Hard to catch horses. What to do? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 74 Old 09-06-2011, 11:11 PM
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KatyS, my 3yr old is doing this all of a sudden too. I think its part b/c I have started her under saddle, and partly b/c I have been doctoring a cut on her foot. I had always shoulder blocked them until they give up, but she is in a friends field right now for a show coming up and she is harder to catch there... She was prancing, trotting, running, and bucking a little today. She had fun, lol...

Treats do not work on her. She loves treats, but she knows she's going to get caught, and she wont stay for the treat.
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post #22 of 74 Old 09-06-2011, 11:14 PM
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Kate, you are out for a leisurely stroll. Focus on one horse only and completely ignore the others. Just keep following that one horse. The others will quit running when they realize you have no interest in them. They will want to settle to graze. The horse you want will want to join them and graze. That is when you circle around until you are behind him even if 50' back then approach at the walk and if he doesn't move stamp your foot and wave an arm as you approach. Try not to have so much energy that he runs again, just move him off his grazing spot. Then go stand on it for a few seconds. By now he's likely eating again so move him off again and claim his spot. You want to do this until he watches you with both eyes.
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post #23 of 74 Old 09-06-2011, 11:15 PM
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I also second the walking down method.

Go out into the field with the halter and lead rope, and just follow the horse. Don't make it run, don't yell or get angry, just keep following. I don't like to run a horse because, as I've found from my personal experiences, forcing them to run just teaches them to do exactly that every time they see you coming. Maybe I didn't do it right? Who knows. I just have not found much success with running them. Also, when you get them running, it seems to put them in a flighty, fearful state of mind and of course, a horse doesn't learn when it's scared.

Anyways! If it stops, push it on firmly but not meanly. Once the horse is willing to stop and face you and look at/pay attention to you, it can stop. The instant the horse stops, you stop your advance and take a step or two backwards. Then just stand there. If the horse looks like it wants to move off again or takes its attention off you, resume your advance and continue moving it on. As long as it stays still, you just stand still and keep watching.

Eventually, when it starts to relax (head down, licking and chewing, gives a sigh etc), then you walk up and stroke it. Between the eyes, then it's neck and so on.

As long as the horse is relaxed with you near it, it's a win for you. You don't even necessarily have to halter it to have "caught" it. I can't say for sure if this is true for every horse, but all the times I've done it, I know I've done it right because the horse will follow me when I walk away. Though I also do not claim to be a trainer or vastly experienced horse person-the worst catching problems I've had to deal with were walking stubbornly away from you-no gallop-the-other-ways or unhandled ones yet.

Treats can help just as an extra incentive, but I wouldn't bribe a horse with them. You don't want to be sneaky or grab the horse as soon as you get near it. Just like everything, be open and clear about what you want, and take it slow and steady.

I don't know how much I've left out...it's late, and I'm tired.
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Last edited by pintophile; 09-06-2011 at 11:21 PM.
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post #24 of 74 Old 09-06-2011, 11:26 PM
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Wheater, I am in the exact same position as you.

Sunny is three and has just been started under saddle, and she has just started to get hard to catch because she knows she "has to work." I put that in parentheses because half the time I just get her out and walk her around or brush her.
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post #25 of 74 Old 09-06-2011, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Ok that makes sense. I will try that. My horses are in a fence where there is no grass and they have free choice hay so it might take longer as there isn't as much incentive to stop. But I will definitely give it a whirl and keep mouth shut (no muttering under my breath haha) and just walk her down. I might bring some feed hidden in my pocket the first couple times just so she has more of a chance of wanting to give up sooner next time.
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post #26 of 74 Old 09-06-2011, 11:32 PM
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I would like to stress that this technique works best by allowing the horse to be at liberty, no halter, no rope and no agenda. You are going out there to either move him around or just spend a little time with a soft brush and maybe a hoof pick, then backing up a few steps and leaving. I do this for a few days to a week and before long guess who's at the gate waiting.
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post #27 of 74 Old 09-06-2011, 11:37 PM
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KateS, no pocket feed. We want her coming to you because she wants to, so no enticements. Your patience now will pay off in the long run. This is a good time to win her over if you can find and scratch some itchy spots, then walk away. Go sit in the hay for a while and just hang out. Then if she moves away as you approach, walk her down again.
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post #28 of 74 Old 09-07-2011, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so I should start out with just going without anything with the intent of just petting or brushing her. Once we have done that a bunch of times till she comes up to me I will start carrying her halter with me to get her used to that and then build up to actually putting it on and doing stuff with her. To be completely honest, I haven't been riding her regularily but I will still ride her inbetween these pasture sessions. I will do this with my 2 yr old too so they both are good.

Thank you so much for the help Saddlebag. I really appreciate it.
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post #29 of 74 Old 09-07-2011, 12:25 PM
Green Broke
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Alright, alot of you aren't going to agree with me but my trick works quickly and you don't have to repeat it often.. We have five horses on 17 acres and my sisters horse will run from you when you try to catch him.. I am not game for that and I won't tolerate it. Both of my horses come when called and get cookies and loved on. I don't just call them up to ride and work, I just go out to give treats sometimes. So, neither of my horses have this problem..Unless Tucker (sister's horse) makes everyone run. He will start it and chase the others around and I am NOT going to keep following horses are a pasture that big trying to coax them into coming to me.. Solution..I stand out in the pasture with a halter and a cookie.. Sister (or whoever) is on a golf cart/ fourwheeler/ dirt bike, or whatever you like. They get chased until they decide to come to me. I am the safe zone and when you come to me you aren't chased anymore and you get cookies. The quickly realize that if they run the fourwheler comes out and "Oh crap, here comes the chasing thing. Where is my person? She saves me." and they will come when called... I am not going to walk around for an hour trying to coax them in with feed or love when I know they are just being a butthole and keep running around.
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post #30 of 74 Old 09-07-2011, 12:28 PM
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I have 2 suggestions, and I think that they will help you. First, Julie Goodnight had a great program using your brain, and some body language. Here is a post which has her advice, but this particular program (on RFD.tv,) is really worth watching.
Julie Goodnight Natural Horsemanship / Horse Master TV Show
Also, my own experiences are helpful. When I first bought horses I had a small herd. They were NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE to catch, at least catch quickly. I felt like a fool running after them. It occurred to me that I might be able to get one or two to the gate if I took them outside of their turnout and fed them their grain tied up. I was right. The first horse to respond was in the middle on the herd. The NEXT day, it was my herd leader. I made a science of it. I demanded that each horse put his head over the gate and waited to be haltered before he/she could exit. Then I led said horse to his own spot to eat grain from his (rubber) bowl. Soon, each horse would obey and they'd exit the turnout in pecking order. I would return them in pecking order and I demanded that their head was over the gate before the halter came off. I did this for 14 years, before I got a place with them in the backyard, and they NEVER forgot and I NEVER had to chase them again.
I have been doing the same with my 5 yo colts today. After just a year of this they wait patiently, with a slack lead rope, with ME safely on the other side of the gate before they are released. IF one doesn't come right to the gate for ANY reason, I make sure to give the others a special treat within the "bad" horse's sight, so he can watch. The next time I don't have the problem. Hope this helps. I think it was the smartest horse training I ever did. =D

Last edited by Corporal; 09-07-2011 at 12:31 PM.
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