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Navajo51505

Training.

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Hi all just wanted some advice or tips if any of you have experiences with horses like these. I have recently taking on the training of two horses. The mare is a 6 year old Clydesdale, she is spooky and doesn?t like any part of her touched (ear shy, can?t be caught easily, moves her feet when you touch them) , she needs a lot of work but I was wondering if anyone had experience with horse that don?t like their feet touched, that?s not my main concern right now though, So far I?ve noticed she doesn?t really let you get on her right side and if you do all she does is back up until you are back on her left?I have never seen a horse do this and am just wondering if anyone else has and what they may have done about it.

Next the gelding I haven?t handled yet but I guess he can?t be caught?well, neither of the two can be ?caught? the mare you have to bribe with food, which I am not allowing, I have grain in my hands but she doesn?t get it until I have hold of her halter?that is working well but I have this lurking feeling that the gelding is going to play the catch me if you can game tomorrow. Does anyone want to share their tips on that? I hope that these questions don?t make me sound inexperienced as I have trained horses before I am just looking for tips and advice, constructive criticism if you feel it?s needed. Please and thank you.

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Wow. They are both drafts I take it? Where are you in PA Navajo? Are these Amish horses? I actually doubt it because they would have a better work ethic. Whew, where to start? The only thing you have to keep in mind with the drafts is that they are so flippin BIG. Same mind, but a great load of mass that can freight train you in a momentary lapse of judgment.

I want more information Navajo. How did you come across this project? What have these horses ever done work wise? How long has it been since they have actually had, if ever, a job? Are they in any way shape or form BROKE to ride? Are they even halter broke? What does the owner want?

Please more info. This is really meaty and I want to help but......

William (historyrider)

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Hi okay I am sorry here is more info. The mare is Clydesdale, about 16.2 hands, 1300 pounds. He bought her for a lot of money and he knows nothing about her. She has never had anyone on her back as far as he knows, but has been saddled, although she jumps all over when he puts it on her. She is halter broke, will lead, whoa, and back. She actually yields her but away from you when you are working with her sometimes. I have a solid month before I am expected to even give a verdict on weather of not I think she is safe to start saddle training. She has the bare basics, but I haven;t lounged her or anything like that yet and she needs desensitizing. I am at this point not even thinking about anything regarding riding, he wants her to be touchable, and less spooky.

The gelding is just a paint, about 15.1-15.2 he is four and I haven;t touched him yet, just got him about an hour ago. He is really jumpy, and she says he cant be caught, He doesnt trust anyone but her but she doesnt want to get on him, I know that he has never been lounged or anything like that, to me he acts like my 4 year old did at the age of one, total lack of basic ground training. This guys owner wants him to be rideable but she wants me to have him for at least two months.

Once again I am not even thinking about getting on either of them until at least 30 days have past, so I can see were they are at. Anything else you want to know, i may have missed something. thanks.

ETA: i am located in Gillet, PA, The mares owners son worked with my cousin and that's how I got that, and the gelding's owner is a friend of mine's that i show horses withs older sister.

Edited by Navajo51505

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I am not really the person to be helping you here, there are many here more experienced than me. But I was just going to comment on what you said abut the mare not liking you to be on her right side. Are you sure she can see with both eyes? Maybe she doesn't like you over there because when you go there, she can't see you? Maybe not, but just a thought that popped into my head.

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Yes she can see out of both eyes...it seems like more of an issue with her only being led and worked with on one side. I got her to stand still and let me pet her there but she is more uneasy on that side thanks for the tip though...=] anyone else?? please. =]

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I used to take on horses like this all of the time. I always started with good halter breaking and tying. I know a lot of people just work with them free or on a line in a round pen, but I have too much trouble keeping a big mature horse facing me. So, I started out with teaching a horse to tie.

Once a horse ties without major problems, I go to sacking out with a 25 foot rope. I tie the rope around a horse's neck (low on their neck just in front of their shoulder) and flip and flop it all over the horse using the pressure and release method. Within an hour or two, I can usually touch and rub the horse everywhere except the lower legs. I leave the lower legs alone until I make sure I have the time to out-last them if they start kicking at the rope.

Remember, the most important thing is to stick to what you start until the horse gives a positive response. Never be the one to back up or back off until you get that positive response. Horses get this fearful by throwing fits and having people back away from them -- not the other way around.

I cannot imagine it taking 30 days to start training a horse. I am not one that thinks the longer you take to do something, the better the outcome is. I think it is just the opposite. I think that the longer you take, the less you ever get done. If you know what your doing, you have a logical plan where each lesson builds on the one before. If you don't, you are in over your head and need a lot of help from someone that has developed a good program for dealing with un-handled or poorly handled horses.

Edited by Cheri Wolfe

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Lots of horses are one sided because most folks work on the one side they are comfortable with. Think about it - what side do you mount on, 90% of people will tell you the LEFT. When that happens with a colt you get a horse that knows things are happening on its left, but when something happens on their right they get nervous, cause nothing's ever happened over there before.

Since she is one sided, work her more on the side she is spooking from, or your never going to swing your leg over her. She sees that leg coming over her right side and she could potentially bolt - I've seen it lots of times.

Lots of desensitizing. I would start with the 25 foot rope and a good rope halter, once you get her leading well and giving her rear and giving you her full attention with BOTH eyes and both ears, then start flipping the rope around her, over her rump, around her legs, over her head. Keep going until she accepts it. Don't quit if she steps away or spooks from it. Don't push hard, just be stubborn and quit on a good note.

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Navajo,

Please don't take offense, But you are not experienced enough reading a horse to be training one.

You need to already know how to gentle a horse and to understand that they are two sided. In order to teach the horse you need to know how to teach.

Just that you are asking these elemental gentling questions tells me you are in WAY over your head. You could easily get hurt and screw up these horses heads.

Please get them to a trainer.

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You must prepare yourself, creating a working plan, knowing it thoroughly & fully before getting in front of the horses, because what sometimes happens is the indivdual trys to wing it and that uncertainity won't go over well and its never effective.

Its about you, being their teacher/leader and gaining their respect, controlling their movements in every direction also your requests being clear, consistent and firm.

You should expect the training process to be fill with ups & downs, so patiences in required and these are all first and formost.

Your goals should be to leave no stone unturn and to not rely on any pass experiences, because every horse is unique.

I hope this insight helps.

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The mare sounds like she has been severely abused. I've had experience with a horse like that before and with a knowledgeable handler she made a full recovery.

definitley get them both checked out health wise. I'm not meaning to scare you but my friend's mare was extremely sensitive on her left side to the point that if you touched it she would fall over. it was a medical problem that unfortunately could not be fixed

I highly highly doubt that it's the problem but get them checked out anyway.

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Okay...I went out today and worked with them both. I can now catch the mare without bribing her with food. She will come up to me. I am working more on her right side, she is deffinitely one sided. She really does seem like she was abused as any sudden movement spooks her, plus today the wind caught the lead rope just right and she literally stopped breathing. I can touch both front legs without her moving also. oh...and i touching her all over with my hands and the leap rope and smacking the lead rope off my coat and making a loud clap noise. when she stopped jumping i would pet her and talk to her, slowly working on desensitizing her. owner couldnt touch her ears or face either, and i can get my little fingers in her huge ears no problem, so she is getting slightly better.

It took me about 30 minutes to catch the gelding...he has very good leading manners unless something spooks him, his reaction to that is backing up but he wont drag you with him just pull until you are stern with him and make him stop backing. he is the lowest in the pecking order and isnt aloud to get water or go in the barn so im glad i could catch him to let him drink...i left the lead on him so he is easier to get a hold of (until he trusts me more) as thats what his owner does. he is very smart and can just about outsmart me...but not quite all of the way. he has not offered to kick at all and exhibits no bad habits thus far.

Manesntails--I know I asked for advice and you are giving me yours, and I do appreciate that but in case I wasnt clear, I have trained horses before this and do have a pretty decent idea of what i can and can;t handle. I was simply asking other peoples approachs as we all have our own. I'm not trying to shut you down and I will call the owner if at any point I feel I am in over my head but so far these are things I have taught before and I am not stuck, just curious to others ways. Thanks though and I hope you don't think that I am trying to blatantly ignore the advice given to me.

ETA: I am not offended...=]

Cheri Wolfe-- I was curious as to how teaching them to tie first helps you with the desensitizing process, is that just so that they know how to give to pressure before hand? or is there some other area it helps with...(both of them can tie by the way and the mare also cross ties)

Thanks everyone...Please keep it coming. =]

Edited by Navajo51505

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Grrrrrr. I have posted something TWICE and it has DROPPED OFF the board. I have it saved at work and will POST it again in the morning. Sorry

Let's try again shall we....

