Join Up Problems With "off the range" Mustang?!
I am currently working with a 5 year old mustang who was captured out in Missouri a few years ago, he is a gelding but was gelded at a older age then typical. He will let people pet him now and feed him out of your hand if you are slow and patient, so he is some what used to people but he is still easily spooked and he will not let you put a rope on him. So I tried joining up with him and he did well, I waited on him to lick his lips and relax a bit and then I stopped and had him turn into me, (I even cocked a leg so I didn't look threatening (according to Clinton Anderson)) all went well and he would walk about 5 feet from me then slowly creep all the way up to and touch me with his nose without me reaching out for him at all, If I walked away from him he would take a second and then follow me with about 3 feet or so between us, which I think is good progress. BUT as soon as I would do anything more then slowly stick my hand out and barely touch his nose he would get scared and back away, even just shifting my weight from one foot to the other. He did understand that if he left my "invisible circle" I would make him work again though so he wouldn't back out of it unless he got really spooked by something. But am I doing something wrong or should I just give him more time?? Any tips or advice would be appreciated!
More time. Jioning up properly with certain horses can take quite awhile, especially if they are not used to people, ropes, or sudden actions.
Every time he backs off, get after him and do not let him come in until his head is down, licking his lips, ears on you: submitting to you.
Some horses, if they are smart, will learn that if they stop running and come to you that you will stop chasing them but this is not submission, this is just the animal outsmarting you.
Make sure he is giving you signs every time you let him in.
Make sure you bring a rope with you too so that he gets used to the sight.
If you can get a halter/rope on him even better.
Just doing joinup and hoping he will come around will take awhile. sometimes you need to physically force them to stop running/avoiding certain things so that they can get used to it, expecially if they have a strong flight instinct.
"Don't run away; turn and face and access the situation."
I'm not saying it's impossible, just that it may take longer than you hoped to get him to the point where he will just allow you to put the halter on and pet him all over.
Just take your time, little by little and always end on a good note.
Again, if he backs away you can try turning and walking from him to draw him in but if that doesn't work, then make him move away from you. Dont put up with his uncertainties.
I think he might just need a little more time to gain some trust and a sense of security with you. Some horses are more willing to trust than others, same as how some people take longer to get close to others than some.
That's still great progress that you're making with him! What I think might help is just get him used to being handled slowly. Maybe get a yummy treat and feed it to him out of one hand and try to gently touch his neck with the other. Don't over do it, just touch and release before he has a chance to react. Then you can slowly increase how long you touch him.
If he's joining up with you at all that's a good sign! Me jus sounds shy to me is all.
Okay thank you both! I appreciate it and will try both of your advise, I think I just have a lot riding on this so I am just anxious but thanks again!
Also Alexandra V I think its funny I had just commented on one of your post about joining up ha! I am used to working with other horses who respond faster/better to joining up!
Hahaha I actually just did everything you said today at the barn! I guess great minds think alike ;)
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Don't ***** foot around him or he will think there's something to be nervous about. Predators ***** foot when deciding how to attack. Make your moves with confidence. If he moves away, send him half way around the pen and make him turn back a few strides. The try again. He'll catch on. Don't allow him to approach and touch you. He's just entered your space which means he's the dominant one. He comes no closer than the length of your outstretched arm. You need to be the dominant one and make him respect that. If he doesn't, move him off like you plan on killing him. Horses do that to each other all the time. The more you drive him away, the more he will want to come to you. Before long you'll be able to move him like you are shooing chickens.
Anyway, couldn't help the digress... I disagree thoroughly with the idea of roundpenning a horse with the aim of compulsive submission. I prefer to go slower & less confrontational... which IME can get you there quicker anyway! Sounds like you've done well with the horse so far, but 'join up', no matter how you do it, is not a 'magic bullet' & you still need to take the time it takes & do what is needed for a particular horse in any situation.
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