Reintroducing the Halter to the Fearful and Defensive Horse

For those who have been following Tulip's journey... and as a recap for those who are unfamiliar with her story. She was sold as an "Advanced Beginner" horse via sales video. After being shipped across the country, it took her new owner two hours to catch her... a year later they were stuck in relatively the same place and she was basically untouchable.
This is the first day of week three. If you're interested in week one, click here , and week two, click here , and now the first time I'm re-introducing the halter. She has massive physical scarring and trauma. Serious head shy-ness. So a lot of what I do with her in the videos is based on the very narrow window of opportunity I have to help and offer her a different human experience from what she expects.
Each of the videos is not ideal. It is a glimpse into the beginning of the Conversations and journey of "what it takes" to help a horse like this. I have no agenda. No "we have to..." And, no "circus act." If I were to "drive, make, force a horse like this... she'd blow right through the fence out of fear. The only goal is to reawaken her curiosity to replace the fear and defensiveness.

Adaptability in Horses and Humans

People and horses get stuck in a mental/physical rut as to the quality and intention of the Conversations and interactions with their horses. 

Tulip Week Two: Re-Educating the Untouchable Horse- Alternative Horsemanship

Tulip was bought off a sales video as an Advanced Beginner horse. The new owner quickly realized the mare had many fear issues. Haltering the first time took them two hours. Last week Tulip arrived and I couldn't get too close or touch her. You can find her sales video and last week's session here * This is a glimpse into what happened during week two.

Making Peace Along the Horsemanship Journey by Alternative Horsemanship ...

Misconceptions about the Horse's Headset

Often I talk about what I call "the Conversation" with the horse. This applies throughout any interaction with the horse. 

Horses and the Round Pen- How to not weaponize it

 There was an article on anti-round pen usage... Here is my perspective/response:

Horsemanship- The Detriment of "I want"

 Has the urgency of "I want" limited Quality in your equine partnership? If the priority is, "I want," how available are you to hear, acknowledge, and address the horse?

Horses: The Sales Pitch vs Reality- Horse buying gone wrong

We didn't capture Day 1 unfortunately, which means you don't have the severity of her flee or defensiveness as a reference, or what it took to just get her halter off.
I wanted to show how hard she'd be triggered but had to choose between triggering that for the viewer's sake, and if I did, what I would be teaching her about future experiences with me. For her sake, I chose the "boring" course.
Some studies recently said humans only have a few seconds longer attention span than goldfish.
I find a lot of horse videos are dramatic, fast-paced, high intensity to keep viewers engaged. What I'm sharing is about as opposite from that as you could get.
I'll be doing a detailed breakdown in an online course with more footage and me doing voice-over teaching explaining the communication, her behaviors, how to influence a change in her thoughts and let go of her initial flee, avoidance, defensiveness, and fear replacing it with curiosity and a willingness to try.
It is a 20-minute video clip. Use it as an opportunity for self-reflection. Many people watch horse videos inserting their own emotional filter. Perhaps watch as an observer? Notice if you anticipate her behaviors as you watch? Imagine if you were there if you'd "do or want more"?
In case you missed the original post about here:
The sales pitch said this:
Tulip is a super fancy gorgeous buckskin quarter horse mare that stands 15.1 hands tall and has as much eye appeal as you could ever want in a horse. She is a 11 year old AQHA mare, she has been used for play days, 4-H, barrels and poles at the WSR a barrel races, And she has also been trail ridden extensively, she has a super good neck rein, walk trot lopes around extremely nice. She is good to catch, good for the Ferrier, loads and unloads good, good with other horses, Stands tied, Tulip does have one vice, She really doesn’t like her ears messed with, at some point in time someone must’ve rough handled her ears and now until she trusts you she does not like them messed with much.
Barn Name: Tulip
DOB- 11 years old
Height- 15.1 Hands
Color- Buckskin
Gender- Mare
Price- $5000
Rider- Advanced Beginner & Up
Barrels & Poles
Open Shows
Trail Riding
"I think you would really like her she is a super broke super fun Mare that is 100% safe she only has one little quirk that she doesn’t like her ears messed with but isn’t bad about it someone at some point must’ve been very rough with her ears and now until she can trust you she is a little bit worried about it but extremely sweet and very easy to ride and very broke."
She was shipped across the country and delivered. It took her unsuspecting new owner two hours to get a halter on. Couldn't touch, tie, or trailer. The one riding attempt the horse started running backward at full speed.
She's had her a year and can do nothing other than catching her being very, very careful.
Here's my first session assessment:
Massive deep scarring in between her chest muscles as if impaled by something like a t-post, with random divets of missing flesh throughout her body, all healed. She's completely sound.
Atrophy and nerve damage to the left side of her face with trauma to the eye which is set deeper.
Any movement with "intention" towards her, she's fearfully running.
Raise your arms, horses in pasture move, trucks on the road slowly going past, she's running.
One tight, trembling, fearful horse. This isn’t just a case of bad training, but true trauma.
I got her to mentally acknowledge me and "lead" without the rope attached. Then it took about 10 minutes to get her to accept my hand anywhere in the proximity of her head to attach the rope to the halter.
After doing so, she was quivering, in her muzzle and shaking in her body. It was 85 degrees out.
As soon as the rope was attached, she was mentally gone, and physically locked up and braced in her body. As in hyperventilating in her breathing, hard severe steps, inflated neck, and torso. I touched her neck with a finger and she bolted sideways as if touching an electric fence.
I moved her to a temporary small area where I can work with her to start to build trust. Then I needed to get the halter off. It took close to 20 minutes for her not to thrash her head away, get ready to run off, or go flying backward.
One of my biggest peeves in the equine industry is how many professionals will lead on their clients promising blue sky potential. I'm quite the opposite because I think people need a realistic perspective to not be hopeful about how very much it will take to help a horse like this progress and recover. That way growth is appreciated and recognized without an end agenda overshadowing true, long-term changes and healing in the equine.
But these scenarios truly make me angry. Another website selling "pretty" horses that could get someone killed. I'm frustrated for both the horses and unsuspecting owners.

