Serious Help Needed

sharons star

New Member
Mar 19, 2007
I have recently rescued a appoloosa x newforest 4yr old that was bought at beeston by someone else. She coulld'nt get near him for a week in the stable. I went along and he joined up with me, the problem with him was all too clear. When he saw the hand he was terrified he would try to kick etc. I took him rather then the poor bugger end up in the abbatoir.
He is now in a paddock with a mare who he feels quite secure with. He wouldn't eat or drink out of a coloured bucket at first but now will. We have made a little progress with him in a few fews but he is still terrified. He will come to you but as soon as that hand comes out he turns his bum on you.
I think its not rocket science to understand that he has had some severe beatings. We have to be very quiet around him and he was sedated to have his dreadfully overgrown feet trimmed.
What I need now is all the help and advice you experts in this field can offer. He deserves a huge chance because humans to him are cruel horrible people but the one who has feed is not so bad until its gone!
All help appreciated photos to follow


Oh gosh what a lovely thing you have done and for him to go to such a good home.I think the main thing here is patience, I don't think there is a quick fix. I would highly reccomend ntural horsemanship, but first you need just to be able to touch him. It just takes time and patience (in my opinion), good luck


Field of Foalies :)
Apr 4, 2004
Watten, Caithness
Visit site
Just sit with him. Be in the field with him and eventually he will learn you are not a threat. A hands off approach will be less threatening initially.

Also have you tried giving a really tasty hard feed by hand. I have just bought a yearling and a foal who is still with his mum. Mum is completely wild as she has only ever been used as a brood mare but after 3 days of the foal and yearling eating out of the bucket as I was holding it she got curious. She now eats happily out of the bucket like the others and even nickers when she sees me now :) And it's only been 6 weeks!

EDIT - can't wait to see the pictures! Well done you :)


New Member
Jul 12, 2007
Well done for giving this horse another chance. Fingers' crossed you can win him round.

Ditto L34. You may need to take a chair and a good book into the field and just sit and read. IGNORE him even if he comes and sniffs you! After a few days try having the bucket of feed on your lap. Then hold the bucket with your hands on the top rim. DONT try and touch him, let him do all the touching.

It will be a long process but you will get there eventually.

I have heard this process done using water - ie there is none in the field so YOU are the supply. but it is a very tying way of doing it cos you need to go very regularly to the field.


so long as you're not planning on doing too much work with him (obviously his feed need seeing too), but for the moment, take a chair and a book into his feild, and sit.... read.... drink your drink... etc.. and allow him to come to you.... when he does, very slowly see if he will let you trickle his leg... stay away from his face, neck area as this is where a predator will immediatly go for... and as time goes on, gradually work your way up... let him learn that he must accept your touch, and when he does, you must in return remove your hand... timing is important... you keep your hand on, till he stops moving around, you remove your hand the minute he stops.... it will take time.... if he's being difficult with your hand, get a false hand (stuffed glove on a stick) if he kicks that, it's not a big deal, if he kicked you, he could do damage..

I keep saying this, but check out Kelly Marks RA's for advice... they can give advice over the phone or come out and help.

New Member
Jun 24, 2008
In the woods...

Well done to you. I admire you and I wish you all the luck.

I totally agree with the above posters. Be with him (of course at first at a distance) all the time, so it's no big deal to him, so your always hanging around somewhere.

And then time will allow you to increase the distance etc, just takes things slowly and at his speed. He will let you know what he feels comfortable with and what he doesn't.

Goodluck and updates are a


Active Member
Dec 18, 2007
Bournemouth, Dorset
Lots of good advice already - its going to be a long, slow journey :rolleyes:

If it is specifically 'hands' that set him off, once he is OK with you being in his space and moving around you etc, you could start friendly game with a stuffed glove on a stick :D Maybe even leave a few lying around for him to sniff at in his own time - might help to start desensitising him?


George and Dusty (Red)
Jul 11, 2008
georgia (america)
time is a big thing with rescued horses time and ALOT of patience i agreee with the idea of having a treat in your hand to offer and the just sitting with him if he comes in with the mare maybe he will see you handling her and calm down a bit but like i said time and patience in the end knowing all your hard work made an amazing horse is an excellent pay off and makes all the bumps and bruises and bites worth it


New Member
Sep 28, 2005
Take a lot of time, and don't work on the thing that scares him would be my advice. It's sort of like the Mark Rashid approach - did you read his books ? There's one where the horse can't be tied. So they don't tie her. They just stand her in line with the others who are tied, and don't tie her. She gets used to the people and the routine, and then one day someone forgets and ties her and she's fine.

I had the same deal with my joePony - he couldn't have anything taken over the front of his head. You couldn't put a bridle on him, or reins over the head for leading ... so for 6 months we didn't really focus our work on that. Instead we built up trust in all sorts of ways - he was under saddle a good 6 months before we ever put a bridle on him, and when he finally told us he was ok, he really was.

I guess though, that never touching him by hand is going to be a lot more problematic ! I think you'll do fine by not forcing the issue, but perhaps do ten minute sessions a couple of times a day, where you work with him in an enclosed area, just getting as close as he feels comfortable, and the retreating, over and over again. Just try to push on his comfort zone just a little bit - not enough that he chooses to leave.... and never try to touch him.


New Member
Apr 11, 2008
Patience patience n more patience:)

We got my son a pony which was going to be sent to the meat market if he wasnt sold and to be honest he is a lil bugga, 8mths have past and he is now trusting us, but he use to turn his bum to you at any chance possiable, we use to think he had been tormented or hurt but after tracing his previous owners we really dnt think this is the case. Horses,ponys are very inteligant and when they realise you arnt goin to be threatened by them and nasty towards them what ever they do they will learn. I really think that when you start to have a bond you will be able to progress more. The lady who shortly had the pony b4 we got him done joinup with him but in my opion it made him worse,because he learned to run around you and then bolt at you....::eek:
But if you start natural horsemanship with your horse and carry it on it should be ok as you will learn together.


New Member
Aug 2, 2009
hi ya ...just a thought are you able to get a lead rope on him/her?

approach and re treat works wonders,

i recently rescued a horse from france who was petrified of his own shadow, he would go into the stable and whenever someone walked past he would make himself as small as possible in the corner of his stable, it was so sad to watch, so plan A was to go in the stable, not look at him ( which seemed to make him worse ) stand there, walk tall up to him, ( first time i did it he ran round that stable like a loony ) so every time he moved i stopped, eventually he just stood there, i put my hand out touched his neck and walked out the stable, his facial expression was a picture, he couldnt work out why this predator had touched him and then walked away ... 20 mins later id do the same again ... this went on for 2 days solid, by the end of the 2 days he wasnt moving when i walked in, he just stood there, try and make it his/her idea to come to you not the other way round, pressure isnt a good thing to a horse, as far as he is concerned he has been invited to a BBQ and he IS the main course.... i agree with everyone when they say patience is the key here, but when finally that trust comes its wonderful, my little rescue 2 months on would run to me in the field, he would call to me from his stable, and he wanted to be with me ..... so i say APPROACH and RE TREAT

you have to think from your horses point of view predator attacks and then walks away!!!!!! :D
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