Advice on retraining stubborn horses - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 22 Old 08-22-2018, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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I can stall one and work with the other but the one girl gets very very anxious and starts to border on dangerous when she can’t see her friend. She is blind in one eye and I think she has come to really rely on her friend but funnily enough she is the easier one to work with when she knows her friend is close. I’ve started walking them both around the field with a friend then started moving them farther and farther apart which seems to be ok with them but it does make it much more difficult to work with just one. They’re is a place close by I can take them for training but was trying to avoid having to move them again.
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post #12 of 22 Old 08-22-2018, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice. I’m going to try working more on the ground and look into getting them into some training Hopefully this will get them back into the swing of things
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post #13 of 22 Old 08-22-2018, 10:00 AM
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I think that's a good approach, but also, give them time. They need to get used to their new surroundings and new humans. It takes longer than many of us think because horses really like routine.
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post #14 of 22 Old 08-22-2018, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Jocelyn4651 View Post
The tack I am using came with them and is the same as the previous owner has been using on them for years. I did watch her tack them up and they showed the same behaviours but not quite to this extreme. They will run from you if they even see you coming into the field with a lead rope.
Just because they put up with the saddle doesn't mean it's comfortable - horses are stoic. Perhaps the act of being saddled has been painful long term. Hope not for you because it will be hard to change that association even ensuring a comfortable saddle etc.

But part of it is likely you being new to them - theyre probably thinking who are you to come take them out of their life of leisure & do stuff to them. And sounds like they're still a bit stressed about the move, haven't settled in with the rest yet. Give it time for them to learn to relax & enjoy being there, enjoy your company, get to know you.
I also would avoid separating them for now, wait till they've settled.

Good diet & well balanced nutrition, with attention to adequate magnesium (in times of stress they use more) will also help them settle & relax.

Whether with food treats, scratchies, whatever, if they start associating you with Good Stuff, that's great! Just be careful not to reward 'rude' or wrong behaviour.

Maybe theyre running from you just that it's all new, they're unsure about you or maybe they've always associated being caught, a person approaching with halter & lead as a Bad Thing. I'd definitely be working on changing that. Start by going out with the lead just to give them a treat or scratch & NOT 'catch' them & go gradually from there. Pretty soon you should be able to get them coming - to be haltered - when called.

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In my (admittedly limited) experience, there are very few horses that can do this. Most horses need a lot of repetition or they get skittish and you have to start over every time. They tend to do best when ridden frequently, even daily.
I have not found this to be true as a rule myself. IME the vast majority - assuming they are confident with their rider, are experienced enough - can/should indeed be fine going out sporadically. There's something up if not - maybe confidence in rider, maybe training, previous associations, whatever. That said, these girls are new to op & been unworked for years, so I'd expect to have to 'start again' in some respects, regardless how well trained they were in the past. If they were, it 'should' go smoothly & quickly to get them back up to par tho.
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #15 of 22 Old 08-22-2018, 10:31 PM
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Did tack and ride well before you bought them? I find that older horses have been there, done that. But many times they bring baggage. What I've found out works for me is to ask 'why?' rather than 'how?' Then, its a matter of being patient and persistent.
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post #16 of 22 Old 08-23-2018, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by charrorider View Post
is to ask 'why?' rather than 'how?'
That just needed saying again.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #17 of 22 Old 08-23-2018, 07:34 AM
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@Jocelyn4651 "I can stall one and work with the other but the one girl gets very very anxious and starts to border on dangerous when she canít see her friend. She is blind in one eye and I think she has come to really rely on her friend but funnily enough she is the easier one to work with when she knows her friend is close."


And this is your "problem". It is something you will have to work around and with. Until you have a support system in place the better part of valor will be keeping the blind horse where she can see her buddy even if that means ponying her. The other horse is her set of eyes and you haven't provided her with what she needs to feel safe at this point. Blind horses that work effectively and remain productive for most of their lives seem to be more common in the drafts because they work in teams. Their team mate is literally their life. If this mare has developed that bond then work with it not against it. I have a blind stallion that we will use on occasion. He was buddied up with one of my mares that is sterile. They operate as one unit even out in the field. While I can work each separately I don't. I though have the blessing of a lifetime relationship with both and they have been in the same location since the stallion was born.
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post #18 of 22 Old 08-23-2018, 09:28 AM
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I think in time with your consistent work they may make a decent leadline horse for your nieces to sit on. But to learn on? No.
Belgians bond tightly, they are bred to work together in pairs or teams. Add in the sight issues of the one and that bond just got tighter. In their world, her survival will always be much more important than listening to you for an hour or so a day.

Even crossed with riding stock, they are still hard to get a good saddle fit. Aging bodies also change, so a saddle that used to fit well may now pinch and dig.

If you like the pair and enjoy working with them, keep them. But if you really want to help your nieces get into riding, be the "cool" uncle and buy them a package of riding lessons from a professional instructor with appropriate lesson horses. That would be better money spent than ER visits.
Plus you want them to have good experiences. One fall from a huge horse who spooked is often enough to steer a child far away from ever riding again.
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post #19 of 22 Old 08-23-2018, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Boo Walker View Post
be the "cool" uncle and buy them a
...or aunt, as the case may be

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #20 of 22 Old 08-24-2018, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post

I have not found this to be true as a rule myself. IME the vast majority - assuming they are confident with their rider, are experienced enough - can/should indeed be fine going out sporadically. There's something up if not - maybe confidence in rider, maybe training, previous associations, whatever. That said, these girls are new to op & been unworked for years, so I'd expect to have to 'start again' in some respects, regardless how well trained they were in the past. If they were, it 'should' go smoothly & quickly to get them back up to par tho.
Not trying to argue @loosie , but these were bought for the OP's nieces who are probably not the kind of experienced rider you are thinking of, and are still learning if I understand correctly. Not saying the horses can't be retrained to the point where they are reliable mounts for the nieces, but it will likely take some consistent work by someone experienced to do so. That said, I agree that if the horses were solid before, it might not take too long.
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