Untrusting and Head shy? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-05-2015, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Untrusting and Head shy?

I have been riding since I could walk and have recently moved to a new house that has a barn right next door. The owners of two horses there eagerly offered to let me ride their horses, who I rode a few times the year before, as they do not get much exercise. One of these horses, a small Arabian mix, is very head shy and not easily trusting. This is not too alarming based off the fact that the most interaction with people these horses get is regular grain and an occasional groom. However, now that I will be spending more time around them, I really want them to begin to trust me. As a way to get him to know me better I have tried grooming him to see if he would become ore relaxed in my presence but he doesn't seem to enjoy being brushed down. Along with this, if you try to enter his stall he immediately turns away, though without expressing any aggressive behavior. I am looking for any sort of advice on how to get him to open up and have a better attitude towards being handled which can help us get on good terms so we have better rides. In case it helps, he has a very strong personality and likes to do things his way.
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-05-2015, 09:24 PM
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Not every horse will be a cuddle bug but every horse has the potential to be trusting, respectful and achieve greatness.

Honestly I would start with join up (also called Hooking on). If you are unfamiliar, I suggest reading up, watching videos and then trying it with a more trusting horse first. I suggest trying with a different horse because you want to be sure you have most of the body language down before working with the untrusting guy.

Don't be disappointed if it doesn't go perfectly at first. Set small, achievable goals. When I started join up with my mare we just had the bare bones. Now I go in the round pen, take off her halter and she is a gem. She will follow me and not turn her hindquarters to me, she will send off on a circle with the point of my arm and she will back without me touching her.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-05-2015, 11:39 PM
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You need to get him to respect you by moving his feet. Hope these can help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6TWvHTIv3k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfJKfcypieI
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-06-2015, 12:28 AM
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The horse doesn't even know you. It's way too soon to expect him to respect you.

Spend time.

Some horses do not need or care for a lot of touching. If we sense this, we need to "respect" it. (Even some humans don't like a lot of touching.) It's also possible that she'll accept more touching after she knows you better.

One warning. Just something to think about. The fact that these neighbors on just meeting you were thrilled to have you work with their horse -- there's a bit of a warning flag in that for me. Most people who are investing time and care into their horse would be a little more cautious turning him over to a stranger.

Be careful you're not getting involved with a dangerous horse. Also, be careful about giving your heart to a horse that doesn't belong to you. You can't control what happens to him next.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-06-2015, 09:36 AM
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Since you rode these horses a few times the year before, I wouldn't say that they don't know you. They're just not trusting you to be the leader. What I got from the your post, "he has a very strong personality and likes to do things his way", is that he is in charge and not willing to give up his union card. Do some ground work, get him moving his feet and using the thinking side of his brain instead of the reactive side.

Once you get him paying attention to you, take him for walks, talk to him. Do some ground work sometimes while on these walks. If you notice he's not paying attention to you, do some sending exercises with a lot of changes of directions. Properly applied groundwork will take care of most of his problems. That's why I suggested the 2 links above.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-06-2015, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindyg View Post
The horse doesn't even know you. It's way too soon to expect him to respect you.

Spend time.

Some horses do not need or care for a lot of touching. If we sense this, we need to "respect" it. (Even some humans don't like a lot of touching.) It's also possible that she'll accept more touching after she knows you better.
You don't know the horse and he doesn't know you yet. There is a difference between a horse not respecting you and not trusting you. I have a boarder in my care that was obviously abused at some point. I would say he is respectful. He is great on a lead and fine in the paddock but tense in confined areas and very apprehensive if you have a manure fork or rake in your hand. I stay very calm and go about my business and he is slowly coming around. He now walks away when he gets nervous rather than bolting away.
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