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Update on Parker: He's Coming Around!

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  • Update on Parker: He's Coming Around!

    So little Parker has graduated from round pen to paddock to big open fields with his buddies! So far, so good. He comes running when I call and, despite his wariness, can be caught and haltered in the field.

    We are working on standing calmly for removal of the halter at turn-out (instead of jerking and bolting away), and walking calmly away after receiving a treat. He's making progress!

    I want to show the photos that explain why this little guy was so afraid of being caught. At first I thought these were just surface marks from a dirty halter ... but after bathing and close examination, it's clear that someone left a halter on him for WAY too long. Showed these to my vet yesterday and he was LIVID -- said he's had to cut way too many of these out of horse's faces. Parker bears the scars of someone's laziness and stupidity!

    You can see the indentation on his nose here: https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...44743718_n.jpg

    And here: https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...59450169_n.jpg

    His sweet temperament is amazing ... and the fact that he is really trying to trust me is even most astounding! He really likes the way things go around here, you can tell he's just sort of waiting for the other shoe to fall.

    I'd like to find the yahoos who did this to him! I know it's not the worst thing we've all seen, but dang -- this pony is so sweet and kind, this should not have happened!

  • #2
    Thanks KR for keeping us updated. Right now happy horse stories are very much needed and I love that things are working out so well for you and your pretty boy. We have taken in a couple of sad rescues at the barn and had a couple of sad accidents, love reading good stories !

    Comment


    • #3
      What a face your Parker has, wonderful old gelding's long face, speaks of so much lived, too bad some of it was ugly.

      Glad that he is deciding maybe you are for keeps and is coming along so well for you.

      Even if some times he may have a flashback and regress, I expect over time he will completely forget that he ever thought he didn't trust.

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      • #4
        Wow. The scars explain a lot about his haltering fears. Congrats on making so much progress!

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        • #5
          He does have an old soul face. He will come around. Sorry he has hurt. Pony!
          I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
          I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

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          • #6
            My rescue pony has scars around her neck that the vet thinks are from a rope. After 3 years I still have to move calmly and purposely around her but she too, is getting better. WAZ is right when he says "the horse is the most forgiving of animals".
            Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

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            • #7
              Double post
              Last edited by CFFarm; Jun. 20, 2013, 08:20 AM.
              Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

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              • #8
                Sooooo glad you have him. He is not only an amazing mover - he is a great ambassador. Amazing what they will do for us when they are handled with real knowledge. I can only imagine the mess this would have been if you were a lesser horse person.
                from sunridge1:Go get 'em Roy! Stupid clown shoe nailing, acid pouring bast@rds.it is going to be good until the last drop!Eleneswell, the open trail begged to be used. D Taylor

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                • #9
                  Poor Parker. People really can suck. I'd love to meet the yahoos who thought the best way to train a puppy (now my dog) was to shut her out on the porch 24/7 and ignore her. I'm glad Parker is with you and that he's coming around, it is amazing animals still trust despite everything.
                  "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                  "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Stooopid done to horses by idjits will never cease to amaze me.

                    My "rescue" freebie Hackney was a halterphobe too.
                    Finally in Year #3 I am able to halter him w/o fuss, he actually lowers his pony head (not really necessary, Mr 12h High) for me and removing the halter is no longer frightening for him.

                    You just gotta wonder WTF someone did that made them so worried and how they come to understand you are NOT that moron.

                    Keep the Parker Reports coming!
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                    • #11
                      I think that it is awesome that you have such a nice little project for you now. It is healing for the both of you! I can feel the love! and sharing this with the GD is beyond measure.

                      Here's the KHP ride I promised you. My DD's little 'r' rolex ride at the KHP. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByWR3J8U5g

                      my 'two homebreds.' It views really good full screen, Horsie is pretty keen for this stuff. His ears looked like he had little explosions coming out of the top of them - his expression is darling thru the whole run. I think I'm getting my bucket list right now!

                      Woo Hoo for us Grannies and still tickin at our age.
                      Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Wow, PG, that video is terrific! NICELY DONE! How much fun are you having?

                        Yes, I would not wish a pony to have trust issues, but working him through this definitely is healing for me, too. Very satisfying to see him respond to leadership and kindness as he learns the Code of Conduct at King's Ransom ... and sees that even when you make a mistake, it's okay. We just calmly try again ... and when you do it right, there are often treats involved!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OMG, a lightbulb just went on about my semi-rescue guy and his issues with things around his ears--like halters--and the scars on his nose. Mine panics if something gets hung behind his ears, and I can't use a slip-over type of halter, have to unbuckle it and put on by going around his neck. Be interested to hear if Parker shows anything like that.
                          "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                          Spay and neuter. Please.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            monstrpony -- Parker is fine with his ears and calm once he is caught. In fact, he is a perfectly well-behaved pony with the exception of the catch-me-if-you-can attitude about being caught and haltered ... and then his jerk-and-run when you go to turn him out. Those two things are just sooo out-of-character for him that it will surprise the daylights out of you when he does them. He almost pulled my trainer right off her feet when she went to turn him out the other day, after a beautiful ride. She walked him out on the lead, and when she went to unlatch the halter, he pulled the jerk-and-run before she got it unlatched. Such a surprise from this otherwise perfect pony!

