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Discussion on Haltering Problems

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Nancy Preston
New Member
Username: Npreston

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 15, 2002 - 9:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I recently purchased a warmblood yearling (gelding). I have had him for about 6 weeks. When I got him home, he wasn't great to halter, but it could be done. The problemis,it has gotten progressively worse. He is already 16'2 at 16 months of age, so I definitely want to get the problem under control. Now if you go into the stall with a halter, he turns his back to you and want let me catch him. Then when I do, he shakes his head violently. I have tried rubbing him all over with the halter, but doesn't seem to help. I have also tried treats, which seem to help, except now he bites. Help!!
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Holly Edwards
Member
Username: Hwood

Post Number: 193
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 15, 2002 - 11:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, Nancy.
Do you enter the stall when his butt is toward you?
Holly
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Nancy Preston
Member
Username: Npreston

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 16, 2002 - 7:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes, I have been. If I get the lead rope around his neck, he will then turn around. What I CAN'T understand is that he doesn't care if you touch his ears. It just seems to be the act of putting on the halter. Once you get the halter on, you can do whatever you want, including clipping him. We started to work with him a little on comming forward on the lead line and backing since he has been here. Did the working make the problem worse?
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Holly Edwards
Member
Username: Hwood

Post Number: 195
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 16, 2002 - 8:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Nancy,
The reason I asked about his stance when you entered the stall is because it is extremely dangerous for you to enter the stall with his butt turned toward you if he is in a rebellious attitude. Try this:
With a leadline in hand, swing it toward his back end and give him a "move" cue (whatever verbal cue you use to get him to move from the ground or from on top) until he turns to face you. This is your way of saying, "I'm not going to deal with you until you are paying attention to me," and it is his way of saying, "Oh, hi, there. What is it you want from me today?"
If he has his attention on you in a questioning or waiting mode, you will have a much better chance of getting from him what it is you want, whether that be having him accept the halter, move to the side, step back, etc.
I don't think working on leading with him has made it harder for him to accept the halter. It is good to work on those things. First, though, he needs to be in a respectful, listening, willing mode.
Holly
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 7117
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 16, 2002 - 8:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

We have a whole article on dealing with the problem of the horses behavior in his stall at Training Horses Behavioral Problems Stall Manners. On the behavior menu you will also see an article on dealing with biting (aggression).

Giving a horse treats while he misbehaves is counter productive. Be sure you do not offer the treat as a bribe and that it is offered only after he has been haltered.
DrO
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Nancy Preston
Member
Username: Npreston

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 16, 2002 - 5:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O and Holly, Thanks for any help. Since he is still young, how hard to you suggest I be on him. Does anyone have a good technique for getting him to accept the halter again? How much should I try to do with him at this age? The only other baby that I have had was a Morgan, he was very easy. So I am at a loss as to what to do with this one.
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Nancy Preston
Member
Username: Npreston

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 16, 2002 - 5:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Also, Dr. O, I forgot to ask - how do you feel about clicker training? I also read the article and I am going to try the lunge whip you recommended in the article.
Thanks
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Holly Edwards
Member
Username: Hwood

Post Number: 196
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 16, 2002 - 7:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Nancy,
I don't know what you mean by "hard," but just be consistent and strong in your mind, knowing what you want, and being kind, persistent and patient until you get it. There are so very many good trainers around nowadays, who have incorporated much of natural horsemanship/round pen philosophies with their previous knowledge and practice. If you have a chance to view any of the Lyons', Parelli, Clinton Anderson, GaWaNi Pony Boy, Dominique Barbier, (many others) videos, or if you are able to attend any of their clinics, I think it will give you a good feel and understanding of how you should approach the attitude of "No thank you; not right now," that your horse seems to display when he sees the halter.
Best wishes.
Holly
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mindy franklin
Member
Username: Mindy

Post Number: 53
Registered: 11-2000
Posted on Thursday, Oct 17, 2002 - 12:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

John Lyons has an article in one of his books about hard to bridle. I think it might apply here since the horse has been haltered successfully before and probably just does'nt want to be messed with instead of being frightened of the halter. He starts by teaching the horse to drop his head. Just lay your hand on your horses poll and wait. As soon as you get the slightest drop of head elevation release all pressure and tell him what a good boy he is. Just keep on repeating that until you can get him to drop his head to a comfortable level and keep it there. If at any time he raises his head on his own just ask him to drop it again. Don't get upset just calmly use your cue you are teaching him, drop your head. Once you feel like he knows it well you have a cue you can use while you are haltering him.
Definately for safety begin by teaching him to greet you at the stall door. That will also give you cues to use to bring him back if he tries to walk away while you are working on your halter training.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 7127
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Oct 17, 2002 - 9:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Nancy,
Run a search on clicker training, we have had long discussions about this. I think Mindy's suggestion above has merit. If it were me, once I had a good fitting halter on this guy, I would leave it on, and train by putting on and taking off a second halter: it will give you some control while he learns to be haltered. I know many will consider this antithetical to good horsemanship but as long as the halter fits well and the stall and pasture is free of obstacles that might catch it, you should be fine.
DrO
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mindy franklin
Member
Username: Mindy

Post Number: 54
Registered: 11-2000
Posted on Thursday, Oct 17, 2002 - 4:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I agree with the two halter idea. Since this guy is so tall already it may be difficult for you to reach the top of his head. Good luck. With my guys I started haltering them for every feeding. It helped alot.
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Nancy Preston
Member
Username: Npreston

Post Number: 5
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, Oct 17, 2002 - 8:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Everyone,
Dr. O, thanks for the suggestion about the 2 halters - I am definitely going to do that!! As far as the training videos - I just purchased the Parelli Level I Training Video. I am going to try some of the techniques he recommends. He recommends a rope halter - seems like that will ber harder than a traditional halter. I already halter them for feeding. When I got him, he had never been in a stall. I have more trouble haltering him in the stall, then in the pasture. One of the reasons I have been so concerned about this, I just don't want to start with him on the wrong foot. I don't want this to lead to bridling problems in the future.
Thanks for all the suggestions and any other advice would be appreciated.
Nancy
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