Problem with 11 year old gelding! - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 31 Old 12-05-2015, 10:17 AM
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My gelding has a genuine fear of farriers. Doesn't matter if they are male or female, big or small, gentle or rough. He could know them as regular people for hours or days before they try to trim his feet and be perfectly fine with them...until he sees the farrier apron, hoof stand and nippers come out. Then he turns into a fearful mess. The majority of the time, the farrier can't even get within three feet of him if they have their apron on and/or a pair of nippers in their hand. He's fine with his feet being picked up and messed with, as long as farrier implements are not in evidence. I don't know if he was legitimately abused, but I have a good idea just from knowing the person I bought him from as I do, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he was. However, that DOES NOT excuse dangerous behavior such as the OP's horse displayed.

The OP's horse was fine with the farrier picking up his feet and THEN started acting out and going into "attack mode," as Foxhunter said. That is not the action of a fearful horse. A truly fearful horse wouldn't even let the farrier approach in the first place. Rearing, striking out...those are aggressive actions and the fact that they were displayed AFTER the farrier started says to me that this horse simply was throwing a temper tantrum and saying "I don't wanna!"

I would be willing to bet that similar action has gotten him out of doing what he doesn't want to do in the past and that is why he sat in a pasture for three years, untouched. I don't believe the OP has the knowledge or the ability to give this horse the training and tough love he needs to become a solid member of society.
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post #22 of 31 Old 12-05-2015, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
My gelding has a genuine fear of farriers. Doesn't matter if they are male or female, big or small, gentle or rough. He could know them as regular people for hours or days before they try to trim his feet and be perfectly fine with them...until he sees the farrier apron, hoof stand and nippers come out. Then he turns into a fearful mess. The majority of the time, the farrier can't even get within three feet of him if they have their apron on and/or a pair of nippers in their hand. He's fine with his feet being picked up and messed with, as long as farrier implements are not in evidence. I don't know if he was legitimately abused, but I have a good idea just from knowing the person I bought him from as I do, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he was. However, that DOES NOT excuse dangerous behavior such as the OP's horse displayed.

The OP's horse was fine with the farrier picking up his feet and THEN started acting out and going into "attack mode," as Foxhunter said. That is not the action of a fearful horse. A truly fearful horse wouldn't even let the farrier approach in the first place. Rearing, striking out...those are aggressive actions and the fact that they were displayed AFTER the farrier started says to me that this horse simply was throwing a temper tantrum and saying "I don't wanna!"

I would be willing to bet that similar action has gotten him out of doing what he doesn't want to do in the past and that is why he sat in a pasture for three years, untouched. I don't believe the OP has the knowledge or the ability to give this horse the training and tough love he needs to become a solid member of society.
I agree with Drafty my TB was neglected and what we suspect he had bad handling of some kind in his previous home. But that doesn't matter its got nothing to do with whats going on in his life now. He does have small issues and can get defensive during feed time and when he gets confused or feels really pressured but kicking out, rearing, etc is unacceptable behavior, I really don't care what his previous home was like.

If you continue to treat this horse like he is a victim he will play the part.
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post #23 of 31 Old 12-05-2015, 03:47 PM
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Unless I am missing something, where does the OP say that the horse was fine with the farrier picking his feet up and THEN freaked out? The OP does say that she can pick up his fronts but not the rears. Without a video of the whole scene, we don't know what the horses attitude was when the farrier first appeared or if his first reaction was flight and when that didn't work decided to fight. I will agree that this horse has been conditioned to react this way but only because he was never trained correctly and what work was done with his feet may have always been a bad experience for him. I am not saying that anyone should tolerate bad behavior. I am saying to correct and eliminate the reason for the behavior. It is interesting that in all my years of handling problem and aggressive horses that I have never been bitten and only kicked twice outside of unhandled foals that would kick and spoiled ponies that nip, and they btw, got corrected.
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post #24 of 31 Old 12-05-2015, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartan52004 View Post
As soon as the ferrier started my horse just started to freak out.
"As soon as the farrier started" to me means that feet were picked up. I could be mistaken, but if the farrier hadn't gotten any feet off the ground, I would think the OP would have said "the farrier hadn't even gotten started".

