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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
short version: so tonight i found myself helping this kid at my barn learn the basics of riding stop go etc.. horse took of on him, his fault, and he was completely helpless.. i was like 'this kid really needs help' decided to put the horse on the lounge.. horse didn't trust me enough to lounge, i didn't know so i offered to go get a whip to keep him going forward, they said he was scared of whips.. no biggie. come to find out the horse is completely head shy FREAKED of whips (plus any thing else that resembles a whip, rope, hose, etc.) and doesn't trust anyone. i worked with him for about two hours getting him to trust me with a whip, and he did really good. that poor horse.

wanna know where they got him from 'boy scout camp' i'm like omigosh!!!
i don't know if he was abused there but still.

before i got to working on this i found out he knew flying changes and a lot more. I'm assuming boy scout camp didn't teach him that.. boy scouts also sent him to them in a bit thats completely too harsh, it looks like a correction bit with a weird spade thing coming off the port. gahhh

this just completely upsets me, does anyone have any thoughts on this??

i didn't know where else to put this, so i put it here.. sorry if it's in the wrong section of the forum :\
 

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Well, you said you worked with him and he was much better - so are you looking for advice or just opinions?

I found out my mare was terrified of whips, she would get SO tense when she'd see one. I worked with her for a looong time (so long that I'm still working with her on it, LOL) but she still has never truly gotten over it and to be honest, I don't think she ever will.

I've just tried to desensitize her to it, rubbing it all over her, swinging it over her head, etc. I can do all that now, but not with her being relaxed and I won't stop doing it until she IS relaxed. I don't like the thought of my horse thinking I'm going to whip her anytime I have a whip in my hand (I guess that is backwards thinking of some people, but...that's just not me). I need to be able to use a whip to train her for things, tricks, loading on a trailer (which she does but with a littttle hesitation, but if I used a whip she would RUN on and I don't want that), lunging, etc.

I'm just going to keep at the desensitizing until she is relaxed around the whip, though I truly don't believe she'll ever be over it 100%.
 

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omigosh boy scouts??
is that normal for boy scouts to train a horse I mean I'm pretty sure I read it in a FICTION book and it actually sounded like the people didn't know what they were doing either, I'm sorry went off on a tangent but boy scouts??

Will you be able to work with the horse more? or was it a one off thing
 

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I wouldn't immediately assume physical abuse, some horses are just not well desensitized to things like whips and ropes, etc. Sometimes poor starting and moving from place to place can present in the same kind of shyness and distrust that you described. Boy Scout camp probably had a different rider on him every week, so that could explain some of his trust issues as well; no "constant" as far as people go. Some horses are just warier of new things, too, that can be fairly normal. That doesn't take away from the fact that the horse seems to have pretty big holes in his foundation. Its great that you stepped in to help the owner out. My advice to you is to keep a friendly eye on the situation in case the kid needs your help again, or recommend a trainer to work with them both if the situation merits it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Will you be able to work with the horse more? or was it a one off thing
i will definitely be working with him more, the only thing is they want to be out there when i do it to understand what i'm doing. and they're never out there!!! he needs consistency in this and if i can only work with him two times a month it wont be a good as if i worked with him every day.
I wouldn't immediately assume physical abuse
at first i didn't completely, i mean it was a thought but it was just in the back of my mind, then i stepped about 20' away and popped it to test his reaction, and he threw his head in the air like, spun around to face me, and snorted at me, that was when i came to the conclusion.. i don't think this was a normal reaction, however i could be wrong and my opinion may be biased, what do you think??
 

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at first i didn't completely, i mean it was a thought but it was just in the back of my mind, then i stepped about 20' away and popped it to test his reaction, and he threw his head in the air like, spun around to face me, and snorted at me, that was when i came to the conclusion.. i don't think this was a normal reaction, however i could be wrong and my opinion may be biased, what do you think??
That to me sounds just like he'd never heard the noise, and it startled him, and he wanted to know what was going on. I wouldn't expect a true whip abuse case to spin around and face the noise, I would expect him to turn tail and get as far from the whip as possible. Having not seen the horse, your description sounds a lot more like startled confusion/curiosity than blind panic. What do you mean by "snort"? Did he drop his head a bit after he turned toward you and give one nose-clearing snort (Oh! You startled me!); keep his head up high and give one "honk" (That was scary, might have been dangerous, but it's all clear now!); or remain tense through is body and make a snort with each breath for a time (Dear God What Is That Thing! Geddit Away Before I Explode!!)?

