Getting a Halter on Skittish 2 year old
Where do I start trying to get a halter on a skittish 2 year old that has not had much handling? Story goes, my sis-in-law brought her horses down to our farm as they were flooded. She took 5 of them back yesterday. It was supposed to be 6 as this 2 year old filly was supposed to go too, but we could not get her in the trailer. When she brought them down, the filly just followed all the other horses into the trailer, as all of them were going. This time, we were leaving 2 here, and there were 5 horses in the trailer, and we could not get that filly in (loose). Her mom was staying here, and so we loaded the mom, thinking the filly would follow, but no, she would not. So after about 3 hours, we surrendered and decided to let the filly stay here with the other 2. I would like to work with her a little but, I have to get a halter on her first and am not quite sure how to go about that. Any advice? I am no trainer, I just want to fuss with her and try and get her used to a halter.
I'm new around here, but I have a feeling everyone will tell you that you need to get a trainer. I am new to horses so my advice may be completely wrong..
but I would suggest you begin feeding her so that she will feel more comfortable approaching you. However you don't want to hang around for feed time and don't want her to begin invading your 'bubble' and pushing you around thinking you will always have a treat.
But if she starts to feel comfortable enough to approach you and you spend more and more time close to her I think you should be able to slip a halter on her.
Of course having someone with a lot of horse experience come out and show you how to do things is the best thing you could do. Good luck, I am working with a 2 y/o myself and have SO much to learn. I am currently looking for a trainer in my area (and price range).
When I brought my unhandled filly home this December we had to load her into the trailer using panels and gates. Once she was in the trailer and home, I climbed in with her and took about 45 minutes to calm her and allow me to halter her, and put a dragline on.
Can you set up a system of gates or use round pen panels to get her into the trailer?
In order to work with her safely you need to be able to get her by herself. There are a ton of things you could do with her after that, but if you cannot get her alone she will hide behind the others and you may end up getting kicked or worse.
You could try treats or hand feeding her as a way to build some kind of relationship, but again it will be hard with others crowding around. Be safe.
Do you want to get the filly in the trailer so she can be where she belongs? or
Do you want to work with her a little?
If you just want to get her in the trailer, I second the gates, or backing the trailer to the barn door and making the trailer the only or easiest way to go.
If you want to work with her, you do not need to get the halter on her. Your first goal is to have her respect and not fear you. Work on approaching her, touching her on her head, neck and shoulders, teaching her to move away from pressure can be done as well. When she is comfortable with you handling her front areas, you can introduce a soft rope. Loop it over her neck and hold it. Do not make an actual loop that can tighten though. Put the rope in different locations on her neck. Move towards her head. Put the rope over her nose. Generally just get her used to the idea. Change out the rope for a halter and hook it onto her neck, don't put it on her head yet. Then just put the nose band on. When you finally are ready to use the pollband(right word?) be sure to have buckle open so that you will not drag the pollband over her face. You want to have the noseband on, then bring the pollband over behind her ears and buckle it that way.
This is pretty extreme and slow, but you don't know how she will react. Take it slow and remember that doing ANYTHING with her is working with her. You don't have to have that halter on her to make progress.
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