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Discuss halter breaking a yearling... at the Horse Training forum - Horse Forums.

I have a yearling colt who isnt halterbroke. He was supposed to be gelded on ...
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    Senior Member+ Anti-Silence's Avatar
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    halter breaking a yearling...

    I have a yearling colt who isnt halterbroke. He was supposed to be gelded on October 26, along with our two other yearlings, but we hadn't managed to halterbreak him in time, so he hasnt been gelded yet. we would like to have him gelded soon, but our vet won't geld him unless he is halterbroke. Any ideas how I can halter break him??
    Last edited by Anti-Silence; 11-14-2006 at 07:39 PM.

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    I do the rope drag method.

    Can you GET a halter on? if not, I suggest this method.


    Set up against a wall 2 panels. Secure one side and make sure you can secure the other. You will "Squeeze chute" the baby. open the fencing, calmly manuver baby into fencing corner, and then squeeze fence onto the horse tight. Secure the fence. Let the baby stand for a bit quietly. Then work on petting.

    Do this if you can a few times for several days before attempting a halter. Be sure the horse will let you approach and touch somewhat calmly before attempting something over his head.

    Work slow when you go to put the halter on. I would slip it on a few times a day if you can.

    Then, clip a long lead, that will drag between the back legs.....and let the horse loose in the arena or small paddock. Let him step on it, eat with it, if you can, take it off at night or if you aren't going to be around. Be sure there isnt' anything (beyond hte other yearlings) that the lead can get stuck on.

    This method teaches them a bunch of things. To give to pressure, to problem Solve, how to get out of being stuck, how to remain calm when pressure is applied....and the nice thing, without associating the initial scary pressure with you.

    So when you go to get the lead, they aren't blowing up and you fighting them the whole time.

    We halter broke yearlings off the JA ranch with this method. These yearlings had never SEEN a human before they were loaded up and brought to us. We got them late february and we gave them back in may. Almost all were catcheable, ground driving, feet trimming critters.
    Nothing like seeing nature from the back of a horse!

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    The only time I've seen an untrained horse attempted to be trained with the 'rope drag' method, she was terrorised, ran THROUGH a gate, cut herself up & couldn't be caught until she was a quivering mess, literally too exhausted to run away any more. Thereafter, ropes anywhere around her were a big problem & even years later, after some good desensitisation training, she's still not completely predictable in her reaction to ropes.

    Of course, if the desensitisation work was done before the horse was forced to put up with it, it would generally be a different story & I also don't see any problems with horses who *have been taught not to fear this* dragging ropes. I actually rarely tie my horse, rather just drop the leadrope on the ground.

    I do a lot of clicker training & use these principles when I'm introducing horses to this sort of thing. I have the horse in a small yard & make sure he was good about being touched by me, that he saw it as a Good Thing & was reinforcing(rewarding).

    When I first introduce ropes I encourage the horse to come touch them first, rather than approaching him. Horses are naturally curious & if there's no fear, they'll do this quickly. Through positive reinforcement I teach the horse to 'target' the rope in my hand, on the ground, on the fence.

    I use 'Approach & Retreat' combined with reinforcement to teach the horse to stand happily while he is touched & rubbed & ropes are draped over his neck, back, on the ground beside him, dragged by me, swung in the air, etc. I also loop the rope around their neck, poll, nose etc(untied) & teach them to 'follow a feel' eg. yield to light pressure.

    Once I'm sure the horse has no fear of the feel or sight of the rope, regardless of what it's doing, then I progress with the target training until the horse has learned to put his nose in the halter. First lessons with a haltered horse are done in a small yard on a long rope. If previous preparation has been done well, the horse is unlikely to react explosively, but in this setting, it's safer, as if the horse tries to get away, it'll reach the side of the corral before it feels pressure on the rope from me, & I won't have to hold tightly to keep control, so I won't add to any panic. Then I start gently teaching them to yield to the halter pressure in all directions. I also do more desensitising, such as getting the horse used to feeling ropes around their legs, throwing ropes over them & yielding to leg ropes etc.

    Always work in short, easy, positive sessions, trying to avoid confrontational practices where the horse is placed in a sink or swim type situation. Accept the smallest tries or progresses & work towards your goal gradually, as the horse masters previous steps along the way.

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    They have done it for many years at the College on 10-12 yearlings at a time without an issue.

    Though we try to pet on them for a week or two before turning them loose with the ropes.
    Nothing like seeing nature from the back of a horse!

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    haltering

    What breed is he, and how much help do you have?

    Have seen Blistering Winds way done, with the squeeze gates, and halter drag ropes, and worked great!

    However, have also seen it done and was an unmitigated disaster, colt, and this was a weanling went straight up like a rocket propelled him, over the gates crashing upside down, and darn near killing us all. Also saw colt get leg caught in fence rails and scrape 6 inches of skin off laying bone bare. Lots of vet care then, and major blemish that kept colt from selling at OBS. Would like to say we were novices, and/or stupid, but we were all experienced horse people, including our vet, who worked with TB's in Ocala for God's sake.

    And again the same for the drag method of halter ropes, have seen it like BW says, great results, sensible foal, learned to lead fine.

    Also have seen it become another disaster, with colt managing to get rope around all four legs at fetlock area, and securely tie themselves up, horse was exhausted and on verge of dying and did this in only 7 hours overnite.

    There is a fine line between looking like a genius, and looking like some village is missing its idiot when you are dealing with horses.

    I have found that some things that would work with QH, Paint, or colder blooded horses will not work with hot bloods. Also some times different people can pull things off because of the element of surprise. Those people just expect it to work and it baffles the horse into letting it work.

