Equestrian Blogs > Ferg303's blogs > To gain her trust

To gain her trust

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Hi to all,
Just a little about me first I'm an country boy born and bred from Australia worked with animals all my life and horses the last 10 years.

I start a few horses for other people and now have a young filly to work with she looks a bit over 2 but came off a property running wild in a herd and aren't sure of her age, the trouble is she had some verry rough treatment before she came to me and as souch she is afraid of being touched and having ropes put on her.
I have halter broken her but to catch her first up i had to put her in a race because she would not let me touch her even after about 6 hours of trying to gain her trust.
Now she will lead and i can pat her all over and pick up her feet but i can sense that she still doesn't fully trust me.
I need to move past this before i start to saddle her.
I don't know all of wat hapened to her but i lerned that she was injured and lost a lot of blood from the cut and also was flogged to exhaustion and near collapsing from loss of blood and traumer.

I am not experienced with horses that have been treated so cruely and don't now how to get to her fully , most people would think that she is just a bit shy now but i now that it is old wounds that keep her reserved because she warms to the touch on her neck and will bend her head around and enjoy it but will not totaly trust me as yet.

Well i expect to get some usefull replies here from wat i have read there is a good bit of knowledge floating around.
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well i would seperate her, or move them to a smaller area expecially her, than its all paticents....when i got my horse as a 2 yr old, she knew nothing, she never even had a halter on before, and i am proud to say that now at the age of 8, she is a successfull show horse, all it took was a lot of hours at the barn...we put her in the arena, and i basically just went out ther and sat in the middle, and let her come to me, everyday she got a lil braver, and eventually she would let me touch her, and treats are a great incetiave, i found that brown sugar cinnamion pop tarts work great, my horse hears a wrapper rattle, and she comes runnin she loves them....once i got a halter on her i moved her to a stall, and began teaching her how to tie, clip, be brushed, and eventually gave her a bath, at 3 i broke her, and once i had her trust, she did everything i asked her, like i said iv had this same horse for 7 years now, and she has never bucked, rared, or ne bad behaivor while i was riding her. its gonna take paticents, and practice, but its well worth it, missey will follow me whare ever i go, i show her at the local fair, and this last year she was in a box stall, eating her grain and i was sittin on her, like i always do at fair while she is eating her dinner, and accadently fell asleep, and missey didnt move all night, she stayed in that very same spot all night.
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=) okay, first of all i commend you for taking notice of the fact that her past experiences may have done her some serious psychological damage. you did exactly th right thing in being patient with her and not forcing your presence on her. everyone else on here gave some really sound advice - take it slow, set small goals, earn her trust and treat her with respect.
i had one suggestion to add - ive had succes with some troubled horses with it, and i do it on a semi regular basis with the horses i work with to reinforce our relationship. it's a process known as "joining up" - by responding to a horse's instinctual responses you let them know that you understand them. they make the decision to join up with you - thus declaring that they trust you and want to be with you. its the first step in the right direction =)let me know if you're interested in trying it out - i can give yu the detailed step by steps :P
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I am glad I found your blog.¿ I just purchased an ex abused mare.¿ The lady I'm buying her from has done alot of work on her and you can see the difference.¿ She is going to a great home for more work.¿ She is in foal and we are hopeing that she is a dominante ( not to be confused with a leathal white)¿ Her last foal was a white with dark eyes (like her) and I'm hoping.¿ I'm nor wure just what she was bred to...lol...it's either a son of rugged lark or a Jack and i'll have a health white mule colt.

thanks for the info.

