Help with difficult horse to catch - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-07-2010, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
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Help with difficult horse to catch

I took in 2 rescues this weekend. One is a older appy cross gelding who was starved almost to death TWICE this year (by 2 seperate people). He's a former camp horse and beginner lesson horse who has to have his feed soaked, and a combination of stupid people and pride led to him not being fed or not being fed soaked feed so he lots tons of weight. He's doing GREAT here. He's amazing, and is the perfect horse/pony for my children to learn with.

The other one is a highly trained little 13ish hand paint x ? who was pulled off the back of a slaughter truck at age 2. He has TONS of training on him, but won't accept a beginner child NOT a good beginner horse.

Gotta love those package deals, eh?

Anyway, I'd like to train him to drive. He is well behaved in hand, obedient, my 6 yr old can lunge him. He's very gentle....until he's loose. CATCHING this horse is a huge feat. They got here Sunday, we turned them loose in the pasture to get acclimated with my horse, Boe. Cool. Well, we were given very vague feeding directions, and almost no feed to transition them and what they're being fed I can't get my area so when we tried to catch him to tape him and get an idea of how much to feed him...he wouldn't let us touch him.

We spent 2 HOURS trying to catch him. We were told he is shy, so at first we thought he was nervous and scared by the new environment. No. The little snot. He would almost let us touch him/catch him and then he'd run off, "drop", prick his ears forward, arch his neck, and start prancing...asserting himself as "dominant". So we decided to revert back to herd technique, and make him keep away from us, the herd, and the food. If he wanted to run, we were going to make him run HARD. Snot treated it all as a game. We finally cornered him and we were able to catch him. This was Sunday night. I lunged him yesterday, but did not and will not turn him out. I don't have 2 more people here now to help me catch him again.

What can I do? I only have my pasture (2 acres) and 2 stalls for 3 horses. The only reason we agreed to take him was b/c he can be left out. The other two horses NEED the stalls (thin and little winter coat, the other VERY thin and clipped winter coat and old, in his 20s) but I can't turn him out if I can't catch him! I don't have a round pen, nor the funds to build one (Christmas + these ponies coming in wiped us out).

devildogtigress is offline  
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-07-2010, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: burried in straw
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wow i have never had this problem but from seeing others with it there are 2 techniques to my knowledge.
1) if your familiar with monty roberts and his round penning techniques... this kinda follows that. when the horse runs form you chase it. plain and simple make him work if he stops... make him move this may take a while but soon the horses natural heard reaction will kick in... he will be scared that he is being chases and he cannot get away form it so he will look for a leader. (this will be you) he will turn and face you and ether walk up to you or allow you to walk up to him. it will work best if you have a long rope or lariat to thow and encourage him to move. at first he may think its fun but when you become persistant and the "fun" goes away for the horse thats when this will work.
2) horses are currious animals. ive done this with mine as an experiement and it worked. sit in the field and fiddle with something. maybe take a bridal out there and clean it or clean your brushed or take your lunch out and eat it in the field. soon the horse will become curious and come over the investigate. when you does reward him with a pat but no more then go back to fiddling with watever you have. this will drive him crazy he may even nudge you. you can give him a treat and soon he will relate to you coming in the field as a good thing.
sonnygrl is offline  
post #3 of 12 Old 12-07-2010, 11:04 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Comanche, Oklahoma
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My 16 year old Thoroughbred, even after 5 years of rodeo parading with me, still plays that same game. A modified Monty Roberts method is what I generally use but I don't actually chase her due to pins and screws in a bad ankle. She KNOWS she's going to have to work when she sees the trailer has been moved. I drive her into a smaller sectioned-off corner of the pasture and use a lead rope to swing around me and whoop and holler at her to keep her running circles. It doesn't take long for her to get tired of her little game and give it up. Then, I can just walk right up to her.
Sable899 is offline  
post #4 of 12 Old 12-07-2010, 11:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Crookston, MN
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I bribe my boy with treats. I always brought a huge pocketful and give him treats, catch him, and give him the rest. Now I don't even need treats half the time. I tried the whole running and working thing but with his huge pasture it was quite difficult to effectively do so.
Icyred is offline  
post #5 of 12 Old 12-11-2010, 08:06 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Not close enough to horse country
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My farrier taught me a trick that works really well. You do need to people, but only one needs horse experience. (A neighbor kid or a friend would do for the other) You stand near the gate with the halter and lead rope. Your helper makes it uncomfortable for the horse you are trying to catch. A lunge whip is used to make noise. If they run away from you, they are chased. If they are going toward you, the pressure is released.(helper backs away, stops making noise) My pony would never let me catch him for the farrier but after about ten minutes of my farrier chasing him around the field, he came to be saved from the evil person making all the scary noise. The whole point is that you are a safe place, anywhere else will end up with pressure applied. Hope this helps.

