Depressed yearling?

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amyjoy85

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I'm in need of some help with my mini, Cricket. She is an Aug 2020 baby and when I got her this August as a yearling, she was mostly unhandled. She has come a long ways since then, but I feel stuck. I'm able to catch her with my arm under her neck and she hasn't tried to blow past me til today. She still hates the halter and I can only catch her in the small paddock if I have a halter with me. Once she is caught or haltered, she is fine. I can walk up to her easily in the field if I don't have a halter or lead rope. She will stand to be tied, groomed, feet trimmed, etc. She leads great now at a walk and trot. My goal with her is to eventually drive her and do in hand events (mountain trail competition, horse agility, etc).

Now, with that, she is depressed. She has been here for 3.5 months and she reminds me of Eeyore. She has bonded a bit with our older gelding. The other minis will all be running and playing, but she just stands in the middle of the field (not a new thing or illness related). She is very submissive and the bottom of the totem pole. It's the rainy season here in Oregon and we don't have a covered arena. I don't go do much more than feed daily and groom a couple times a week right now due to the rain, unfortunately. She is getting out of her honeymoon stage and is getting more bold and comfortable testing her limits with me. I always make sure we end on a good note and make things pleasant. I need to get her past her emotional/protective barrier that she has up. I know that is going to take time and work, I just don't know good methods to help her get thru it. I really want to see her blossom and be a happy pony. She has been a "moody mare" since I got her and is very independent. She is a pro at the mare stare, lol. Am I just not her person or can she work thru her baggage or is she just so laid back or bored it's coming across as depressed? I know it's only been 3.5 months and I'm not giving up on her or anything. I know it takes time. I'm just stuck. I've never worked with a horse or pony with a personality like hers before. We have an excellent driving trainer locally we will be using once we are ready to get deeper into driving training, but I want to focus on her emotional health at this point.
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Kelly

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She is sooooo cute! I would start bringing treats out with me to catch her. I would first give her treats so she knows you have them. Then after a while I would give her a treat only AFTER you get her halter on. I am sure her little eyes will light up for a treat, my Stormy’s does anyways.


Stormy is just as you described. My 2 other little boys will run circles around him playing and Stormy just stands there. Every once in a while he will join in, but usually not for long. He puts himself in time-out over in a corner 🤣 while the other two are out gorging themselves as much as they can. He is thinner than the others, but we are working on that. He is the bottom horse in my little herd and so laid back, nothing really bothers him. Doesn’t have too much of an opinion, especially not like the other two….doesn’t really care if he pleases me either, but he is getting better with that, after lots & lots of positive encouragement. Right now we are working on building up his confidence while away from the others and he is making great improvements in such a short amount of time that I am truly impressed with this little guy.


With her being such a baby and unhandled, I’m not sure how much baggage she would have. I think each horse has their own personality and I’m like you, i haven’t had a horse like him before. He is kinda hard to read. You will have to figure out what she likes and doesn’t like, with Stormy everything is very very subtle.


Stormy is turning out to be a great driving pony!!
 

Willow Flats

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Sounds like you have done well with her in the 3.5 months you have had her! Since she doesn't like to be haltered I would start there to help her overcome her resistance. I have a mare that took some time. I slowed down and put her halter on praised her and took it off and walked away. I did this several times a day. Since we didn't seem to click, I spent some time sitting with her doing nothing so we could bond. Sounds like the weather might hinder that, so it will take as long as it takes! When I get frustrated with a horse I remind myself we have the rest of my life! 😄
My mare is not my favorite personality wise but she has turned out to be a good driving horse and really likes it.
 

amyjoy85

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She is sooooo cute! I would start bringing treats out with me to catch her. I would first give her treats so she knows you have them. Then after a while I would give her a treat only AFTER you get her halter on. I am sure her little eyes will light up for a treat, my Stormy’s does anyways.


Stormy is just as you described. My 2 other little boys will run circles around him playing and Stormy just stands there. Every once in a while he will join in, but usually not for long. He puts himself in time-out over in a corner 🤣 while the other two are out gorging themselves as much as they can. He is thinner than the others, but we are working on that. He is the bottom horse in my little herd and so laid back, nothing really bothers him. Doesn’t have too much of an opinion, especially not like the other two….doesn’t really care if he pleases me either, but he is getting better with that, after lots & lots of positive encouragement. Right now we are working on building up his confidence while away from the others and he is making great improvements in such a short amount of time that I am truly impressed with this little guy.


With her being such a baby and unhandled, I’m not sure how much baggage she would have. I think each horse has their own personality and I’m like you, i haven’t had a horse like him before. He is kinda hard to read. You will have to figure out what she likes and doesn’t like, with Stormy everything is very very subtle.


Stormy is turning out to be a great driving pony!!

Thanks! I'm glad Cricket isnt the only one who doesn't care about much. I have thought about treats for her. She is food motivated. I like the idea of a special reward for the halter going on. Maybe their personalities being so mellow will help make her and Stormy be better driving ponies and not get so spooked or distracted. It will be interesting to train her, that's for sure. She is a very fast learner.
 

amyjoy85

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Sounds like you have done well with her in the 3.5 months you have had her! Since she doesn't like to be haltered I would start there to help her overcome her resistance. I have a mare that took some time. I slowed down and put her halter on praised her and took it off and walked away. I did this several times a day. Since we didn't seem to click, I spent some time sitting with her doing nothing so we could bond. Sounds like the weather might hinder that, so it will take as long as it takes! When I get frustrated with a horse I remind myself we have the rest of my life! 😄
My mare is not my favorite personality wise but she has turned out to be a good driving horse and really likes it.

