Catching!!!!!!! - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 37 Old 07-18-2010, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
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My old horse was so awful to catch (and I didn't always just catch him to do work either). He thought that running around and being chased was a SUPER fun game! He would leap and whinny and bolt at me and then turn and run the other way, it was awful. So one day I went out into the field, he started his shenanigans and I started loving on the other three horses he was with, and completely ignored him. I brushed his friends and gave them treats and, lo and behold, guess who got curious enough to come and try to get his share of the treats and brushing. After that I always made nice with his pasture mates, and eventually the game had stopped because it became the "cool" thing to do to come and meet me at the gate. It was so much less stressful. Not everything works for every horse so you will just have to pick and choose. I would like to think that your horse will be better after a trainer, but I think that you should be prepared that you still might have that issue. Horses tend to not change their ways outside the ring even with a lot of training.
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post #32 of 37 Old 07-18-2010, 08:36 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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Hey all, I just had a couple of quick things to suggest, but there is already some very good information on this thread.

A hard-to-catch horse is NO fun...I have dealt with a few in my time, but luckily my new mare has been pretty good about it.

One thing though, once you TRY to catch your horse and she decides to run away or be difficult - DO NOT give up until you have caught her.

It might take hours, so go in with plenty of time, but if this horse learns just once that she can outsmart you and not be caught it can turn into a terrible long lasting habit!

After you have caught her (and you both may be exhausted and frustrated at this point) I would suggest simply taking her out of the pasture to give her some treats and groom her quickly and then put her back out (even if you had your heart set on going for a ride, I wouldn't, you both might have bad attitudes from the situation and the ride might just aggravate things). Repeat this daily as many times as it takes until things get easier.

I like to keep my horses guessing as well, by not just taking them out to work/ride them...I will take them out for grain, for time to eat grass, to be brushed, to practice loading in and out of the trailer, or just to go for a quick walk around the grounds. I think this makes it much easier to catch them all the time.

When you walk into the pasture to catch a horse, do so with purpose and don't already think in your mind that your horse is going to run away. Walk to them as matter-of-fact as possible. Talking to them to let them know you are there...if they start walking away - stop and tell them to 'whoa'. If they continue walking I will follow behind them slowly making sure that they see me whether they are looking left or right, make them think you are 'everywhere' and they might be a little more willing to give up quicker. Try not to push them into a trot. Eventually you will succeed and the more you do this the easier it should get!

Gaining trust and respect through lunging or other groundwork should be done to help you gain more control of your horse through only your presence (in the pasture), with or without the halter on, if your horse is used to listening to you and following your directions they might be more willing to be caught if that is what you are asking for.

Hope this helps, BEST of luck!

Robin and horse Deva

PEACE and LOVE to you all AND to all of your horses!!!!
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post #33 of 37 Old 07-27-2010, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
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My other horse Steppin runs to the gate as soon as he sees my truck pull up. But when I catch him I do the same thing as I do with Princess. Most of the time I do catch them just for treats. I will sit there for a hour petting, brushing, etc. with the other horses and Princess just goes away and does her own thing. If I can touch her she is pretty much caught because if I pet her she will follow me everywhere so I have been "catching" her with out the halter and putting the halter on when we get to the barn but there will be other people catching her and she doesn't follow other people so I want her to let people catch her with the halter when she is in the pasture.

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post #34 of 37 Old 07-27-2010, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Riverside, CA
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One of our geldings can be darn hard to catch...... I think it's because he used to get turned out and chased in the arena for exercise BUT he is very perceptive. If you go out just to scratch him or catch someone else, he will come right up to you, if you aren't in a hurry to go somewhere, he will usually let you catch him BUT if you are on a time schedule and have lessons, need to get to work or something like that, he ALWAYS knows and will lead you on a merry chase! Something in our body language betrays us........ We have a small breezeway area going out to the 2nd pasture with gates at either end and sometimes we'll just open the one end and he hasn't figured that one out yet so he'll run right on in there and be stuck which has worked out well but it is frustrating. At least he is finally over getting his fly mask on..... used to make me so frustrated to have him running circles around me, bucking and full of it and all I wanted to do was get that fly mask on and get to work on time! I was persistent though, late to work a couple times...... and now he doesn't see the fly mask as related to work and just keeps munching his breakfast. Phew! My other horses hang over the fence or when he's running around, they figure out very quickly who I'm after and will just stand there while he runs around. Goodluck!!

Riverside, CA
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post #35 of 37 Old 07-28-2010, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Perth, Western Australia
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Sorry to take over the thread, but I'm having the same kind of problem!

I've recently started leasing a gelding who has absolutely perfect ground manners and who is fine to actually "catch". He just stands there when you put the halter on and walks out of the paddock without any trouble. BUT if I'm standing at the gate and I call him to come to me, he just ignores me, which means I have to walk all the way over to him (he's usually munching grass at the far end) and then walk all the way back. His paddock is huge!

He's boarded at a place that is relatively far away, so if I go to see him I always ride as I only see him 3/4 times a week. I assume he associates me with having to work which is why he won't come to me. Or maybe we just haven't built up a very strong bond yet... I don't know. But I would like to not have to trudge across a wet paddock every time I want to bring him in.

So... does anyone have any suggestions on how I can teach him to come to me? :(

He knows when you're happy,
He knows when you're sad,

And he always knows when you have carrots.
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post #36 of 37 Old 07-28-2010, 12:03 PM
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I haven't read any of the replies however there are several methods. Every horse (and trainer) works differently so I like to keep a few tricks up my sleeve.

My first reaction is always: if she walks/trots/runs off you chase her. Be loud, try to use your body language to keep her separate from buddies so your not making a sport of chasing a herd of horses - because it wont work. You can typically out smart them and you jog around keeping the horse going with out having to RUN after a horse for 20 minutes. She'll eventually give in and lower her head/lick her lips/ask to stop/stop/come towards you etc.

You can move her to a smaller pen until she is trust-able at being caught.

If this doesn't work for whatever reason switch up her game. When she goes to walk off you turn and walk away. When she stops, come towards her, when she walks off you turn and walk away. Continue until you've got a horse who then wonders WHAT you are doing and they'll usually end up following you around because rather than chasing them your switching up the game.

There are many ways to train a horse to accept being caught, what ever you do - do not use bribery (no treats, grass, grain buckets) As you'll then become that parent who give the crying child a cookie or says "When I count to three you'd better come here or I'll...." but nothing happens when you get to three and they know it ;)
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post #37 of 37 Old 07-28-2010, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wild_spot View Post
I'm not big on 'chasing' - my horses are all much faster and fitter than me, and I can just see them having a ball and laughing at me trying to actually make them tired before I have a heart attack!

I prefer to 'work' my horses like a cow if they don't want to be caught. I become the cutting horse and my horse becomes the cow - I don't let the horse back to the herd, and I keep them where I want them by getting in front of the shoulder to turn them. I stick at a certain distance and don't move closer until they stop. So from maybe 5 metres away I will work them back and forth, with lots of changing direction. They usually get the idea prety quick and will stop and face up to you. When they do, I start to work toward them, but if they walk off, I just go back to working them.
This is pretty much what I do and it works like a charm.

Super Nova
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