Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canberra, Australia
The first thing to do is look for the reasons why she is being difficult to catch. While it is important that you build a bond with the horse if its getting increasingly difficult to catch then I doubt that is the only cause of the problem.
If you could walk up to her and pat her she's obviously not scared of you, or your friend, so you have to look at why she's doing it. Building a bond will help, and will happen on its own over time, but you don't want a horse that people can only catch if they have a bond with it, it makes life hard if you want to go away or its an emergency and someone else needs to move it.
Is she ridden everytime she is caught? A lot of horses don't enjoy being ridden, especially if its just arena work. If everytime she's caught she gets ridden she will associate them together, and by avoiding being caught she's also avoiding work. Or has something happened to her recently? Strangers don't go in her paddock or anything? A lot of times if there are other horses there, when horses go up to them they tell them to go away by swinging a lead rope at them. While this is innocent behaviour if the horse doesn't know that. Is she scared of you? What do you feed her when she is caught, often if horses are just given hay they don't have much of an incentive to come up. While food should not be used as a bribe, until she gets in a routine it could be helpful.
She might just not want to be caught, and from advice on here and the outside world, I managed to get my horse used to being caught. The way that most people found works for them is they walk up to the horse, and if the walks away look at its shoulder and walk to, stopping, taking a small step back and looking away as soon as it stops moving. Then they walk towards the horse at an angle, not looking at it. As soon as the horse moves away you look at the shoulder and walk straight to them, when they stop you back up and look away. With my horse you can get pretty close, and most horses it works with.
With my girl I ended up locking her in a stable after two weeks of no catching. Now that she knows that i don't plan to eat her she trots up knickering to me. :)
Good luck, and the join up can help.