horse with trust issues - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By misshorsegirl
  • 6 Post By ACinATX
  • 6 Post By boots
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  • 4 Post By loosie
  • 7 Post By ksbowman
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-19-2020, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2020
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horse with trust issues


Me and my mother are getting a 15 year old horse and she has some trust issues i'm just wondering if any body knows any trust building exercises and feed supplement to help with her nervousness anything will help thank you.
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-19-2020, 02:43 PM
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I think it depends on what kind of trust issues and what else is going on with the horse.

Does she have some food anxiety? You could be sure to always feed her at the exact same time every day. Give her small amounts of hay several times a day and be sure she knows you are the one bringing it. Establish a routine and stick with it.

I had one who I guess you could say had some trust issues. I took everything really slowly with him. The first week, I just went out to his pasture and gave him cookies. Then I gave him cookies while I had the halter. Then haltered him, gave him cookies, took the halter off, and left. Etc. Tiny steps with everything. He was a worrier, too, so I had to make sure he knew I wasn't going to ask more of him than he could reasonably give.

You have to spend time just getting to know your horse and learning what motivates her and where he comfort levels are. If you hang out near her in her pasture does that make her feel good? Or does it worry her? Does she enjoy being groomed? Does she like attention in general, or does she relax more if you give her more space?

Others may disagree, but to me, to win a horse's trust, you have to spend time getting to know them and then slowly building up to things at a pace they can handle. Be really aware of their body language at all times. Understand if something is too much for them and back off or slow down. Show them that you are fair. Then you can slowly start asking more and more of them.

I don't know if it will help you, but I was writing a little "story" from his point of view, of some of the stuff I did with him. You'd probably be interested in the second post and forward.

"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-19-2020, 02:50 PM
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Consistency is the best antidote to mistrust, IME.

You come out. Greet the horse. Halter them. Groom. Leave tied, or go for a walk, or ride. Tie. Untack. Leave tied a bit more.

I like to leave a horse tied after riding, or otherwise working with them, so they don't get bad manners thinking they deserve to get back out right away.

I talk to nervous horses, too, if I run out of things to say I recite the A,B,C's.

Consistency had always helped.
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-19-2020, 03:18 PM
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With my anxious wary pony I have learned that the biggest thing I have to remember is to go slow, and wait. Go slow in every sense--move slowly. stop immediately when you see any anxiety, and be willing to wait patiently for the horse to remember that you mean no harm. Every day. And I will echo the idea of being predictable.

I talk to my horses and if they are upset I sing to them. Lullabies mostly but they also hear some hymns and folk songs ...

Short horse lover
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-19-2020, 05:59 PM
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Hi Misshorsegirl & welcome to the forum!

Along with other's good advice, I will say learning to understand horse behaviour & bodylanguage, so you can *listen* to what they have to say & be considerate of their feelings.

Of course, especially if you are new to horses, this in itself will take some time & experience. Best to find some experienced *& considerate* help, to be able to point things out, tell you what may be happening/need to happen, in person, not just studying it in theory or 'remotely'. But as for not-in-person learning, Warwick Schiller is one to look up, who has a great video 'library' too, should you wish to subscribe. Ken Faulkner is another one who is a great & considerate trainer with lots of stuff online.

Perhaps you can tell us more about the horse - is she a nervy type generally, for eg? Or does she just have 'trust issues' in certain situations, with certain people or some such? What is/will be her living environment? Out with other horses? As prey/herd animals, they generally feel safer(as well as happier) living out with other horses, and I wouldn't choose to keep a horse solitary.

Perhaps due to diet, environment, etc, she is a 'stress head' generally, which means that she may well benefit from extra magnesium in her feed &/or other nutritional imbalances need correcting. But need more info to say whether this is the case, and you really need to do a diet analysis in order to work out if/what she needs supped/changed. It's not a good idea to give nutritional supps 'willy nilly'.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-19-2020, 06:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2018
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I too picked up a 15 yo gelding about 9 months ago and he has trust issues also., The only way to put a halter on him was to feed him in the round pen then close the gate and work with him til he would approach me. I have no proof but I am sure he was abused by the previous owners husband and also feel he was drugged when I rode him and looked him over when buying him. He has been a real handful riding too. I decided this fall that this spring I am going to start him over just like starting a colt. This winter I've worked with him when I could and I show him lots of attention. He would not take a treat to begin with and the previous owner said he wouldn't take treats. She was right but, I now have him taking them and liking them. I feed him in the round pen and he now approaches me in the pasture and after eating I put his halter on and give him a couple treats. Then I lead him to several other areas and stop and give him a treat. At the last stop I remove the halter and give him the last treat. He usually follows me all the way to the gate when I leave. He was also head shy and I've got him over that now. Hopefully he will end up being dependable and bond well, only time will tell.
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