I'm a Rookie and my Mini is stubborn. Heeeeelp!!!

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minisam

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Hello, so I am here for help. I am a complete rookie. We got a mini for our child about 1 year ago. We bought it from a family who swore that their child rode the horse and so on. Anyway, when we got it the horse was harnessed and all was good.Well, since we have had him he has been a bit of a nightmare.He is not coming over to us at all, unless we have treats for him and then we have to trick him to catch him. Or,we have to chase him..


Once caught he is OK and he lets us groom him and play with him, but getting him to mellow out is the problem. We would like to train him so that the child will be able to ride him when he is old enough. We have 4 other horses and they are all friendly and we ride them- had a trainer for a while, etc..

So, basically, I need help. What should I do? Is there hope for my little guy? He is a beatuy...

Thank you all
 

Keri

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I think the easiest way to get him to warm up to you is catch him for everything. If you're going to feed him, catch him and let him eat while you play with him. They get use to the idea that being caught isn't so bad. I have a couple that use to be bad like that. Also, if you could, put him in a stall or smaller area so that you don't have to chase him to catch him. Makes a world of difference in a weeks time with him being in a smaller area. Another idea, walk up to him in the pasture, give him a treat and walk away. That way he knows that not everytime you approach him, he won't be caught.

Don't give up. Lots of minis can be stubborn. Just need lots of patience.
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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Some horses are just less people friendly than others but all should let you approach them with out running (or even walking) away. Now don't misunderstand I have horses(older mares that came to me later in life) that occasionally will play hard to get and I think most horse owners do have a horse or two who makes it clear they'd rather be left alone. When I have a horse who is hard to catch tho I start by keeping them confined in a smaller area. Then I make a point of going out to see them many times a day and just giving them a treat, a scratch or even just leaning over the fence to chat for a minute. It is important to never let them NOT be caught if you try(they must believe they will always end up caught anyway) and to catch them for things other than work. The more often you can catch them and give them something wonderful and then walk away the more they will look forward to being with you. After a time you can allow them to be in a larger area again but still make a point of going for frequent visits. The more often you can catch them for a short treat/scratch the quicker they will adjust to thinking you are a good place to be, but be patient, with some horses it takes a while. As an old trainer is quoted as saying, "it takes as long as it takes" and some come around in days or weeks others take months or years. It all depends on their personality.


edited to add; Keri and I were typing at the same time and it appears we use much the same methods
 
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minisam

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Thank oyou so much to all


I will try to move him into a smaller area and see if that helps. We have not yet let him out in the pasture because you know, we would not be able to catch him anymore


Once he warms up to me, what do you think the next step would be in training him?
 

Sixstardanes

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Lunging.


If you can start on a lunge line.

Lunging can be very beneficial in exercise as well as aiding in training a horse to respond to you both in body gestures and in vocalization.

It can also help with building a relationship with the horse.
 

Marty

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I've got a couple here that are terrible to catch without food, always have been. Don't take it personally. They are users!
The others seem to mall me when I go out, free for nothing! But those two I swear get me every time and have to give me the run around and play hard to get.

Because a small child is involved here most importantly is safety. And since you are a rookie, I would very much highly suggest you bring in a reputable trainer to evalutate and work with your little horse and child, giving him a refresher course before your child mounts up. And don't forget the helmut. If you go to the main page and click on Breeders Connect, you can scroll down to your state and try to locate some help that way.

May I ask how old your child is and how big the horse is and also if you can post pictures?

Good luck and best wishes to you.
 

minisam

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Lunging.
If you can start on a lunge line.

Lunging can be very beneficial in exercise as well as aiding in training a horse to respond to you both in body gestures and in vocalization.

It can also help with building a relationship with the horse.
 

minisam

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Hello


Thank you for the reply. The child is still waaaaaay to young to ride - he just turned one - so we are hoping that by the time he is 3-4 the horse will be mellow enough to be ridden. I do have photos of him and will post them up during the weekend sometimes. Thank you again for your help.

I've got a couple here that are terrible to catch without food, always have been. Don't take it personally. They are users!
The others seem to mall me when I go out, free for nothing! But those two I swear get me every time and have to give me the run around and play hard to get.
Because a small child is involved here most importantly is safety. And since you are a rookie, I would very much highly suggest you bring in a reputable trainer to evalutate and work with your little horse and child, giving him a refresher course before your child mounts up. And don't forget the helmut. If you go to the main page and click on Breeders Connect, you can scroll down to your state and try to locate some help that way.

May I ask how old your child is and how big the horse is and also if you can post pictures?

