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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I got this horse about 3 months ago. It’s was kind of a rescue situation. He was really skinny when I got him but he’s fattened up lots. His name is Chili he is now almost 3 years old. He doesn’t really trust me yet. So I want to do Join Up with him . I am building a round pen because I don’t have any sort of small pen. It’s should be finished in about a week.

I have learned a few things about Mr chili.
1. It seems he is desensitized so much that tapping him with a rope or getting big and waving my arms doesn’t scare him away. So what comes with that is Chili has no personal space.
2. The other day when I went to catch him He tried to kicked me. That’s the first time hes ever tried that. I was shocked so I jump back.
Also I have a mare and foal that I am horsesittng on my land who happens to be Chili’s mother. Just watching them all together I think that Chili learned from the mare that if he kicks then I’ll be scared of him and I’ll leave.
3. Once I get him on a rope he leads OK but if I try to do any sort of groundwork he gets frustrated. I’m hoping the roundpen I’m building will help me to feel safer because it’s a smaller more controlled space.
Anybody have any sort of advice for me?
Horse Plant Working animal Liver Sorrel
 

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He needs training. It sounds like you have not trained a horse, so hopefully there is someone more experienced who can help you.

Joining up won't help, that is something you might use if a horse is afraid and needs to learn that you will treat him as a herd member and he can approach you.

You will need to teach him what behaviors you want and what you don't want him to do. Right now he sees you as another horse, and is treating you naturally as he would another horse. If you annoy him, he will kick, bite you, or push you out of the way.

You'll need to be able to read his body language, so you can know when he is feeling threatened, scared, calm, feisty. Horses usually give many cues about what they mean to do, but these are subtle to humans. Things like ear position, eye and nose wrinkling, tail switching, moving the weight off of a leg. If he gives you several threats and you don't respond, he may kick or bite you.

Your response also has to be fair and correct. If he is telling you he dislikes something, you need to know when it is reasonable or unreasonable to ask him to comply. For example, if you are poking him with a hard brush that is hurting him in a sensitive spot, it will be much better for your relationship if you stop when he tells you he doesn't like it. However, you either have to listen to him and stop, or you have to let him know that he needs to tolerate it without threatening you. If you ignore his threats and he escalates, you will teach him that he is the leader and can push you around.

If you ask a horse to do something such as move away, and he doesn't, then you must use what will make him respond. If body language and a rope doesn't work, then you will need to use a whip or a thin rope that stings, and swat him with the end of it. Consider that if another horse asked him to move and he ignored it, they would escalate as much as necessary to establish their position, even to the point of kicking or biting him.
 

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You need help working with this horse. A smaller enclosure is not a good idea with a horse who has learned he can make you move away from him. With a horse like that, you need to be able to get the upper hand or else you have just taught him this is the way to get rid of humans who want to make him work. But dealing with a horse like this is very dangerous and should be done by an experienced person. Timing is everything, and being able to read the horse's body language is extremely important. Kicks can be deadly. Please be careful, and consider wearing a helmet while working with this horse. Lots of people wear helmets during ground work when working with an unknown horse. You only have one brain.
 

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I would try to see if you can get an experienced person/trainer to help you work with him on the ground. :) I think he just needs to be taught personal space, it just sounds like he hasn't really had anyone work with him in the past so he's not used to it & yes, he's just treating you like another horse. Just be patient with him. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’m living in a third world country. Nobody here treats their animals right. So there isn’t anybody here who I could reach out to that would help without abusing. I got this horse because people were throwing rocks at him and hitting with blunt ends of machetes.
When I got him He was quite scared of being around humans.
We also don’t have a barn or anything. He just free roams around the land in the day and gets tied on a very long rope at night.
 

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You do have access to the internet though. Maybe go into the rabbit hole that is YouTube. Watch some trainers. Warwick Schiller may be one you really end up liking. You can learn a lot from those videos.
 

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I’m living in a third world country. Nobody here treats their animals right. So there isn’t anybody here who I could reach out to that would help without abusing. I got this horse because people were throwing rocks at him and hitting with blunt ends of machetes.
When I got him He was quite scared of being around humans.
We also don’t have a barn or anything. He just free roams around the land in the day and gets tied on a very long rope at night.
I see, well that does change things. Good of you to take on this horse. However, do you have access to a vet and a farrier or trimmer to do his feet? It would very much concern me if not. You can learn to do his feet yourself, but you will need to be able to handle him better to do that.

