can't catch my horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 03-11-2009, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: elkton, ky
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can't catch my horse

I am having a problem that somehow I'm making worse and not better. I have a horse that stands good for tacking, a little high spirited when riding but not to bad.

But he has two real bad problems. He will not stand still while being mounted or dismounted....this is a problem and he has left me standing more than once.

The other problem (and it's getting worse) He hates to be cought. I've tried food, treats, hugs, kisses....nothing seems to work. The only way I can catch him is to walk up on him while he is eating. Once I get the rope on him he's fine. When I catch him again I'm gonna leave the rope on him.

I have 3 other horses that I get along great with.....maybe this horse just don't like me.

thanks......tired of walking in Ky.
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post #2 of 30 Old 03-11-2009, 02:31 PM
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Have you tried hearding him? This is going out to pature with him and pushing him away from you. Not litterally pushing. Stay behind him at a safe distance in his periffial (sp?) vision and making getures moving him away from you and your other horses. If and when he stops and does not turn to you push him away again and again until he turns and walks up to you. Horses are naturally curious animals and he will eventually wonder what you want and come to you. This stems from the Join Up theroy. I have used it and it does work. Of course it is always good to reward him when he has been easy to halter. Hope this helps.

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post #3 of 30 Old 03-11-2009, 02:45 PM
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As far as him moving when you want to mount, I make it more difficult for him to move than to stand quietly. I lead myhorse up to the mounting block or whatever and go to mount. I will bring the left rein in slightly so his nose is tipped towards me and go to mount. If he begins to walk away, I give a "EH!" Which is my no! noise and move him back to where he is then try again. If he walks off again, I make him step away from me. I send energy towards his hind end (Either with my hand or with swinging a rope) and make him move his hind quarters. I will get him moving away from me and then when he is sick of moving, I let him stand. Usually, mine will drop his nose and I will give him a pat and try again. Eventually, he learns that he's not going to get out of work by walking away and that it's easier to just let you on.
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post #4 of 30 Old 03-11-2009, 02:48 PM
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I hope this doesnt come across as too negative.. but do you only take him out to ride him?

I see this happen all the time.. horses living in a big pasture with a few to many buddies, and the only time they see people its because we want something from them. Therefore, the horse sees a person and runs because they dont want to be worked.

If that is the case, it could be as simple as just taking him out more to do stuff for -him- not for -you- =) So he'll see you coming with the halter and try to run, and when you finally catch him, take him out and let him eat some sweet feed while you brush him... or just walk around with him... or find a patch of grass and hang out with him while he eats... then put him back =)

I made a post similar to this topic on a thread about catching a shy rescue horse:

Im really big on being around my horses when I have nothing to ask of them =) A lot of people who have non-rescue horses make the mistake of only going out to their horses if they want something (to ride, to worm/give shots, etc)... Just go out and be around her. Horses are curious little things... More often than not, when i've worked with an abused/neglected/beaten/never handled horse and IGNORED it outright... they would come up to me with this look on their face as if to say: "Hey bub, everyone else wants to touch me, brush me, lead me, vaccinate me... why don't you? Am I not good enough for ya?!" LOL

I wouldn't go as far as to say never catch her unless she wants you to... because I personally think that is giving a 1,500 lb animal a little too much "control" over ya =) I agree with the concept of "dont go out and trudge up to her, and grab her to give her shots" but I think the best way to approach this whole situation is:

Try to be around the barn at the same time every day. She wants consistency in her life... if you start to become that consistent thing, she will automatically be drawn to you because horses really enjoy someone who is consistent with them... Neglected horses need consistency the most!

Hang out with her, get her interested in you without you asking for anything from her (not even to lead her).

When she accepts you being near her in her paddock/stall/pasture start very small by just touching her. If you see her begin to shy away briskly (but not startlingly so) pull your hand back and take two steps backwards (also briskly). Miakoda was increadibly hateful of people when I got her.. but she LOVED playing the mirror game with me.. She would lean to take a step back as i approached her, so i quickly took 2 steps back and before she ever lifted her foot to move away from me, she had actually taken two steps TOWARDS me.. Horses are so awesome like that, LOL!

Then once she enjoys your touch, and your company, if she is kept out with a halter on, just clip a leadrope to her and stand there. Don't ask her to lead, just stand with her and pet her. then unclip the leadrope and leave. Don't dottle, dont try to pet her afterwards, just go.