I thought I had horses all figured out...Then I got a Shetland Pony.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-12-2010, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Central Texas
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I have two suggestions the first idea I got from someone on here my horses when I would catch them would turn their butt to me and as i go to their front they would adjust their butt accordingly.. soooo what I did was when they turned their butt towards me I would stand behind them and not move.. if they turned i would step into their shoulder and they would just look at me like what are you doing then they would turn around and come to me because the horse was just tired of the game I made their game into my game.. another way I have found that works I saw Clinton Anderson do is he put a horse in a round pen I don't have a round pen so I just did it in their stall or an enclosed area I just stood in their paddock and everytime they came to me I walked away and when I was ready I got them by the time I was done they were following me around...
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-12-2010, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Central Indiana
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I think as they get to know you, he will be easier to catch. Try some treats and go out often.
Remi is offline  
post #8 of 12 Old 12-12-2010, 06:59 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Nevada City
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My mare would play the same game. She was also a rescue case, and I tried the treats, the bucket ect., and after the first couple of times of actually being able to clip the lead rope on her halter (owners had left it on), she got the hang of it, and would start a NEW game of dodge the lead rope while getting food. We send her half sister to a rescue facility, because she was just beyond my capabilities at the time, with all the conflicting stories about what happened with these two. And the guy went into the stall, and basically stood there until the horse stopped running around, then made the horse run if she moved when he walked towards her. Didn't take her long before she figured out that it was much easier to just stand still, and let him catch her, cause he wasn't leaving the stall till she was caught. I went home that afternoon and did it with my girl, because I was tired of the game as I now realized it really was that she was playing. She wasn't scared, she wasn't worried, she had just learned that if she ran around, didn't let them catch her, soon enough they'd leave. So I made her move just that one day, and she's never had a problem with me catching her since. That was about a year ago, and now she lets me catch her even when she's in the paddock with the other horses. But you do need a smaller area than a 2 acre pasture, otherwise you are going to get tired long before the horse tires of his game. Sorry its so long. Tried to make it shorter.
dressagebelle is offline  
post #9 of 12 Old 12-13-2010, 12:44 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Like Icyred, I have to use treats to bribe Pumpkin. If that doesn't work I get down on the ground and curl into a ball. Being curious as he is, he comes over, I catch him and give him a treat.

I hope you find an effective wya to catch your pony soon!

There is one principle that should never be abandoned, namely, that the rider must first learn to control himself before he can control his horse. This is the basic, most important principle to be preserved in equitation - Alois Podhajsky
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-15-2010, 04:33 PM
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All of the ways said already I have used. They all work very well but I find with the chasing, they turn it into a game and you end up tiring LONG before they give up. If it was at all possible to leave him in the round pen, I would. But if it isn't safe, don't risk it.

I'm assuming the other two horses are allowed out with him at one point in the day, and then stalled? Is this guy on a feed aswell?
If he is, I would make your schedule so that the other two come inside first, leaving him out there alone. Then bring his bucket and feed out with you and shake it around a little. Let him get a sniff of it or even a little nibble and then attach your lead rope. Always bring him just outside the gate to let him eat, so eventually he will look for you to come in everyday. And won't fear having to work every time he is caught.

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