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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Thatcher

Fearful and lacking trust. What is the difference?

I have had people tell me Nikki is fearful. Well, no, she is not! She doesn't run from you. She doesn't try to avoid you. She lacks trust, she also lacks confidence and there is a big difference! At least in my opinion of things.

A fearful or frightened horse won't let you near it. A fearful or frightened horse looks for every way to escape your pressure of existence around them. Most fearful and frightened horses, you can not get close to. Even 12 feet isn't far enough for these horses. A fearful and frightened horse will blow up, attack, hurt you or themselves to release you being anywhere near them.

A horse that lacks trust is unsure but tries. A horse that lacks trust might let you close or even 6 feet away and may or may not move their feet until you get them to understand it's okay, you can stand still for me to get close. A horse that lacks trust will snort softly asking if you are a friend or foe. A horse that lacks trust usually lacks confidence. There is plenty you can do to build confidence in your horse that lacks trust even if you can not touch them or catch them just yet. Maybe you can touch and catch they are difficult to catch or just no matter the amount of groundwork they have they are still unsure. It's called building a connection and a foundation of respect and a partnership.

Nikki has some uncertainty about some things. Like catching. Why? Someone may of not been nice every time they caught her. Maybe they only ever worked her, never just spent time with her. I don't know for certain.

Another uncertainty is a saddle pad and saddle. Why? I don't think she was worked with it enough. I know I certainly have not! I saddled that one time for the sales video. That's it! Why? I have been covering other aspects of her training! Like catching, getting her to lead better in areas she is not familiar with. Something I noticed when wanting to get photos of her under the Joshua Tree, she was mentally all over the place. Moving her ears, her feet, getting on top of me. So I am sorry ground safety is more important to me than getting on her back! Or worrying about a silly slight issues getting the saddle on her. You can saddle her easy if you use the right approach until she gets comfortable.

Groundwork is more important before getting on a horses back to be safe. With me being four months after surgery after getting this mare and working with her. Not knowing what she knows. It was far more important to me to find out what she knew and work on any holes.

I currently as of December 13, ten days healing from another surgery. I can not finish Nikki at this time. I have several more surgeries to come after this one...so... This girls all she needs is a little more time being comfortable with a saddle pad and saddle and someone above her.

I will say this again. There was NEVER a plan to sell this mare. That is also why I didn't blow through her training like some might think I should have. There is a process to training a horse, just like with any animal really.

If you get a scared dog or cat. You don't automatically throw yourself at it and grab the cat or dog try to hold it on your lap. Same principal with a scared horse. You don't put the scared animal in a stall and force your presence onto it by forcing it to allow you to touch it, halter it, and so on. You first and foremost allow the animal to start getting comfortable with you around it. Be that hanging out at the stall, in the stall. Once that is accomplished and the horse seems tolerant by trying to investigate. Go get a stick a string. Place that stick on the animals back, it will flee more than likely, once it stops remove the pressure. Keep doing this until the horse is no longer bothered by your actions. The next step would be to have the horse allow you to touch it all over with the stick and string. It's a process people! A process that some people want to skip. They rather FORCE the animal to comply. Where I want the animal to work with me. Specifically I do a lot of liberty training, which is why my Mule, Maximus is not as far along as he should be in training. I tried to rush things with him not long after I got him. I had a farrier come out to do his feet. He was okay with his fronts, not those back ones, but he was for me! This set is back to where Max stopped coming up to me. Where he take off trying to lead him to the round pen from his stall. It made him stop seaking my attention, calling for me. Walking up to me when I was in or out of his stall. He use to love butt scratches, this now scares him. So I just want people to understand my training isn't fast. I go with the pace of the animal. Not by my standards, ego will get you no where with an animal.

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