Would like advice, on how to go about handling 3 horses and 1 Colt, that are afraid of human contact

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Shellene, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Shellene

    Shellene Registered

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    I could really use some advice, regarding my live-in landlords 4 horses, that we can't even get a halter on any of them because they will not allow anyone that close to them.
    I am an experienced horsewoman and have trained my own show horses. However, I do not have any experience in handling a horse that has never been handled before.
    My landlord is a 63 year old woman, with severe COPD. She is unable to go to her barn. She rescued these 4 horses. She received a call from a friend, asking her if she would take the horses because they had lost their farm. She said yes. When the horses were brought to my landlords place, the people backed the trailer up to the pasture gate and just opened the trailer door and the horses ran out. Not a single one had a halter on it. There is a gelding (unsure of age, maybe 6 or 7 yrs), a 2 year old mustang stallion, a 2 year old made and her 5 month old colt. My landlord was u aware of the made being pregnant when they arrived.
    The gelding and the Colt have progressed the most, over the last 2 months that I have been trying to work with them. They will now take apples or carrots from my hand. I can very briefly touch there muzzles. That's about it.
    The stallion will also take apples and carrots from my hand but will only allow me to quickly rub his nose after giving him the treats, then he quickly backs away.
    The mare, however, is very timid. She will, very cautiously, take treats from my hand, but if I make any kind of movement to touch her, she shies away.
    I really would like to be able to at least get these horses confident enough, that they will allow a halter to be put on them, so that they can be groomed and their hooves cleaned out and trimmed. However, I don't know the first thing on how to achieve this.
    I would so appreciate some advice on what to do.
    Thank you.
     
  2. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

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    Can you get smaller paddocks set up, or separate them? It might be easier if you can interact with them one at a time, and in a smaller space. Other than that, I got nothing.
    What a mess. Shame on their previous owners for letting them get into this mess.
     
  3. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Get the woman to sell them. Fooling with animals in a herd won't work. They have to be separated and you have to know how to read them.

    I work with horses like this and get them handleable in 6 weeks; haltered, leading, picking up feet, etc, BUT, not without a set of stocks. Too dangerous otherwise.

    I run them into separate stalls that open front and back. The backside leads to an aisle with a stock at the end. Once in the stocks they get used to being touched by human hands. Just 10 min is enough daily. At the end of a about a week to ten days they accept hands on them and being haltered and unhaltered repeatedly, then the lead goes on and they are allowed to come out on the lead and are taught to follow their nose, give to pressure in a small circle in the small corral set up on the front side of the stocks.

    So, you can see, you need the equipment, the facilities and knowledge with working with them to make it an easy and successful journey for the horse.

    Your best option is to coonvince her that THEIR best option is to sell them to someone who already has the facilities, and experience with unhandled horses, to train them properly.
     
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  4. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

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    She'll probably have better luck catching a unicorn than finding someone like that to take on four unhandled horses in the winter, even for free.
    MIGHT be able to find a rescue not bursting at the seams, but probably not.
     
  5. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    What are you talking about? There are people who know how to handle this and it's no big deal, when you know what you are doing.
    I know you find it cute of you to habitually argue, but since you don't know the first thing about the subject of unhandled horses, it's pretty unhelpful of you to even reply.
    Of course it's winter. She didn't say she had to work with them right this minute.
    And no, there's no comparison between your two and these.
     
  6. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Please do not try to tame these horses. If you are getting in the pasture with them - stop. Please. Really. Once they get over their initial fear they WILL knock you down and hurt you, even just by suddenly getting scared again and trying to get away from you. They don't know anything.

    You can EVEN get badly hurt walking out in a herd of loose horses that are TAME. That's not the greatest situation either. Can't tell you how many times I've seen that or read posts here like, 'I got kicked in the face/leg/foot/arm trying to bring my horse in from the pasture and the other horses got around the gate and.....'

    Even if you succeeded, all you're doing is 'enabling' a person who seems completely unable to care for the horses - she's likely to go get MORE horses and wind up with the same problem all over again. You taking care of the problem for free is what enables people to continue this sort of behavior. She needs to either pay to have them trained or get out of horse ownership.

    If your description really is the whole story and the situation really is this bad(it may not be.....we're only getting your point of view which may be mainly geared to justifying your getting involved, and not really the whole picture....), the best thing that could happen is that Animal Control confiscates the animals. They will, too, eventually, if they are not getting urgent medical attention when they need it.

