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I Believe My Horse Is "Lying"
During The Bonder

This page deals with the horse who is giving you mixed signals in the bonder procedure.

He writes:


I’ve e-mailed Monica and she said to nag you. I have a mustang Stallion nearly three yrs old, have done the bonder and I get all the visual cues from him. When I turn and walk away he follows, but still not enough for me to halter or do any further work with him. Before trying the bonder, I could touch him, although he was skittish. I have not been able to get the halter on since he got it off the first time. My question is; Is he just lying to me or am I missing something? There is no question of him ‘fighting’ me for dominance, but I don’t seem to be getting any further.

Well, one thing about about Monica, she catches on fast. Gotta admire someone who'll travel all day through the SW just to get to one of your clinics intending to sleep in the cab of her truck all weekend.

I know that you did not mean literal lying. I know exactly what you're talking about. The horse appears to say, "Hey, I'm on the same page with ya, Dude," but won't get on the same paragraph.

A lot of folks are convinced that horses *do* lie from time to time. I just refuse to believe that. I personally feel they are the most brutally honest beings on earth and that they NEVER lie. It is just that we as humans identify horse motives for an action based on *our* actions and motives.

Let's eliminate another potential problem here ~ rope halters. Calm down now all you rope halter aficionados out there. Nothing against rope halters per se *IF* you have a horse that *WILL* halter. If you have one that won't halter, here's the problem with rope halters - they are almost always a two hand hugger operation. Not only that but when you hold a rope halter in one hand gravity and the inherent limpness in the rope turn it into a wall that must be physically pushed against to enter.

You also have to encircle the horse's head to bring the halter up and then reach under and around to flip over the tie end. If you have a formerly feral horse (and even if you just have a head-skittish one) it is almost an unreasonable request to expect horse to make that kind of leap in one step, i.e. the bonder. Make no mistake, an AWFUL LOT do but some don't.

A nylon halter has enough stiffness in it so that you can present an open "tunnel" with one hand for the horse to nose into.

When the horse is nylon haltering well, go to the rope if that is your preference.

When you are the point you're at you have to chunk the process down a little. You take it in steps.

Get a nylon halter with a cheek clip. Hold the halter in your hand and then put the horse through the bonder until it is giving you the signals you expect. Keep in mind at all times that there is always later. Don't overdo it to the point that either you or the horse has had enough. I'd say 45 minutes max.

When the horse follows, stop where you are and just stand beside it. Look off into space, talk to it, verbally or mentally, doing whatever you chose and just hanging out with it like a couple herd buds sucking up sunshine. Reach out and give it a caress. Try the halter holding hand and see just how close you can work the halter to its nose. Move nonchalantly like it's no big deal.

Graduate toward holding the nylon halter by the poll strap using your fingers to keep a round open "bucket" for it to stick its head in. Practice just slipping it up to his nose and then on it. Use advance and retreat. If his actions say, "Not sure," then back off a little. If you go beyond his tolerance point and he says, "Can't do it!" and leaves just ever so casually send him around a couple times in each direction as a reminder and them walk up to him and go at it again.

**ALL** you have to do with the nylon halter is simply get it over his ears. No need to worry about fastening it for this work. Everything is low-key.

The bonder is not getting the horse to follow. The bonder is for changing the horse's attitude. That change is what makes him follow, That change allows you to surpass your previous connection boundaries. Sometimes you have to go through those boundaries in a manner that doesn't arose too much attention.

Sometimes before you can do any further work with a horse you have to get it to where you can "be" with the horse.

Gelding often helps as well.

My best to you,

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