to work with horses. (Just didn't know they were this bad)
Going to add.. I have been riding horses for years and did train with one trainer who taught me some natural horsemanship. At the time I was actually riding an arabian stallion.. so I have experience with an 'tude' in the round pen. Lol
Since this is a private barn with only the man looking after them, I offered to go out and work with them.

I understand what you are saying. With the way they act and spook at everything, I don't see how they were ridden. The 3 year old side stepped and became fearful of an ATV that was turned off and just sitting there.

I'm going to guess they act differently when their owner is with them. I hope they do!

I'm not riding. I believe the owner does believe in the trust before you ride deal.
Not my place to say otherwise. I'm just in it to help with whatever issues they may be struggling with (like the whole 'I'm ranked higher than you' trips) and getting them handled more often.
    03-14-2012, 09:00 PM
No I mean he needs to move respectfully straight back when backing and to yield his fore quarters he should be stepping away from you with his front end while his back end either stays put or backs slightly(no just walking off away from you) and when you yield his hind quarters away he should bring his head around to respectfully face you.

A word of caution when yielding his hind end, dominant horses love yielding the haunch because it automatically brings their face to you where they can try to sneak a nip or hit you with their heads. With Duke start by teaching him to back, he's going to hate it because it's a very submissive thing to do, but it will raise your rank in the herd. If he gets really belligerent, get on the other side of the fence and ask him to move backwards either by tapping him in the chest with a stick(one you find on the ground will work) or wiggling the lead rope at him, until he backs away a step.

Remember you just want to bug/annoy him so he will try to figure out a way to make you stop, the reward for him is when you stop bugging him. So every time he gets out of your space relax like your saying "thanks buddy."

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