Horse Walks away from you at the sight of a halter... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Horse Walks away from you at the sight of a halter...

So I know ive had numerous threads about my new horse and this one is just more of an 'opinions wanted' thread to see if maybe I am doing things right.

So my new horse was used hard as a lesson trail horse and will usually just walk away from you at the sight of a halter in your hand. Usually it doesn't take me long to catch him cause I can throw the lead rope around his neck and stop him but that isn't a very safe way to do it cause he'll just plow you over. He never runs away either. Just walks away and dodges you. Lol

Today my non-horsey boyfriend tried catching him to clean out his foot and of course he couldn't catch him. It doesn't help that my field is 3 acres.

I know most of it relates to having bad expierences once haltered...IE: worked hard, nothing 'fun'

So my plan once I'm better from this sickness is to maybe start tying him to be fed? So he'll associate halter=food and love? I know they say to chase the day lights outta them once they refuse to be caught and that will be our next approach if the first way doesn't work.

Also, once hes caught and the halters on he's fine. You can leave it on then go get the lead and clip him and go without a fuss. It's that dreaded halter.

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post #2 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 06:19 PM
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I'd say, first make sure your not hurting his ears putting it on. I've seen it happen, not saying you have done it. I would say that catching to feed will def help, but could become a bad habit of him thinkin everytime he's caught he gets to eat. My suggestion would be catch to feed and see if that does make it easier. If it does, catch and don't feed occasionally just to break it up and keep him from getting in that rut. We catch and handle ours daily (including tying to feed) sometimes multiple times a day. So I could see where this would be annoying. Just my thoughts.....
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Yeah, I usually handle him daily too. When I went to pick him up after I bought him he ran from them too. (Nice to tell me, right)
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 06:36 PM
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Catch, praise, release. Catch, praise (and/or treat), release. Rinse and repeat as often as needed.

Right now he's associating being caught with going to work. So, to release his mind from that "Yeah, not gonna happen 'cuz I don't wanna work!" mentality, catch him, and do one of two things. Either give him praise/a treat or groom him...then just let him go. Pretty soon he'll associate being caught with good things, not just going to work. Once you can catch him easily, throw a day of work into there, but ALWAYS begin and end on a positive note (grooming, treats, whatever he enjoys).

To actually catch him, ignore him. Go into the field and sit there with the halter on your lap, but take a book and completely ignore him. Pretty soon he'll get curious as to what you're doing and come up to investigate. Once he comes up to you, don't halter him or try to catch him, just pet and praise him.

You need to take away the negative associations he has with getting caught. Only way to do this is to make getting caught a pleasant experience.
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post #5 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Cowgirls Boots View Post
I know they say to chase the day lights outta them once they refuse to be caught and that will be our next approach if the first way doesn't work.

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"They" are wrong in this case. Chasing him won't help - not at a speed that involves living daylights, anyway. For horses, only predators actively chase them - a dominant horse moves them out of their space, then ignores them. Predators chase and stalk them. This is the line for me - you want to be a dominant member of the herd for them to respect, not a predator for them to fear.

Walking him down is an option, and different to chasing. There are many good threads here, searching for it will give you plenty of ideas.
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post #6 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 06:55 PM
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I'm with drafty ^^^

If the halter is the issue, meaning you can't catch him once he sees it, I would work on what you said (associating it with something pleasant or neutral really). If he's stalled you can toss the halter on your shoulder and just give him a good scratch or rub, and walk away. Lesson 1= seeing this halter doesn't mean its going on you buddy ! like drafty said, put it in your lap & he will soon wonder what you are up to...

I'm not a groupie of any one trainer, but Julie goodnight's method is great for situations like these. Its important to praise, which = removing the pressure. In this case, the halter would be the pressure. So if you walk up to him with it over your shoulder, the goal is to retreat with that halter before he becomes uncomfortable... Retreating removes the pressure. Its so hard to type it- if you go online, go to her TV show website, and watch the video where she's introducing a rider to a filly - the advance/retreat idea is shown and much easier to grasp if seen instead of read.

Good luck :-D
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 08:26 PM
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cowgirl you have the right idea. i normally take a grain bucket with me when im catching them up. but even on some hard weeks where a few of them are getting ridden hard daily.. i do have a few that wont even want to come to grain. then its really hard. but yes.tieing to feed. associating catching and food is never a bad thing. catch and release as others on here said is great. if you have the time.thats where i get in trouble. when i catch one do to time and other horses needing work. its for shoeing.or riding.or something they dont totally love doing. ride safe everyone.good topic
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post #8 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 08:40 PM
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Careful with taking feed with you to catch him up.
Some will get pushy or if you go out with a pile of horses you risk getting ran over or kicked from them fighting over the bucket.
Some will get wise to that trick too, sneek a bite then run off.
Some horses have a little more stand offish attitude and are not exactly fence greeters but not hard to catch, I have two like that.
If I grain, I do it after he is caught and tied in the barn or trailer away from the others.
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post #9 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 08:48 PM
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you definately have to have there respect to walk into a herd of horses with a grain bucket..but thats the fun of it right?? lol. i call it bucket breaking my of the first things i do. teach them that three way with molasses comes in a bucket sothey will fallow me most anywhere for it. but the ones that dont want to get caught are a pain..why we enjoy and brag about the ones that are easy to catch.. ride safe everyone..
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post #10 of 22 Old 12-27-2012, 08:59 PM
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I don't agree that offering food or treats is a fix to this problem, this horse associates dodging and getting away from you as a way to do what he wants to do and not respect you. In many cases this can lead to other problems, such as turning his rear to you when you walk up with a halter and possibly kicking out at one point in time. When the horse sees you with a halter, he immediatly gets irritated, and with irritation comes reisitance, if your chasing your horse around with a feed bucket trying to get a halter on him, once he is caught and fed, in his mind resistance=food. Therefore leading to more problems . When I walk up to a horse, I like for them to turn around and face me and not walk away. Get you horse in a round pen or corral, and take the halter off. Leave him in there for awhile and let him think he has been "turned out". Now approach him with the halter in full view, when he begins walking away from you, make him work, get him going the direction he walked away from you in. Let him work for awhile and then try approaching him again. If he walks aways, repeate and start working him again. Keep this going and when that horse gives even the slightest glimpse in your direction, looks towards your or stops and turns toward you, drop your head and walk backwards away from him. Nine times out of the ten. the horse will follow you. And he see facing you and walking towards you, halter or not, as a release of pressure. this takes a little patience and maybe a little time, but it has never failed me. I've used it on spoiled, hard to catch horses and horses that have never seen a human before. Either way it works.
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