The Horse Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 12 year old mexican gelding I just saved from going to slaughter. He was reportedly used as a camp horse. He is well broke. I've only had him going on 3 weeks. Initially I was able to get close to him, brush him, and even put a blanket on him, (all in the first week) He still talks to me every time he gets feed and hay, and comes to the fence when I get close to it. In the past 2 weeks he seems to have regressed. I can get him to come to me if I have a treat or food. But just walking in to collect feed bowls, or if I just try to spend time with him, he won't let me close to him. Does he just need more time or is there something else I can be doing? What am I missing here? Thanks for any help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
I could be wrong here, but this is what I'm getting:

How experienced are you? Because it seems to me like he's losing respect for you. Three weeks is more than enough time for a horse to have "tested" you-he is now beginning to form a clear picture of who's the boss. He was good the first week because he didn't know what kind of a handler you were, and he was just doing what he's been trained to do. If you've missed his subtle 'tests' along the way, he's figuring out that he's got your number, and he doesn't really have to be on his best behaviour. If he doesn't have much respect for you, he'll keep acting like this, and he'll get worse over time if you don't get a handle on it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,077 Posts
The weaker and less healthy a horse is, the more submissive they are. When they feel better, they start to test and space themselves since they're feeling better.

I think you just need to keep introducing yourself throughout the day to this horse, and slowly build up a trust that you bring the food, you are not a predator.

There are so many resources online that either demonstrate way to gain trust with a previously abused horse/rescue/new horse/wild horse.. but the main thing is you don't rush them, and you don't put too much pressure on it. Give them all the time in the world that they need and always go back to what they feel most comfortable with.

Good luck :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I could be wrong here, but this is what I'm getting:

How experienced are you? Because it seems to me like he's losing respect for you. Three weeks is more than enough time for a horse to have "tested" you-he is now beginning to form a clear picture of who's the boss. He was good the first week because he didn't know what kind of a handler you were, and he was just doing what he's been trained to do. If you've missed his subtle 'tests' along the way, he's figuring out that he's got your number, and he doesn't really have to be on his best behaviour. If he doesn't have much respect for you, he'll keep acting like this, and he'll get worse over time if you don't get a handle on it.
I grew up around horses, and have had my own horses for the past 7 years. I've never had to deal with a horse ever acting this way. He's been a little skiddish from the beginning. I figure after what he had been through the prior weeks it was best to allow him to adjust to yet another new place. At first he wouldn't come near his food until I backed away from it. Then I would stay, and even keep my hand on the bowl, and he would come over and eat despite me being that close. I had gotten a mare that was unsure when I first got her, but after brushing her and just spending time with her, she improved alot. This one doesn't freak out, or turn his hind quarters toward me. He simply avoids me getting anywhere close to him unless I have a treat for him. And if I manage to give him a treat I have to try to sneak my hand up to get his halter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The weaker and less healthy a horse is, the more submissive they are. When they feel better, they start to test and space themselves since they're feeling better.

I think you just need to keep introducing yourself throughout the day to this horse, and slowly build up a trust that you bring the food, you are not a predator.

There are so many resources online that either demonstrate way to gain trust with a previously abused horse/rescue/new horse/wild horse.. but the main thing is you don't rush them, and you don't put too much pressure on it. Give them all the time in the world that they need and always go back to what they feel most comfortable with.

Good luck :)
All I know is he was a camp horse. I don't know how he was treated. He is a little thin, and that being a fact, I thought he might warm up to me a little quicker since he didn't look as though he was eating very well before. I have been giving him his space in hopes he will come around at some point. I haven't been pushy with him. I guess I better stock up on carrots so I can get my hands on him to begin the process. Seems once I can get my hands on him, he will stand still for a period of time. But once I walk away and come back later, it's like he forgets who I am.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well it takes some time for them to trust you. I'd say that's a good idea.. make him want to be around you =)
I'm trying....so I just came back in from finishing my evening feed. I took a carrot out with me. I walked into the barnyard, and of course he went any where I wasn't. My mare was standing there, so I gave her a little piece of carrot. Then i was able to coax him over to me too. I gave him a piece then another. The carrot was gone, but he still stood there looking for more. But I managed to touch him and was able to get a hold on his halter and stood there and rubbed his neck and head. I just find it odd that once I have him in hand he's ok. But getting him that far is a task. One other thing I did notice... he really has no clue about being hand fed. I was always told put whatever in your hand and hold your hand out flat, so you don't lose any fingers. I've done that and he still goes straight for my fingers. Could this all be that he was strictly a work horse with no real personal interactions with people, other than riding?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,077 Posts
Well he can't see down there :p have you tried guiding your palm to his mouth instead?