    And another thing to consider is how strong are your gates, if they won't hold up to squeezing then you have compounded the problem. All you need is for the hinges/gates to break and all of you will be in trouble.

    If you have the time, I would work with this colt in a stall, slowly and calmly, scratching him on the shoulder, and rubbing him with a lead rope coiled in your hand. Work up and down his neck toward his throatlatch, and back down, slowly moving until he stands nicely. Then do it on the other side. Do this as often as you can, two or so times a day. Let the rope dangle a bit longer on the second or third day. and just carry the halter over your shoulder, and make this a leather one, not nylon, and let him smell it, and rub him with it too.

    Begin laying the rope over his crest, not to catch him but to get used to the feel of it, and keep rubbing. Offer him a good rub, and start rubbing along his cheekbones, keep away from his mouth, and getting him used to being touched. Begin rubbing his poll, and down his throatlatch. Let the lead rope dangle longer, and when it lays over both sides of his neck, low on it, take the ropes both ends in one hand and gently pull him to you, then release, make this easy, and don't overdo it. Do this from both sides, and alternate with scratching, talking and grooming.

    Take the lead and move it up higher on his neck and rub up and down his mane, and along his throatlatch, and when he stands for it nicely, put a loop in it and put around muzzle, don't do this to control, just as something new and interesting. Pat him and go back to grooming, taking loop off,

    This will take several days of quiet handling, patting and rubbing, but each time you put rope on muzzle or neck, gently pull him to you, and release, do the same thing with the halter, the rubbing and putting near face.

    When all of this causes no alarm, then make a halter out of the lead rope, very quietly, up to poll, and under chin with loop, petting and talking, do not tighten or tie, just remove, and do again. Substitute the halter periodically, just don't get fingers in buckles, and don't bang buckles on skin or eyes.

    Also when you come up with halter come from underside of neck, not above him. Pay particular attention to poll and ears, rubbing and massaging them, work with rope makeshift halter, and move him back and forth with it gently looped, don't tie. The trick here is gentle, and easy, and if he acts up, you want him to be able to get away easily, with no fight.

    Always end with a treat, or extra words, and there at the last slowly put the halter on and then remove it several times, and then buckle it and unbuckle.

    This is the way that has worked for me when I have had no help, and had plenty of time, trick is don't lose patience.
    "If you listen to the horse, the horse will tell you what it wants to be." Dale Pugh
    "You can undo in five seconds, the training it took you five years to accomplish." Wyman E. Bennett

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    Senior Member+ Anti-Silence's Avatar
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    he's a paint colt. we don't have a stall. and we don't have extra gates for the gate method. he's still somewhat shy to being touched. he has had the rope draped over him. he's let me touch him with it. he even let me set the halter on his poll, behind his ears while he was grazing. but when we decided to halter him, the rope over his neck, he fought it. the other yearling we've halter broke, who is much bigger, i might add, never fought it, never pulled. but this guy does. we got his face in the halter too, a couple times. but the second he felt the strap cross the back of his head, to be buckled, he took off. luckily he's quite calm too, because his butt hit me, and he never kicked. it's just me and my mom, so things like this can be difficult.

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    When I got my colt he hadn't been touched...only saw people when they went to move his mom to the pasture and he just followed...

    I spent hours just hanging around his mom, brushing her, putting her halter on, leading her around, letting him come to me(so he thought it was HIS idea), putting my hand out for him to touch(and this was also after having to be "man-handled" by vets because he tore his lip just days after arriving at my house, so he thought of the halter as pain at the time).

    I messed with the other horses and my filly. He watched everything. It got to the point where I could pet his shoulder and back and slowly go up his neck. I got him used to letting me put my arms around his neck and giving him bear hugs.

    I brought the halter out with me(including his mom's) and messed with his mom and pet him while holding the halter and rubbing it on his shoulder, back and neck.

    Finally one day I put my arms around his neck(I was on his left and my right arm was on his right side over his back and around his neck) and I was able to quickly slip the halter over his nose and hold the crown pieces. He kinda jumped up and tried bolting off but I held onto the halter and quietly talked to him and got the halter buckled. I walked away after that. Several minutes later I went back out to him to love on him.

    I just read the last few lines of your last post. Sounds exactly like my colt. I almost got the halter on before he bolted the first time I tried. The second time I made sure to take a tight hold of the halter. Make sure you have your right arm over his back so he's between your arms, so when you get the nose on he's pretty much blocked in. Try to keep with him and talk quietly to him. And as soon as he calms down a little buckle up the halter as fast as possible.

    Good luck with him!
    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
    It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us...

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    How is he with you rubbing your hands all over his face and taking his head into your body and holding him there? I did that with my colt and I think it helped quite a bit.
    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
    It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us...

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    Senior Member+ Anti-Silence's Avatar
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    he's ok with me touching his face and head. but only me. he's very strange. the most curious of my horses. he'll climb in the horse trailer on his own... first one in... he'll walk right over. but once you move into him, he's gone. it's gotten to the point that i can touch him everywhere. pet the right side of his neck while i'm on his left side. as for holding on when he tries to leave, he is a yearling, and he has quite the acceleration and strength. i did hold on once... by accident. my had was caught in the halter. this resulted in me boucing off his rear and into another yearling's behind.

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    Senior Member darlingfordgirl's Avatar
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    I think its just a trust/respect thing only time can help-and lots of work. Not all horses are alike and what works for one isn't necessarily going to work for another.

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