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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I have been around family horses for a while now, but we have just got 2 gelding youngsters, to work with and build their trust and bond with them looking for any tips and advice on how to start earning their trust, and to start our life long journey.
 

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You are starting with the wrong premise. You are not adopting a child. What a young horse generally needs are clear, enforced, predictable boundaries which are easy to understand. Do this and that happens. Predictability is what they need in order to relax and, sure, trust.

In that Buck Brannaman movie he shows how his horse (on a lead rope) waits for the okay before he grazes. "That's because he trusts me," Buck says. Well, what he trusts is that if he grabs grass before the okay, Buck's gonna make him sorry he did that. He "trusts" that's going to happen because it always does. His horse is perfectly calm, he knows the rules and the rules don't change.

Colts learn that if they playfully bite their mom (or any other adult horse), they will reliably get a well-aimed kick. So they learn not to bite mom. They don't stop trusting her because she corrected them.
 

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Hi & welcome Becki, gee, your horses sure look like a matching pair in the avatar pic! Are they brothers?

You are starting with the wrong premise. You are not adopting a child. What a young horse generally needs are clear, enforced, predictable boundaries which are easy to understand.
Agree with Avna, except for the first sentence - tho I get & agree where she is coming from too. And quoted the following 2 sentences because, well, I feel that young children need the same! And yes, it's absolutely important, and goes a long way, to be clear, consistent, firm boundaries, but I don't believe that's all there is to a good relationship with a horse, any more than it is with a kid either.

Becki, your question leads me to think you are a total beginner with horses(?) and you need to know 'everything'. You can learn heaps here, but best to ask more specific questions, as if you're needing to know everything, best to find hands on instruction, as there is SO much you need to learn that 'remote learning' is a bit deficient for.
 

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Hello there,


When you say 'untamed', could you explain further regarding the two horses' background, and perhaps a bit of your own?


Feeding horses, leading them, grooming them . . . all are things that build a connection. It's just too general of a question that you asked to offer specific advice.
perhaps, well, if you brought up some areas that you feel unsure of?.. .
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They are 14 month ID x cob, brothers. I have been around horses as my family own them, but never from young. I'm looking for advice on techniques to use as they have had minimal human contact, they are very inquisitive, friendly and do approach but very wary of us getting too close to touch them. We are looking to start working with them on getting used to human touch and training, but as my family never had from young looking for advice on best ways to introduce touch as that we can start working with them on the basic training such as walk outs and grooming etc.
 

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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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My best advice would be to watch every Warwick Schiller video you can find, and then, start into the paid subscription on his site as well. He has a huge wealth of knowledge on interacting with, gaining trust, and training horses at every point in their progress. He's very patient and empathetic, and fantastic at reading their body language and teaching appropriate reactions, timing, etc.

Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/WarwickSchiller
Site:
https://www.warwickschiller.com/
 

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Like with all things with horses, you want to break things down into little steps and make sure each step is correct before moving on to the next. If I were in your shoes, I'd start out by hanging out when they eat. If they won't approach their food with you there, step back a bit. If it's still too close, step back further. When they seem OK with it, then just stay where you are. Don't get any closer that day. The next day, try a bit closer. Etc.

Actually, what I did with my Teddy and what I do with other horses that seem afraid is to make myself very small, both physically and mentally, and try to approach with cookies or some other treat. Don't look them in the eye. Don't stride right up to them. With Teddy, for instance, I couldn't even approach him in the pasture at first without him trotting off. So I figured out where his personal space bubble was, and stopped there. Then as he grazed, every time he took a step, I took two steps: one step forward to stay with him, and one step closer to him. After about half an hour I had gotten to within 10 feet or so and he started to look like that was too much. So I squatted on the ground and held out the hand with the cookie. He was a little nervous still but not as much, so he went back to grazing. So I took a squatting step closer to him and held out the cookie again. Eventually I got close enough to where he came over to see it. He ate the cookie, I said "good boy" and just left. The next day, similar.

Someone else here recommended just getting a chair and a book and going out to sit in their pasture. Depending on where they are mentally, you might not even be able to face them. Just bring the chair and sit and read for a few hours. Eventually most horses will come over to investigate. You could include treats in this or not.

To me, it's just similar to any feral animal -- bring food, act non-threatening, and don't rush things. Be able to read their body language.

I don't know if that's the "best" way, and it's certainly not the way that most trainers would do it, but it's how I would do it. Don't go to them. Make them come to you. Make them WANT to come to you.
 
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