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So apparently a few people I know who I used to help out with a few years ago are auctioning horses. One of them was a filly that was born while I was there. She's probably 2 years old by now, but the people dont know how to train her. They think she has mental problems, since she doesnt listen to them. She'll run into fences trying to escape them, or just not be gentled to let the people touch her. Is there any clear way to tell if there is mentally something wrong with her?
 

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It may be the way the people are handling her or trying to approach her/ ways she been handled in the past which created fear. Nit ever horse learns the same. For example I barn I worked at for a short period.. the trainer was pretty harsh on the horses but got results which is why people sent horses to him. One mare did not like him at all and used to toss herself into the arena walls while he rode her if she was pushed past her limit.
if the horse your talking about is actually running itself into fences it most likely has too much pressure put on it which is why its looking for a way out. Try getting them to be a little more gentle in the way they approach her and work around her, taking baby steps. Might take longer to get results but they will come and she will be better for it. It'd rare that horses are actually " mentally ill "
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thats what i tried to tell them. But apparently!!! someone said that since the horses ears one goes forward and the other one goes back, i guess they said thats a way to tell if shes brain damaged. but it didnt make sense to me.

to clarify one ear is forward and one ear is backwards at the same time.
 

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One ear forward and one back. The forward is looking for an escape, the back one is wondering if someone or something is in pursuit. She is definitely afraid. Horses like this need to get used to some being close by yet asking nothing of the horse, not attempt to pet it, just being there. This can graduate to sitting in a chair in her area and placing feed as far away as necessary to get her to approach then working it closer. It takes time and patience. Are you thinking of buying her or just wondering if she has mental issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No im not planning on buying her. These are people I know really well, but they sometimes get me confused on the way they handle things with horses. As I said I was there when she was born, her name is zelda shes born from a good mare shes a blue roan. Shes had no problems with me since I was usually the one to hang around her and her sisters and brothers. But I agree, its silly because these people got there whole family of wild weanlings (straight from the range) and they had no problems with being patient with them. Her trainer is doing flag work, where once she looks at him he stops applying the flag pressure.
 

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I have known very few horses that I thought were brain damaged. They've either carried their heads cockeyed or acted erratic with absolutely no input from anybody or anything.

That being said, horses are born with a lot different dispositions and degrees of trainability. Some are a lot easier to train and get along with than others. Some are nearly 'born broke' while others take 3 or 4 times longer to accomplish much less. Some complete novice owners can get along very well with some horses while it takes an expert to get along with others.

That is why breeding programs that breed good minded horses with the athletic ability we want in a horse are worth so much more than random horses that be be purchased for cheap or free and years later, people are still trying to make a good horse out of them. Breeding and disposition mean a LOT.
 

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My boy suffered brain damage when he was 7 months old, it has not affected his trainability. The process, sure. He now needs a lot more physical and vocal encouragement and praise, but we always come to the same result any other horse would. At almost two, he is the best trained horse in the barn despite his age and handicap. Because I expect it from him. He is super smart and willing to learn, I just have to take different route with him than I would with another "normal" horse. A mental handicap shouldn't normally hinder training, but no two mental handicaps are the same. And like Cherie said, disposition is a big factor as well.
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Running into fences doesn't constitute a mental problem (to me anyway) unless she's doing it on a regular basis and without any apparent trigger or stimulus - I.e. No people or other animals around her that may cause her to react like that.

This horse just sounds scared to me. Her ear set sounds like she's scanning for an out and keeping tabs on what's behind her, as was already said. Not that she's got some kind of neurological problem. The running into fences sounds like a last ditch effort to escape the pressure thas being put on her.

What this filly needs is patience and baby steps, not flags right now. She needs to learn to accept people as not being harmful before she can accept them as being leaders.
 
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