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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Fearful Colt

Dear Franklin:

On March 3rd of this year I purchased my first horse, a 1 1/2 year old Quarter Horse (Crockett). I spent the previous year reading as much as I could get my hands on about horse behavior, as I want to train my horse the natural way. I have been looking forward to the initial groundwork, as it is in my opinion, getting on my horses back is a gift that I need to earn. I purchased the stallion with intentions to have him gelded but learned he had not dropped both testicles so I had to take him in for Crypt orchid surgery. The first few days after I picked him up from his previous owner were spent at an animal hospital. I would also like to add on the day I picked him up from his previous owner he had a pretty nasty cut on his forehead. I asked the owner three times how he had gotten the cut but he would not answer me. I have my suspicions that the owner had gotten a little rough with the colt while trying to halter him. I hope I am wrong about that. So, his experience with humans over the last month has been less than desirable. He is also the second youngest horse in our pasture of five other horses so he is picked on regularly. He is very fearful of humans but I can tell he is willing to learn. I read one of your other reader's questions entitled "Skittish Colt" which matches my situation almost exactly but with the added issue of prior traumatic experiences.

I have a round pen, which I have been using while working with him. I feel I need to build his confidence level and was wondering what I can do to accomplish that and to help eliminate his fear of humans.

I would also be interested in talking with you on the phone when I have questions. Is there a fee for your consultation?

Thank you for your time. I love your website!!! Keep up the good work!
Sherri & Crockett

Hi Sherry,

Thanks for your email and your question. First off, trust is developed with horses by being consistently appropriate and respectful over time. Isn't that the same with humans as well? Just like a parent developing trust with a child; it is good, loving, wonderful guidance and consistent care over time that does it. There is no quick "trust pill" available. However, you can immediately begin to earn and develop the kind of relationship you want by showing respect to your horse. This means not coming into the horse's personal space without first connecting at a distance and then waiting for the horse to invite you into it's space. This invitation will look like curiosity from the horse towards you, relaxation in the horse's demeanor or the horse wanting to come to you. I never unconsciously approach a horse. Safety (first and foremost) dictates that I always be present and very aware of the horse€šs response to my proximity. Most humans just go and grab the horse or attempt to touch it without an invitation. That is rude and disrespectful. After initial training and touch desensitizing, I do not touch a horse too much. Generally, we over input horses with too much patting, rubbing, scratching and even verbal praise can be overdone. Praise and affection are important and wonderful. We all need that. However, I want my praising to mean something to the animal. If I always am talking to the horse, it gets desensitized to my voice and the same happens with touch. Make your communications mean something by not overdoing anything.

I like at liberty training as the horse is free and it becomes his idea to comply with requests. Besides I can teach a horse to respond to a variety of cues that way. Body language, verbal and intuitive communication come into play more when we touch less. It paves the way for these subtler forms of horse/human communication. Horses are psychic as well and when we humans get in tune to that, the communication gets to an even higher level. I find my relationship with horses even more profound when I begin to interact from intuition with them. It also help all other areas of my life as well when my communication gets very clear and from my inner voices rather than only the spoken word. Besides, it not so much what we say that matters, it's what we do and how we are.

Don't forget about just being with your horse without any agenda. More often than not we have an agenda with a horse. We want to ride or school them. We are "doing" with our horses a lot. There is a place of just "being" with our horses that is peaceful and quiet. Horses like peaceful and quiet and get a lot out of it. Done with their significant human, it deepens the bond and brings the horse and human even closer. Psychic communication happens better when we quiet our minds as well. I encourage folks who can understand to let being with horses be a meditation of sorts. Meditation calms and quiets our active minds as well as our bodies, inside and out. It helps us get "present" and really be in the "now". This is where life is lived and this is where the horse lives always. We humans are mentally either in the past or future and not "present" a lot. Please consider greeting your horse where it lives, in the NOW. This too helps develop trust and a deeper bond with your equine.

I am available for telephone coaching. It is my goal to assist humans in attaining the best and highest relationship with their horses possible. There is a coaching fee comparable to riding or piano lessons. Folks generally sign up for a series of 4 sessions (which comes with a discount). However, one session at a time is just fine. Mostly sessions are one hour. Half hour sessions may seem like plenty of time, but I have found through experience that it generally takes an hour to really make progress. With a series, people can get feedback as to why or why not something worked. They can have goals and attain them over time. This is why videos are limited in their effectiveness. Somehow the techniques shown don't quite seem to work they way they are portrayed in the video and folks don't have a clue as to why. Additionally, I am available to travel to present seminars.

Anyway, I hope I have been able to provide some useful suggestions. Let me know if I can be of additional assistance. Thanks again for your contact. I extend Blessings to you and Crockett for a wonderful relationship and a terrific future together.

Sincerely, Franklin

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