Thank you for the update Navajo.

I have a much better picture of the horse's now and what you are going to have to do for them. Now though I am wondering about you. Have you ever started a totally unhumanized horse or worse, a backyard pet before? The mare to me seems to have a good mind and is paying attention. She is just suffering from inconsistent, poor handling practices and has never been asked to do anything. She needs a balance of desensitizing AND sensitizing exercises so that she can start to learn the difference between your ACTIVE and your PASSIVE body language. You mentioned that she yields her hindquarters occasionally, when you are next to her. That's not her responding to a request, she's just making herself feel more comfortable. If she moves away on her own you need to continue doing what it was that triggered her to move until she stops and relaxes again. This is just one little piece of a very big puzzle are you going to try and put together.

The gelding is the one that I'm worried about. Even if you were the most talented horse trainer under the sun, what is this horse's life going to be like when he goes home? What does this owner want here? Is she willing to learn how to handle and lead a horse? Can she ride? Why does she have this horse? If you are going to start this horse and just hand it over in two months, who is going to start the owner? Has this even been discussed?

It sounds like both horses are at your farm now. That at least makes your job easier in that you are available to become a major part of their lives. Your first goal with both of them needs to be gaining their respect. Desensitizing is important but moving their feet is more important. Doing 30 days of desentizing exercises will only teach a horse to tolerate you and whatever you do around them. You need a much better relationship than that if you mean to be a leader and teach them. First you need respect, then you can build trust. You don't have to beat on a horse, chase them around senselessly or make them fearful to get respect; you simply have to make requests for movement that they understand using the softest cues possible and then rewarding their every try in the correct direction. This is a process and an education on how to read a human's body language. The release of pressure is the reward for their trys and that is what teaches them the right answer. Then it is a matter or consistency and repetition, working in as many days in a row as possible. That will get you results.

Do you feel up to this Navajo? Can you be the leader that both these horses need so badly? We will help but there is only so much any of us can do over the internet. Technique alone is not effective without good feel and excellent timing. These things only come from experience and making lots of mistakes.

Slip on you thickest skin and write back with a little more information about your experience. I see from your signature that you have several horse's of your own. Did you start them yourself? Others I'm sure will also like to know what your facility is like. Do you have a round pen for example or a very small enclosure to work with the gelding? You CAN start to introduce yourself to him in the pasture but I think you'll be in for some longs days of walking all over creation.

Best wishes to on these projects.

William (historyrider)

Go away Post gremlins!

Edited by historyrider

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I know there are horses that have been abused, but only a fraction of the horses that many peple think have gotten fearful from abuse have actually been abused. Most horses get fearful because they have been handled by people with good intentions but poor technique and a poor understanding of how horses think.

When horses throw fits and people baby them or back away from them, they are teaching fearful, fit-throwing behavior. One of the common exceptions is people that slap and peck at horses for nipping. They create quite a few of the head-shy horses, particularly if the same horses are also pushy. By far, more horses are just mis-handled by handlers that applied pressure in the wrong manner and relieved pressure when the horse reacted badly.

Horses develope confidence and a high comfort level with handlers that are confident and demand a high level of respect while being fair. This happens by not asking for anything that the horse is not ready to do and then not settling for anything less. When you settle for less, that is just exactly what the horse will give you most of the time. They learn that everything you ask is negotiable and that you will settle for less. The worst behavior you accept is the best behavior you have any right to expect.

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Grrrrrr. I have posted something TWICE and it has DROPPED OFF the board. I have it saved at work and will POST it again in the morning. Sorry

......you been having some issues with gremlins lately there bud.....

The worst behavior you accept is the best behavior you have any right to expect.

.......now THERE is a quotable quote..........

CR

Edited by Cactus Rose

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It took me about 30 minutes to catch the gelding...he has very good leading manners unless something spooks him, his reaction to that is backing up but he wont drag you with him just pull until you are stern with him and make him stop backing. he is the lowest in the pecking order and isnt aloud to get water or go in the barn so im glad i could catch him to let him drink...i left the lead on him so he is easier to get a hold of (until he trusts me more) as thats what his owner does. he is very smart and can just about outsmart me...but not quite all of the way. he has not offered to kick at all and exhibits no bad habits thus far.

