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Frightened Horse

A

Anonymous

Guest
I bought a nice little gelding last fall but have since found he was mistreated sometime in his past. Anytime you introduce anything new he freaks. He will rear up a little and try to flee. I gave him his dewormer twice and then the third time forget it my farrier had to do it for me. he thinks he may be having flashbacks also. When you move too fast around his head area he shy's away. I have bought both my horses sheets and fly masks. I got him to wear his sheet but the fly mask is a different story. Any suggestions. Thanks
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Leave the fly mask off! I knew someone who used a fly mask and a bee got inside. This literally drove the horse crazy and unfortunately, the horse ran around wildly and subsequently injured himself severly. This could have happened to your horse too!

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A

Anonymous

Guest
nothing wrong with flie masks. i've seen eyes eaten dry by flies because the owner was too cheap to put on a flie mask. the bee thing is just a risk you're gonna have to take. it's not because a large amount of people die of a carcrash each day that you don't drive, is it?

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A

Anonymous

Guest
he's probably lost all confidence in humans. i remember i had a pony when i was a kid, and he was almost drowned with the previous owner, so he was terrified of water. he got over it eventually. so if you treat your horse basically correctly, you'll gain a lot of his confidence. it takes a while, but if the horse is worth the trouble, it's possible.

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A

Anonymous

Guest
I know what you are talking about. I had the same problem with a previous horse. I bought him, and later found out that he was mistreated. If you realy like the horse and can see that he has potensal, then you just need to spend to alot of time with him and I'm not talking about riding you need to do alot of ground work with him. If he is head shy then get a bucket that he can eat out of and put grain or some kind of goodie in it, you need to hold the bucket and let him eat out of it and pet his head. He may shy the first few times but will let you pet him sooner or later. You should do this every day, and if he is your horse only you should do this once he is used to you and trusts you then you may interduced other people. Lots of grooming and TLC. Hope this helps some. P.S. The bucket thing works well for hard to catch horses as well.



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A

Anonymous

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If you'll pardon my "technical info.", what we are probably needing here is "systematic desensitization" to being touched, handled, etc. The other posts on this thread indicated to "pair" touching with "feed". Excellent advice! In this model, we are talking about time-tested principle of "Paired-Associate Learning." Here, you "pair" a positive reinforcement (reward, as in food treat) with a current aversive stimulus (being touched & handled) so that the animal associates being touched and handled with a positive reward. Takes time, but in most cases always works. Good luck.

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A

Anonymous

Guest
i don't like the approach of horses, frightened or not, with food, to "bribe" them. fact is that horses are social animals, and if you are able to socialise with the horse well enough, you don't need the food to bribe him into loosing his fear, he'll just trust you, because you're the "buddy". it's the same with dogs that are thought something by giving them treats when they do something right. they won't do it after you haven't given them cookies for three times, so you end up driving a feed truck to your horse everyday, getting hassled for food...

get the pic??

just my experience in the matter

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A

Anonymous

Guest
Hey Mike! Yes I got your picture...(smile). The "point" of my post about pairing food (or any other positive reinforcer for that matter) with another event has been well demonstrated in animal behavioral psychology for decades, if not since the late 19th century. I was not recommending any given treatment for THAT particular horse that the poster was referring to. Whether a specific technique, administered by a specific individual, to a specific animal, under a "here and now" set of circumstances will "work" 100% of the time, well no behavioralist would go that far. However, by using a variety of modifications and/or variations to(and of) the above, the principles of systematic desensitization, behavioral chaining, successive approximation, paired-associate learning, the "Law of Effect" and other "applied" techniques do work if done correctly with predictable outcomes.

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A

Anonymous

Guest
Another thought...sound like Columbo here. Agree with you that TRUST and the correct body language and "approach" to any animal is the foundation for a mutual working relationship.

