This stuff works - The Horse Forum
  • 3 Post By EncinitasM
  • 1 Post By bsms
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post #1 of 3 Old 11-02-2014, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: North County San Diego
Posts: 563
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This stuff works

My riding instructor was kind enough to loan me a DVD that had a couple chapters on handling horses and horse psychology. One chapter detailed a method for catching a horse that runs when trying to be haltered.

So I'm going to get Beau from the arena to bring him to his stall for dinner/night time. The owner likes to keep a stud chain on his halter as he's a big strong boy who can get pretty feisty and she is a smallish woman.

I'm trying to put his halter on, not usually a big deal, but last night he wasn't having any of it. So I take a look to see what could be wrong and sure enough the chain isn't threaded through the halter properly.

So I step away a moment to get that fixed. Upon returning he's still not having any of the halter and my guess at his thinking was "you had your chance and you blew it." After several attempts with him foiling every one he runs off. So I think here's a chance to use what I learned on the DVD.

I march towards him, looking him in the eye, chest puffed up, and he runs off, but then turns towards me, so I turn around and release that pressure. Wait a bit and try to casually sidle up to him, shoulders relaxed, head down. He runs off. I repeat. This time as I sidle up to him he comes to me, head down, accepts the halter, and walks slowly with me to the barn. Him walking slowly to the barn is pretty rare, he usually needs to be held back.

While I was expecting this method to work I was floored by how well it worked.

I will note that upon getting to his stall he let me remove his halter and then took off into the adjoining pen as if to say "ok buddy, I let you lead me to dinner, now **** off!"

I'm continually amazed by the depth and complexity of horse behavior.
loosie, EponaLynn and greenhaven like this.
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post #2 of 3 Old 11-02-2014, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 48,202
• Horses: 2
there's nothing like doing things yourself to see how effective they are.
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post #3 of 3 Old 11-02-2014, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Posts: 12,367
• Horses: 4
When I started being around horses 6 years ago, Chris Irwin had a series of several hundred short videos available free on StateLineTack. Those videos were invaluable to me. They taught me how to politely approach a horse, and how to politely ask the horse to come with me, along with a hundred other lessons. We had a two year old filly at the time (later given to the trainer who helped us, and that filly is now the trainer's lesson horse). She obviously resented me...but the videos taught me why, and how to act so she accepted my handling and her willing nature blossomed.

Those videos are gone, but I can't help wishing that folks like Cherie and Foxhunter and smrobs and some of our other experienced people couldn't put together some videos on how to do "simple things" - pick up feet, approach a horse, halter a horse, bridle a horse, mount a horse, clean feet, lead a horse, how to act around horses at feeding time, etc. If HF put them on YouTube, they could become a resource that would help a lot of folks and make more folks aware of HF.

I think a lot of experienced riders forget that a new person literally does not know how to best clean a horse's feet! At least, I did not! My SIL hates horses - lots of bad experiences around them when he was growing up - but he was the one who pointed out that my hoof cleaning style made it hard for the horse to work with me. (And he now accepts that my horses are not anything like the horses he grew up around).

But yes - good videos on how horses perceive us and how to do very basic things can be wonderful! I found out long ago that the horse is evaluating me from the moment he sees me. If I act like someone who is both polite but confident, he'll start accepting me as a leader long before my butt hits the saddle. I've also watched riders who set a negative tone before mounting, and who then struggled the entire ride...
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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