Leaving Halters On.....No!

Discussion in 'Miniature Horse Forum' started by Little Wolf Ranch, Jun 3, 2014.

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  1. Jun 4, 2014 #21

    chandab

    chandab

    chandab

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    Even the good ones seem to know when you are catching them for something like vet work, shots, deworming, etc; and will lead you on a merry chase. Most of mine are pretty good, but I do have one that is a stinker, and must be run into a stall to catch, and then you have to halter her from the right, she can't easily be approached from the left. Stinker. Guess, I can say two, as my one stallion is a bit of a pain to catch, but he's getting better.
     
  2. Jun 4, 2014 #22

    lucky seven

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    My big boy is the worst, we have owned him for 17 years and he's still hard to catch, especially when the farrier comes. He has taught us to bring out a carrot. He will then allow us to put the halter on, then it's back off again when he is finished.
     
  3. Jun 5, 2014 #23

    Tab

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    You never ever leave a nylon halter on! Learned our lesson back in the day with Rusty. He got his shoe caught in his halter and by some miracle he broke the halter. If it's a leather halter, sure, but no nylon halters. That disturbs me, too, if your horses are that hard to catch you don't spend enough time with them. I can catch and lead all of my horses by the bare head. You crook your arm around their crown and lead them where you want them to go.
     
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  4. Jun 5, 2014 #24

    paintponylvr

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    Well, I hate the "BLANKET" statement that owner - non-horse person - made.

    I have seen halters grown into a horses face and head (and the dog collars too - gak!!). I've seen them get caught in fencing and with their legs while scratching. I've seen a horse get a shoe caught in woven wire, straight wire and WOOD fencing (that one tore his hoof apart trying to get loose - the farrier and vet bills for that owner who insisted the shoe wasn't loose enuf to warrant a phone call to the farrier & time off from work - well I learned my lesson when I was in my teens!).

    I don't like leaving halters on. Our ponies rub constantly - sometimes just to rub, sometimes due to flies and this year - GNATS are terrible. I'm watching 4 young mares as I type this - all in the same pasture rubbing in different areas of the pasture (one on her front leg). Honestly, mine are difficult to leave halters on - they rub them off (or could/would get hung up).

    I DO leave collars on them. I've now done this for 17 years - could they get caught? MAYBE, POSSIBLY, YES. I have yet to see the foals get caught, I have yet to see anyone else get caught. I either make or purchase the collar with the intention of it not breaking - but have had some break when I haven't replaced them soon enuf (the braided haystring ones wear out and the nylon dog collars shrink in weather - just like halters do). We are currently on 9 acres BUT our road has become a major connection between two highways one of which has the emergency center on. Trees have come down on our pasture fences, ponies have run thru hot/woven fencing, and wood boards have been either knocked out or broken when a more aggressive pony has chased one into/thru the fence - with collars on they have have been catchable for someone on the road - with ID attached w/ our phone numbers and the ponies' names. Right now - most of my collar markers have faded - I'm getting ready to do another batch for EVERYONE before I leave and have all the "tan" ponies cared for by someone else over 4th of July weekend.

    I used to agree that catching was always a "training thing". HOWEVER, I have worked with horses and ponies of specific bloodlines in TWH, QH, PH, Apps, Morgans, Arabs, Hackneys AND Shetlands (I don't work/really haven't owned "true" mini horses) that are notorious for being both hard to catch and hard to handle over the years. years ago, those type horses were known as "for experienced handlers only" or "not beginner horses" or "not a kids' pony". People getting into horses these days have bleeding hearts that seem to think every horse is easy and handle-able by anyone - I will never believe that!! I have seen it and HAVE IT RIGHT NOW ON MY PROPERTY run in bloodlines. I have a mare from a well known, "kid pony" line from a respected breeding farm. LOVE her but she's a pain in the neck - to catch, to handle her head and ears. NO AMOUNT of constant desensitizing helps but I don't drug her. Her oldest daughter has spent two years with a trainer and done well as our FIRST show pony from our breeding program. She was handled daily from birth to the day she went to the trainer. Don't know what she had done specifically at the trainers - but they DID "coo" over her except at clipping time. Now she's back home and is a pasture pony again - can't catch her in the open w/o running her into the round pen and CAN NOT handle her head/ears. She gets them handled 2x daily - wears a fly mask that goes on in the AM and off in the PM. Her two "baby" sisters are exactly the same way - right from birth! Hard to catch, not really freindly, HATE having their heads and ears touched. I deal with it - I like them, I personally like their bloodlines. The last one - was a born biter. I watch her and keep a good hold on her when the farrier works on her hooves. Her eyes change colors right before she opens her mouth and dives. My farrier knows I will snatch and correct her - she's getting better. She did this right from her first hoof trim at 30 days of age. She just turned a year old. She's not for sale and I wouldn't "foist" her off on an unsuspecting handler w/o warning and/or proper instruction.