I have to agree with @Knave then, that the Internet will be your friend. Look for videos of trainers working with unhandled horses so you can learn how to keep yourself safe while working with him. Stay out of the kick zone for now. I know he is not completely unhandled, but you may need to start from ground zero with him since he has learned a lot of bad habits. Stay safe!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I see, well that does change things. Good of you to take on this horse. However, do you have access to a vet and a farrier or trimmer to do his feet? It would very much concern me if not. You can learn to do his feet yourself, but you will need to be able to handle him better to do that.

I have to agree with @Knave then, that the Internet will be your friend. Look for videos of trainers working with unhandled horses so you can learn how to keep yourself safe while working with him. Stay out of the kick zone for now. I know he is not completely unhandled, but you may need to start from ground zero with him since he has learned a lot of bad habits. Stay safe!
Yes there are a few vets around here and I found a guy that does feet. His feet are good right now. Thanks for your help!
I think just me being able to move HIS feet instead of him moving MINE will with him being less pushy.
 

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Watch a lot of horse-training videos on Youtube, and some about horse herd behavior. For instance, from what you described I don't know if your horse was really kicking to try to hurt you, or just being playful. My mare would often "kick" at me when she wanted to gallop back to the gate rather than have me catch her in pasture. But she was always far enough away that her feet wouldn't actually make contact, because she was just being silly. But I can't say that is what it is, and if he really is trying to kick you that is dangerous.
 

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I think round penning this horse would help him a lot, but before you "join up" with him, he needs to learn to respect your personal space. A round pen is the perfect place to start, in fact when I was training problem horses (horses with aggression, bucking problems, etc.) I insisted on always starting them in the round pen before anything else. If he is kicking at you, then he thinks he is more dominant than you are, this can turn into a big problem if it is not attended to.

This is what I would do if I had a horse like this:

First, teach him how to move when you ask him to.
I would put him in the round pen, without tack to work with him. Ask him to walk on, cluck, and point with your hand in which direction you want him to go. If he does not go, apply pressure with a lung whip, if he does still not go, you may need to tap him on the butt. (not too hard of course) Once he walks on, release the pressure and put the whip down, but stay behind his drive line to keep him moving (the drive line is right behind his shoulder; to stay in this position you need to keep your stomach in line with behind his shoulder where the girth would go) You can do this same procedure with all three gaits, at the walk, trot, and canter.

Once he can hold his gaits consistently you can move on to the second step: changing directions

To change directions, step out in front of the horse's drive line and point in the new direction you want him to go. You are going to have to use your whip for direction here. If he turns away from you and shows you his butt when he changes direction, I would cut him off and make him go the opposite away so he learns that it is NOT appropriate to turn his backside to you. This is especially important for horses who have kicking problems to learn. Only release the pressure when he turns to the inside to change directions. This will help him get out of the habit of turning his butt to you and possibly kicking.

Once his direction changes get good, you can then have him join up with you. Simply step in front of his drive line and once he looks at you, back away to increase his draw. If he does not come into you at first, keep practicing until he takes a couple steps towards you, then you can let him rest there.

After the roundpenning, I would also do a bunch of other groundwork exercises such as: backing him up, lunging on the line, yielding the hinquarters, yielding the forequarters, and others. You can find books and videos on how to do them.

Though, all of this is hard to do just by following someone's insturctions on the interent. (lol) I would recommend a natural horsemanship trainer to help walk you through and focus soley on groundwork until he starts to respect your personal space. But, if you cannot get a trainer, there are lots of good groundwork videos online to help you as well. Because he tried to kick you out in the pasture, I am more inclined to believe it is a behavioral problem more than a health problem. If he had shown signs of pain when you were trying to exercise him, then it would be different.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think round penning this horse would help him a lot, but before you "join up" with him, he needs to learn to respect your personal space. A round pen is the perfect place to start, in fact when I was training problem horses (horses with aggression, bucking problems, etc.) I insisted on always starting them in the round pen before anything else. If he is kicking at you, then he thinks he is more dominant than you are, this can turn into a big problem if it is not attended to.

This is what I would do if I had a horse like this:

First, teach him how to move when you ask him to.
I would put him in the round pen, without tack to work with him. Ask him to walk on, cluck, and point with your hand in which direction you want him to go. If he does not go, apply pressure with a lung whip, if he does still not go, you may need to tap him on the butt. (not too hard of course) Once he walks on, release the pressure and put the whip down, but stay behind his drive line to keep him moving (the drive line is right behind his shoulder; to stay in this position you need to keep your stomach in line with behind his shoulder where the girth would go) You can do this same procedure with all three gaits, at the walk, trot, and canter.