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post #25 of 31 Old 12-05-2015, 04:36 PM
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How does your horse respond to being brushed and stroked on the back legs? If he doesn't care whilst you stroke his legs (make sure you aren't feeling nervous), then chances are he is just testing you to see how you'll respond.

I'm no expert, but what helped me with my pony when she was being "naughty" as I tried to pick her feet out when we first got her was we just picked up her leg for a short amount of time and if she tried to kick out or pull away we would firmly say NO and make ourselves "big" so she would stop, and then try again. Gradually she learnt that if she kept her foot up, she would not get reprimanded and was usually rewarded with a "good girl" and a stroke.

Good luck with your horse, but bear in mind that sometimes the horse can just be too much to handle, especially if this is your first.
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post #26 of 31 Old 12-05-2015, 09:26 PM
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This is an interesting thread. It combines the very common problem of a horse that doesn't want its feet handled, blamed on the suspicion of past abuse, and then the responses falling into the the two camps of "be gentle" and "get tough."

Spartan, the bottom line here is your horse isn't broke. It doesn't matter whether he is a gelding or a mare, it doesn't matter if he is 11 or 25, it doesn't matter if he was abused or babied or properly handled, and it doesn't matter whether the misbehavior is due to fear or disrespect. What does matter is he has a hole in his training and when you find a hole in a horse's training it has to be fixed. So don't agonize about why.

As Tinyliny pointed out, horses hate having their feet picked up, which is perfectly natural. Many horses feel about the farrier about the same way a ten year old child feels about the dentist.

Foxhunter would probably have your horse fixed in a session or two, and there wouldn't be nearly as much drama as you might imagine from what she wrote. She knows what she's doing, and your horse would know that she knows what she's doing, and your gelding would quickly understand exactly what was expected of him and that cooperation would make his life better.

You, on the other hand, are no Foxhunter. If you try to use her method you might die. But there is one part of Foxhunter's technique that you must apply, or you will never get any where. When you do something with your gelding that he doesn't like, you have to keep it up until he submits. Otherwise, you have just reinforced his behavior. Every time you try to pick up a foot and he pulls it away, or strikes, or starts moving, and you stop, what you have just taught your horse is that if he pulls his foot away or strikes or starts moving, you will quit trying to pick up his feet.

In other words, you start with perfectly natural behavior on the part of the horse, and you train him to be dangerous by reinforcing his dangerous behavior. I'm not saying that's what you've done, I'm saying you will make the problem a lot worse if you don't recognize what the horse is learning from you giving up.

The solution for you is to back up. Quit trying to pick up his feet and find out what you can do. Can you run your hand all the way down his front legs without him getting fidgety? Can you do it with both hands? Can you do it with both hands if you squeeze a little as you move down? If not, you have no business trying to pick up his feet. Get him solid on having his legs handled first.

When you move to the back, start with a good scratch above the root of his tail and start working down his back leg. If he gets nervous, you can move back up a little but don't quit. You not only need to have him comfortable with you handling every part of his back legs, you need to do it until both of you are bored, because you need to build your confidence in order to proceed.

Then you can use a rope, which is safer for you than picking up a hind foot with your hand. and just get him to lift his hind foot forward and off the ground without a fuss. Then a little higher and a little longer until you can do it without a rodeo. Then you can start over with your hands, again just picking the foot up and putting it back down at first.

Do what you can do for 10-15 minutes every day. Don't get ahead of yourself, but try to make some progress every session. If you stay with it, I think you'll find that success is about two days after you really get discouraged. I think you'll be amazed at how much progress you can make in a week. Good luck.

