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Franklin Levinson's

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Halter Problems

Dear Mr. Levinson,

I have a yearling that I started spending time with her in the stall when she was weaned. I have read about the natural horsemanship and am trying the "non-resistance" training. This is my first to train myself and I consider myself pretty "green" as they say. I am taking my time and not pushing her. She was doing great, I got the halter on her after a few days. You could walk into her stall and she would come right to you and I could place the halter on without any problem. She was leading ok. We had only a hand full of sessions out of her stall. I have been able to get her into the round pen once and on the walker once and she did great. It has been around 3 weeks that I have not been able to do much with her. Now I walk into the stall with a halter or lead rope and she turns tail and goes to the opposite side. I can hold my hand out to her and she will come to me and let me rub and brush on her but the minute you move the halter she turns the other way. Any advise on what I have done wrong? I am trying to go back to square one but it seems as though it is taking a lot more time to get any progress. Your web site is very helpful. I have read and read and I'm just not sure what happened.

Thanks so much for any assistance. Lee

Hi Lee,

Horses habituate to something quickly. If the horse has learned it can intimidate you when you approach with a halter, it will. When you lose confidence in being the 'leader', the horse knows it and responds appropriately by fending for itself (exhibiting behavior you have described which is the horse becoming its own leader). To get back on track you need to spend more time with your horse handling it on the ground. Do not approach the horse when its rear is towards you, but rather swing the halter or lead at it just a bit and get it to face you. Only then approach slowly but confidently. Use a lot of care when in small spaces (stalls) with the horse. Be consistent, kind and as skillful as possible.

Sincerely, Franklin

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