Abuse or not, it sounds like the horse could use some judicious desensitizing, and you did good to step in and offer to lend a hand in that situation. :wink:
 

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Did you see how the horse rode in the bit that was too "harsh"? You should judge a bit by the performance of the horse not on predudiced ideas about what a horse likes and what it doesn't.

As far as the possible abuse, I think there are far fewer abused horses than people think. Many peo[ple think of it as a badge of honor to say that they rescued a horse or have a horse that was formerly abused. Maybe the horse was maybe he wasn't but the way you get him over it is the same. There is no sense making excuses for bad behavior, just solve the problems.
 

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There's also a possibility he's never been lunged before, some people don't lunge their horses. We don't at the ranch where I am. It may not have been that he didn't trust you, he just didn't know what you wanted.
 
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I agree that physical abuse is assumed far more often than it happens. My guy was sensitive and untrusting when I got him, threw his head at everything and acted like anyone was going to kill him. With very little work we overcame a lot of this and I have since gotten his complete history and he was actually a very well loved horse who just got forgotten about.

I wonder if you can talk to them and reach a comprimise on training-either having them come more regularly or being allowed to work with him when they're not there. You sound knowledgeable and responsible, I think if you impress upon them the importance of consistant, regular work they might come around, I'm sure they want what is best for their animal and rider, just sound a little naive is all.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
did you see how the horse rode in the bit that was too "harsh"? You should judge a bit by the performance of the horse not on predudiced ideas about what a horse likes and what it doesn't.

As far as the possible abuse, I think there are far fewer abused horses than people think. Many people think of it as a badge of honor to say that they rescued a horse or have a horse that was formerly abused. Maybe the horse was maybe he wasn't but the way you get him over it is the same. There is no sense making excuses for bad behavior, just solve the problems.
yes i did :) i rode him in the bit and decided it was to harsh, he was throwing his head around anytime you touched it, i put him in a softer bit (the only one of mine that i could find at the time)a medium port, he still didn't like it but was much better, i'm going to see if i can find my swivel shanked dogbone so it will move with his mouth and see if he likes that, if not i guess i will have to experiment a little, but it for certain is not a teeth issue just in case anyone brings it up ;)


and maybe i was jumping to conclusions a little ^_^ i will try to be open minded to the possibilities from now on!!
 

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i will definitely be working with him more, the only thing is they want to be out there when i do it to understand what i'm doing. and they're never out there!!! he needs consistency in this and if i can only work with him two times a month it wont be a good as if i worked with him every day.
If you are consistent & considerate about what you do & there's no one stuffing him up in the interim, I believe that twice a month does 'work' just as well as twice or more a week. But of course the difference is time - counting the hours you spend, you'll get there a heck of a lot quicker the more frequently you do it. If you put that to them, that it'll take so long doing only once a fortnight, they might let you do stuff in between or get there more often. Perhaps they just want to be there to begin with, to make sure you know what you're doing & not making him worse too.

I too think it sounds like he may likely just be sensitive and wary of things, but I guess it depends on your perception of 'abuse' too.... I tend to think putting novice kids on a horse with a bit is likely to lead to abuse, for one.

Did you see how the horse rode in the bit that was too "harsh"? You should judge a bit by the performance of the horse not on predudiced ideas about what a horse likes and what it doesn't.

Agree to a point Kevin(I've seen people like Parelli using a spade bit & I wouldn't knock them for that), but IMO not only the horse but the rider should be well enough trained to use whatever the equipment skillfully enough, or there is big risk of abuse. When equipment that can easily cause pain is used(like a bit for eg, not to mention a 'harsh' one) that 'ups the ante' a long way, & we are talking a boy's camp horse??
 

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Who are you to decide? I don't mean that rudely but are you taking payment for training or lessons? Are you at the point in YOUR horsemanship that you should be giving lessons to a kid? If the horse really throws his head when you put even a little pressure on the reins then he probably needs his teeth floated.
 

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I'm not a trainer or expert or anything, but I wanted to add a little something because the girl who retrained my horse told me something I found very helpful with my own horse. My own horse was abused. I believe this to be true because it was first told to me by a farrier who recognized my horse, then confirmed by a vet and a trainer. The thing is though, the trainer told me that I should treat him like every other horse. She told me that although, some of his fears are very justified, it doesn't help him to treat him as though they are. As soon as I act like he has reason to be afraid of something, it confirms to him that he should be. It's been 7 months and so far she was exactly right. The only thing is, I did need to spend hours and hours doing things on the ground such as hand grazing, grooming and petting to gain his trust. So what I'm saying in a long winded kind of way is that it doesn't even matter if he was abused or not when it comes to training. Besides that, it could have been the current owners that have given him his issues. The little boy didn't know what he was doing...what makes you think his parents do?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Who are you to decide? I don't mean that rudely but are you taking payment for training or lessons? Are you at the point in YOUR horsemanship that you should be giving lessons to a kid? If the horse really throws his head when you put even a little pressure on the reins then he probably needs his teeth floated
if not i guess i will have to experiment a little, but it for certain is not a teeth issue just in case anyone brings it up ;)
he had his teeth floated two months ago

also i'm not giving him serious lessons, only basics like position, stop and go, thats about it just a little something to hold him over till he can take them from someone who is qualified. only the basics of control so he won't get hurt imo i am qualified to teach him those things. i can do more but am certainly not qualified to teach it. and i take no offense to your comment kevin :) i see where you're coming from completely.
& we are talking a boy's camp horse??
it was his camp horse and his mom bought it for him. he has no experience with horses :/ i honestly do not think someone should own a horse with out taking years of lessons first.. just saying and it's irritating to find someone that thinks it will be all fun and game and has not done their homework on it. i feel if that kid got hurt it would be partly my fault.
 

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The thing is though, the trainer told me that I should treat him like every other horse. She told me that although, some of his fears are very justified, it doesn't help him to treat him as though they are. As soon as I act like he has reason to be afraid of something, it confirms to him that he should be.
Exactly, that's just the same thing my trainer taught me. If you anticipate trouble, you'll get it, because you will be tense expecting it. Not to say you won't have trouble if you don't anticipate it, but you basically -cause- it through your posture if you expect it.

Hoover uses this all time to trick me into thinking he's hurt. Because of his legs being off, I worry all the time he's getting worse. So the booger takes advantage of me to get babied. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The thing is though, the trainer told me that I should treat him like every other horse. She told me that although, some of his fears are very justified, it doesn't help him to treat him as though they are. As soon as I act like he has reason to be afraid of something, it confirms to him that he should be
yup yup i always stay calm, and just tal to them in asoothing voice
 

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You know, this makes me wonder. You said his mom bought the horse from the boyscout "camp," right?

There could be two scenarios.

One could be that the camp bought him to use as a trail horse. These are not "Your version" of a trail horse, these are pack horses, trained to be numb to kicks, and don't know the first thing about backing. This could have been a well-broke horse before going to the camp, and the camp decided that since he does respond to pressure that they can't use him for their trail program. Which could very well explain his acting up, if he hasn't ever seen a whip, rope, etc, he won't know what to think... could be too that he doesn't have a "buddy" to ride with, as most of these camp "trail horses" are nose-to-butt-to-nose-to-butt, "follow the leader" horses, and don't need much technical "training," but the basics just to get by.

And two, there is a Horsemanship Merit Badge, and there are 10 or 11 stipulations one must meet, and can be found here: Horsemanship Merit Badge for Boy Scouts BSA

Note the last stipulation is this:

On level ground, continuously do the following movements. Do them correctly, at ease, and in harmony with the horse:
  1. Mount the horse.
  2. Walk the horse in a straight line for 60 feet.
  3. Make a half circle of not more than 16 feet in radius.
  4. Trot or jog in a straight line for at least 60 feet.
  5. Make a half circle of not more than 30 feet in radius at a jog or trot.
  6. Halt straight.
  7. Back up straight four paces.
  8. Halt and dismount.
So this horse could very well have a working knowledge of the correct riding, but that doesn't mean that the boy scouts do, and he could be all flustered.

It does make me wonder though, why did the camp sell him in the first place? Was it because he was a danger to the kids there? Was he too spooky? Was there no one qualified willing to work with him on the training he needed? (Which in no way am I saying there wasn't someone knowledgeable, maybe that person decided there was another horse that was better suited and would rather not spend the time with this horse...)

But you must understand the two things this horse could have been used for, and you must understand that whatever his "job" was supposed to be, he couldn't cut it, otherwise the camp would have never offered to sell him.

Hope this helps....
 

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the trainer told me that I should treat him like every other horse. She told me that although, some of his fears are very justified, it doesn't help him to treat him as though they are. As soon as I act like he has reason to be afraid of something, it confirms to him that he should be.
This comment has been nagging at my brain since I read it.... I agree that horse/dog/kid..../husband:wink: behaviour, to a large degree is a bit of a self fulfilling prophesy - you tend to get what you expect due to your own attitude & (conscious or otherwise)behaviour about it. BUT....

I don't think it's the whole story by any means & I think it depends on you, your relationship with the horse, his personality & previous experiences, etc... as to whether it's a good idea to 'ignore' his fears, and how you might ignore them. I personally don't think it's a good idea to truly ignore or disregard what your horse is telling you, and depending on the details, don't think it's a good idea to just 'push past' problems that arise from their fears.

Eg. what about the horses who's fears aren't recognised? They frequently get worse, rather than better, from being 'ignored'. IME it's largely introverted type horses who don't 'shout' about their fears, but internalise them, or only 'whisper' them, who are inadvertently pushed beyond their comfort zones so far that "suddenly... for no reason.... without warning" they explode. What about horses who don't trust their owners to be worthy leaders & look after them - ignoring their fears only confirms they are right to look out for themselves, because no one else is going to.

So what I'm trying to say is, as with most things, there are 2 sides to the coin. It's sometimes a balancing act, and while I agree with staying calm & being aware that your responses definitely influence the situation, I think it's important to respect and at least acknowledge their own feelings & attitudes.
 

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i think it doesnt matter whether the horse was abused or whether the horse just has an irrational fear, as mentioned above, fixing the problem is still the same. the only difference is that if the horse has been abused it will take a lot longer and require more patience to get the horse through the problem.

abuse as we know it can come in many forms. to me, abuse is doing anything that scares a horse enough to scar it (mentally or physically.) whips and other such things have a place but arent always used correctly which will give the appearance of abuse when really it is more about ignorance. having said that there are many instances where it is abuse and i prefer to treat each case as if it were abuse. i only say this because i think its unfair on a horse to treat it as just being a little wary of something when in reality he could be scared out of his mind.

with regards to the bit, if he is showing signs of distress while it is in h is mouth i would look at something a little less harsh. in my opinion harsh bits are used when the rider/owner has no idea why there horse is 'acting out' and their way of fixing it is to chuck a harsh bit in the horses mouth. in reality there may be many reasons why a horse has mouth issues. best thing to do is remouth the horse using a snaffle bit. but thats another story altogether :)

good on you for helping out :)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandy2u1
the trainer told me that I should treat him like every other horse. She told me that although, some of his fears are very justified, it doesn't help him to treat him as though they are. As soon as I act like he has reason to be afraid of something, it confirms to him that he should be.

This comment has been nagging at my brain since I read it.... I agree that horse/dog/kid..../husband:wink: behaviour, to a large degree is a bit of a self fulfilling prophesy - you tend to get what you expect due to your own attitude & (conscious or otherwise)behaviour about it. BUT....

I don't think it's the whole story by any means & I think it depends on you, your relationship with the horse, his personality & previous experiences, etc... as to whether it's a good idea to 'ignore' his fears, and how you might ignore them. I personally don't think it's a good idea to truly ignore or disregard what your horse is telling you, and depending on the details, don't think it's a good idea to just 'push past' problems that arise from their fears.

Eg. what about the horses who's fears aren't recognised? They frequently get worse, rather than better, from being 'ignored'. IME it's largely introverted type horses who don't 'shout' about their fears, but internalise them, or only 'whisper' them, who are inadvertently pushed beyond their comfort zones so far that "suddenly... for no reason.... without warning" they explode. What about horses who don't trust their owners to be worthy leaders & look after them - ignoring their fears only confirms they are right to look out for themselves, because no one else is going to.

So what I'm trying to say is, as with most things, there are 2 sides to the coin. It's sometimes a balancing act, and while I agree with staying calm & being aware that your responses definitely influence the situation, I think it's important to respect and at least acknowledge their own feelings & attitudes.


I think you misunderstood what my trainer meant. She wasn't saying to ignore your horses fears...that would be a very dangerous thing to do. I really don't know how to explain it so I will give you an example (although I really don't want to because I look bad in this story :lol:): My horse Major didn't like things thrown around him...even harmless things like tack. If I took a saddle pad and threw it on his back, he would start snorting and blowing and acting crazy. I think it's a perfectly logical reaction from a horse that has been abused. So in order not to "traumatize" him more I decided I would start putting on him very very easy. So I would walk very very quietly over to the saddle pad and pick it up, tip toe over to him, and set it very easy and quietly on his back. I bet y'all know how that went huh :p My actions where making him more afraid of the saddle pad. I was sending him a message that he should be afraid of it, instead of teaching him that he has nothing to fear like I should have been doing. I used the same technique you'd use on any horse (although it took me a lot of sessions) and he got over it. Sorry for the long boring story, but I just didn't know how else to explain myself. I just wanted it clear that I don't ignore my horses fears and pretend they aren't there...I just try real hard not to say to him in my own actions that he should be afraid and teach him to overcome his fears just like any other horse.
 
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