But yay you got some progress with him :) Very nice, just keep it up and he'll get less weary and more curious to be around you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well he can't see down there :p have you tried guiding your palm to his mouth instead?

But yay you got some progress with him :) Very nice, just keep it up and he'll get less weary and more curious to be around you!
That's funny you say that. "Well he can't see down there :p" That means a lot more than you realize. He stands at 16hh. I'm only 4'9. LOL. I wonder if my height has any bearing on things. I guess this is just one of those things with getting a horse with an unknown history. I'll do some more experiments with different people trying to get close to him, see if maybe I can pinpoint something that might give an answer why he acts this way. For all I know he may have only had male handlers. Who knows. But as for your other question... I have tried that, but between him going for fingers and me trying to avoid being bit, we're dancing all over the place. I will keep working with him on that too :). I"ve been doing pretty much what you've said to do, but the reassurance means alot. You have been very helpful, thank you so much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,030 Posts
I totally disagree with 'buying' a horse's friendship and trust with treats. It evidently is not necessary since I do not engage in giving treats or buying affection. A horse is a herd animal and develops a 'pecking order' out of each one's respect level for each other one. Pack animals, like dogs, will respond to treats. Horses just learn to get pushy and obnoxious.

The horse you describe as standing back and not barging in and eating when you are standing at his feed tub sounds like the 'perfect gentleman' with good manners. You want him to invade your space and the rest of use work hard at teaching them to stay out of our space. Had you ever looked at it that way?

What you describe as trying to sneak a halter on him and trying to get close enough with treats to catch him is completely counter-productive.

What I would do is put this horse in a round pen or an enclosure of some kind. A square corral works just as good as long as it is not too big to keep walking around and keeping a horse moving when you want him to. Then, just make him move around in it for a while. Any time he buries his head in a corner (if you are using a pen with corners), pop him on the butt with a rope. Wave and slap the rope around until the horse starts to look bored with it. I make a horse change directions many times. I carefully watch what direction they reverse directions -- either toward me or toward the fence. If they reverse toward the fence, I yell at them and haze them harder with the rope. If they turn toward me (not real likely at first), I back up and stop hazing them. Most horse keep going and the handler looks for the 'licking and chewing', lowered head, lessened 'flight' response, etc. When that happens, stop and as soon as the horse looks at you, drop your head and back up. You try to 'draw' the horse to you.

I do not have time to go through all of the details, but they have been posted many times. Look up 'join up' and 'round penning'. There are many detailed explanations of just how to do it and just how it works.

In about 10 to 15 minutes, you can have even wild horses hunting you up and wanting to get caught and haltered. It works on all of them and it works 1000 X better than trying to bribe and buy one's attention.

I never 'hide' a halter and get all new horses I get in to hunt me and a halter. Most of them drop their heads and hunt the nose-band on the halter after just a few times of being caught.

Just remember, trust comes totally from respect, not from bribing a horse into wanting to be near you. Like everything else, the method that works best is to make the right thing easy and make the wrong thing (walking off) a whole lot more difficult.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
916 Posts
I totally disagree with 'buying' a horse's friendship and trust with treats. It evidently is not necessary since I do not engage in giving treats or buying affection. A horse is a herd animal and develops a 'pecking order' out of each one's respect level for each other one. Pack animals, like dogs, will respond to treats. Horses just learn to get pushy and obnoxious.

The horse you describe as standing back and not barging in and eating when you are standing at his feed tub sounds like the 'perfect gentleman' with good manners. .
Totally agree!
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top