Also, when training a new behavior in a human or non-human, "continual (multiple increments of reward) reinforcement" is used to teach a new behavior. After that "intermittent reinforcement" is used to "maintain the behavior". With intermittent, the dispensing of primary reinforcers is on a non-predictable schedule and is a powerful motivator with all species (example: "Boy Chases Girl" and doesn't always get rewarded, but he keeps trying. "Gambling"...you win some of the time (maybe), but the gambler keeps trying...when a win does occur, it further motivates to "hit the big one".

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A

Anonymous

Guest
Becky,

Part of the horse learning to obey you is building trust. But, in building trust, you MUST also build respect. If your horse doesn't respect you, he can't trust you. You have to be the leader of the herd, so to speak. That is how a horse thinks, and you must start thinking like a horse.

Proper round pen training will teach your horse to respect and, also to trust you. But, that training should be done by an expert. I am far from an expert, but I have learned the basics of round pen training from good friends who are experts. When I have a question or a problem, I am fortunate to be able to go to them for advice. I did that just today.

I've been working with a 2 year old filly that had a bad experience the last time she had a halter on. My husband has been gaining her confidence with treats. That's fine, except now he has a filly that looks for treats and only comes to him for the treats. He still can't put a halter on her.

I started working with the filly in the round pen yesterday. I use pressure and relief of pressure to teach her. When she starts looking at me as she is being worked in the round pen, I allow her to stop on my command only, & I back away from her when she looks at me. If she looks away, I step toward her with my hand out, palm up and fingers moving, and quietly tell her "Look at me." When she looks at me, I stop or take a step backwards. She now looks at me when I tell her to. If she isn't looking at me, she can't learn.

Your horse needs to learn to look to you for guidance safety.

This filly now follows me because me moving away relieves the pressure she is feeling. That is a very, very simplistic explanation of a complicated training session. An hour of work in the hot sun and lots of stops and starts.

Today, I worked her again, and she immediately started looking at me and following me because she is beginning to respect me as her leader. With respect comes trust. Today I was able to scratch her all over, and after introducing the lead rope she let me rub it all over her body, wrap it around her neck and nose and would follow me when I gave a gentle tug and clucked to her.

When I say worked her in the round pen, I absoutely DO NOT mean I was running her trying to tire her out. That is the opposite of what needs to be done & is harmful. I was using the movement of my body to intrude into her space and pressure her into moving, along with verbal cues. I watched her body language very, very carefully for cues and immediately followed up on those cues with relief of pressure or continuation of pressure.

See if you can learn more about training from a good trainer and look into attending seminars by Ray Hunt or Pat Parelli or John Lyons. My preference is in that order. Failing the opportunity to attend one of their training sessions, ask your local library to purchase their books and videos and see what you can learn from that.

The rearing up is a very, very dangerous habit that needs to be stopped. A good trainer can stop that behavior and substitute good behavior. If the rearing, however slight, isn't curtailed, you are going to have a very dangerous horse.

Good luck to you.

> I bought a nice little gelding
> last fall but have since found he
> was mistreated sometime in his
> past. Anytime you introduce
> anything new he freaks. He will
> rear up a little and try to flee.
> I gave him his dewormer twice and
> then the third time forget it my
> farrier had to do it for me. he
> thinks he may be having flashbacks
> also. When you move too fast
> around his head area he shy's
> away. I have bought both my horses
> sheets and fly masks. I got him to
> wear his sheet but the fly mask is
> a different story. Any
> suggestions. Thanks
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Sorry, Bill, but I absolutely have to disagree with you here. My disagrement is with the method, not the goal.

The horse needs a different kind of training - I've posted my thoughts on that below.

> If you'll pardon my
> "technical info.", what
> we are probably needing here is
> "systematic
> desensitization" to being
> touched, handled, etc. The other
> posts on this thread indicated to
> "pair" touching with
> "feed". Excellent
> advice! In this model, we are
> talking about time-tested
> principle of
> "Paired-Associate
> Learning." Here, you
> "pair" a positive
> reinforcement (reward, as in food
> treat) with a current aversive
> stimulus (being touched &
> handled) so that the animal
> associates being touched and
> handled with a positive reward.
> Takes time, but in most cases
> always works. Good luck.
 

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