Catching Advice? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-19-2009, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Catching Advice?

So I have this buckskin mare named Buttercup. She is an awesome contesting [barrels, poles, anything fast] mare, but she's a pain to catch...

We got her from an abusive home when she was 7 or 8 and now shes 11, but anytime we want to do anything with her we have to chase her around the pasture [literally] before we can even touch her.

She will run around for a couple of minuters and when she decides shes done she just stops and waits for you, then is a perfect angel once you have her.

Any ideas how to stop this..we've done everything from treats when she stops, to just catching her, walking her for a short time, then letting her go, to letting her out of the pasture to eat grass when we catch her and I'm out of ideas.

Last edited by HorseOfCourse; 10-19-2009 at 11:49 AM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-19-2009, 10:46 PM
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When you don't have to get the horse for anything, I would just go out in the field or where ever you have the horse and just sit down and let the horse just come up to you. And have treats handy. And do this everyday and when the horse comes up good,than go in and just stand (don't do anything but give treats) hopefully the horse will learn that coming up to you will be a reward.
horsecrazylady is offline  
post #3 of 8 Old 10-19-2009, 11:02 PM
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I would start with horse crazy lady's idea...and once she is willingly coming up to go back to your typical catching routine. This way she knows it good to be caught but if she continues to run even knowing this then you may try as fallows:

With the treats I wouldnt give them after she chooses to stop running...if she makes you chase her then dont give her treats till after the ride or the this that or whatever you end up doing lol

Now if she just stands and lets you catch her bring on the treats! lol then she will realize (hopefully) that she gets treats for just standing still and being caught lol

Hope that made sense!

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Pidge is offline  
post #4 of 8 Old 10-19-2009, 11:14 PM
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I would treat her as a completely un-broke filly fresh from the pasture.
Start by free lunging, not to much, just enough to get her blowing and then approach with a special treat (if she's dry lotted, grass, otherwise a fruit, cookie, candy, etc.).
Make her come to you, don't chase after her. The moment you give chase it becomes a game and her respect is diminished.

I would do this for two-three days. Free lunge, then offer a treat, make HER come, halter, and work as usual.

After getting her hooked on the work-n'-treat, approach (don't offer a treat or free lunge) the moment she starts going, keep her going. Free lunge a minimum of five minuets, then approach again, if she keeps going, keep her going. The moment she stands for haltering, give her a special treat.

The whole idea behind the process is to make running away uncomfortable, and standing for haltering comfortable. At the end of the training, you should be able to approach from anywhere and halter her without a problem.
I've halter broke a colt and a mule within 30 days (I train in between work and school) using this method and can approach my colt the pasture, paddock, or field, and halter him. I'm currently working a third colt with positive results also using this method.

These, of course, are unsocialized, wild colts that freak out when you give them a pat on the neck. With a older, more touchable, and somewhat catchable horse I suspect that the training will be much quicker.

Good luck!

Wait! I'll fix it....
twogeldings is offline  
post #5 of 8 Old 10-20-2009, 10:24 AM
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I do not agree with free-lunging once catching her, to me it sounds like she knows that when she's caught she's probably going to be worked, and by the sounds of what you do, worked hard.
Taking her out, then free-lunging her will prove that you are nothing but the work machine in her eyes.

Is she at your house? Or close by? Go out every day for an hour or two and just sit in the pasture. Ignore her and the other horses unless they come up to you, Then you can pet them. If she comes up to you, give her a treat, pet her, then go back to ignoring her. Reading a book or drawing is a great way to pass time while still being alert of what is going on around you.

I know SpiritHorse, if she pops in, can give you a great explination of the catching game. I do this with all my horses and it works wonders. When I rescued my mare you were lucky to get 10 feet from her, then she'd take off galloping. It took a while, with her probably 2-3 weeks of playing the catching game, but now when she seems me she canters to the gate, waiting there for me. I would try to explain it but I'm not good at explaining stuff like that
SavvyHearts is offline  
post #6 of 8 Old 10-20-2009, 10:29 AM
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I would go out ever day and give her treats works wonders for my guys!
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-20-2009, 10:43 AM
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But I will note on the side, you don't want to just become the treat person either. IMO there is no respect having that title at all.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-22-2009, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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She isn't at my house.. She's at my aunts and I don't get a chance to go our there much until the football season ends.
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