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Re: [RC] Fear of vet - Barbara McCrary

I, too, have a sensitive horse.  It took 9 months to win his trust and
affection, but now he's a love.  During a period of time when our regular
horseshoer was unavailable, I called in a substitute.  This man was abrupt
and rough and had no patience for my horse.  The horse kicked at the man, as
he will do when frightened.   The man was planning to tie up a front leg and
I told him "No".  He left in a big huff (at me), saying it looked like he
and I weren't going to get along.  I agreed.  He said it was too bad it
didn't work out.  I agreed, happily.  He stormed out of the yard and I was
smiling.  Later our kind and gentle and superb horseshoer returned, talked
to and soothed my sensitive horse, and now this horse is one of the easiest
to shoe.  He was 7 years old when I bought him and he had never needed shoes
in the sandy area he grew up in.  Some horses respond to correction, some
respond to patience and kindness and softness.  Mine is of the latter
variety.  He is soooooo smart!  I have taught him to position himself for
opening and closing gates, and now he has learned to position himself
exactly so (and stand still) by a large block of wood so I can mount easier.
Each time I clip his bridle path, he acts like he is terrified, but he's
allowed it before so I know he can do it.  I just chide him for being silly
and keep talking until he quits dodging.  Every time he meets something that
scares him, I keep telling him, "You can do it.  You can do it."  And he
comes to believe it.  I love his intelligence and his ease of learning.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Lysane Cree" <lysanec@xxxxxxxx>
To: <ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 7:35 AM
Subject: Re: [RC] Fear of vet

Hi Laurie,

I totally agree. Some horses are more sensitive and
need extra time and patience. I always had a feeling
she just needed to be given a chance because she's
great with me, but getting the message across to
others is not always so easy. But it seems that now
the vet got the point that he has to take his time
with her. Rushing her will get him nowhere and can be
I did make a mistake that day of *the incident* with
the vet last year to put the chain under her chin. I
have had to do a lot of work because of this - after
that incident she was scared of just hearing the chain
rattle through the halter rings. I always try to
address any fear she has of whatever object or thing.
Now she has improved 100% (horses can be so forgiving
of our idiot moments) and will let me rattle the chain
around through the halter rings and even place it
under her chin and she will stand quietly unconcerned.
Like anything its how you use it, and how gentle your
hands are. Obviously a man jerking full force on that
chain several times must have been excruciating.
I want to take her to a couple of shows this summer
and they require that the chain pass under the chin
and be attached to the side of the halter. I have been
working on her ground manners all along (without a
chain) and she backs and steps to the side and stops
very well. I am focusing on her working off my body
language as well so that the lead stays very loose.
Outside of these small training sessions, I never use
a chain. I wouldn't even use it at a show if it wasn't
required. She doesn't need it.
I am sure my filly will require more vet visits before
the vet can approach her without going through a whole
process first. In a way, he has to work it out with
her. The barn manager told me that when he first
approached her yesterday, my filly freaked out,
rearing up and jumping back. But he stayed close by
and let her smell him before trying to touch her.
After a few minutes she calmed down a little and he
was able to touch her, although she was still tense
and ready to jump. After a few more minutes of him
petting her and her checking him out, he was able to
give her the shot and then float her teeth. She only
raised her head when the needle went in and that was
it. Big difference.

Lysane and Mae West

From: "Laurie Durgin" <ladurgin@xxxxxxx>
                      Subject: RE: [RC]   [RC] Horse
with fear of vet

                      My mare who is very sensitive
and the kind you have to win trust with
                      had a
                      similiar occusrance right before
I got her. The lady who raised her
                      said the
                      farrier she had come to trim
smacked her with a tool when he did her.
                      that no one could touch her
feet. (she remembers well). We had to do
                      months of desentisizing her in
little bitty steps , and it still took
                      before she is "good" for the
farrier. She is fine now, but she was real
                      for the first  year then you
still have to be slow and careful and she
                      didn't like  one hind foot
picked up and held.
                        She is fine now but it has
taken years for her to be confortable.
                      horse after my fall, was shaking
the next time I started to dismount,
                      had to
                      do some calming down
repetetions for both of us.
                         Some horses you just can't
"yank and beat', they are more
                         FWIW, Lots of carrots (I call
it carrot/clicker training w/out the
                      clicker) help smooth things over
                         The vet /your friends could
do some approach and retreat with a
                      Then she won't associate
'strangers' with getting hurt. She is just
                      and doesn't trust enough to feel
others are going to take care of her
                      than she can herself.
                         I would never use a chain on
this horse. It causes pain, pain
                      her fear, and she knows she is
going to die, so she is trying to defend
                      herself. I'd make her move her
hindquarters away, but not with a chain
                      biting into her face.
                        Trust ,patience, firmness,
breaking things in ittty bitty steps,
                      'practicing' , helped my mare,
she may never be a plug, but she has
                      begun to
                      think first and listen to me.

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Re: [RC] Fear of vet, Lysane Cree