    Again - have another mare from a long established mid-western breeding program. She ran on pasture first at one farm and then at another before I purchased her. Then I was warned about ponies of her "bloodlines"... She's not easy to catch. I now suspect she was run thru a chute to halter and load her on the transport trailer. She arrived in foal at our place, upset and untouchable. She ended up foaling early and for the three days the colt lived, I was able to catch and touch her - milked her, introduced her son to her, got him to nurse and I literally went nuts touching and rubbing her every chance I got for those 3 days (took 2 vacation days to stay home with her). Suspect the colt was a "dummy foal" - had the symptoms but died before our vet could see him. I didn't send him for necropsy - mare went stark, raving mad! Took a couple of days before we could get into her paddock to remove the colt. When we did - we buried him and actually led her to the burial site (WOW). She's lives in a double round pen situation inside of a double fenced pasture of about 1 acre. The one time she was turned out - she blew thru not only our fences but several neighboring farms' as well. Took 9 people - in trucks, on horseback and ATVs - 2 highways, several tobacco and soybean fields and TEN MILES away - got her turned around and headed back for home. Have no idea how we actually herded her back into OUR barn (the other ponies?) - but we did and cornered her and caught her. She wasn't injured (she was sore in the legs - deep sand in two of the tobacco fields and a whole lot of miles mostly at a gallop or good long trot!). We peeps were more tired at that point than she was. The $$ I paid for repairs to fencing and owners' fields - yikes!!! She's turned into one VERY EXPENSIVE pony and that was a Mother's Day that will never be forgotten!!! I've talked to a number of trainers in our "area" - some up to 250 miles away. Several have flat turned down training/working with her and some have said they'd more than double what they normally charge - some were natural horsemanship type and some were/are more cowboy/old school type. Two - after studying her and working with her for 1/2 an hour said she'd be one better in the ground. In May, my hours were cut back and I've gone back to working with her myself. I can't catch her easily, can't touch her head or ears (can touch her muzzle and between her eyes) but yesterday with a loose line to her neck, I was able to pick up and hold all 4 hooves. She has been wormed (well it's been a while now) but hasn't had a coggins test or any vaccinations and this is the first time I've been able to handle her hooves in the two years since she arrived. She has 8 young mares in the pasture she's penned in and every now and then I will turn one in with her when she appears to be "pining" for friendship/scratches. It has worked well enough. Her personality is disappointing - her grand dam is a much loved pony and one of the best equines I've ever owned OF ANY BREED. Her grand dam is part of the reason I wanted her. I also have purchased several other ponies with similar/same bloodlines - they all have "quirks" about being caught and handled! Just like us - they have good and bad days - 4 mares and a gelding - three were purchased as weanlings and handled daily from then on. They all drive - single and pairs - but are "difficult". None would be considered to be beginner ponies...

    Back to the OP's original observation - the FB post shows a lack of knowledge and horsemanship, IMHO. So many of the newbies that I find getting into horses now LACK basic horsemanship skills and have no desire to learn them. Nor do they want to be told that they should. I've seen it here in NC with folks purchasing full size horses - but it's most noticeable with MH purchasers who seem to want a "big dog"... And later, in talking with some who didn't want to learn horsemanship skills - they no longer own horses. "Too much work" is what I've been told.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] :rofl [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2014
  5. Jun 6, 2014 #25

    Guest

    If you love your horse(s).......NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. Just not worth the risk and pain that can be caused.
     
  6. Jun 6, 2014 #26

    Foxhaven

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    Mine have trained me to have apple treats intermittently - and unpredictably.

    It's the most addictive behavior pattern... intermittent reward. Two million Las Vegas visitors can't be wrong... ;-)

    So you might say they are addicted to letting me catch them...
     
