help....impossible to catch this horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 01-11-2009, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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help....impossible to catch this horse


I am actually asking this question for a friend of mine. Apx 2 months ago she brought lovely 5 year old mare and we started riding out together every week. Both out horses got on fine and (touch wood) we haven't had many problems when being out riding.

But, for the last two weeks her horse has been impossible to catch. Shes out in the fielld with the other horses and simply won't come when called. We used to be able to walk over to her and stroke her before getting her, but now its more and more difficult. Today and yesterday it took more than an hour.

We've tried bribing her with apples, ignoring her and stroking the other horses (that nearly wokrd, she got so curious as to why we weren't bothering with her that she came within a metre of my friend-then she ran off again).

Is it a game? She starts getting so excited /nervous that she starts to caner around the field, getting the other horses worked up to until they are all cantering around.

Today was the worst because she started bucking when we were close to her.

Any advice?

One friend suggested that because she is the dominnat mare, she is reluctant to leave the herd What do you think and if that is the case what can we do.

My friend is so upset. Bless her!

Ride with me in scenic Northern Hungary

I really love gloworms, because they're never can you be glum with a light shining from your bum!
chodas777 is offline  
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post #2 of 24 Old 01-11-2009, 03:47 PM
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I knew a mare like that. You need to set aside a half hour a day to spend on trying to catch her am i right? lol.

The mare i knew and still know is Jewel, i have been training her for 2 months. Jewel was headshy around her ears and was terrified of people, and also would run away from people when they came near her in the field, and there was basically no way of getting her to come within 50 feet of you. Once i finally set my mind on working with her to train her it took about a half hour, sometimes about an hour, just to catch her. The way i got her for the first two weeks to come to me was by having eye contact but with gentle eyes, and talking in a calm friendly whisper. After that once i finally caught her i would do basic groundwork, leading for the first month, then grooming and whatnot in her paddock, then i worked on her overcoming her fear of the "evil ear snatching people". I spent almost every day with her after school (im 14) and then i built up a trust bond with her and now she trusts me so much she looks to me for advice, like if i don't notice something she signals to me her worry about it by looking at it and kinda beginning to nudge me and i look at it, turn to her, and say its okay. There was only once when it was not okay, a stray dog had come into the pasture and I was unfamiliar with it and so i unclipped her from the leadline and pitched it at her (not hitting her with it) to get her to run away from it. It turned out the dog was just wandering by and was okay with the horses. There have also been coyotes in the area often lately but i havent encountered one with jewel. You need to spend lots of time giving her affection and she will begin to look forward to your visits. I have been training jewel all on my own and now I have had her undersaddle at the walk and starting bareback at the trot and isn't headshy at all anymore. You just need to build up trust and get him/her to look to you as a companion.
Jdun722 is offline  
post #3 of 24 Old 01-11-2009, 03:57 PM
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Is she wearing a haulter already? When you get her do you have to put the haulter on as well as clipping her to the lead rope? If not, then you should always put her haulter on when turning her out so she's easier to get.

You could also walk up to her with the lead rope behind your back, sometimes horses are scared of lead ropes for some reason.

Also, try different treats besides apples, maybe she doesn't like apples. I used carrots when this happened to me.

Maybe whenever she lets you get her you should give her a treat, and then she will WANT to come when you call her. Find what treats she likes best! On the other hand, then she might get nippy if you decide to do this...

Good luck!
horsegirl123 is offline  
post #4 of 24 Old 01-11-2009, 03:58 PM
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A quick fix is a bucket of feed, but that would be a bit of a pain if she is with more than a couple of other horses. Misty was a pain to catch when we got her, but now she is fine. Is it the same person who catches her all the time? Misty learnt to trust me and would only let me catch her for a while. And seeing as your friends horse is just settling in, idk

A good horse can never be a bad colour...
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post #5 of 24 Old 01-11-2009, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot.

Wow, your only 14 and so knowledgeable! I keep saying to my friend it takes time. I think it makes it worse because when I call my boy his ears prick up, then he looks at me walking to him. Then either he comes to me or I go to him. But I have explained it took a lot of time to us to this stage of trusting each other.

Ride with me in scenic Northern Hungary

I really love gloworms, because they're never can you be glum with a light shining from your bum!
chodas777 is offline  
post #6 of 24 Old 01-11-2009, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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oh wow so many replies.

Yes she is wearing a halter.

It is usually only my friend who tries to get her first then if that isn't working (after 10-15 mins) I also go in.

The annoying thing is all of the other horses come to us, just not her.

Ride with me in scenic Northern Hungary

I really love gloworms, because they're never can you be glum with a light shining from your bum!
chodas777 is offline  
post #7 of 24 Old 01-11-2009, 04:13 PM
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Hi Chodas,

I used to have a horse that was very difficult to catch. She would shy away and bolt sometimes kicking out as she went. Of course she was like this because she was mistreated and didn't trust people. The horse needs to trust and respect you in order for it cooperate. What I found very very effective was join up. I had read about it before, it was one of Monty Roberts methods; you can look it up on the internet.

You need a small paddock or round pen, and a rope. You send the horse out tossing the rope at the horse. You are imitating what the horses would do in the wild to estabilsh a heirachy. You get the horse moving and don't let him stop, basically your stance and the rope are pressures that are being put on the horse. You want to do things like have the horse change directions frequently, you do this by stepping in the horses path and tossing the rope at it. Horses being flight animals will most likely flee in the other direction, but this is not always the case so you have to be very careful. As you do this the horse will become more responsive to you.

You want to look for signs. These signs will tell you that the horse realizes your not a threat and that actually you are a friend and someone that can look out for him. The signs would be the inner ear pointing towards you, lowering of the head toward the ground and chewing of the mouth. These signs show that the horse is ready to "join up." You then stop sending him on and turn away from the horse then just stand there. The horse should then stop and look at you, then he may walk up to you. If so he is saying he is ready for a partnership, rub him on the head and all over make it enjoyable, then he should also follow you around with no lead or rope.

If it doesn't work then the horse is not ready and needs to be sent on again until he is ready. This will create a close trust and it will be mch easier to catch the horse once this is done.

I hope this helped. :)
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post #8 of 24 Old 01-11-2009, 08:21 PM
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join up can work great in a small paddock or roundpen...but I wouldnt recommend it out in a large pasture. You can actually teach the horse how much faster he is than you. Im speaking from first-hand experience...I had that trouble with Major for such a long time. I think another mistake I made with Major is giving up after a certain amount of time wich made him even harder to catch the next time I tried. Another thing too....if everytime you catch them, you make them work hard then they soon learn being caught means hard work. One technique is to walk up to her with determination in your posture and when she walks off keep going with her...if at any point she stops and turns towards stop and release the pressure. then start approaching her again....dont forget to be determined and release the pressure when the horse is doing what you want. once you have caught her...put the lead rope her (or give her a treat...wichever you prefer) take the lead rope off and walk away. It will take a long time that first day...but with each day it should take less and less time. Good Luck!!!!
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post #9 of 24 Old 01-11-2009, 10:11 PM
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Wow thesere are alot of great tips here, i'm going to also try some on my colts. i got tw obelgian stud colts and they got out of the small pin the next morning into the 10 acre field, since then i cant harldy seem to get anywhere. If i have lead ropes on them i can catch one but the other wont let me anywhere near him. Thanks everyone.
belgianlover is offline  
post #10 of 24 Old 01-12-2009, 01:22 AM
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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.
Andi is offline  

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