My father has always told me that the best way to catch a horse is to use grain. I am find out that you do not have to do this. I just recently bought a beautiful paint that I can just walk up and catch him. However I have another one that is very hard to catch and I do not know how to break him of this. Any suggestions please.
Whenever I hear those types of issues, it always brings me back to a colt I used to own. Cobalt was a pain in the behind! when I got him, for starters you could not get near him, and you couldnt halter him AND if you actually managed to get passed these 2 obstacles, you couldnt lead him because he knew if he pulled the rope out of your hand, he could take off.
I worked with him for 1 month, and by the time I was done with him, he came when called and would put his head in the halter himself. Here is what I did.
The key is to make your horse realize, that being caught is pretty awesome. So you will want to change his thinking on it. If he learns that being caught means awesomeness, then he will want to come to you to come hang out.
Find a buddy of his in the pasture who is easy to catch. Call them with grain and halter both of them(thats where you might have to do it from the other side of the good horse and sneak slowly a halter on) and feed grain right in the field they are in. Take both of them out and tie them somewhere, give a great groom, massage, more GRAIN(doesnt have to be much, just enough he gets the idea) and just let them enjoy life for 20-30 mins. Repeat for a few days(weeks if needed) until the difficult horse realizes that its pretty awesome. It only took my colt a few days of this.
Continue this, but slowly switch to only feeding grain once he's caught, to OUTSIDE the field they are in.
Slowly continue the routine with just the horse in question. No longer need to take his buddy, but continue with the groom, massage and grain.
Slowly continue WITHOUT the grain, with a good groom and a massage.
As you continue this, you can substitute the grain with every day living things you have to do with him.
I went thru this with a VERY LARGE colt who was extremely strong, that no one could catch. I will honestly say he was essentially wild. By the end of that month, he came when called, put his head in the halter and would come. Did not have to use treats, or anything to convince him to come.