Good luck and best wishes to you.
 

MiLo Minis

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First of all unless you saw the horse being ridden before you bought it don't take their word for it that he is trained to ride - some people will say anything to sell a horse and I don't want to see your child get hurt.

Second, there are things that one does when catching a horse that can actually chase him away from you without meaning to. I watched a couple trying to catch a horse in the warm up arena at Nationals and it was clear they were not going to catch him as they were essentially chasing him away. Another person, that was clearly more experienced with horses, went in and caught the horse immediately.

One thing to keep in mind for now is that once you try to catch him you MUST catch him or it will only get harder next time so don't even try to catch him unless you have the time necessary to be sure you will get him in hand.

I would agree with Marty that lessons for yourself are needed here and I can see someone getting hurt if you don't get them.

Trying to lungeline a horse that hasn't already been trained to lunge is not something for a novice to try alone. It isn't necessarily a preferable exercise anyway as it quite often forces the horse to travel off balance unless done properly.
 

shorthorsemom

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Smaller turn out will help, catching and haltering for everything such as feeding, grooming will help, walk up and give a treat and then leave.. etc. It is about building trust. Tricking them into getting caught or chasing them will just make them craftier and harder to catch the next time.

An important note about lunge training is that you should not start by putting on a lunge line and asking the mini to go in a big circle if they are not already trained to lunge. You need to teach your mini walk on a lead rope first, even if they are already trained, start at the beginning where you can have "sucesses" and you can reward and praise. Once they are leading well, then you can start doing "mini lunging" basically ask them to go around you on nothing longer than a lead rope in a small area like a paddock. It can be a big disaster to have a confused mini at the end of a 25 ft lungeline, they can really get up some speed and take you for a ride. Wear gloves to protect your hands. It would help if you could take some lunging and training lessons. I have been taking lessons with my boys this year and it has taught me so much. I discovered that lunging isn't just about holding a long rope while they go in a circle around you. The best thing is to get some help, no matter what your experience level, if you think you need help, you probably do. Best wishes
 

minisam

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Thank you for the advice. We have a horse trainer for our big ones. Could we ask the same trainer if she is willing to work with the mini as well or do you think a real mini trainer would be better? I found a couple of books on mini training.In your experience do you think it will help?

We do not want to give him up but it sounds like the dad is over this horse ...
Yeah, we were wondering if the horse was ever ridden..

First of all unless you saw the horse being ridden before you bought it don't take their word for it that he is trained to ride - some people will say anything to sell a horse and I don't want to see your child get hurt.
Second, there are things that one does when catching a horse that can actually chase him away from you without meaning to. I watched a couple trying to catch a horse in the warm up arena at Nationals and it was clear they were not going to catch him as they were essentially chasing him away. Another person, that was clearly more experienced with horses, went in and caught the horse immediately.

One thing to keep in mind for now is that once you try to catch him you MUST catch him or it will only get harder next time so don't even try to catch him unless you have the time necessary to be sure you will get him in hand.

I would agree with Marty that lessons for yourself are needed here and I can see someone getting hurt if you don't get them.

Trying to lungeline a horse that hasn't already been trained to lunge is not something for a novice to try alone. It isn't necessarily a preferable exercise anyway as it quite often forces the horse to travel off balance unless done properly.
 

Carolyn R

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It is possible the horse has been ridden and is playing you. They are smart animals and people tend to baby minis too much. If you ever hear about minis or ponies being awful stubborn animals, it is probably because the owners spoiled it, let it walk all over them, then they didn't know why it wouldn't listen when they wanted it too.

If a mini trainer isn't available, a regular horse trainer should have no problem figuring out if the horse has a lack of trust, is untrained and doesn't know how to behave or if it is being just plain stubborn. Some horses just like to play games when it comes to catching them. You may also want to try putting the halter or lead in your back pocket (or better yet, don't take any lead or halter with you at all) and kneeling down, once they are close to you, get them use to being touched, after they are use to this, then start catching them by gently putting your arm around their neck, go from there with the haltering. It takes time.

Carolyn
 

shorthorsemom

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When I started treating my minis like full sized horses I was amazed in the difference in the level of respect and how much fun we started to have. My trainer works with both full sized horses and minis and does CDE competition, but she has stressed the importance to me of treating them the same as horses in my training. She says don't treat them like pasture pets, treat them like horses. I work with them every day, even if I only have a few minutes, we do some level of training every day. Once you and your mini start communicating I think you will be really surprized at the relationship and bond you can form and then everything else should fall in to place after that. I rode horses for many years, but got the help of a trainer for my minis and I haven't regretted a minute of it. Best wishes.
 

minisam

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Hi Carolyn,

thank you for the reply.It is a possibility that it might have just been spoiled. We leave the halter on quite a bit and we have a short lead on also. Once we get him (with carrots usually) we change the lead to a longer one. I have never tried kneeling down. Thank you for this idea. For sure I will try it. Also, I will see if my horse trainer can have a look at the mini and may be figure out if he is just playing us
Thank you again!!!!

