OTTB is "shut down" - distant, difficult to train, unfocused. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-06-2014, 03:36 PM
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I can't see where you say how long you've been working with this horse - apologies if I missed it
It's taken me 3 years to get to where I am with a horse I bought that was similar to yours - some just take longer and you have to just be patient with them because if you try to rush things you're going to fail.
There is no quick fix for these horses - I made a couple of mistakes at times when I thought we were over issues and it was like 3 steps back
I don't have any time at all for round penning in the sense of join up or having a horse run round and round until it gets tired or bored with it and so comes to you but general ground work and using some Clicker training methods were the biggest turn around for my horse plus me being the one that did everything for her.
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post #12 of 20 Old 11-06-2014, 07:36 PM
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With OTTBs I don't give them turn out time. I get on and ride. I let them wander the country with me aboard and within safe reason. I don't peck at them to maintain a nice, even pace. Horses in large pastures move all over the place at various speeds. I let them explore and relax.

I expect them to stand quietly like they do at railside in the morning works. I expect them to turn, go, stop. But at first I don't ask for a lot of "transitions." They like to move. Maybe that is my version of "turn out" that many people do.

I'm not surprised if they get a bit forward, but that never lasts long. They aren't in as good condition as one would think. I'm not surprised if they spook at deer, antelope, rabbits, etc. It often seems more out of high spirits than fear. Or just sheer surprise.

I have larger pastures. I have a friend who uses trails near her midwestern suburban barn for the same type work with fresh OTTBs.
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post #13 of 20 Old 11-06-2014, 08:26 PM
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If he's rideable, get out and cover the country side. Don't fuss about specifics, but have a goal and acheive it. We'll take them out for a 3mile ride, walking at first, some hills, enjoy the country but expect them to listen when we ask. We work up to some trotting or cantering. Once they find they have a new job that's interesting and not stressful, they'll come back. We have had a few come off the track shut down and they always come back.
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post #14 of 20 Old 11-19-2014, 02:07 AM
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It sounds to me like you are experienced training horses, but have an extraordinary personality here. You asked for information from another trainer that might help. I think you could benefit from reading Linda Kohanov's book "Riding Between The Worlds". In this book she deals extensively on the subject of abused horses, shut down and some violent. She explains how to reach them in a horse wise psychological way. These horses that are damaged mentally need extra steps to gain their trust and interest in the world again. You can find this one at used book stores and when you start reading it, it will be hard to put down.
I wonder if this horse had been "put down". An Old cowboy way to tame a spirited animal was to force them to fall to the ground and hold them there until they "lost their spirit" which was to take them from intense fear and survival mode to a "I have been taken down and will accept death" mode. If this has happened, the horse needs careful handling and communication to show him a world that is good and worth living.
Much luck to you. Perhaps you can help me with advice on my 3 year old who was spoiled rotten by his prior owner, ADD and is an expert nipper! I mean he is really fast and unpredictable! I have my work cut out for me this time! Lol
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post #15 of 20 Old 11-19-2014, 12:33 PM
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I spent a long time dealing with a horse of a similar mind that would retreat from fear. It is a defense mechanism to withdraw mentally. If you have a large paddock put the horse in there with a small pile of hay. Walk around the perimeter until you are directly behind him. If he pays you no mind, suddenly run up behind him, arms waving, no noise, and startle him. Stand beside the hay for 15 sec then walk away. This invites him back. When he's eating again, repeat as before. Do this until he keeps his eyes glued on you and continually swings his hips away as you circle. Horses keep an eye on the boss horse like this so you've been elevated in your standing. Do this, first, let us know how it goes and I'll help you move on to the next stage.



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post #16 of 20 Old 11-22-2014, 06:23 AM
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Hi, yes, I have dealt with a few 'shut down' horses. A few 'explosive' ones, and a couple of just... dead eyed types that would just go along with what you 'ordered' but they just 'weren't there'. Reminds me of the 'reteaching heart' thread. I personally have had a lot of success with positive reinforcement training, mostly(at least at the start, when grooming & such are not Good Things) with food treats. Most horses find some kind of food, be it carrots, milkweed, chaff... a pretty strong reward and that can break through the 'barriers'. Also vital I reckon is to avoid punishment with a horse like this - it'll set you back in a flash - unless of course your safety is at stake. Rather focus on rewarding 'good' behaviour & ignoring 'bad' where possible, to reduce the pressure.
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post #17 of 20 Old 11-22-2014, 09:52 AM
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Have you ever seen the dressage trainers do what they call the work-in-hand/shoulder-in in hand? That's something which requires a lot of concentration from the horse (and trainer). Ditto for backing circles. Roundpenning can be good too, if you have one. But they can still go on autopilot through any of these so you don't want to rely exclusively on just one technique. Switching things up frequently, keeping sessions short and frequent, developing your own concentration will help. The more you're able to see the nuanced details of what he's doing the more he'll recognize that you know what he's doing and tune into you, if that makes sense. Keep at it though! If being a trainer is your thing he'll make you better!
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post #18 of 20 Old 11-22-2014, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CASugar View Post
I wonder if this horse had been "put down". An Old cowboy way to tame a spirited animal was to force them to fall to the ground and hold them there until they "lost their spirit" which was to take them from intense fear and survival mode to a "I have been taken down and will accept death" mode.
Oh but that's the Right Thing To Do isn't it?? Because I saw Robert Redford do that in The Horse Whisperer...
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post #19 of 20 Old 11-23-2014, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Oh but that's the Right Thing To Do isn't it?? Because I saw Robert Redford do that in The Horse Whisperer...
If the horse was lain down, it is more likely because of that inane movie than anything people associated with cattle did.

<<<< Pretty old cowboy from a long line of even older cowboys.
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post #20 of 20 Old 11-23-2014, 05:00 PM
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I won't claim to know anything about riding off-track TBs but I thought I would throw my 2 cents in.

This horse sounds a lot like a horse that has had his "plug pulled" and if it were me I would treat as such. Boots and BlueSpark touched on what I would do with him which is what I found works on these types.
Get him outside, don't pick at him and find something that piques his interest. You probably don't have access to these types of activities but working cattle or running horses(wrangling the saddle horses or gathering the broodmares and babies) on them gets them interested in a job and puts some life in them.

I do have a friend that was a jockey and used to go back east to start race colts every year and now takes off track TBs and makes cowboy horses out of them. Like Boots does, he doesn't give them the let-down time, he just starts taking them to work doing easy stuff at first like riding and checking cows, making meadow moves. It doesn't take long before they start enjoying their job, getting more broke and pretty soon he's roping off of them. He treats them like a horse.
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