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post #51 of 56 Old 06-09-2016, 11:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
Posts: 17,077
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Ehh I don't really like their method but I do think you shouldn't ever pull away if she pulls away from you. That will teach her that the pressure goes when she physically puts space between you and her. That's not a good thing for her to teach.

But don't be rowdy with her (I doubt you would) though
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #52 of 56 Old 06-10-2016, 01:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SE Spain
Posts: 1,270
• Horses: 4
I absolutely think that your gentle approach to her head shyness is the correct one. When she relaxes and lets you touch her ears or poll, don't insist and keep touching but rather touch her briefly and then give her the reward for being good, which is removing your hand and giving her release. That is using positive reinforcement to teach her, which is always a strong motivation for anyone, not just a horse lol. The seller's approach was to punish her for being head shy, which in my eyes will only make her more tense about having her head touched as quite probably she wouldn't associate the punishment (tugging on her head) with the perceived offence, and just learns that people round her head are unpredictable and scary.

I'm sure she'll learn quickly. It's natural for a horse to dislike having its head messed with, and if no-one has bothered to teach her otherwise then she's never got over this reaction. But once you spend a bit of time on this daily and she realises that you're not a threat and you're not going to punish her for jerking away, she'll quickly learn to relax with you. Absolutely agree also with Sky's comment that if she does jerk away then you shouldn't step back also, because that would be a reward in her eyes. You should stay close but give her a moment to calm down and then try again.

There is nothing more peaceful than watching a horse eat.
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post #53 of 56 Old 06-10-2016, 07:07 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 2,859
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When my sister bought her gelding, he was very head shy. What we did was every time you went by when he was in his stall, you stopped and quietly put your hand up and at first he jumped away but gradually he stood while you stroked his nose and talked to him, after doing this for a while you could just walk by and reach up and pat his nose then he just relaxed and completely got over this habit as he trusted us to not do anything rough with him and anyone could pat him on the face or work around his face.

An interesting thing was, that after a year or so his original owner ( a young man) came over, horse was in his stall and he went up to pat him and the horse jumped right back in his stall. Tells a little story doesn't it?

I would just work quietly around her face reaching up ( at first no sudden moves) and let her know nothing bad will happen and gradually she will trust you and get over this. Time and good handling should solve your problem. I wouldn't get into a pulling match as any horse can out pull a person.
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post #54 of 56 Old 06-10-2016, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,565
• Horses: 2
Thanks all, for confirming what I thought. I agree - I never let her get away with pulling away from me. I keep steady pressure on until she gives in, but the whole jerking her head down seemed very ineffective so after I tried it the one time, didn't feel I should continue. Will continue to go slow.

She was better this morning. I went in to feed them and she put her head almost right up against me, looking for her grain. I was able to reach over and scratch her neck casually without any reaction. I think she's starting to relax. May try to ride her tonight since DD is at a sleepover, and DH & DS at football. And the weather is finally decent!

Oh, and Harley had a bloody nose yesterday. I cleaned it up and found no wound. He either bumped it somewhere, or got a little too pushy with "his" mare :) Nothing serious and it didn't bleed for very long. They're still best buds and I found them both in their own stalls this morning after leaving them out all night with the doors open so they can come in and out. I'm going to start keeping them in during the afternoon and turning them out at night when it's cooler and there are no bugs. By leaving the doors open, they can choose to come in if they want to.

Overall, everyone is adapting really well!
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post #55 of 56 Old 06-11-2016, 02:45 PM
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Michigan, USA
Posts: 1,067
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Sounds like things are going pretty well. I am surprised the condition of her teeth didn't show on the PPE. Not that it would have been a deal breaker, but I thought looking in the mouth was part of the exam.
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post #56 of 56 Old 06-11-2016, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,565
• Horses: 2
Originally Posted by Whinnie View Post
Sounds like things are going pretty well. I am surprised the condition of her teeth didn't show on the PPE. Not that it would have been a deal breaker, but I thought looking in the mouth was part of the exam.
They did show up and I was told they needed to be done. Which is why I had the vet out right away to float them :)
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