Rescue Horses - The Horse Forum
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  • 3 Post By Ian McDonald
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-12-2012, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Hogwarts
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Rescue Horses

Alright. I'm sure I'm not the only one to ask this question but.. here goes. My Aunt has a horse rescue and I'm there quiet often. My past two horses have been boarded there, and my upcoming horse (when I find the right one) will also be boarded there. So I was wondering.. are there any training tips to earn back a rescue horse's trust for people? So many of them were neglected or starved, and I just want to strengthen my connection with them.. so if there are any tips helpful to this situation, please feel free to share them. Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-12-2012, 10:42 PM
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I co-run a local rescue myself. The key to a strong relationship is Time. The more time you spend with your horse the better. Spend as much time as you can. This doesn't mean you need to sit there with a brush and your horse on the cross ties for hours on end. That's your time, but share some of your horse's time with them too, not demanding anything of them. Spend time just sitting in his/her paddock reading a book, watch them, pay attention to every little detail of them.
When my mare sees me come into her field with my stool she gets so excited, she loves this time. I just go in and read and she just goes and stands next to me. She will even abandon her hay in order to spend time just standing there. Be a part of your horses herd, not just the human that takes them out and makes them work.

That being said work and clear boundaries are Very important. I couldn't sit with my mare until she Clearly understood personal space. My mare was pushy, but other horses I've had to sit with for hours before they'd even approach me. Watch your horse, learn their language, respond accordingly.

Avoid treats, treats don't make horses love you, just makes them think they get food and when there's none to be found they'll ditch. They should want to be with you because you are their companion and leader.
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-13-2012, 12:54 AM
Yearling
 
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Treat them as if there's nothing wrong with them and it will eventually become the truth.
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-13-2012, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian McDonald View Post
Treat them as if there's nothing wrong with them and it will eventually become the truth.

This ^^^^

To many people feel sorry for them and in turn tippy toe around them, that just makes them more nervous as to what is going to happen. I have a rescue mare and the first thing I did when I got her was to make sure she knew her place. I didn't feel sorry for her. I made her respect my space and listen. She turned around faster then when she was in foster.

Also don't agree with not giving them treats. I treat trained my mare then slowly stopped giving treats. It's a rare occasion now for treats but she still comes out of pasture when I call her. I will not hike out a few acres to catch my horse, I just refuse, they can come to me. Food is the best motivator.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-13-2012, 08:33 AM
Showing
 
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Let's drop the label for a minute and think of them as a horse that has issues.

You need to be mindful when you handle any horse. I've seen some people coddle their horses, I've seen some people ignore past behaviors.

I had a horse with issues from his past, now he's a respectable member of the horse community.

I tried to do things that taught him without an intense reaction. He was known for bolting, spooking, tearing down arenas, pulling back.. basically escaping as though his life depended on it.

Now if I had a horse that was more aggressive, then I'd take a different approach than one who faced life with pure terror.

So rather than treat them all the same way you treat any other horse.. each horse is an individual.

You shouldn't baby them, you don't rough them up. You simply correct ill behavior and encourage good behavior.

You treat them with respect. Trust and respect will come with your actions, not with treats or ignoring their issues and treating them without being mindful.

I guess what I'm trying to say is know the horse's personality and the most effective way to handle them. What gets the best reaction. What keeps you both safe.
~~

For a starved horse, introducing more food SLOWLY is the best course of action. You should not consider anything more than getting them healthy first. Then you'd treat them like they don't know anything. Get them used to being around you, spend time with them. Correct any naughty behavior like nipping or kicking out. Teach them about pressure and release. Praise them with touch and voice, sometimes with treats (but they should be earned) or activities like hand grazing or going for a roll.

That's all there really is to it, IMOP.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-13-2012, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Thanks for all of the helpful tips everyone! Now I know some things I can do to strengthen my relationship with the horses at the rescue.
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-13-2012, 11:08 AM
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AS you may not know the past of the horse I think it is a good idea to start from scratch. Spend time with the horse, check out the behaviour in the field, while brushing, while doing ground work, you will soon see how much the horse knows and where you can focus on the training programm. I do agree that you should not spoil the horse, even though it might have had a bad past, it lives now and with you and that will lead to a good relationship between you guys. Make sure that respect is your focus, you are in charge and maybe smaller steps are better. Do not expect too much at once and always end on a good note. Give the horse some time to settle in the new home, I find that is very important, especially for horses that are more worried or scared of changes or new situations. Good thing you guys are supporting there. Good luck and I hope you will have a great realtionship with your horse!
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-13-2012, 02:17 PM
Yearling
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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I do agree that babying them does no one any good.

However, you do need to keep in mind the individuality of the horse. How has it learned to deal with things? Is it afraid or is it aggressive? Does it have bad habits learned already or is it a clean slate?

These issues are dealt with differently, depending on the situation. For example, my gelding had a rough past, and would freak out on a lunge line. At first, I got after him harder, but quickly learned that it exacerbated the issue. He was scared, not being naughty. So I stopped doing what I was doing, reassured him, took a few steps back in training him, and started again. It is amazing what he accomplished after I did that. Now that doesn't mean I let him be disrespectful, as that was never tolerated no matter where the issue stemmed from. My point is that each one may need to be treated differently. I worked another gelding on the same issue, and he needed to be pushed harder to get over it. So it really depends on the horse.

My best advice, go in with an open mind and pay attention to what the horse is trying to tell you. Don't be afraid to try something new if one thing isn't working.
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** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-13-2012, 03:37 PM
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I'm iffy on the treats. Sometimes if given once in awhile horses are okay and don't become beggars, other times the human becomes just a walking Pez dispenser to the horse.

Time will help a lot and just being there routinely so they get used to you and your ways.
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