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Signs of a Beaten Horse

830 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  krisadreyer
I’m trying to figure out what is wrong with a pony. He isn’t mine, he belongs to a family friend. He was pretty underweight when they got him. At first, after getting him to a healthy weight, he was a good little pony. He was sold as a kids pony. But now he is bucking and is very hard to catch. I’m working with him in a round pen right now and if I walk up to him he is extremely jumpy and literally shivers if I put my hand out. He is very protective of his right side. If I put my hand too high he freaks out. Not like a normal spook but eyes wide and shivering. Hates being patted. Once the halter is on he seems like he’s shut down. He seems zoned out. I think who ever broke him just threw a saddle on and rode him. Skipped everything else.
I’m not saying he was abused but it seems pretty likely, to me. What do y’all think?
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When I got Teddy he was pretty shut down. He was also super worried about doing the wrong thing. I know the person who trained him, and I'm pretty sure he got punished for doing the wrong thing. What I did was just spend a lot of time hanging out with him at first, and not asking him to do much beyond lead from here and there. Once I was ready to really start working with him, I only asked him to do things that I knew he could do, and I praised him and rewarded him lavishly. Then I started asking for more, but only in a situation where really his only realistic choice was to do the thing I wanted him to do. Then I'd praise for that. Eventually he relaxed, but I don't think he'll ever not be a little shut down. His trust had just been destroyed. I got a lot of it back, but I don't think anyone will ever get it all back.
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