Once she enjoys the touch, company, and is tolerant to the lead, take her out to do something she wants to do.. perhaps you can hide carrots around the barn and have her find them (Skippy! loves that!) or, just find a big patch of grass and let her munch away! Always, ALWAYS put her away happy!! =) Because that's what she'll remember the next time ya come out to get her ^_^

If at all possible, I'd really recommend stopping the food bribing, because then she may just view you as a food dispenser. You don't want a horse to come to you because you have food... because they aren't really coming to you, just to the food :) I understand that at certain times we all have bribed our horses (lol!) But a horse will respect ya more if you don't use food to grab 'em. Charity was a feral, wild little thing when I got her and i spent 15 minutes staring her down in the corner of my field to catch her. I was SO CLOSE to getting some feed, but i resisted, and now i have a better horse because of it!

The whole process will take a while, at LEAST a week of constantly working at it... so be patient! As someone above said, if you rush it you will erase ALL your progress. This is also much easier to do with your own horse on your own land... because where she is at now, someone else might trudge into her stall and grab her which may undo all the work you had done (it all depends on the horse)
Same basic principle, only you're showing your horse you want to enjoy his company ^.^

The Mirror Game works really well, I can't boost it enough. Charity was completely wild when i first got her and she picked up on this. She wanted to be the one to blow me off, and when i would be the one to leave her, she got all sorts of flustered, lol!

Something else that really helps is when you are done riding, clean him off and spend time with him. Don't just put him right back in the field while the sweat is still moist on him. Because all he will remember is the ride and the work. Always put your horse away happy! =) After grazing him or spending time with him he should be in a good mood, and happy to see you next time.

As far as mounting from the ground, try what spastic dove said... That's how I got Joey and Skippy! to not wander on me when trying to mount.

My little saying is this: Your relationship with your horse is split 50 50. 50% of the time your horse is showing you he will take care of you when you're in the saddle, the other 50% is you showing the horse you will take care of him on the ground.

When that relationship gets out of whack, we end up with horses that are pushy, mean, and unruly... or scared, flighty, and grumpy.

Again, I hope i didn't come off as mean ^___^ i didn't mean to!

-Skippy! The Wonder Horse!

Last edited by Skippy!; 03-11-2009 at 02:53 PM.
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post #5 of 30 Old 03-11-2009, 02:55 PM
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Skippy also has a great point.

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post #6 of 30 Old 03-11-2009, 04:35 PM
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You really need to make time with you enjoyable for him. If he is hard to catch that's a sign he doesn't want to be with you. I don't say that to be mean, I say it because it's something that needs to be noticed in order to change this. So how can you make him WANT to be with you? Where he meets you at the gate with this look of "Pick me!" on his face?

From your post it sounds like me might have anxiety/unconfidence issues. So when you do work with him do a lot of bonding and confidence building exercises to get him calm and relaxed. The Parelli 7 Games are a great tool.
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post #7 of 30 Old 03-11-2009, 04:51 PM
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Well, since you've tried all of the nice ways of catching your horse, you can try a not nice way. I did this with a pony I used to have, and it worked wonderfully.

Walk up to him slowly and quietly. Let him run away... stay patient with him. Do that a few times, and then get fed up. Walk up to him angrily and swing the rope at him. Make him run. Do that a few times. Then walking up to him slowly again. If he runs away again, chase him again. Eventually he'll be begging you to catch him.

For the dismounting... just don't get off of him until he stands still. I'm sure he wants to stop working and go back in his pasture, so don't let him have it until he stands still for a minute or two.

And finally, the mounting. This is what I did with my mare... I got on her normally, and when she walked off, I backed her up twice as far. Then I got on her again. If she walked off again, I backed her up, got off, and got back on. I continued doing that until she would stand still. Don't make him stand still for too long the first few times, and when you tell him he can go, let him walk or trot off on a loose rein.

Good luck : ]
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post #8 of 30 Old 03-11-2009, 04:53 PM
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Clouds has the same sort of idea as I was trying to explain to you. It is not mean it is just like hearding by the dominant horse. You do not have to touch him tho.

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post #9 of 30 Old 03-11-2009, 05:15 PM
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That's what would happen at our house if anyone thought for one minute they didn't want to caught. Those feet get movong and they don't stop until I say so.

Not allowing themselves to be caught is the height of rude! The only exception to the rule is an abused horse.
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post #10 of 30 Old 03-12-2009, 12:32 AM
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I will say that I haven't had much success with the herding/chasing method. When I try it with my mare she just gets more and more jazzed and will keep going until she's completely wiped. It just doesn't seem terribly productive (or practical when it's slippery and cold out) to me to do it in my case. With my mare I have found that going slow and giving her time to think about it actually works better. Also when she walks up to me or stays in place I'll sometimes just give her a treat and leave her be. I've had the best of luck with this method as I keep her guessing and she never knows if I'm going to take her in or just leave her alone.

Last edited by onetoomany; 03-12-2009 at 12:35 AM.
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