                            Now here is how we are addressing the jerk-and-run: At turn-out, I halter him in the stall and walk slowly to the closed-and-latched gate between the barn and paddock. We have to stand calmly at the gate for a moment. I show him that I have a treat, but don't give it to him. Then, I unlatch the halter -- with the intention of giving him the treat while he stands quietly. So far, most of the time, he cannot help himself. Unlatch the halter, and he will cut and run away from me, back to his stall. Cookie or not!

                            So, I go back to the stall and very calmly halter him again, show him the cookie, and we walk back to the gate. Usually, on the second try, he will stand calmly for a moment. Then I give him the cookie and a pat and slowly open the gate. He is not supposed to run through the gate, but walk calmly. If he does walk calmly, I intend to follow him with another cookie. But we haven't really gotten that far yet. We're working on getting out the gate on the first time without a jerk-and-run back to the stall. He does walk through the open gate, but when his feet hit the paddock, he bolts off -- a cookie is not enough motivation to get him to stick around.

                            So, then I follow him out and call him back after his bolt, cookie in hand. When he comes back calmly and asks for the cookie, he gets it. And a pat, a smile, and a "we'll do better next time."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You may want to try first teaching in a safe, enclosed place, to put the lead around the neck,take the halter off and lead him around with the lead, until you are sure he understands that part of it.

                              Then lead him to the gate and thru, then put the lead rope around his neck as previously taught, then taking the halter off and still holding him, give him a treat, then while he is busy eating slip the lead off and offer one more treat and more if he will stand there.

                              Most horses learn there is treats there and quickly forget the spin and run.
                              May also help to do a bit of ground work right inside the pasture by the gate, so he realizes that is not only a place to take off, but where other happens, including good treats.

                              Stay safe thru it all, don't let a mishap happen and drag you around or trip you.
                              Some years back one eventing trainer was killed turning her horse out.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I agree with Bluey. I train all mine like this. I put the lead rope around their neck and hold it while I take the halter off. I usually pause before it slips off the nose and then slide it off. Then we stand a moment while I take the lead rope off. Then they get a push on the neck, the signal they can walk off. None of mine bolt off, most of the time they stand there and I walk away or they follow me when I walk away. I always release them in the middle of the field so I am not caught between a horse and the gate in case they decide to buck and kick away.

                                When I am haltering I also put the lead around their neck. If anything happens I still have a hold of them.

                                My Foal has learned this way. The lead gets put around her neck, then the halter goes on and we are ready to go. The lead rope goes around the neck and the halter comes off slowly, then the rope comes off the neck and a gentle push to the shoulder signals she is free to go.
                                Chambermaid to....
                                Lilly
                                Reggie

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I would say that what Bluey and KSquared are describing is very close to what I am doing. The "problem" with Parker is that when you get him in a safe, enclosed area (like a round pen or a stall) he is perfect. You do not get training moments with him because he is to-the-letter perfect. It's not until you get to larger, more open areas when he starts to have these issues.

                                  Also, it is not a good idea to assume that a lead rope around his neck is going to constrain him when you take the halter off -- not yet anyway. Even though he is little, he is mighty! Seriously, he almost took my trainer right off her feet, and yes, she had a lead rope around his neck.

                                  He will get it, he's making progress every day. It's really just a matter of letting him know what is wanted, and that nothing bad is going to happen here. Even if he messes up and jerks away, nobody is coming after him with a crop or anything. We ARE however just going to keep doing this very calmly until one of us either does it right or drops dead of boredom.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Loving the updates

                                    Could you double halter him? Have him wear his (that fits) and then practice with a bigger one, taking it on and off? With lots of praise and cookies? Eventually then you could move up to the rope around the neck stage.
                                    Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                                    Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by emirae1091 View Post
                                      Loving the updates

                                      Could you double halter him? Have him wear his (that fits) and then practice with a bigger one, taking it on and off? With lots of praise and cookies? Eventually then you could move up to the rope around the neck stage.
                                      That is what I was going to suggest next, two halters.

                                      I would still teach that or any other, with many repetitions, in a small space, to establish a routine around halter on, treat, halter off, move a bit and offer a treat if he comes to you, until that becomes automatic and hopefully that learned behavior will also "win" in the pasture situation, over the old jerk away trick.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I second the double halter plan.

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