Won't let me near his head - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-10-2013, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Won't let me near his head

I need some advise. The flys are terrible here, I've had my horse for only 3 weeks. The first two weeks I could manage to get his fly veil on if I offered a carrot, but now I'm not offering the carrots anymore he won't let me near his head to get the veil on. I'm scared next time I halter him, which will be tomorrow he will be the same with that. Any tricks you can offer a newbie to get him to cooperate?
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-10-2013, 10:06 PM
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When u do get the halter on, make it a positive experience. Like after feed him and tickle him. Or if you have a smaller pen put him in it, and walk him down. Do it till he gives in, and don't give up. My horses used to run away from me in my pasture which is like 1/2 mile by 1/4 mile, and one day i decides to walk them down, it took 1/2hr but I got it done!
But try this halter him then give the treat and then rub and release within a matter of 2mins, no longer because then it isn't fun to get haltered.
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-11-2013, 06:18 AM
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Approach him slowly and quietly, but not afraid. Talk to him softly, let him know you aren't there to hurt him. I would say continue offering a treat and if he lets you come to him or approaches you, reward him. Give him the treat and a few pats. He'll learn that he gets something positive when he cooperates with you.
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-11-2013, 09:58 AM
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Offering treats to accomplish a goal is fine. If it's from your hand, extend your arm so his head has to turn away from you to take it. This is to help prevent him from mugging your body for treats. You might find it easier if you put small pieces scattered in a feed pan on the ground. As he lowers his head to eat endorphins are produced that relax him. It's surprising what a horse will allow when in this position and eating compared to when it's head is up. High up means he's thinking of escape so the lower the better.
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-13-2013, 12:22 AM
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Agree mostly with above, as this is a new & obviously untrusting horse. Do whatever you can to associate yourself & your 'toys' & 'games' with Good Stuff. BUT bribery - that is, offering the Good Thing as a lure for the desired behaviour - is of limited value. Therefore I'd be combining ideas given above & aim to phase out the bribery asap.

As you want this issue resolved, I don't think it's helpful to focus ATM on the importance of getting the fly veil on - flies might be bad, but horses don't tend to suffer much from them. Make the focus gaining his trust and teaching him that being Caught is a Good Thing for him. BTW, you don't need anything like whole carrots - cut them in slices or cubes & you'll have a heap of rewards per carrot.

But try this halter him then give the treat and then rub and release within a matter of 2mins, no longer because then it isn't fun to get haltered.
Just want to be particular about this, because horses learn from *instant* association & timing is everything. 2 seconds is about the outside 'rule' for associating cause with effect, far from 2 minutes. So agree with the first part above, just release immediately to begin with, & ensure being haltered is indeed fun, no matter how long he's haltered.
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-21-2013, 12:51 PM
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I've always been a fan of letting a horse come to trust you... This has worked wonders for me many, many times... My old gelding came to me from an abusive situation. I spent HOURS just sitting in his pasture with him for a LONG time before even haltering him at all. I spent so much time with him that when I got on him for the first time, I was expecting him to take off bucking like I'd seen him do with others, but he was perfect for me. He had a lot of trust issues and would run from me for a long time... I figured out that he loved those soft peppermints you get at christmas time and I started taking those with me everyday and when he came to me, he got a treat. Eventually he got to where he would come to me anytime, anywhere and practically halter himself. For the last 9 years I had him I often rode him bareback and with a simple hackamore - I used my saddle for show purposes only. And eventually, he trusted me enough to ride him completely tackless and blindfolded... Having the trust of your horse will take you a LONG way.

It takes time to gain the trust of a horse and your horse seems like someone has maybe been rough with him also. I suggest to keep using your treat system if it works. Eventually your boy will grow to trust you and realize that you're not going to hurt him. It won't happen over night and it may not be easy, but if you stick with it and treat him well, you will get him there... Good luck!
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-21-2013, 01:59 PM
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^I agree.... to an extent. Just remember that they are horses, and not dogs.

The sensitivity of the internet baffles me.
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-22-2013, 06:41 PM
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Be sure you put the rope around his neck BEFORE you try to put the halter on when you go to catch him.

After he is caught an d in a safe place, use the fly mask like a towel, rubbing up and down his neck, then gradually up to his ears, and when he is still, but not before, stop, and pet. Then do it again, and "accidentally" go over his ears, then back. Make SURE you are standing straight, and tall, and EXPECTING him to stand still. Not going "it's ok, honey, sweety, darling, whoa, easy, whoa, here it comes....easy, whoa..." If you need to, say WHOA. That means "STOP your feet, NOW".

It is the mamby-pamby, sugar-coated weak mumbling that horses do NOT respond to. They ARE NOT human, they are horses, prey animals, and YOU need to be the leader, large and IN charge.

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post #9 of 9 Old 11-25-2013, 02:10 AM
Green Broke
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Does he do this only when you want to put something on or off of his head? Does he let you pet his head at all when you're not trying to put something on or off his head? Or does he do this just in general when you go near his head?

"It is the difficult horses that have the most to teach you" - Double Dan Horsemanship
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