9 month old filly will not let me approach her - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-25-2012, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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9 month old filly will not let me approach her

I am a new horse owner and trying to work with her myself. We have a halter on her. When I try to approach her she turns away, doesn't run just calmly turns and walks away. Once I get her caught and have the lead rope in my hand she will stand for me to pet and rub her. She doesn't pull away or act up at all. I can rub her from head to rear down her legs and have picked up her front feet with no problems, She just doesn't let me approach her easily. She is in a stall and I have a round pen. Any help on how to get her to let me approach her without her turning away would be much appreciated.
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-01-2012, 02:58 PM
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Re: 9mth old filly that won't let you approach her

Hi there

I had the same problem with a filly I bred - very shy by nature, but she is coming round now

I am assuming that your filly was weaned recently? What I did was put my girl in with a nanny mare. She got quite friendly with that mare and followed her everywhere (she pretty much adopted her as her surrogate mother), so it was really easy to lure her into a yard then remove the mare, putting her in the next yard over. I brought them in every day and would 'practice' catching my girl, once caught giving her plenty of cuddles and a feed - but ONLY once she had allowed herself to be caught and tied up. Gradually she came around, and I can now catch her in the paddock with other horses without an issue.

Having said that, my filly was genuinely concerned about people, very very shy. If your girl is also shy and worried, this should eventually earn her trust (though I warn you, it may take awhile!); but if she's just being naughty, then I don't know if this will help...

Good luck with it, and hope this has been of help!
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-01-2012, 03:56 PM
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My guy was the same when I first got him. He would turn and walk away. I would then make him work- let him know it was better to be with me and let me catch him than walking away. Once we caught him a few times he learned, and is rarely a problem now. He is in a pasture now, and I take a treat out since he is in with a TB who loves him and tries to make sure I cant catch him. Walter always chooses the treat over his TB buddy though ;)
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-06-2012, 10:26 AM
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I have had this problem before when I was helping my friend train her colt. It might sound crazy, but it works. bend down so that your smaller or eye level to the horse that way you don't stand as much of a threat. Then be patient. If that doesn't work by itself use and apple or feed for some encouragement. I also used this method on an abused mini but I almost had to lay down haha. My border and her daughter were running around for like a hole half hour trying to catch it and then I got about 8 ft. away from it and just sat down and clicked. She came right over to me in less then 5 mins.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-06-2012, 10:31 AM
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Making yourself smaller works well, and feeding treats is my total favorite. Once you teach her to eat a treat (I've gotten horses who have NO clue what a treat is, or to eat from a human hand), then I make sure to keep some kind of treat right beside the stall. Everytime I go to the stall, I hand the horse a treat and walk away, 5, 6, 7 times/day, until in just a few days usually, she comes to the door BEFORE you get to it to get her treat. Then I make sure she lets me pet her for her treat. Pretty soon, she is liking the attention as much or more than the treat, and you can start being random with the treats. I can stand in the pasture and holler, "Who wants a treat?" and the whole bunch come running.

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post #6 of 7 Old 02-06-2012, 09:00 PM
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If you have the time (and a book/ipad or something handy), take the smallest feed bucket you can find, go into her stall, sit facing sideways to her and start reading your book. Don't even look at her.

Eventually she will walk up to you .... Pet her, on the neck or something if you want. You don't have to. Just sit there and let her smell your shoulder/head feet etc. Acknowledge her but don't indulge. Then, as slowly as possible, get up (without startling her) and walk away (remember to take your book with you ) . I sincerely recommend not giving her a treat. Honestly that is just a way to condition her to a bad habit imho.

Had a weanling filly like this once, took me 1.5 hours the first time and about 10 seconds every other time.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-06-2012, 10:37 PM
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I appreciate that if she's very new you may have to keep her locked up for a time, but for her health & wellbeing, I'd get her out of that stall & into a paddock with other horses(or other grazers at least) ASAP.

Agree basically with what's written above, to teach her to be confident & willing to come to/allow the approach of people. While 'making them work' when they turn away from you is definitely one of the 'tools' in my bag of tricks, I'd be careful not to make her nervous of you. Also be aware that your inadvertant bodylanguage 'pressure' may be pushing her away in the first place. Rather than just asking her to 'go' when she moves away, I focus on their hip, wave a whip/rope at that point, which is ultimately my remote cue for moving the hindquarters away/turn & face me. The *instant* she even hesitates & thinks about turning to face me is when I relax all pressure.
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