"No bad habits" is an understatement. It seems like this boy has never been taught anything. I'm still worried about this gelding's owner Navajo. He's four and I assume this person has owned the horse for a long time. Her answer to having a horse that doesn't accept her is to leave a lead rope dragging from his halter? Oh boy. It is possible that he may get to striking or kicking when you actually begin to work with him and use pressure. That's when he may start to resent being asked to work so aways be vigilant and religiously maintain your personal space around this horse. With him being so low and new to your herd, you do have a better chance of him looking to you for security. You can use that but don't over protect or baby him. You will comfort him the most by moving his feet and giving him a purpose and thus demonstrating to him your ability to lead. He will respect this and you and start to trust you. First things first with this horse. Work on that "catching" issue but don't go after him, ask him to come to you. It really works better. As many times a day as you can spare, go into his field and walk to about 30 feet away from him. Come up with a unique whistle and gesture that you will use to call him. Say his name and whistle and make the gesture, then stand still and wait. Give him time to respond but after 30 seconds or so move closer by about 5 feet and repeat the call. Now he doesn't know what to do at first of course but your consistency is going to help him learn. You may have to use a food reward to help this lesson but don't use it as a bribe, the treat should be a positive reinforcement for the correct response. Meaning don't hold the treat up and beg your horse to come get the goodie, call the horse to you and greet him with an outstretched hand at the muzzle then rub his forehead. Once he has come to you, you may then offer the reward as an added incentive to repeat the request each time you call. Then just rub him and walk away. You quiting him and walking away will leave him curious and wanting more from you. Come back again later and I suggest you always carry your halter and lead even though you don't always use it. When you call him, don't stare straight at him or have "I'm gonna GET you!" in your mind at all. Have a very tranquil mind and body language and simply invite him to come over and see you. Now if he really wants no part of you and just runs every time you get anywhere near him then I want you to follow and MIRROR him at a distance. If he turns left, you turn left and do your best to match his speed but don't try and catch him. What this does is it shows the horse that you are WITH him, as a herd mate, and not a threat. Now after you mirror for a while, see if you can use a little focused pressure and then retreat to draw the horse's attention toward you. Just the head turning toward you is a start. When he looks at you, back up a step or two. Watch how his head turns toward you bringing his mind along and soon, so will his feet. If he is sideways to you, focus your stare and pressure on the rump but then draw back when you shift your focus to his head. This isn't witchcraft or some magic horse whispering thing I'm trying to explain to you. It's just body langauge and horses are masters of reading it. When you want to raise pressure, just crouch down and point your head and eyes toward a particular body part. Now if you have a long lead line with you or a training stick you can begin to raise the tool or twirl but at this stage I bet that sends him off. That can be useful but you're going to work yourself to death in the field using higher pressure but if you can move the horse to a small enclosure, this will work much faster. Always use the softest cue and lightest pressure you can but get a response. Even if you raise to high and he moves off, it was you that caused him to move his feet. Go back to mirroring him and let him believe that no matter what he does, you will not quit. If you really work regularly using just these ideas you will have him coming to you well by the end of the day if not tomorrow. Try and think like a horse when you are working with him and don't be in a hurry. It will take as long as it takes and horse's don't wear watches.

I hope this can help you.

William (historyrider)

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Okay...Im not sure I will get to everything you said but if I forget something let me know. The geldings owner shows and has ridden but can not afford to break a horse at the risk of injury, she knows what she is doing in the saddle but has no time as she works full time to actaully train the horse. she got him at a sale and he was untouched. When put under extreme pressure he has still not offered to kick, he will either back up or run in circles. this horse has yet to offer to kick no matter what situation he is in.

As far as my experience, no I have never trained anything that was never touched, well I did train my three year old from the day he was born but thats all. I retrained my barrel mare because she had horrible rearing and speed issues. I have taken a spooky arab and turned him into a showable horse. And I have trained my neighbors 6 year old. My facilities are pretty blah, meaning I have a 16 by 20 foot run in barn. 2 pastures seperated by a gate, with three strands of rope electric and one that is circular but only unelectrified silver wire with fiberglass posts.