Thank you! She has come a long ways since bringing her home. She is a smart little cookie. I think a treat/reward/clicker will be helpful for her. When I first brought her home I sat in the pen with her so she could get used to me. She hated when I brought a halter in. Now I bring her into a separate paddock to eat and she prefers to be left alone, but I always give her attention before heading out. She likes food more than me, lol. She would rather run away than get pet if food is involved. She used to pin her ears and shake her head to try to get me to move away from her food when I first got her. She isnt that bad anymore, but she likes to eat in peace and alone. Maybe I'll take a chair out there and sit with her on non-rainy days and get back to just sitting with her. She has a run in shelter that I could fit in with a small chair.
 

Willow Flats

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She sounds like my Annie in that she is really only interested in me for food. She will hang with me but at a little distance, where sitting with any other horse they would want to put their nose on me or stand close. It is just her preference and I have learned to respect her different personality in that way but did insist on good ground manners. I had to be very consistant.
 

Abby P

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It may sound dumb, but try scratches instead of/in addition to food. She may not realize that she can get those good things from you too. So I'd imagine something like, every time or every couple of times that you go in with her, she gets haltered (+/- treats), then you give her scratches, then you take the halter off and leave. Later once she's consistent about being good for haltering, you can just scratch her at liberty, but at first being haltered should be a condition for receiving scratches so that she starts to want to be haltered.
 

amyjoy85

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Just an update! Cricket is doing so well. She has really come out of her shell the last couple months. So glad she got out of that depressed stage. She fits right in with the other yo-yos tearing around the field and playing. Man, she can move!! Wowza. I need to find myself a hyperbike in a few years and do some gymkhana with her. She would love it. When she sheds out and looks prettier I'm going to register her PtHA. I'd prefer the pictures to be nice and not winter woolies. Not that it really matters anyways. Next month we can start competing in online horse agility since she will be 2. I had originally written she was an Aug 2020 baby, but she was a May 2020 baby. Couldn't figure out how to edit. She is a smart little cookie. She has warmed up to me so much and would probably much prefer to live in the house and sleep in my bed with me. I still have some difficulty haltering her in the open field, but she is getting better. I'm so glad though that she is much better off emotionally now than she was. She is still at the bottom of the totem pole. The others let her eat and don't chase her off anymore. She has also grown at least an inch in height and a few in length as well. She is going to be a very refined, leggy, pretty gal when she is done growing.


I'm in need of some help with my mini, Cricket. She is an Aug 2020 baby and when I got her this August as a yearling, she was mostly unhandled. She has come a long ways since then, but I feel stuck. I'm able to catch her with my arm under her neck and she hasn't tried to blow past me til today. She still hates the halter and I can only catch her in the small paddock if I have a halter with me. Once she is caught or haltered, she is fine. I can walk up to her easily in the field if I don't have a halter or lead rope. She will stand to be tied, groomed, feet trimmed, etc. She leads great now at a walk and trot. My goal with her is to eventually drive her and do in hand events (mountain trail competition, horse agility, etc).

Now, with that, she is depressed. She has been here for 3.5 months and she reminds me of Eeyore. She has bonded a bit with our older gelding. The other minis will all be running and playing, but she just stands in the middle of the field (not a new thing or illness related). She is very submissive and the bottom of the totem pole. It's the rainy season here in Oregon and we don't have a covered arena. I don't go do much more than feed daily and groom a couple times a week right now due to the rain, unfortunately. She is getting out of her honeymoon stage and is getting more bold and comfortable testing her limits with me. I always make sure we end on a good note and make things pleasant. I need to get her past her emotional/protective barrier that she has up. I know that is going to take time and work, I just don't know good methods to help her get thru it. I really want to see her blossom and be a happy pony. She has been a "moody mare" since I got her and is very independent. She is a pro at the mare stare, lol. Am I just not her person or can she work thru her baggage or is she just so laid back or bored it's coming across as depressed? I know it's only been 3.5 months and I'm not giving up on her or anything. I know it takes time. I'm just stuck. I've never worked with a horse or pony with a personality like hers before. We have an excellent driving trainer locally we will be using once we are ready to get deeper into driving training, but I want to focus on her emotional health at this point.
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HersheyMint

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Just an update! Cricket is doing so well. She has really come out of her shell the last couple months. So glad she got out of that depressed stage. She fits right in with the other yo-yos tearing around the field and playing. Man, she can move!! Wowza. I need to find myself a hyperbike in a few years and do some gymkhana with her. She would love it. When she sheds out and looks prettier I'm going to register her PtHA. I'd prefer the pictures to be nice and not winter woolies. Not that it really matters anyways. Next month we can start competing in online horse agility since she will be 2. I had originally written she was an Aug 2020 baby, but she was a May 2020 baby. Couldn't figure out how to edit. She is a smart little cookie. She has warmed up to me so much and would probably much prefer to live in the house and sleep in my bed with me. I still have some difficulty haltering her in the open field, but she is getting better. I'm so glad though that she is much better off emotionally now than she was. She is still at the bottom of the totem pole. The others let her eat and don't chase her off anymore. She has also grown at least an inch in height and a few in length as well. She is going to be a very refined, leggy, pretty gal when she is done growing.
How wonderful! I'm so happy she has come around. Reading your post made me happy.:D She is beautiful
 

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