Horsemanship: Not being distracted by the dramatic behaviors

Why do I live this lifestyle and commit myself to this type of unrelenting,  physically demanding, challenging work?

For moments like this.

Communicating with Horses Building a Foundation in your Horsemanship

Penny Lane's Foundation

She went from running over people, double barrel kicking, imposing herself spatially, no concept of softening, following, or yielding to either physical or spatial pressure, and now has been learning how to:

Horse Herd Dynamics- Equine Behavior

 Herd Dynamics 

There is a continuous rotation of horses here on the farm as equines arrive from all parts of the country staying various lengths of time depending on their individual needs in their re-education and often rehabilitation. 

Round Pen Conversations with the Young Horse by Alternative Horsemanship

Penny Lane was incredibly pushy and would literally run over the top of you.

Here is my version of how a round pen is a safe place for thoughtful Conversations with the horse.

It is about gaining mental availability in the horse to create physical softness.

If the Communication from the human isn't specific and clear, the pen often creates flee and defensiveness in the horse.

This can be a safe environment for the horse to learn how to acknowledge and check-in with the human, let go of distractions, learn how to search for what is being asked of them, and to keep trying even if they had a different idea. for The Remote Horse Coach video learning opportunities.

#alternativeHorsemanship #RemoteHorseCoach #horsemanship

Horseback Riding: Directing the Horse's Thought vs. Making him Physically Comply

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey shares a brief clip of riding Hjalmar the Fjord discussing the difference in directing the horse's thought vs. making him physically comply.

Leading the young Horse with Clarity and Quality by Alternative Horsemanship

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares a brief clip of her working with this 2-year-old Cleveland Bay mare who had a history of bolting and Kicking. Sam prioritizes first getting the horse's mind, then asking for physical movement. Everything in the Communication with the horse is a preface for Quality future interactions. The first few sessions with this horse, Sam didn't even catch her as the young mare had no concept of personal space and was defensive towards pressure. Instead, she was worked with loose in the pasture to give her space and time to process and become mentally available.

Commonality in Conversations with Horses- it isn’t about Task Fixation


One of the themes of recent is discussing a positive alternative vs. a critique.