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3 year old mustang that won't let me halter him

I got a mustang back in September as a 2 year old. He did not have a halter on. I have tried join-up with not great success. This is my fault because I have only watched the videos.

I can rub him on both sides, most of the time, from head to middle of his back and down his front legs. I am doing advance and retreat. His MO is to go away first and then come over.

I need advice as to how I can get a halter on him so I can start ground work. I did not have a round pen but now I do. 

Gera Brown
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Hi Gera. Welcome to the Uni. You do not yet have any accreditations so I take it you are new here. PLEASE don't just watch videos, STUDY THEM. This is a university after all. Watch the lesson sequences over & over. After each lesson take the 4 part quiz to earn your accreditation for each one. There are sequences of lessons specifically on haltering wild mustangs but judging from your description you have already made huge inroads into gaining this horses trust. There is a recent post about a horse called Mijo where Bud & I have shared our experience with herd youngsters. Much of what we have said there is relevant to your situation. Specifically for your guy, you need a short, soft piece of rope, maximum 3 feet long. Start by gently rubbing his neck with it in your hand but not touching him with it. Remember you needs to work equally on both sides of the horse. If he wants to sniff it or bit it let him. Keep the rope looped into your hand & always on the same side of him as you are - otherwise you can cause him to blast over the top of you. Keep sessions really short. Stop at his first signs of acceptance & relaxation on both sides, no matter how small & be really generous with your praise - scratching & rubbing with your rope free hand whilst keeping the rope behind you or tucked into your waistband or belt. Short sessions do not necessarily mean only 1 a day. Give him some time to himself & revisit the rope lesson. Incrementally progress to rubbing with the rope on his skin but until he shows significant acceptance do not attempt looping it up & over his neck, for the aforementioned blasting over the top of you reason. Having quietly & calmly worked the rope all over each side of his neck individually, always allowing him to move off if he feels he needs to, you can progress to flopping a couple of inches over his mane for 3 seconds, release & praise. Repeat, gradually working along his whole neck. Always bear in mind the importance of correct breathing & body language at all times & allowing him to walk off a few steps if he needs to. This advance & retreat for the horse is important as it allows him to feel he can leave, calmly, which in turn leads him to feel safer in staying with you. You now need a slightly longer rope. It won't smell the same so show it to him & reprise each side of neck rubbing - this should be a fairly quick acceptance. Once he is relaxed with the rope at an equal length over his neck you can close the loop around his neck with your hand, loosely. Hold for a second or more & release. Repeat, repeat, repeat until he's really relaxed. Then introduce a simple halter/head collar on its own - no rope. Show it to him like the rope & progress your work rubbing it on him, working incrementally towards holding it around his neck exactly as you have done with the simple ropes. Then rub his chin & work towards gently sliding it repeated up his nose & holding it in place so you can finally fasten it with his full acceptance. All this work will have a secondary benefit - he will be beginning to realise you are maybe someone to be trusted so it's worth the effort for the safety of you both & your future partnership. Once you have the halter on, remove it. Your patience in achieving this goal will give him the confidence to allow you to come back, catch him & teach him to lead in later lessons - give horses a choice. Leaving a halter on unsupervised runs the risk of the horse getting it caught up & injuring itself but the most dangerous aspect is the human can be tempted to just grab the halter instead of approaching the horse & mutually agreeing to work together. That might save you some little time now but you will probably end up with a spooked, frightened horse which will keep just far enough away from you that you can't grab him & then you've opened up a whole new set of problems for yourself. Good luck & keep us updated on how you get on. We are here to help you so don't feel alone. Cheers, Jo.
Hi Jo,
I took your advice and looked at the Mijo thread. It was very helpful. I feel I should give everyone a little more detail on my guy, El Rito Negro, or Rito for short.
He was culled from a herd of mustangs in the El Rito ranger district of northern New Mexico. From there he and 25 others were moved to a holding facility in Bloomfield, NM. while there he was freeze branded and gelded. That was in February of 2017 as a 2 year old.
In September of 2017 he was brought with one other slightly older gelding from his herd and an 8 and 1/2 year old, now gelded, mustang from a different HMA back to the Tres Piedras,NM ranger station. 
When I went to pick him up it was mentioned that Bloomfield had trimmed his hooves before sending him back north. This seemed odd to me so I contacted Bloomfield and asked how this was accomplished.
I was very nonchalantly told that they put him in a squeeze chute, turn him on his side, the floor falls open and someone grabs his feet and trims them. I then understood why he was so afraid of people. 
It has taken me months to get to the left side where his freeze brand is and I'm amazed that I can now run my hands down his front legs, although I have not tried to lift them up yet.
I have him in a small area and he can interact with my 15 year old mare across the fence. My back area is about an acre of enclosed dry lot that has pinõn trees. 
After about 3 months I felt that he was getting depressed in his small area and I started letting him in the big area with my mare.I do feed them in their respective areas and only let him in with my mare when I am around. At night he is always on his side. I'm not sure if that is good or bad to do, but it seemed that when I initially did that it instilled more trust in him towards me.
I guess we are doing pretty good and that most of my anxiety comes from not wanting to ruin him with my lack of knowledge. I found that the breathing works wonders and as soon as I started that he was more confident to move towards me.
I tend to be high energy even when I think I am being really calm, so I know this is something I need to be aware of at all times. I work 4 days a week and sometimes beat myself up because I don't have more time to spend with him, but I am gleaning from your advice that small amounts of time are what a young horse does best with.
I thought because I was at my mares birth that I knew something about training young horses but have learned from Rito, that the ones born in the wild are a quite different animal.
Thanks and please feel free to give me any advice and knowledge you have to offer. Know that it is greatly appreciated.
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Hi Gera. All I know about wild mustangs I've learned from Monty. There is a theme throughout his work with all horses & when it comes to mustangs that still applies although more, much more, of everything is needed. More time, more patience, more awareness & a more incremental approach. In all honesty I have never touched, let alone dealt with, an actual mustang. However, I have been successful with almost totally untouched horses so I hope I can help you with Rito in some small way at least. When horses meet for the first time, if there's going to be trouble it usually manifests itself in the first few minutes. If Rito has been in beside your mare a few times without incident then he's probably accepted her as lead mare. He was gelded some months ago now so that will have affected his hormone levels. Work towards them being together as she will influence his perception of his environment & his attitude towards you. She is another tool for you to use in gaining his trust. After all, she maybe lonely too. Cheers, Jo.