Tips for a fearful horse with an abusive past?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Gloria Armstrong, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. shaiarabs

    shaiarabs Senior Member

    Dec 20, 2006
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    The vet was early...the op was not late..

    no vet should ever do any work directly with an animal without the express permission of the owner directly.
  2. JStorry

    JStorry Senior Member

    Dec 11, 2010
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    I do agree that a vet should not perform work on a horse without authorization. I also think that in the event that the owner isn't able to be there the horse should be able to be handled by others without sedation. To allow that behavior is a disservice to the horse. I have had a horse that couldn't be handled by anyone but myself or a few others. I had other people handle him without me there so he could get over it . A horse like that is hard to sell. If something happened to you, not many people are willing to take him on.

    The province I live in is on fire. Many horses have been evacuated, picked up and hauled by people they have never even seen. Many of those hauling horses arent experienced horse people. The are good hearted people willing to help. Those that can't be caught/won't load... are set loose to fend for themselves. I like to think if my horses needed to be evacuated I would be available to load them myself. And I'm sure many of those people thought the same. But life doesn't always happen the way we want it too. It's my job to have my horses as well behaved as possible and to have them behave as well no matter who is handling them. That is their best chance for a good future no matter what happens to me.
  3. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

    Feb 19, 2012
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    Nothing to add in terms of advice just a question: @slc how do you know your horse was abused worse than the OP's? She didn't go into any kind of detail regarding the abuse so why are you so sure?
    Varisha, Blue-Roan and manesntails like this.
  4. HayleyS

    HayleyS Senior Member

    Nov 16, 2012
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    If my vet was early, and decided to start treatment when I said not to, that person would no longer be my vet. Simple as that. If the vet gets there on time, I am late, and say don't touch my horse, well then depending on the vet's schedule I would either expect them to be there when I got there and continue with the appt, or to have them leave and charge me a barn call fee without ever touching my horse.

    As far as abused horses, and handling them, I agree, it sounds like you might need to start expecting her to behave. I have had two rather seriously abused horses, and after the initial I am not going to beat you every time I approach you, I expected them to act like any other horse. Their past did not mean they got special treatment now. No one would ever guess that either horse had a bad past by the time they were trained. Nikao, my Arabian, went from starved and scared, to belligerent, to an amazing horse. I would imagine that she is reading you, and feeding off of you, when she is with other people. You expect her to be scared, so she thinks she should be. As backwards as it might seem at first, you need to show her you can be a strong, trust worthy leader. And that include stopping her bad behavior.
    AmyK, Alsosusieq2, Blue-Roan and 3 others like this.
  5. slc

    slc Senior Member

    Feb 19, 2004
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    By definition. Because my horse was in a neglect situation for 2 years and an abuse situation for six years after that. The longer it goes on, the worse it is.
  6. Gloria Armstrong

    Gloria Armstrong Registered

    Jul 16, 2017
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    Thank you! I totally agree! This is the first time I've "really" had a problem with it due to the situation. I definitely agree with all of you on here that she needs time to go by with positive experiences with as many people as possible handling her! She's not disrespectful or rebellious at all, just tends to be a nervous, scaredy cat if someone she isn't familiar with is around... Thank you everyone! :)
    Alsosusieq2 and foxtrot like this.
  7. Blue-Roan

    Blue-Roan Senior Member

    Aug 31, 2016
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    slc, you are way over-doing it. The situation really isn't as dire as you make it out to be. The OP said that the mare was okay with her family, who had been around her since she got her. If she can become familiarized to her family, she can extend that to other people.

    OP, you don't have to send the horse away or euthanize it. That's way too extreme. Just expose the mare to as many people as you can. Have them feed her treats or do something pleasant with her. When her encounters with strangers become pleasant instead of stressful, and she becomes familiarized to different people, she will lose her fear. Treat her like any other horse and don't make excuses for her.

    As for the vet handling and sedating her without permission, that is not okay. The vet was early, and should have waited until the owner got there. Or just left and charged a barn call fee if they have a busy schedule. In literally any other profession, it's not acceptable to show up to an agreed meeting early and start without the client's authorization or presence, and it shouldn't be any different for vets.
  8. bwahorses

    bwahorses Full Member

    Dec 27, 2008
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    I had a gelding that was very nervous & untrusting with strangers plus new situations:cautious:.I was only one he felt comfortable around. I agree about not coddling & fearing the worst from her.Found best approach is to be slow & calm in your interactions & what you ask of her in training;) be matter of fact & provide calm confident leadership toward her ,don't baby or be always second guessing what she might get scared of. Your leadership demeanor is what provides trust & confidence for her ,if you can provide that they do overcome:kiss:. My gelding did become accepting of strangers & others could handle & ride him without him being all worried & tense
    Agree These horses can't be man handled or you can't rush the training process,or interactions,the vet was off base in the handling of this horse:(. Things like this can really set them back in their progress of trusting.
  9. Faster Horses

    Faster Horses Senior Member

    Aug 24, 2011
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    I picked up a pony who was clearly abused, from an auction. He probably would have been dead within a week if he hadn't have been sold to me at the auction.

    The cool thing is that I really have no concrete idea of what happened to him, so I can't dwell on it. Being that he's a horse, he doesn't dwell on it if I don't dwell on it.

    So long as I am patient and confident, that pony will climb the moon for me. He's actually almost better for my non horsey husband, who dwells on his past even less than I do.

    My point is this: treat your horse like the unsocialized horse that she is and forget about the past. Be confident. Ask confident trainers to help you, and don't dwell on the fact that she was abused many years ago. She will quickly learn to draw confidence from the humans around her.
    Varisha, DelP, Blue-Roan and 3 others like this.
  10. meljean

    meljean Senior Member

    Oct 31, 2006
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    You are making the horse like this by coddling it. Seen it too many times, owner basically turns horse into a fool by not expecting a horse to behave itself. Not sure if it feeds into a 'My Friend Flicka' moment or not for the human, but horses don't operate on the 'I only have one BFF' mindset.

    Majority of us who have dealt with horses a long time have walked into a training barn, and been expected to work with most any horse in the barn. We don't have to 'bond, trust, love' a horse to work with it. We simply have to know what we are doing and do it.
    Other grooms or the trainer may tell you which horse is a nutjob when it is thundering, or they have to be crosstied head out, but other than that, you are expected to know what you are doing.

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