A couple of videos to watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEos0GWBl3Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMdP8DAjoc8
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post #27 of 31 Old 12-05-2015, 11:05 PM
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There is a very similar thread over in horse training. https://www.horseforum.com/horse-trai...er-let-644858/ I thought Smilie's take was interesting:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
Does she tie< and I don't mean cross ties?
If so, tie her up, then use something like a lunge whip or a soft broom and just run it up and down that leg, until she accepts it.
You can also use a soft rope, loop it around that fetlock and pull her leg up, letting her fight that rope, not your hand.
Once she is good with all this, stand in the 'safe' position, run your hand up that leg a few times, and then ask her to give you that foot. Make it your decision as to when she puts it down again. If you can only hold it for a few seconds at first, that's okay, long as it is you that gives her that foot back, Build on that
Get after her for any attempt to kick, before even worrying about picking up that foot. Use a lunge whip, staying out of reach, and get after that foot that wants to kick, or just keep running that brrom up and down that leg, until she relaxes and stops any inclination to kick
I never tie a horse for this sort of thing -- I feel it compounds the sense of feeling trapped that yielding a foot already gives them, but Smilie's technique makes the point that you must keep the pressure on until the horse relaxes, so that taking the pressure away rewards the behavior you want, not the behavior you don't want.
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post #28 of 31 Old 12-06-2015, 12:04 AM
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this one is short and sweet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHFtgj7sJXs
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post #29 of 31 Old 12-06-2015, 03:16 AM
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Joel's advice and insight is excellent.

Personally, I'm not in either the "be gentle" or "get tough" category, being a person who will take both approaches at different times.
I just believe it is necessary to understand a horse's motivation before you decide on your approach. It's not so much what the horse is doing, but why they are doing it.

Also, it is difficult to assess a situation based on a worded description. Some of you read rearing and striking and thought of a horse facing an opponent and striking at it. My mental image was of a horse trying to escape. You could have said my mare "reared" and "struck" with her front feet when I first got her. In reality, when I picked up a front foot and held it for longer than she was comfortable with, her panic would slowly build until she felt she needed to get the foot away. The natural way to do this for a horse is to pull it up (rear) and then once it is free it flails out and comes stomping down toward the ground where you might happen to be nearby (strike). But the horse is not actually "rearing and striking," just taking the logical approach to removing his hoof from your control.

It's the same when horses pull hind hooves away from you. Often they are not kicking, even if they pull their leg forward as if to strike. They are often just pulling their foot away from your control. Obviously inexperienced people should not be dealing with this sort of thing, regardless.

I feel it is important to decide if a horse is being defensive or offensive. With an offensive horse, I take a very firm approach, whatever it takes that is short of cruelty. The defensive horse is in a protective mode, and his actions are not meant to harm you but to protect himself. There is no need to punish for that, but just to make him comfortable so he does not feel he needs to defend himself.

But even if a horse is being defensive, he needs to know that he can't try to harm you as part of the equation. A defensive horse I worked with had been hobbled and thrown in order to trim his hooves. After this was done, he developed a protective technique; when you picked up his hind hooves, he would yank them away and cow kick you. He was a good shot too.

I was fine with him feeling insecure and taking his hoof back, but the added "and stay away!" at the end was something that I disciplined him for. The first trim he kicked a couple of times, the second trim he kicked once, the third trim he gave a little kick but didn't try to land it, and after that he was fine. I had to let him know that it was safe to let me trim his hind feet, that if he kicked me I'd discipline him, and that I would be fair and do things gently as long as he cooperated.

I've seen people who feel the horse should not be able to get his hoof back if you pick it up. I've tried that technique of keeping the hoof no matter what, but I've had better success with letting the horse have his hoof when he wants it, and then working on making him comfortable with letting me have the hoof for longer periods of time.
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post #30 of 31 Old 12-06-2015, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartan52004 View Post
Can anyone point me in the direction of a natural horsemanship trainer or gentle trainer who can help me fix this problem. I am located in Erie/Mckean ,Pennsylvania area.
You're about 8 hrs. away (+/-). That's not practical this time of year.
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