    COPD is progressive and unless it's very mild her situation is not going to improve, it's only going to get worse. The horses sound like they're too wild to accept any veterinary care or hoof care and they NEED veterinary care at least twice a year, and hoof care every 8 weeks. They need to be wormed, and they need medical attention if they get hurt (which they are likely to do).

    That's a job for an expert and even they get hurt doing this - often. No one can explain to you online how to do it because anyone who tries to teach you needs to be right there, watching what you do and telling you what to do every second. That's what's needed to stay safe, so much is about how the horse reacts and how you react (very quickly) to what the horse does. 'Reading' an unhandled horse is not so easy to learn or to teach and it is not safe without that.

    Be forwarned, too, most of the people who would be paid to help you (and all those who would volunteer, pretty much, LOL) are NOT going to know what they're doing. They're just repeating what they saw on a video, they're not reading the horse. They aren't safe, and they won't teach you how to be safe.

    No, you do not need the setup manesntails describes, most people who do this work don't have that, but you do have to have SOME way of safely separating the horses into stalls, pens, something.

    And there is a reason those mustangs have a lot of cuts on them when they get separated out. They don't like it. They object. They throw themselves at the walls of - whatever it is - to get back to their herd.

    And....if you want to be looking for new lodging, see what happens if you are working with those horses and one of THEM gets hurt badly (which is not unlikely either). Suddenly that horse will be worth a million dollars and you will be in big trouble.

    Yes, Mongolian cowboys and other legends break horses on the open plains without a barn or a pen, but, they also get a lot of broken bones and partially trained, not so very safe horses that way. And they have to go through the same procedure of roping and catching them every.single.day.

     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
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  7. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

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    Of course their are people who can and do handle this sort of thing. But it's one thing to know they exist, another to find them, and another thing again to pawn four horses off on them.

    My point was merely that selling the horses to a good, qualified home is going to be easier said than done.
     
  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I unfortunately have become a hopeful skeptic, which means I hope for better, but to be honest, I have very little faith that these horses will ever get to even a halfway decent home if the situation is as dire as painted. Most of the people who know how to work with them won't waste time on them(in some cases, even if paid....) and it's almost 100% sure that the current owner or other possible owners won't pay someone to work with them. So many people aren't skilled enough to DIY, aren't patient enough to learn, THINK they have a 'method' (usually based on ah....a 'philosophy'....), and that don't work, or they won't or can't pay someone else to do it, and the horses simply don't get what they need.

    They need a lot of training, and the mare may never come around. It sounds like she had a foal while she was 'feral' and that is not good. In many cases, the best thing that can happen to 'wild' horses is that they get quietly put to sleep, so they won't have to be made to suffer years without hoof care or medical care, or get abused or starved into compliance or have some abusive pseudo 'trainer' beating them up 'cause he's in a bad mood.

    I hope the situation isn't as bad as painted by the OP. Inexperienced people OFTEN think horses are 'wild' when they're just wary or are being approached incorrectly or simply don't want to be caught because they associate that with being made to stop eating grass. Often a vet or farrier has zero problem dealing with the horses. Sometimes the observer just thinks the situation is dire because she wants to have some free horses to play with. The 'sick old' owner may not be as bad as she seems. That's the hope, anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  9. Mirage

    Mirage Senior Member

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    We just got a mustang gelding in last week that hadn't been touched except in the holding chute at pickup almost a year ago.
    He's the fear aggressive type that was allowed to get away with kicking, rearing, striking, and dragging people around on the lead.
    Our set-up is a round pen with attached stalls of round pen panels. The first two days me and husband sat outside his pen and read books or did homework. We sat closer to his hay net.
    Third day we let him in the round pen and we sat in the middle of the pen facing opposite directions so we could always keep an eye on him. We had whips just in case, but didn't need him. Since we didn't give him hay in the round pen, after a couple hours I got handfuls of hay, got as close as he was comfortable, and held the hay out with my body turned slightly away but so I could still watch him. After a few handfuls, I was able to touch his nose as he took the hay.
    Fourth day husband roped him and we used the lunge whip to touch him. At the end of the session, we could pet his head and got a halter on.
    With proper round pen work, not running him around endlessly, we can easily catch him in the round pen now. And we have touched him all over with our hands.
    We have only had him for 9 days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
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  10. Mirage

    Mirage Senior Member

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    Oh. And talk to them. The gelding we got would shudder every time we spoke. So we would just talk. Not baby talk, regular talk.
     

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