Hard to catch horse - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 01-31-2009, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hard to catch horse

Hi Folks!
I am new to this forum but I have been a horse owner for four years now.
My mare and I have come a long way BUT I have an awful time catching this horse when she is turned out with other horses. Very frustrating, to say the least. I am looking for some help. Thanks. Sunshine
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-31-2009, 10:57 PM
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Hi Sunshine,

Make sure you're a Good Thing for your horse. Positively reinforce(reward) her for being with you, with treats, scratchies, games, whatever she really likes. Spend time with her just hanging out. Do much more Good Stuff with her than Bad(in her eyes) and make sure whenever you 'catch' her, it's all good.

Make the Wrong Thing difficult & the Right Thing easy. To make it easier for you, start off in a small paddock. Call her, your bodylanguage relaxed & inviting. If/when she ignores you or moves away, then focus strongly on her hind quarters(that you want facing away from you), use energetic bodylanguage & start to go after her. Whenever she's moving away from you, keep the pressure on.

Watch her body language closely, for the smallest signs she's thinking of stopping or approaching you(or to begin with, just interested to know what on earth you're up to!). When she points her ear at you, hesitates, turns to look at you, whatever, stop in your tracks, relax your bodylanguage & turn away(maybe even walk away). If she approaches you then, great! Just keep relaxed & looking away & let her come. If she doesn't, after a few seconds, turn & invite her to you again. Repeat the process until she learns that all she has to do is give you her attention to make you stop chasing her. Repeat the process until she learns to come to you.

When you get her to approach you, make sure you have an Extra Good Reward(pieces of carrot, perhaps) to give her, then walk away. Repeat the process until this is reliable before giving her a neck rub or such when she comes. Use the halter to rub her neck. Use approach & retreat if she's nervous about it. When she first allows you to put it around her neck, give her an Extra Good Treat and walk away. Repeat this process until she's reliably confident about approaching you & putting her halter on. Once haltered & caught, make sure you only do nice stuff with her for a few minutes at least every time.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-31-2009, 11:04 PM
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What worked for me was to keep the horse moving.

Take a longe whip out w/ you if you need it, I didn't need it though. When Blue would run from me, I'd keep my cool and let him run. Once he stopped, I'd move towards him, if he ran, I'd let him. The key is to not give them time to rest and not give in. The first few times it took about 30 minutes to catch him. Everytime he stopped I'd walk towards him and if he ran, I let him. Finally he would stop and turn towards me and that's when I knew he was done. He would stand and wait for me to come to him. You do that each time you go to catch her and eventually she won't run. It takes a while. Seems like it took 2 weeks for Blue to get the picture and every once in a while he pulls a stunt and it takes 10 minutes to get him. But for the most part, it worked.

Other people have said you can take a hard to catch horse and put it in a paddock w/ alpha horses so it gets picked on all the time and will want to come to you but... sounds kind of mean... I do know it works but... kind of makes me sad!

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-01-2009, 05:52 PM
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For me, my ponies have learned that when I crinkle a candy wrapper, that they are getting a treat. So they come running faster than bullets to get the peppermint, and I have never had a problem since!

I love Alexis, Bindi and Maggie!
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-08-2009, 08:42 PM
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:) All good answers. A mare I had was very tricky to catch, and I did exactly as Loosie did. Once I had that pattern going on, every time I went out to that pasture I'd catch her, give her a treat, then let her go. So that she associated the halter with a treat, not a bad experience.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-08-2009, 10:07 PM
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I agree with every body else. As long as she considers coming to you in the field and letting you catch her with something good she shouldn't hesitate any more. I find the 'join up' very well rewarding! I would defiantly advise anybody to try it. Good luck

:~: A Horse Is An Angel Without Wings :~:
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-09-2009, 05:46 PM
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my mare was abused when I bought her. It took me a year to earn her trust. The best thing that happened was an injury where I had to stall her. She learned to trust me for everything. I can leave the halter off her now. All I need is a treat in hand and she's caught. She loves getting her ears scratched now. She used to shy.

Last edited by elliotthorse; 02-09-2009 at 05:48 PM.
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-09-2009, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elliotthorse View Post
my mare was abused when I bought her. It took me a year to earn her trust. The best thing that happened was an injury where I had to stall her. She learned to trust me for everything. I can leave the halter off her now. All I need is a treat in hand and she's caught. She loves getting her ears scratched now. She used to shy.
Im glad you managed to get a relationship with your mare. :o)

:~: A Horse Is An Angel Without Wings :~:
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-16-2009, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koomy56 View Post
:) All good answers. A mare I had was very tricky to catch, and I did exactly as Loosie did. Once I had that pattern going on, every time I went out to that pasture I'd catch her, give her a treat, then let her go. So that she associated the halter with a treat, not a bad experience.
I've had positive results with this as well. Whatever it is your mare enjoys - grain, apples, carrots, etc. let her associate those yummy goodies with being caught, after you get her to the point where it doesn't take you 30 minutes to halter her. Then you should slowly be able to wean her off the treats, that is, if you want to.

Rachel

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post #10 of 11 Old 05-16-2009, 02:09 PM
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I do what FarmPony does; horses are 'lazy' by nature, and even if they choose to run away, if you turn it into 'your game' by pushing them to run, they will give up and either stand to be caught, or come to you fairly quickly.

My horse was always cornered to be caught, before I bought him, so he always ran away, even if you had a feed bucket; we spent quite a lot of time circling the paddock before he realized that I wasn't going to corner him to capture him!

He still has his 'catch me if you can' moments, but they are few and far between, and last maybe 5 minutes. He's one that won't come for treats or grain, I think because of his previous experiences, and I prefer not to 'bribe' my horses to come to me anyway, so if he wants to run, I just let him run. He gets his treats once I have actually touched him, and he knows which pocket they are in too.
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