Help! What happened here?

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

Royal Crescent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
647
Reaction score
1
Location
Florida
i have a 2 yo gelding who is very sweet and usually comes right up to us..esp when it is feeding time
. Tonight, we went to let the horses in and feed them, and he was not catchable, even when we had him cornered in a small area. He was obviously terrified by the idea of being caught.
I am worried that some teens may have gotten out there and mistreated him, because of some tire tracks down towards their paddock. He has never acted this way before. We are boarding them at a friends place about 2 miles from us.. we do all the care and feeding, so we are there twice a day. What do you think, spring fever, or should I be concerned about something else happening? Any thoughts on how to handle him the next few days so this does not become a habit?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

kaykay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
4,390
Reaction score
4
Location
ohio
Maybe something spooked him before you got there?? One thing I know for sure. IF you go to catch a horse YOU MUST CATCH THE HORSE. If you stop and dont catch it you have now taught the horse he doesnt have to be caught. That really sets you up for failure. If I get in a horse that is hard to catch I make sure I have the time to catch it or I dont even try.
 

targetsmom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2006
Messages
6,147
Reaction score
508
Location
Suffield, CT
OK, maybe I am a bit paranoid after some bad boarding experiences, but I would be suspicious that something might have happened to him just before you got there. Especially if he is usually easy to catch. See how he is the next time you go over, and I would also look him over very carefully.
 

barnbum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,481
Reaction score
27
Location
Finger Lakes, New York
I have one mare who runs from me now and then--usually if she sees a fly mask, fly spray, or hoof pick in my hand. Now and then she's just being playful and wants to take another run before getting tucked in.
To her it's a game. Kay is absolutely on when she says never stop once you start; the horse will think he can remain uncaught. Here's what I do (I must have read it somewhere-maybe from Kay
)--once Gypsy starts moving away--(she's always doing it quickly)
I start to push her by walking toward her hip. She continues to move. I continue to push. I never run, I never yell (I might be muttering under my breath though
) , I just calmly walk towards her but at her hip--which is what boss mares do to their herd. The first time you do this it might take awhile--20-30 minutes even, but every time after that gets shorter. Gypsy still runs away from me once in a while, but she knows I will ALWAYS win so within 3 minutes she just gives in, stops and lets me do what I want to do. I also always approach my horses for just scratches--then they all come at once.

I hope he was just playing and it's not that he's been frightened.
 

hobbyhorse23

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
7,805
Reaction score
35
Location
Lakeport, CA
kaykay said:
Maybe something spooked him before you got there?? One thing I know for sure. IF you go to catch a horse YOU MUST CATCH THE HORSE. If you stop and dont catch it you have now taught the horse he doesnt have to be caught.
I understand where Kay's coming from but must disagree strongly in one circumstance- when the horse is terrified, NOTHING is gained by cornering them at all costs and "proving they have to be caught!"
All you're going to do is convince the poor horse they were right to fear you.


No, no, and no.


It's better to step away and let them calm down a bit then try again.

Be a centered presence, breathing slowly and deeply into your belly and allow the horse space to settle. If it's safe to do so you might crouch down to make yourself more inviting, or perhaps offer food or stand by the gate if they want out. Keep your body language soft and inviting (but not inviting push-overs) and make yourself the safe place to be. Then be patient! It can be really frustrating trying to catch a mindlessly excited horse but eventually they'll tire out. Of course if it's a medical emergency or you're trying to rescue an abused animal or something you do what you have to in order to get them, but that's not ideal.

With a naughty horse I do exactly as Barnbum described although I might push them into a little trot now and then to get my point across faster. Keep in mind I'm working in small enclosed spaces and know my horses; that probably wouldn't work well with a determined escapee in a large field. None of my horses caught well when I got them, all of them come running to the fence whinnying now.
Mama brings food, scritchies, and a chance to get out of their paddocks and they know it! That doesn't mean they don't bolt when they see me coming with the vet or blankets they don't want and then we do the perfectly calm, firm, "Fine, you want to run away? Run away until you're glad I let you stop!" thing. Works every time and I've never had to do it more than a few laps even when they're hyper.

My neighbors have a mare who was so jumpy they had to keep a short catch-rope on her and leave her haltered all the time just to get ahold of her. I had time to spare one afternoon so I offered to catch her while they fed the others and did the "push her away" thing. It took maybe five minutes to catch her and she's been easy for me ever since.
It works!