It is possible the horse has been ridden and is playing you. They are smart animals and people tend to baby minis too much. If you ever hear about minis or ponies being awful stubborn animals, it is probably because the owners spoiled it, let it walk all over them, then they didn't know why it wouldn't listen when they wanted it too. If a mini trainer isn't available, a regular horse trainer should have no problem figuring out if the horse has a lack of trust, is untrained and doesn't know how to behave or if it is being just plain stubborn. Some horses just like to play games when it comes to catching them. You may also want to try putting the halter or lead in your back pocket (or better yet, don't take any lead or halter with you at all) and kneeling down, once they are close to you, get them use to being touched, after they are use to this, then start catching them by gently putting your arm around their neck, go from there with the haltering. It takes time.

Carolyn
 

rabbitsfizz

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First off, Hallo and welcome!!!


Here, you will get help, that is for sure, BUT you may not always like the help offered or it may not fit with what you want.

Just keep asking, we will work round you.

"There is NO such thing as a stupid question" is the foundation of this Forum.

OK, you have a Mini.

How big??

How old??

What sex??

(Oh and where are the pictures,.....we have to have pictures.

You have a one year old baby and we have no pictures of him???

How are we ever going to tell you how beautiful he is?????)

PLEASE do not leave a halter on your horse, I have to say that, I lost the best horse I ever had because I was too lazy to take a halter off and by the time I got back two hours later she had broken her neck on the fence.

OK, lecture over.

Your trainer may be able to help, and certainly for the driving and riding bit I would use him/her, but for everything else, you can do this yourself.

Does your horse have company??

I know where people are coming form with the "smaller paddock" thing, but me, I'm the opposite.

If the horse were wild, or scared, I would put it, maybe , in a smaller pen, but this one I would just feed it every chance I got, from a small bucket, obviously, not your hand (I do hand feed when I do this, but I also am happy to whack noses that show teeth and I am lightening quick!!!
) and I would ask it to do something in return, like letting me catch it!

Believe me, after a few times it will be climbing into the bucket and putting on the halter and tying itself up...horses LOVE carrots, apples etc, they just LOVE them, I have never known a horse not respond to kindness, love, firm handling and FOOD!!!

In that order


Now, keep asking.
 
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MSRminis

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Just wanted to add a few years ago I sold a pony my kids had outgrown. She was an awesome pony and I sold her to a very sweet family that had had horses before so I thought them to be knowledgeable. I contacted them a few weeks after they got her home to hear it was not going well and their daughters last ride ended in tears and they did not think this pony was going to work out. No I KNOW this pony!! She is a been there done that, been in shows, rides and handles easily and safely. I suggested they contact their old trainer as I assured them anything they were encountering could and would easily be fixed by a trainer (I knew she was pulling a fast one on them!). well I did not hear back from them for a few weeks and called this time and talked to the wife and all was well , the child was in love, and had ridden the pony in a neighborhood parade!!

Dont give up yet-get a professional opinoin. He may very well be trained and has just fooled you!!
 

Amanda K

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I have had our mini for a week. He was out in a pasture with a stallion for about 1 year. He had not been caught that much or handled in that 1 year in the pasture. We had him in the yard and it took time to catch him. I would have to walk slowly up to him and talk to him and give him good praise. He would kind of walk away and then stop and I would get the lead rope and lead him around and pet him and give good praise. My husband and I have been doing this for a week and now he does not try to run as much as he used to. I can walk up to him and he won't hardly move except to move his head. I go to visit him for anything. I go to talk, to look at him, pet and just stand there and love him. We have also started to train him to walk with us. He still needs a lot of work but it's worth it and must be patient. I agree with everyone who said " if you're going to catch him--catch him" If he knows you tried and did not catch him he won't be so warming the next time you try to catch him. I catch him to walk, pet, treat, or talk to him. We are also using vocal commands, such as walk, come, whoa and turn. He seems to understand and follows. Yes, he can be stubborn but if you stop, he knows that you did not make him do what he needed to do. This is what I have learned in the past week. I am very new to all of this and I am willing to take any and all advice.

Amanda
 
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