That was easier/faster than I anticipated, if you don’t count all the animal moving around that is always part of this sort of activity. First, I moved the goats and sheep to the small upper barn yard area to get the pesky people out of the way. Then I headed to the big pasture with my trusty sidekick (Morgan). The fields connect, from the pasture to the goat field to the front barn yard. With the goats and sheep tucked away, I opened the gates while Morgan haltered Zip and led her through.

Shortcake dutifully followed. And so did the donkeys.

Once we got everyone to the front barn yard, I took the donkeys back to the pasture. Then Morgan took Zip back to the pasture. Gates shut. Shortcake suddenly realized she was confined. It’s always cool to watch horses run–except, like, when you don’t want them to. Shortcake started doing her usual laps of avoidance around the front barn yard. I thought we were never going to get hold of her. I had hay and water set up for her in a stall in the barn. We needed to run her into the alleyway, except all she was doing was running laps around the barn yard, making fools of me and Morgan. Then, out of the blue, she ran into the alleyway–and into the stall. I slammed the stall door on her and didn’t even hang around for her to give me the evil eye.

Morgan had made dinner and I was hungry.

Now here’s the thing about Shortcake. She’s insane. She sees me coming, and there’s no way she’s letting me touch her, which is seriously annoying. But once she’s “under control” like she is now, she’s a different horse. She’s incredibly enjoyable. She’s calm, sweet, just a doll, easy to ride, and the most cooperative thing you could ever imagine. The impetus to get her stalled was that she needs a good grooming–she got into some burrs. But. Now that I’ve got her, I’m loathe to let her go right away. Normally, I don’t like to keep a horse stalled, but she’s not normal. I’m thinking about keeping her stalled for a little while, to give me a chance to work with her, ride her, enjoy her, befriend her. TOUCH HER. Any tips out there for making the most productive use of her time stalled to change her attitude?

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 22, 2012  

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9 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 10-22

    A treat every time she lets you touch her or every time you touch her. A particular sound that she associates with a treat. Pavlo… It actually works. Have been using it on my dogs for years. Just like a particular sound to let her know that she is doing something wrong. Usually short abrupt sounds work best for stop doing that! Crooning sounds for that’s good! Try it and let me know how it works out for you. If you can get everyone dealing with her on the same page it works wonderfully well!

  2. 10-22

    Horses are herd animals. Be her herd. And yes, treats work wonderfully. Be with her alot, do pleasant things, and spend time time time. (I know you have nothing else to do!) :lol:

  3. 10-22

    Congrats on getting her in a stall. I don’t have any advise except being with her sounds good. Treats are always good.

  4. 10-22

    Suzanne, is sending Shortcake to Mike the horse trainer an option? He did such a good job with Zip, I’ll bet he could straighten out Shortcake’s problem in just a short time.
    Does she like being in the stall or does she think it’s like being in jail? Will you stall her and Zip in the winter?

  5. 10-22

    She thinks she’s in jail, I’m sure!

    Sending her to the horse trainer might be an option in the future. I can’t afford it right now!

  6. 10-22

    When I had my horses, stall time was fun time (sort of) and at least for me. I loved the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my horses. This is your opportunity to pick out the front hooves then pick out the back. Braid the forelock then the tail. Wash the tail with a bucket of warm water. Wipe out her eyes and peer into her ears (touch her ears). Go back and lift up those legs again and pick out mystery goop.

    Give treats for good behavior.

    Back her up in the stall, ask her to step forward in the stall. Unbraid the braids and braid them again.
    Touch her, pat her, snuggle her neck and do it all over again.

    Give treats for good behavior. I use to make a nice red bran mash with warm water, apples, molasses and rasins for my horses in cold weather. They loved it.

    I’d keep her close to the barn (if you don’t have a paddock attached) and everyday, bring her in. Love her, touch her and keep her close. Repeat until she can’t wait to see you and runs for the stall door.
    Remember: Be consistant and change it up a little to keep her guessing. Just make sure each time is a good experience for her! – It would be good for Zip too!

  7. 10-22

    First, I suggest you get some books on natural horsemanship or spend some time on YouTube watching videos. But in the meantime I suggest not stalling for long periods of time, especially if she is not used to it. Like woolylamb said, horses are herd animals and you need to be a part of her herd. As herd animals they thrive on the company of their horse friend and do not typically enjoy long periods in confined spaces. For my horses extra time in there stalls causes more anxiety and makes them even more difficult to work with. I agree with MaryZ, if you have a smaller paddock or pasture close to the house/ barn turn her out in there. Then just spend time with her, sit on a bucket or the fence and read a book or something else that doesn’t demand anything from her. Let her come to you, feed her a treat if she does. Don’t touch her unless she touches you first and do everything in baby steps. She needs to be convinced that you are just the best 2 legged horse ever and you a so much fun to be around. Good luck.

  8. 10-22

    This is a very basic and well described – but sound way – to get where you want:


  9. 10-22

    I agree with not leaving Shortcake stalled for too long a time but I would sure feed her there everyday.Let her out and exercise her.
    The first book I started with was Monty Roberts A Real Horse Whisperer ( I hope I got the title right!)It is a good book with great hints. Pat Parelli has great videos out to watch and he makes horses fun. The are lots of great trainers out there sometimes you have to go through several to find the one that works for you. Good Luck and enjoy your horse!

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