On your original post R.C., I would unfortunately suspect that something happened to him. Depending on what it was he may settle over the next day or two as he forgets about it and his normal routine resumes with people he trusts, or you may have to retrain him all over and prove that you won't hurt him when you catch him.
Poor guy! People do the meanest things as a "joke."


Be prepared to go sit in the pasture with carrots for a long time. Hopefully his good experiences with you will overcome the bad one.

Leia
 
Last edited by a moderator:

kaykay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
4,390
Reaction score
4
Location
ohio
I guess we will just agree to disagree LOL. What karla posted is exactly what I have been posting for years on how to catch a horse
Its the old pressure on and pressure off theory. Im not saying run in and bullldoze the guy and wrestle him to the ground. But I stand firmly by the fact that if you go to catch a horse and you let him/her not be caught you have just taught that horse to be hard to catch. None of us can know from the post why he wouldnt be caught. He may just be feeling frisky or he maybe scared, spooked. But if I was there and I caught him I would be sure he knew he is safe with me and with ME is a great place to be.

I cannot tell you how many hard to catch horses we have had come here. To me its very unsettling that so many people do not teach these horses the most basic of manners such as being haltered, caught, proper leading. I think its because of their small size and people let them get away with so much that you would never let a 1200 lb horse get away with.

These horses are way smarter then they get credit for.

To me being able to catch a horse is of utmost importance. Sometimes their life can depend on it.

Every time we are with our horses we are teaching them something. Its up to us to be sure its the right something.
 

Royal Crescent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
647
Reaction score
1
Location
Florida
Maybe something spooked him before you got there?? One thing I know for sure. IF you go to catch a horse YOU MUST CATCH THE HORSE. If you stop and dont catch it you have now taught the horse he doesnt have to be caught. That really sets you up for failure. If I get in a horse that is hard to catch I make sure I have the time to catch it or I dont even try.
I agree with you. We spent almost an hour and a half working on catching him. I tried about everything a could think of, including bringing another mini back out, and then a made a temporary fence line in a small area and was down to the size of 1 cattle panel on each side. Instead of just stopping and giving up, as we had him cornered, he kept running around in the tiny space and was clearly in a panic. Even our other 2 yo who usually has alot more energy than this one would have just stopped cold in this space.
 

Keri

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2007
Messages
1,698
Reaction score
1
Location
Elwood, Utah
You know, I had a filly that was just a dream to play around with. Easy to catch and so forth. Then one day, she decided she wasn't going to be caught and that was that! From then on out, I had to chase her down to catch her. Don't know what changed. Maybe I over spoiled her and she just decided she wasn't going to get caught anymore. He is a young'n too. :DOH!
 

hobbyhorse23

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
7,805
Reaction score
35
Location
Lakeport, CA
Royal Crescent said:
kaykay said:
Maybe something spooked him before you got there?? One thing I know for sure. IF you go to catch a horse YOU MUST CATCH THE HORSE. If you stop and dont catch it you have now taught the horse he doesnt have to be caught. That really sets you up for failure. If I get in a horse that is hard to catch I make sure I have the time to catch it or I dont even try.
I agree with you. We spent almost an hour and a half working on catching him. I tried about everything a could think of, including bringing another mini back out, and then a made a temporary fence line in a small area and was down to the size of 1 cattle panel on each side. Instead of just stopping and giving up, as we had him cornered, he kept running around in the tiny space and was clearly in a panic. Even our other 2 yo who usually has alot more energy than this one would have just stopped cold in this space.
And THAT is the situation I'm talking about.
I agree with Kay that in any other circumstance besides complete and total blind panic, the "pressure on, pressure off" method is the way to go and you should keep going until the horse is caught. Maybe my perspective is a little different having had horses with an equine version of PTSD but I just can't see continuing to put pressure on an animal already terrified out of its mind. I'm not saying to get him into that little space then throw up your hands and leave when he won't stop running, but stepping back and waiting for him to calm with periodic attempts to block his movement can be the right thing to do. You avoid adding stimulus to his already over-stimulated state and you make yourself the safe calm place. He WANTS that right now, or he should. The people who hurt him probably chased him. By not chasing him in that small area you set yourself apart as being different from them. Trustworthy. Stepping in front of him now and then to cause him to reverse then letting him run can help reboot his brain and gradually bring him back to himself. He can't run forever. And when he slows, you speak softly and invite him in. THEN, if he bolts again, is the time to put pressure on for a few minutes then back off and allow him space to decide to stop. But in that initial panic, no. He isn't thinking, isn't paying attention to herd dynamics, isn't concentrating on anything but the overwhelming need to get away. He probably has a very valid reason for feeling that way and chasing him like a relentless predator is not going to help until he's thinking again.