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  7. Jun 6, 2014 #27

    MountainWoman

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    I never leave halters on. Halters are to get from place a to place b while being led or for the vet or farrier visit. If you have hard to catch horses, you are not spending enough training time with them. Even the older ones come around with consistent training and daily handling but it takes time and lots of effort to train a hard to catch horse. It's all about building relationships. I cringe when I see all the photos on FB of mares running around with their new foals and they are haltered.
     
  8. Jun 6, 2014 #28

    sfmini

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    I never, never, never leave halters on unattended horses, not even in the horse trailer (minis) since we can't feel them if they get in trouble.

    I wouldn't even make a blanket statement about leather unless they are really cheap on biggies.

    New lesson learned, fortunately no bad results. Horses can develop dreadlocks or knots in manes and foals can get legs caught up in that mess. When you have a large number of horses, regular grooming doesn't happen, just can't but boy, we watch that now for sure.
     
  9. Jun 7, 2014 #29

    Kendra

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    I disagree with saying that if your horse is hard to catch you don't spend enough time with them. That's an unfair generalization. The best trained horse can be difficult to catch in the right situation, and to be honest, I'd question the cleverness and ambition of any horse who was too easy to catch in a huge pasture after they were recently turned out. ;) My Grandad likes to say he never met a horse that was any good that easy to catch. ;)

    But still, no excuse for leaving a nylon halter on, and I wouldn't leave a leather one on either unless there were pretty darn extenuating circumstances.
     
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  10. Jun 7, 2014 #30

    Marsha Cassada

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    My horses are all pocket-sniffers--unless my gelding hears me hooking up the trailer. I always confine him BEFORE getting the trailer out as he will head for the back 40. Talk about little stinkers!

    There are lots of helpful tips from trainers to teach a horse to come to you.

    I've seen halters grown into noses, though I've never seen a horse injured from wearing one. But I took the word of everyone I've read on here as good advice, never to leave a halter on an unattended horse.
     
  11. Jun 10, 2014 #31

    wildoak

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    I've seen the results of halters left on... one in a stall, on a big yearling for "just a minute". He hung it on the hay feeder and broke his neck. Another on a big filly out in the field - neighbors borrowed a foal halter from me, which I was glad to loan and warned them to never leave it on - they did, she caught it on a tractor and ripped her shoulder wide open. She survived but had an ugly scar and I don't know that she was ever sound.

    I have a hard to catch mare too - if I need her, I have to get her into a pen and coax her. A chore, but it can be done. I do leave break aways on mares in foal for the EquiPage monitor, but I'm watching them and I still sweat it lol.

    Jan
     
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  12. Jun 11, 2014 #32

    crystalsowner

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    My mini Crystal is huge pain to catch. It was almost impossible when I got her. Shes getting a bit better but still hard to catch. I NEVER leave a halter on here. So it takes a bit of my time to catch her. Oh well. Not worth risking her life, even if there is a small chance something will happen.
     
  13. Jun 12, 2014 #33

    shorthorsemom

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    My horses are not hard to catch... My goats can be the dickens to catch if they suspect something is up, so I trained them to go into a small pen for eating. I do this every day. They see me and they run to their pen to eat. I close the door to the pen, then when they are done eating I let them out. Soooo. When I need to catch them for shots, worming, hoof trimming, I have a very small area and they are super easy to catch. It is conditioning and training. They associate the catch pen with food and treats and petting. They have such a routine of good things happening in this pen, they readily forget about the one time out of a hundred that I do something they don't like. It works and it would work for horses too. Wouldn't take much to have a couple of panels or a small catch pen made for catching horses that you could condition them for going into and eating and then let them out.
    The reason my horses are easy to catch is that I worked very hard at catching, haltering, feeding and releasing them. For babies and horses not used to being tied, I would use a slip release tie.

    I did have a pony once that only my children could catch. Took me a long time but I did manage to get him trained to come in, be haltered and fed and then released. It takes time but it is important to associate catching and halter with food and not just for training and vet etc.

    I do not walk around behind my guys to catch them, it makes them so silly. What I do is put the feed in a tub and have them come to me... learn that haltering equals treats and food and that they do not get the treats unless they are haltered and have a lead rope snapped on. The first few weeks training take the longest, but well worth doing every day as a training chore.
     
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  14. Jun 12, 2014 #34

    HGFarm

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    NEVER EVER for any reason do I leave halters on. I would rather chase one down for an hour than have the other option.... I dont care how carefully you go over your pastures/barn or what have you, horses are horses and if there is a way to get hurt or get into something, they will find it. And yes, I have heard of them scratching and getting their own leg hung up in one and all kinds of other terrible things. It's not worth it. Another situation that 'everything is fine til it's not'. Either train your horses to be caught, build a 'catch pen' in your pasture, or put on your running shoes and chase them down but do NOT leave halters on!!!
     
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  15. Jun 16, 2014 #35

    rabbitsfizz

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    I can't see the logic behind thinking a horse will be easier to catch because it has a halter on. Nor can I ever see any sense in leaving a collar on a horse for any reason at all- they are either OK to catch, in which case you do not need anything, or they are not OK in which case leaving a halter on will just teach them that every time they do actually dare to come within touching distance some lunatic ape descendant hurls itself at them and scares the life out of them causing them to make sure they do not come that close again and rendering the halter meaningless. Horses are born trying to find ways to kill themselves, why some people try to make it easier for them is totally beyond me!
     
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  16. Jun 16, 2014 #36

    targetsmom

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    Let me give an example of a horse that is easier to catch with a halter on. We have a mare that really isn't hard to catch, but due to treatment way before we got her is very, very ear shy. Thus getting the halter on is the issue. In 4 years here she has improved but still is not very trusting of hands near her ears. So we rigged up the very safe halter I showed several pages ago, that replaces the near side halter piece between the ring and the buckle with a cheap piece of pink ribbon. It helps that once she is "caught" which just means attaching the lead to the halter, anyone can do practically anything with her, as long as it isn't near her ears! She will not try to pull away when lead or tied and is easily handled by our 4-Hers. Every month or so the ribbon breaks and I need to find the halter, replace the ribbon and put it back on, so I know it will break easily.

    I also use one of these halters when using foaling alarms on mares. It is fine to say "never leave a halter on" (which I support in almost all cases!) but there MAY be situations when that isn't realistic so there need to be safe alternatives, and this is one.
     
  17. Jun 16, 2014 #37

    amysue

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    My three brood mares that I bought last year are practically wild. I knew that before I bought them and I am proud to say that they are coming along with their trust issues nicely. Through trial and error I have come to the conclusion that leaving their halters on is better for them. Not for me ( whether I take the halter or put my arm around the neck and halter them up is no different to me) but since they are still working on trusting me being in their space, sometimes when coming in to halter them they get spooky. I am in their stalls 3x a day and they get hand walked daily as I know if I put them in turn out I wont catch them and then they'll never get used to me. I dont like getting body slammed into the wall or kicked in the face and that is what one mare does if you approach her with a halter, rope, bucket or anything for that matter. Approaching her to halter her is dangerous as she WONT give you her face, she just puts her arse in your face and threatens to kick. HOWEVER if while wearing her halter (safely tied with a leather lace just like Mary does with curling ribbon) I can slowly touch my hand to her rump, while talking to her run my hand up her back to her neck and touch her halter NOT grab it as that defeats the purpose. Once I slowly have the halter, shes a sweetie and i can walk her out, graze her, lunge and groom her. I just CANNOT actually get near her with that halter. So if the original question was how a blanket statement made me feel; I would have to say that EVERY horse is different and no ONE method works for all. So no, leaving halters on is not safe, unless you make them breakaway safe. And furthermore, just because a horse isn't easy to catch does not mean that they are neglected or untrained. I spend more time with my horses than I do with my husband, I bought them that way and am working daily to gain their trust. I recognize that some farmers see no problem with mass producing stock and i understand why, i just prefer to be able to handle my horses.. Im not judging, im just pointing out that it is rather frustrating and sometimes down right confusing when raising horses that way gets a person labeled as a byb or a pony mill and accused of flooding the market, yet that method still remains SO popular. Not to mention many of the bloodlines remain sought after. I bought these mares because I thought they were nice and had good conformation. I could not afford broke and seasoned show animals so I bought them with the intention of breeding my own. I just do not want to throw them outside and leave them to breed freely thus producing more "wild" ponies. So I keep them in and leave their halters on so I can handle them safer. If after explaining my reasoning, people still think im wrong or "lazy" for dong it...well I'm okay with that.
     
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  18. Jun 16, 2014 #38

    lucky seven

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    Amysue, you need to do what is safe for you. As they get to know you better and realize you are their friend, then hopefully you will be able to give them turnout time and take their halters off.
     

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