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Dumas'_Grrrl 04-22-2008 03:48 PM

Personality... of a horse...
OK... So after having my horses for the last 6 months.. I have come to love them, respect them, care for them and totally enjoy them... BUT...
There is this little nagging feeling in my gut that I can't get around...its Dumas...He is in the 8yo ish range (qh)...Dunno how many homes he's been in...don't know squat about his history. When we got him from our friend we knew he was "head shy" and the only way he would take a bit is if he had his head tied down low and had his mouth pryed open (please skip the lectures about this) Once he was bridled he was fine. We were also told that you couldn't touch his ears.
OK.. fast forward 6 months and a whole lot of handleing later, He'll let us rub all over his head and ears...he still doesn't like the bit, but its much better than it was. Dumas doesn't like being brushed, or rubbed on his body ...How am I gonna bathe him??? And he has this weird way about a vibe...stay back. I don't know if I can properly describe it. He doesn't really want to hang out with us. He keeps us at arms reach...if he doesn't "feel" like being around us he lets us get close but will "act" like he is going to rear(never has) and then will walk off from you constantly playing this cat and mouse game. Its like he "allows" us to do some things yet...He keeps to himself. Never is he open and loving...I feel all meloncholy inside and don't know whether we should keep him or look for another horse that will allow us to love on him. He has never spooked, reared, kicked, bit, pinned his ears back at us or even acted like he would...He will pull his head up where we can't reach him and then walk off but he has never threatened us... Am I being a chicken...or do we just not click? I'm confused and concerned... any advice?

Sorry so long......

my2geldings 04-22-2008 04:07 PM

Unless you get a foal it's always difficult to understand where a horse has come from or what he/she has been through. Not having seen the horse it's hard to say if his behavior is associated with him being a bully or if he really has had a bad experience. If he genuinely scared or worried when you show him new things, keep showing him what makes him nervous.
Start off slow and work your way up. If giving him a bath is your next goal, start off slow. Just walk him in and out until he is settled into doing that, then move up to getting him to stand in the washrack and feed him in a bucket. Don't tie him with cross ties or whatever it is you guys use where you are. Just feed him and teach him that standing in the rack is ok. With time he will associate that going into the washrack means treats. Keep adding more and more things as he settles.

This is a process that may take days to weeks, it all depends how your current relationship with him is and how much he trusts you.

Be patient with him, you know what you're doing.


Dumas'_Grrrl 04-22-2008 05:57 PM

ok..lemme shoot out another question...should I be thinking long a couple years not a couple more months...

We are not a horse facility... my wash rack consists of a steel pole to tye to and a garden hose in my back yard... :P

Guess I'm having a hard time building trust with this guy...any tips on trust...

my2geldings 04-22-2008 06:30 PM

Sped lots and lots of time one on one with him. Horses need time to know you and trust you. If you dont have a good relationship with him yet, then dont try to show him things that worry him. Work on building a relationship first.

Bitless 04-22-2008 07:54 PM

If he has had a bad start in life then i would think yes, to thinking being in it for ALOT longer, as it will take alot more patients in dealing with his problems.

If its more the interaction of you and him i would think to still give it a good go atleast. Trying another 5 months or somthing?

Allowing like a year to work with each other will get him past the settling in faze , start to build on the realtionship and hopefully at least give glimpses of things to come. But dunno, ever horse is different and you dont know his backround.

To me the kinda extreme messure to get the bit in , and head shyness suggests more of a rough life than him being ' naughty '. Purhaps it happened way back when he was being broken in.

Maby you could try riding him in a bitless bridle untill he becomes used to handling that, then slowly progress back to using a bit.

He may not like to be groomed if hes never had that affection before, he wont know what you are trying to do.

I think like My2Geldings said work on building a relationship first, pleanty of ground work.

Dumas'_Grrrl 04-22-2008 09:23 PM

That makes a lot of sence guys... a sincere thank you...

I never thought of it that way before bitless...that he wouldn't understand grooming because he never had that type of affection before....

I'll extend my timeline and keep ya all posted!

Anyone else have anything they'd like to add?

Vidaloco 04-23-2008 08:01 AM

I'm not a Parelli person but have watched the video. The one thing I took from it that has helped me is the quiet time.
Its basicly just going out into the horses area and spending 15 min. not doing anything just sitting there. Don't talk or touch them unless they touch you first. It helps if you can do it in a small area away from the other horses.
I just take a bucket to sit on and chill with the horse. I know it sounds silly but I think it helped me with a couple of horses we had that were like your Dumas.
I know it sounds silly, but horses are actully very polite creatures. I always say "hello: when I go into their area. Let them smell my hand as if it was a nose. Maybe he has never had a human treat him politely.
Vida was like Dumas when I got her. Very indifferent to humans. She has finally come around, and I feel she likes me as much a horse can. It took awhile but she will look me in the eye (important to me) acts like she would rather be with me than the other horses. Shes not a lovey dovey horse but thats ok, I love her and trust her. Thats the main thing.
You might give him some time, not all horses are lovers but if you get to the point where you at least trust each other that makes all the difference.

Dumas'_Grrrl 04-23-2008 09:55 AM

OK... I posted this on tuesday and its wed today. Yesterday I had to move the horses up into our 1 acre pen because we got in something like 200 calves. So while the trucks were bringing the calves in I decided to do some yard work and fix up a fence around my garden... Anyways... I noticed that everytime I looked up Dumas was watching me. Then he'd look away and go graze...So I got my yard stuff done and had about half and hour before the girls got home from school so I took a lawn chair out and sat in the pen. Didn't talk to them, didnt offer to touch them... Just sat. Neith horse came up to me but after I left, I noticed that Dumas was standing at the gate most of the evening.

I know he is interested in us...He always looks us in the eye..I have noticed that he doesnt like it when we have sunglasses on...and when you put a saddle and bridle on him he is a different he KNOWS his job. Maybe I am just stressing on this too much...maybe this rant shoulda been in the how do you tame the beast post... I've been around horse all my life but I was never responcible for them untill now...its easy for me to give encouragement to others but I seem to be intimidated... :roll:

kim_angel 04-23-2008 12:51 PM

Angel and I have been together for about 5-6 months now. She is somewhat standoffish, difficult to catch and not a lover at all. I can tell she doesnt trust me either.

When I go out to the pasture, if I look at her, she runs away. So I sit down with my back to her. Occasionally I peak over my shoulder to see what she is doing... she is usually watching me. When she sees me peak, she quickly looks away or walks further away. But I just sit there with my back to her. And eventually she comes up to me to sniff me.

I then pet her, when she is ready for me to.

I have also been doing some natural horsemanship games with her (Parelli and Clinton Anderson). I am hoping that these games will help her understand that I wont hurt her and then maybe she will respect me and trust me.

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