If you can't stop the motion, then control which way he's running and let him run it out. Many wildlife studies on fight or flight indicate that animals release fear energy through motion, that there are set distances each prey animal is hardwired to run before they have escaped the predator and can relax and stop. Bottling them up (in a true panic, mind you, not nervousness or distrust) only escalates their terror.

It's just my .02 and I know that without seeing the nuances of what I mean in person it could be interpreted the wrong way as letting the horse win. I suspect we'd actually agree if we could watch each other do it KayKay!
I am assuming here that something happened to the horse to give him a valid reason to fear. If he truly started doing this with no cause at all then I would treat it differently but horses don't sit there in their paddocks dreaming up new ways to act weird. They ALWAYS have a reason and I'm respecting the original poster's judgment that the horse was truly terrified.

Leia
 

kaykay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
4,390
Reaction score
4
Location
ohio
I agree with you. We spent almost an hour and a half working on catching him. I tried about everything a could think of, including bringing another mini back out, and then a made a temporary fence line in a small area and was down to the size of 1 cattle panel on each side. Instead of just stopping and giving up, as we had him cornered, he kept running around in the tiny space and was clearly in a panic. Even our other 2 yo who usually has alot more energy than this one would have just stopped cold in this space.
I wonder if he even could have been stung by a bee?? Our bees are horrible right now. I so hope hes doing better today.

One tip is if you do the pressure off and on eventually he will turn and face you. Thats always the sign to watch for! Once they turn and face you they are normally ready to be caught.

I suspect we'd actually agree if we could watch each other do it KayKay! biggrin.gif I
I toally agree Lei!!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

barnbum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,481
Reaction score
27
Location
Finger Lakes, New York
I mistakenly thought the bugs wouldn't be so bad today since it's 20 degrees cooler--but I was wrong.
So off to the pastures I go with a bucket full of fly masks, roll on and spray. I was chuckling to myself thinking of this post. Everyone stood still and barely stopped eating, except for Gypsy and her 3 yr old filly, Whisper.
Whisper has never run from me like she did today. She was having a grand ole time bucking about while I walked a steady stride toward her all over the place from one corner of the pasture to the other. I was thinking this would not work with a huge pasture.
She finally stood still and let me HELP her with the bugs. Gypsy, who started this game long ago, was reminded from my pushing her daughter that I never give up, so she took one circle and stopped. Must be eating was more important.
Job accomplished.
 

Royal Crescent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
647
Reaction score
1
Location
Florida
Is he still this spooky today? Or has he settled down some?
We went out this morning, and he acted like nothing ever happened, lol. I walked up to him, gave him a hug, and he stood there quietly while a waited for my daughter to bring his halter. Go figure. Hopefully. he was just spooked last night and will not have any repeat performances!
 

barnbum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,481
Reaction score
27
Location
Finger Lakes, New York
I'm so glad!! I hope he was just being frisky. I was thinking too (I was all these connected thoughts would come at the same time
) that if Gypsy or Whisper ever get in a bottle neck area of the fence by a gate--I do not push then--they always act frantic if they feel cornered. If I wait right at the opening they run on out of the tight spot. So I think cornering even a horse having fun will not work at all and make a dangerous situation.

Hopefully he's all set. Like Kay said, I bet it was a bee.
 

Royal Crescent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
647
Reaction score
1
Location
Florida
Thanks everyone for your helpful advice! I saved some of it for future reference.

Now, if I can just get ahold of that filly fairy that everyone clamors for
I have our very first foal due anytime..she is at 343 days and does not look like she is ready yet with just a very small bag. This is her 4th foal, but first for us, (though we did buy her last foal when we bought her. In fact, her last foal was my little rascal who did not want to be caught last night!) I am just learning. My friend, Sue Brooks at Riverdance has been extremely helpful in teaching this novice.
 

Latest posts

Top