I am starting to think the mare is just used to being able to do what she wants, because she is very stubborn and can be pushy, however she is smart and has already improved tons with being handled.

I lounged them both today, I only sent the mare around about 3 times on each side because she barely new what i was asking, so after three consistent circles I asked her to whoa and then i pet her and made her go the other way...I will do more loungeing with her tomorrow.

The gelding is so much more jumpy then her but he seemed like he had been lounged before. He went off great and stopped when I asked...I think his main issue is that he is very high strung and needs to be worked and not just left in the pasture. He also needs extreme desensitzing though.

Also today my boyfriend walked right up to the "uncatchable" mare, grabbed her halter and brought her over to me, then gave her a treat. So I guess all her owner was doing by bribing her with grain was spoiling her.

As far as catching the gelding...once again boyfriend walked right up about a foot away, talked to him a little and had him by the halter within about 45 seconds. However he was more erie of it then the mare...she is very personable just not sure what being a horse means, probably pasture pet syndrome.

Here they are:

Mary:

043.jpg

CJ:

054.jpg

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Post gremlins struck again.

That's great to read Navajo! I think you are going to be alright with this. If anything at this point you might be training to conservatively. I don't ever want anyone to RUSH training but you could be asking them for more each session or offer them each two per day if that suits your schedule better. The hardest part of teaching a horse to be a working horse that has a job is the change in routine. They like just standing around eating perfectly well. Now up jumps this new leader and suddenly we have to start to earn our oats and hay. They will adjust and honestly start to look forward to and enjoy the work but the change will not be effortless.

For the gelding, continue to use as soft of a cue (light as possible) and pressure enough to get the response but be really quick to drop it again and give reward. It sounds like he's really trying hard and might be an over achiever. Good problem to have. Just keep offering him pauses in the work and let him read your PASSIVE body language too. If you are just standing there and not asking for anything, he can take that as an invitation to stand still and RELAX. Help him figure this out. You are right about him needing desensitizing each day too. In the beginning work on this part later, after he's used himself a bit. Now toss a lead rope or something soft over his back but other than that motion, the rest of your body should be absolutely passive and not focused on him. Look away even or just focus on the ground. Now do not hold him. He must stand on his own but if he goes to move away just bump on the lead rope and keep him facing you with both eyes. Bump fairly aggressively if you need to and while you are doing that keep tossing that rope. If he can't handle it on his back, just start by tossing it next to him until that can be accepted. Don't quit until he stands still AND relaxs for a few seconds then rub on him and give praise. Remember that where you release is what you teach. This is certainly something you want to touch on every day but keep the sensitizing training in balance too. I think that fixing existing problems is much harder to do than starting a green horse. Unless that green horse has been babied and has no respect at all for a human's space, they are usually a joy to work with and watch develop.

The mare is going to be lazy. She's big and heavy and like you suspect, is not used to being asked to do anything. No matter how big she is, try to never let her realize just how strong she actually is. Training horses should be a mental exercise, not a physical one. That keeps the scales well to our side of the balance. If you ask for something in the form of movement from her, calmly continue to escalate your aids until you have to WHACK her but be quick to drop the pressure instantly. Never let her cheat you and drop the pressure without getting SOMETHING in the right direction. This is so important because you don't want to teach her to ignore you. If you have to use high pressure of course you realize that you really cannot hurt this horse. Any time you have to tap or get to a whack, you are trying to startle her and simply make her uncomfortable for ignoring you. At the very least be annoying and aggravating but BE CONSISTENT until she gives you the correct response. Horses are like a stream in that they seek the easiest path by nature. They are easy to guide in a direction of our choosing by simply making the right thing temptingly easy, and all the wrong things uncomfortable and difficult. She will learn from you as long as everything you offer her is presented in this simple format.

I hope that you can keep us updated and I am excited for you. Make sure you have fun while working with them. Horses can tell the difference and it should be fun for them too.

William (historyrider)

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Thanks I will definitely keep you updated. I appreciate the help and advice so much. I gave them their "day off" today as weekends I have more time to work with them. I caught the mare and pet her then fed everyone and went inside. Hopefully the weather is nice and I can get some stuff accomplished this weekend. Now that I actually have a feel for these horses and their reactions after this first week I am getting more into a down to business mode, if you know what I mean. I will be sure to report how things go from here on out as often as I can. Thank you all so much especially you, historyrider. =]

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