Once he can hold his gaits consistently you can move on to the second step: changing directions

To change directions, step out in front of the horse's drive line and point in the new direction you want him to go. You are going to have to use your whip for direction here. If he turns away from you and shows you his butt when he changes direction, I would cut him off and make him go the opposite away so he learns that it is NOT appropriate to turn his backside to you. This is especially important for horses who have kicking problems to learn. Only release the pressure when he turns to the inside to change directions. This will help him get out of the habit of turning his butt to you and possibly kicking.

Once his direction changes get good, you can then have him join up with you. Simply step in front of his drive line and once he looks at you, back away to increase his draw. If he does not come into you at first, keep practicing until he takes a couple steps towards you, then you can let him rest there.

After the roundpenning, I would also do a bunch of other groundwork exercises such as: backing him up, lunging on the line, yielding the hinquarters, yielding the forequarters, and others. You can find books and videos on how to do them.

Though, all of this is hard to do just by following someone's insturctions on the interent. (lol) I would recommend a natural horsemanship trainer to help walk you through and focus soley on groundwork until he starts to respect your personal space. But, if you cannot get a trainer, there are lots of good groundwork videos online to help you as well. Because he tried to kick you out in the pasture, I am more inclined to believe it is a behavioral problem more than a health problem. If he had shown signs of pain when you were trying to exercise him, then it would be different.

Hope this helps!
Yes thanks this helped lots!
This is kind of exactly what I was thinking of doing with him, I just wasn’t sure if it was the right approach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey! Chili has still been turning his butt to me when I go to catch him you tie him up at night. Hes done this for about a week and a half with a few days that have been fine. Ill tell you what ive been doing about it,
So first I calmly walk up to his front end, rope in hand and try to say hi and catch him. He turns is *** to me so I get big and swing my rope at him and say get outta here... He goes away, I reapproach calm and collected try to catch him again and we do this for a few times. Ive been able to catch him every night, but its not fun and Chili doesnt like it either..
What I am trying to teach him by doing this is that I will be friendly towards if he his face to me, but not if he shoes his ***, Ive been able to get him.
I finished buildiing my roundpen today. I put Chili in there for the night because there lots of grass. Anyway Now that I actually have a smaller space, rather than a hundred acres of land, I can actually do some ground work with him. I want to start doing some work tomorrow morning.
Anybody have any advice/tips?
 

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The reason he turns his back to you is that it's a horse's defensive position and from what you're telling us about his experiences with humans, it's no wonder he's once bitten, twice shy. You'd do the same if you were him. He has to learn to trust you're different from the other examples of our wonderful species he has encountered, and you have to manage him safely until he does. I do not recommend punishing him in any way for being in this defensive position or threatening to kick etc, as in his mind that will mean another human = more pain and fear and confrontation. This is the survival behaviour of a traumatised creature, not the wilful aggression of a bossy horse. I recommend not putting yourself in positions where you can get kicked, and avoiding scaring him. Be slow and gentle in your movements and talk gently. See if you can get to his front end by edging around him. Then perhaps give him a carrot or something else yummy and just stay with him a bit so he learns that you're not dangerous (treats help but can be really overdone as well, just one when you clip him on the lead is fine and not a constant stream afterwards). He needs to get confident. This will take time and patience. Take him for little walks on the lead, then he can't kick you and gets used to you being in his space without hurting him, while you're also teaching him positive interactions and to do constructive things with you that he can learn to enjoy. Keep it simple and add things step by step when he's ready.

Getting the horse to walk with you on a lead is much better in this case for your early work than doing "chasing" things like lunge work - do that later, when he learns you don't mean harm. This horse had
years of bad experiences and he won't drop his defensiveness overnight. It will take time. Good luck!
 

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No worries. So much conflicting information! It's lovely you're working with this poor critter and giving it a better life. One of the truest things about horses: Don't hurry, it will take longer! ;)

It will be nice to follow your progress. We'd all love to see you become happy riding companions! :)

If you're looking for a good training manual, I highly recommend Horse Control - The Young Horse by Tom Roberts, still available secondhand online though out of print. It remains the best DIY training book I've ever seen and I successfully used it to train a traumatised horse from scratch on my own when I was 11. He's completely factually based, no myths, and explains better than anyone else I've read how to see things from the horse's point of view and how to calmly and with kindness train up a calm, kind, well-mannered horse! Unlike a lot of modern wonders, this guy trained horses and riders professionally from age 16 when horses were still the main mode of transport and also has a The Rider book which is really great for doing dressage, cross-country etc.

If you search for Tom Roberts on HF you will find some excerpts from his books! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ok I knnow it might sound crazy bit, I figured out today that Chili is completly fine with me catching him during the day. He only tries to kick at night because he knows hes getting tied for the night, Hes a pretty smart dude.
 
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