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Discussion on Introducing halter to 6 month old

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Julie
Member
Username: julieh

Post Number: 99
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 - 8:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have searched through old discussions and I can't find exactly what I am looking for. So, I am looking for all kinds of words of wisdom. We have a 6 month old at our barn now, along with his mother. He was just weaned last weekend, so the uneasiness is still present for both, but is getting better everyday. The problem is, the colt hasn't had a halter on yet. I was trying to help them last weekend, but I think that was the wrong time to try this because of the newness of him being alone in the stall. He is calming down now, along with the mare, but he really needs to be halter trained now. I am trying to help them, but this is like the blind leading the blind, so to speak. I have never halter trained a horse before. They said he has had a halter on once or twice when he was a month or so old, but never left on, just put on and taken off. I can put his nose through it, but once I get past his eyes, he starts to rear, which I assume is pretty normal for a weanling. How can this be accomplished in an accepting fashion for him. The vet needs to give him his shots and he won't until he is accepting to the halter. Their vet said he will most likely need to be "roped" and forced to put it on. I am not sure I agree with that and would like some advice before they do this. He is coming next Wednesday, so they have 8 days to accomplish this. Any advice?????
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Elizabeth Kaufman
Member
Username: ekaufman

Post Number: 98
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 - 9:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Julie,

Re-writing now that I'm caffeinated. Here's an approach that has worked for me.

You will need-- a proper-sized halter with about a 9" lead attached, and a too-big halter (you will leave the first on him, and use the second over the first for additional on/off practice).

Stand next to the colt's left shoulder facing forward. It helps to have his right side against a wall. Halter in your left hand with the crown piece unbuckled. Work your right arm over his withers (scratch his withers, shoulders, crest). Anytime he gets panicky, back off. No need to wrestle him.

When you can reach your right arm over his shoulders, pass the crown piece of the halter in front of his chest so you can grab the loose end of the crown piece with your right hand. Now if he were to go forward, you would be restraining him with the halter across his chest.

Calmly, and as slowly as you need, raise your right hand until the crown piece is against the right side of his neck-- you are going to halter him "from behind" his head. Again, if he gets worried, slow down.

Eventually you will raise both hands, catch his nose gently from underneath, and then bring the crown piece over his poll (I'd keep clear of his ears for now) and buckle it. Good boy!

Leave that one on, and repeat the process several times with the larger halter.

Glad this guy has you to help him. Poor thing needs to learn this and like this, and it would have been easier earlier.

Once you can re
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: dtranch

Post Number: 539
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 - 9:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Julie ... The long way is the short way. As Elizabeth says take the time and you will be better off. Your goal is to be able to halter the weanling, not just to get a halter on him.

Lots of handling and rubbing the "good" spots to make him comfortable with you. I like to loop a lead rope around the neck, just so I can keep him next to me by lightly pulling when he tries to move away. Always have the halter unbuckled, and I like to let it hang down in front of the horses nose as I hold it from the top with my right hand on his poll to encourage him to drop his head toward the nosepiece. Once his nose is in, I let it drop off and repeat until it is no big deal. Then, with it on his nose, I will continue to rub all over face and neck and poll area with my hands. When comfortable, I will pull the strap up and rub with it until I can eventually hold the strap over the poll. It usually only takes one session and I can buckle it and move on.

DT
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Ann
Member
Username: dres

Post Number: 1527
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 - 9:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Is this colt ok with touching and bending his ears? I would start there as well.. lot of rubs with the halter hanging on my arm so that he see it / hears it , It won't be a surprize when you start doing what Dennis suggested.. Keep him in a stall for this, you will have more control of him .. but Stay SaFe..

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with spots..
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Julie Masner
Member
Username: juliem

Post Number: 289
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 - 10:32 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Not the same "Julie", but I'll be following this post with great interest. The three weanlings that I've taken on will be arriving Saturday, newly weaned and not halter broke! They're going to go in my 80 foot round pen until I get that accomplished. My thinking is get them comfortable with being rubbed and scratched all over their body with my hand. Then with a lead rope. Then with the halter. Probably will try to do the head last. I like the idea of a rope looped around their neck to keep them close by pulling to the side if they try to leave. Once they're totally comfortable with that I will do as described above.
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Julie
Member
Username: julieh

Post Number: 100
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 - 10:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

All this helps so much. I guess I have been doing this all wrong all along! He is fine with touching but he is a little reluctant once you get above his eyes. I am spending a lot of time trying to rub his ears and top of his head but he backs away. You can tell he has had a lot of human contact, he isn't afraid at all and doesn't seem to be afraid of the halter. In fact, I had it on my arm at one point and got as far as over his nose and he jumped back and it fell in the floor of the stall. He picked it up and was playing with it, so he isn't afraid of the halter itself. Everything I did with him last weekend, I had a halter hanging from my arm. I haven't gotten as far as putting my arm across his withers yet. He will let my husband do that, but not me. He is much more comfortable with him than me, maybe he has more history with men, not sure. I am going to read and re read these and print them to take to the barn for reinforcement! Thanks again and I will let you know how it goes!
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Julie
Member
Username: julieh

Post Number: 101
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 - 10:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I agree about the lead rope, I didn't think to do that last weekend. That seems like it will help keep him close!
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Ann
Member
Username: dres

Post Number: 1528
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 - 11:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Maybe the colt is more comfortable with your husband becus your husband has more confidence in his actions.. horses look for a leader.. maybe you are slightly tentative and the colt responds that..

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with spots.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 19339
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 - 5:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Julie,
Study the article Training & Conditioning Horses » Behavior and Training » Modifying a Horses Behavior: Conditioned Responses. It describes how to shape a horses behavior using positive reinforcement and can be adapted to just about any circumstance. Remember you are not bribing the horse, which never works very well, but reinforcing desired behavior. It is harder than you might think to do this but the article describes how.
DrO
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Julie
Member
Username: julieh

Post Number: 102
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Sunday, Oct 14, 2007 - 8:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

SUCCESS!! We had a halter on him in less than 20 minutes yesterday and had him leading today! It was awesome; thanks to all who gave us such wonderful advice. I printed the posts and read and re read them before we went to the barn. I decided that my husband would be better with this since he is so comfortable with him. We took the halter off yesterday and put it back on him this morning with no drama, he stood completely still and content. We worked with him in the stall for about 30 minutes this morning with the lead rope before we led him to the paddock. He is leading like a little champ. He is still a little confused at times, but when he figures out what we want, he is very willing. It's amazing what gentleness, kindness and patience do!
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Elizabeth Kaufman
Member
Username: ekaufman

Post Number: 106
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Sunday, Oct 14, 2007 - 8:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

YAY Julie! Good on you guys for taking the time to set this guy on a happy path.

Now you can come to my place and halter train my 4yo bronc rescue....
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