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Hey Reese,

I¿have had a couple of traumatized¿horses.¿ Like Montana said be patient.¿ I have a pretty regular routine around my barn, and EVERYONE comes in every day.¿ In the summer they are in during the day - under the fans. ¿For the first month or so I don't pay much attention to her (never look directly at one of these horses).¿¿ If she came close enough for me to snap a lead rope on her, then she came in, otherwise she stayed outside.¿ I have great grass, so she wasn't going to starve.¿ However our summers are HOT, HUMID and buggy, and that big field can get lonely.¿ (like your guys teaching each other how to wallow in the mud)¿ I think the other horses taught her that being in the barn during the day was a good thing.¿ After a month or so she wanted to come in and catching her was no problem.¿ During the day everybody is groomed, ridden and bathed on a fairly regular schedule.¿¿You need to have a plan for¿this horse every day, and do less than you want to (hope this makes sense).¿ You don't want her to get to a point where she's going to resist.¿ If all you do is pull her out of her stall then put her right back in she really hasn't had a chance to get scared - good.¿ Next time just walk her down the aisle.¿ (I know you're probably past this point, but I always use the attitude - less is more - there's plenty of time to push her boundaries later).¿ Remember never to look her in the face.¿ Next stand at her shoulder facing rear and just scratch her withers.¿ It's a friendly thing that horses do to each other, so this shouldn't be too intimidating.¿ Give her a scratch or 2 and put her away.¿¿ While she's in the barn she's also watching the other horses go through their daily routines, and she'll see that they actually enjoy the work.¿¿ The trick is to not push her boundaries yet.¿ A normal horse that's been handled well doesn't worry too much about having his "space" invaded or being pushed to try new things.¿ An abused horse is suspicious of everything.¿ A months worth of work can be cancelled out in a flash (trust me this will happen, but it's all part of the process).¿ Be patient.¿ For the most part most of them come around.¿ Be business like and don't pamper her.¿ I had one mare in particular that actually became one of my all time favorite horses, but it was a year before she really, really trusted that I wasn't going to ask her to do something that was going to get her hurt.¿ Time and patience.

Montana probably has some good ideas on working with a horse like this in the round pen which could probably speed up this process immensly.¿ I don't have one, so I have to make do with what I have.¿¿ And like Montana said let her do the teaching.¿

Oh - also establish your boundaries as well.¿¿¿There is a huge difference between learning from your horse and letting him walk all over you.¿ Remember you are higher up on the food chain -¿ Resist allowing her to become a peer.

Hope this makes sense.¿

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Just a pic of ruby

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Thank you for your reply
Mr Montana.
Wen i first wrote about her "Ruby" was in a 150 acre padock with 5 other horses and i had only caught her 3 times in the last 4 months, i was just letting her grow up a bit.

I usualy give my horses a scratch and a mouthfull of hay wen they come up to the house and Ruby would watch from 4-5 yards away but this is not every day.

Yesterday i moved the herd into a small padock 150 yards x 50 yards so i could keep an eye on a mare and have been quite suprised at the change in Ruby.
She will hapily take food from my hand and eat without moving away and has a kind look in her eye now, she is not in flight mode like she used to be and stands relaxed wen i am arms length away.

As for petting she wil stand and relax wen i pet her on the neck but will tense if touched on the hind quaters but still stand and let me pick up her feet.
I pet as a reward for things like picking up feet and being caught also i sometimes give a mouthfull of feed to her.

I have noticed that ruby will watch intently wen i am riding and handling other horses so i am sure this has helped her to change her mind, i need to be gentle but i now see that she will be fine, were 2 months ago i wasn't sure wat to make of her.

I like to treat horses as individuals with respect so each case is diferent.
Thanks for your help.
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The key concept is patience. Do not rush anything. It could take a year, or more considering the history you describe. I work a great deal with such cases and would be happy to help if I can. just ask when you need it. These cases are so individual that no standard procedure can be applied. It is careful and caring "observation" over time that will allow you to open a door that is appealing to the horse. It must be his decision alone. I have spent hours a day just fixing fence or finding any other chores that I can do around the horse without focusing on him... and this over months until his curiosity overcomes his reticence. Be aware that sometimes petting can be an aggressive act to such cases.