Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Abused Horse Who Won't Trust Anymore

My mom has a BEAUTIFUL quarter horse who appears to have come from an abused background. Best guess is that he's about 8 years old. He has a scar on his face, almost in the shape of a 3 prong start. He won't let anyone near his ears, which makes me guess they used some sort of a clamp on them. This horse used to be a cutting horse, and likely received little love as he doesn't trust anyone. We can't put a halter on him (which he recently took off himself, the stinker!), much less anything else like a bridle or a saddle. He would be a beautiful ride if he would just trust us. We can't even get near him to brush him. When I have treats, I make him come to me . . . I back up a little and make him come forward a little more. He has learned that in order to get one, that he has to allow me to pet him. My hand cannot go beyond the front face. If I head to the sides (like I'd be trying to hook him up), then he flings his head back wildly like 'don't try it' . . . and sometimes bolts away (always to return, but still bolts). We have put up a riding ring, but it'd be nice to be able to get a hold of him to put him in there.

Any video resources or audio book recommendations would be greatly appreciated. My mom and I are more of the inexperienced type horse people, which I'm sure complicates the mending process. We've always been around easy horses who were trained well and who love and trust people. So this is a first. The second horse in the pen, also a quarter horse, is lovable and trusts us completely. I wish Duke (our problem child) could learn from the other, but I guess seeing isn't believing for horses. Thanks for any assistance you can provide.

Sincerely, Jodi

Hi Jodi,

I have written a lot about gaining the trust of a horse. Please review what is already in my archives within the help center of the website. You can play with him at liberty in a paddock by simply asking him to move around slowly at first so as not to make him uncomfortable. As he get compliant and beigns to stop and look at you a lot when you ask him to not move, give a treat. Over time with consistency and repitition you should be able to gain his trust. Never put more pressure on the horse than he can handle. Always stay below his fear level. This is how you develop trust, by asking for simple movement, slow movement is fine, and then giving a break when you get it. Rest is a great reward for a horse as they are naturally lazy and only want to stand around and eat most of the time. Rehabilitating an abused horse takes some skill, time and real effort. Again, please review what is on my website for gaining trust, headshy horses and more topics on what you are trying to do and the problems you are facing. Horses do learn from each other over time. A good example is a mare or older horse teaching the younger ones. Please review the shopping corral within my website as I have several training DVD's that would prove helpful to you. They are easily purchased thru the website shopping corral. There are many from other trainers out there as well. Good Luck and please keep me posted.

There is no quick fix here. Time, patience, consistency and skill are required.

Best Regards, Franklin

Look for: