Horse is Hard to Catch - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 06-07-2012, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Horse is Hard to Catch

The gelding I lease lives outside with a herd of geldings, and he is extremely difficult to catch when I go to halter him. He basically hides by his friends, then flattens his ears and runs away when I go to halter him. This is obviously not safe for me, as I shouldn't have to run through a herd of geldings chasing him just to halter him.

Is there any way to fix this? It's quite annoying and makes me late for lessons quite a bit.

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post #2 of 24 Old 06-07-2012, 10:54 PM
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This can be VERY annoying. Don't worry I've been there. I just broke Drifter of this same issue.

WALK HIM DOWN. You don't have to chase him per se, but follow him. Don't become impatient or frustrated. Put some good walking shoes on and follow his butt wherever he goes. Eventually he will get tired of it. I once did this with Drifter for an hour. He stays in a 40 acre pasture and it nearly killed me, but I eventually got him. DO NOT give up. Drifter taught me that lesson as well. If you give up and walk away, it will be 10x harder/worse the next day you go to get him.

Now the next step, is find a treat he really likes. For Drifter, it was these peppermint flavored sticks that are the cheapest things ever at Tractor Supply.Practice with him in an arena or such first, so if he runs away it wont be hard to catch him again. Put the halter on. Reward with treat. Take halter off. Put halter on. Give treat.

It took about 3 days for Drifter to realize he only gets these treats he LOVES when I catch him. And I never give them to him at any other time!! Once I put the halter on and we're ready to walk, I give him the treat.

It's made a HUGE difference. He used to see me coming and he would start walking off, but now he'll sometimes even start walking to meet me halfway. Even if he doesnt come meet me, he stands still.

Also, make sure you are not only catching your boy in order to ride him. In his mind that is "work". Take him in just for a groom, and some grain and a scratch every now and then. Maybe even some free grazing. The most important thing I can say is try not let yourself get frustrated and angry as the horse can sense this and will not want to come to you. Also, your mood can affect your body language which you are using to communicate to him so if you were frustrated or angry, it's possible you could actually be driving him from you with body language without even realizing it. Good luck! It will all end up ok, just have patience
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post #3 of 24 Old 06-07-2012, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, thank you for the advice! I will definitely try that, as he is a very treat-oriented horse.
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post #4 of 24 Old 06-07-2012, 11:17 PM
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I haven't had as much trouble with this as you have since I don't have to deal with many horses but I have had to work on catching. I suggest you put your horse alone in an arena or small pasture and turn him loose. Approach him with the halter. If he runs, chase him and make him run. I use a whip when I do this so I don't have to run as much. Your response to him depends on how be responds. My mare turned and ran from me. When she did, i would chase her If she stopped and looked at me, i stopped chasing and praised her for 5-10 seconds. Then I would start approaching again, & not sneaky but straight up. If she turned her butt to me, I tapped hard with the whip and chased again til she stopped and looked at me. Over & over until she stood still for haltering. I also worked on this in the stall because she turned her butt to me when I bring the halter. So I throw the halter at her butt when she turns away & pet and praise her when she comes to me. Now she walks over and puts her head down for the halter. Sometimes she needs a reminder...
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post #5 of 24 Old 06-07-2012, 11:23 PM
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work your horse within the herd. You need to make yourself way more interesting and way more engaging than anything else. Bring the halter and lead line out and flick the end of the lead line at his rear end (not making contact with him, simply getting his attention and disengaging the hind end). He will move his feet and usually turn to look at you. You simply turn your back to him. Rinse and repeat.
At some point he's gonna think... hmm... this is an interesting game... what are you all about? and when he approaches you, hand him a treat and walk away. You will suddenly make yourself an interesting game of catch!

I do not ever catch my horse by halter and bring him in. I will walk out to where he is, get his attention, and have him follow. Chasing a horse around a pasture or turn out would drive me bonkers!

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #6 of 24 Old 06-07-2012, 11:34 PM
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I know how you feel

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"The greatest strength is gentleness."
- Iroquois Proverb
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post #7 of 24 Old 06-08-2012, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Marecare View Post

I'd be more impressed if he had a horse on the other end of that halter by the last photo. :>
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post #8 of 24 Old 06-08-2012, 12:43 AM
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Nice, Ian!
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post #9 of 24 Old 06-08-2012, 12:48 AM
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Oxer, I'm worried about going into a group of at liberty horses with food. I would not do that. Treats just made my horses bullies.
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post #10 of 24 Old 06-08-2012, 07:18 AM
Green Broke
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my horse broke a snap on a lead line while I was putting on bug spray, 2 hours later, a 911 call , a couple park rangers, then I built a large minnow trap type funnel like corral outa a couple hundred feet of line, I have had my horse for a year and still havent figured out how to catch him. I just feed him in corral every morning. On days I wanna ride or have farrier coming I just shut the gate. Guess I need to work on this again. Bout ready to work on it by putting his sorry butt on craigslist
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