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Discussion Starter #1
I have just brought a 3 year old welsh section A pony he was rescued from the meat market and hasn't been handled much in his early years. He is good to lead on the headcollar though. He dosen't really like being touched he is ok if you just stroke his neck but going anywhere near his head and especially ears he jumps back and starts trying to get away from you. He is also very jumpy and the way he behaves suggests he was maybe not treated well before he went to the meat market. I have been working on just grooming his neck very lighlty and he is starting to like that and relax a bit. I am hoping to break him into drivining and in-hand showing but will wait intill he really starts to trust me.
Is there any tips for how to build up his trust and help calm him down? :?
 

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Approach and retreat works wonderful for all horses with any type of issues. It is what it sounds. You approach a section that might be a "oh no don't touch" area and the second he shows any signs of fear, worry, or so on, retreat back on an area that he likes or retreat all together.
My mare would not let me touch her face at all or anywhere near her face when I adopted her. I did alot of approach and retreat to gain her trust. I did not force myself on her head saying "here! See? it doesn't hurt! I'm not going to hurt you!". Now whenever she sees me she comes over and puts her head in my arms and will stand there forever just getting loves :)
 

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Thank you so much for your help. I will try the approch and retreat idea. He has already got better from when we first brought him so will just keep working on him :)
 

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Make sure you always have treats! Soon he'll want you to be around. Also every time your hand goes near his face he will get a treat. He will start the see its a good thing that he lets you touch him.
 

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i do an approach & retreat thats a bit different. start out touching his neck until he relaxes, then stop. next try putting your hand a bit closer to his head & dont take it off until he relaxes. you dont have to get to his forehead or grab his ears on the first day, but you can go a bit further each day. he will soon realize that if he relaxes you will go away. do not make any quick moves either, if you feel him try to move away just stay calm, if you jerk your hand back you may frighten him & will loose a bit of trust you have just built up.

i have a boy that was abused [i think beaten in the face, he used to be petrified] now hes a lover =]
 

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I think the approach and retreat idea will do wonders...but I disagree with the treats idea. As a youngster gaining trust, he may already develop what I call "busy lips". You don't want to encourage this and through my experience, Welsh Ponies already HAVE busy lips! Find something he likes, such as a pat on the neck, and make THAT the reward to allowing you to touch his cheek or other part of his body. You don't want him learning to grab at your hands as soon as he's done something "good". Youngsters get excited over treats and the main idea here is to keep him calm. Sure, give him some grain and cookies AFTER out of a pan, but hand feeding treats (in most cases) at such a young age might cause problems later.

Is he gelded? That would be one of the first things to do...meat market ponies, in my opinion, are NOT breeding animals. That's not to say that none of them should be bred, some people are just dumb and send anything to auction...but as a rule of thumb, don't breed him if he's in tact. If he were a breedworthy stallion, he wouldn't have ended up at a meat market...
 

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Yes he can be quite nippy so i don't give him treats. He does have some carrots cut up in his pony nuts though after if he has been good. Yes he has been gelded and he was checked over by the vet to make sure he didn't go to the meat market for a reason and she found nothing wrong. He is already getting better with the approach and retreat which i have been trying he lets my stroke the side of his face now as soon as his ears start to go back though i go back to stroking his neck. Thank you for all the help! :)
 
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