How to catch a horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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How to catch a horse

well when I go out to the pasture to bring one of my horses out, to ride or groom, I cant seem to catch him he runs from me.What I have been doing is making him run (work) and eventually he will stop so I can put the lead rope on him.Am I doing this right? It doesnt seem to be working,by the time I catch him I am sweaty and hot,( ready to go back into the house)it seems like I am wasting alot of time,I try to take a lead rope with me everytime I go out there wether I am trying to catch them or not.At one point I was the only one able to walk right up to him and catch him, he would run from everyone else. So anyone have any suggestions? Thanks

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post #2 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 02:20 PM
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From the description that you gave, you were able to successfully halter the horse after the runs. However, haltering does not necessarily mean catching. I have seen many horses haltered without truly being "caught".
I am not a huge fan of the run until they figure out that they need to be caught method. I turn into more of an attachment.
Go out in the pasture with your horse and walk to him. Don't change your pace, don't try to trick him, just walk right to him. When he walks away, walk with him. Don't try to rush up to him, just stay with him in a calm state. By running him, you are wearing him out, but when a horse is in any kind of a fearful state of mind, then they are not learning, just giving up. So, keep the frame of mind quiet. If he stops and tries to avoid you, give him a little push, but just to keep him moving. You may be walking for a little while, but many people that I teach this to actually say that all of that walking helps to relax them as well. If you are "mad" because that crazy horse keeps running away, then that horse won't want to come to a mad, frusterated leader. You have to display all of the qualities that you would want your leader to have.
After a while, the horse will start looking to you to let him stop, turning and facing you. As soon as you have the horses full attention, stop. Don't turn your eyes away, let him get comfortable with your eyes on him. If you lose his attention and he looks away, walk upto him again. If he turns and keeps walking, don't try to stop so he stops, just walk with him. However, if while walking towards him, he remains standing and shifts his attention back to you, then stop and stand still again. It won't hurt you to stand there until he starts dropping his head, licking and chewing, yawning, all of the classic relaxation signs. Once you reach this point, you can just walk away and let that be your session for the day.

This is the part most people don't understand. They think that if you go out there to catch a horse and never successfully halter it and bring it in, then that horse will learn to keep running. This is not the case at all. When that horse reaches that point where it is completely focused and quiet, that is a very comfortable place for the horse. He was never pushed out of his comfort zone and into fight or flight mode, just pushed around a little until he focused and relaxed. Once he found that very comfortable state, the lesson was over. This doesn't leave him with a bad taste in his mouth about actually being "caught", but rather a good feeling of wanting to do it again. As your horse gets more and more comfortable, you will get closer and closer, you may be able to walk right up to your horse the first day, it depends on the horse. It usually doesn't take long at all until the horse is looking for that feeling and comes to the gate as soon as he sees you.
I have had hard to catch horses become easy to catch in less than 10 minutes. I have also worked with abused, basically feral horses that could take several weeks with this exercise before approaching me to be haltered. The amazing thing that I have found with this is that it sticks and it transfers from person to person.

When you go out to get your horse, don't think of catching as getting the halter on, think about instead catching the mind, the body will follow.
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post #3 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 02:51 PM
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You said you were covered in sweat?? Was he?? I have run a number of horses and they don't do it a second time. I have had up to 3 other people in the field if the field is too big but I prefer one with sqaure corners and about twice as big as a round pen.
If the horse won't be caught I start twilling the lead line and getting the horse running as fast as I can. I fence him forcing him to swing around and race away along the fence pushing him hard. I keep at it until he is beat and if you watch you see the point where he suddenly wants to be caught and you to stop chasing.
He will turn to me with a look in his eyes and at that point the game is over. I just walk up to him telling him he is a good boy, slip the neck rope around his neck, pet him and walk to the barn.
I have NEVER had to repeat this training on any horse I have done. I am at a boarding barn and every now and then someone has a problem and I help out.
He will be exhausted.
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post #4 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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I will try that, but why after months of him just letting me walk right up to him,is he doing this again? I have to keep a halter on him, if he doesnt have a halter on, you will NEVER catch him( it will take hours) he is one very smart horse.When I do go out there to catch him if I get 10 feet from him he starts running(on his own).So I will try it and see what happens. thanks

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post #5 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Riosdad: I have done that, run him til he is tired and just stops, but it didnt help.He will run the next time too.

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post #6 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 04:19 PM
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Try taking crunch out and a halter. Give your horse a few treats but let him know you have more. Then he'll try to get the rest and just put the halter on. Might take a few tries though. It only really only works if he's food motivated.
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post #7 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I have tryed the treats,too. But I dont like using a food source to be able to catch my horse.

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post #8 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Flitterbug:when you say "I am not a huge fan of the run until they figure out that they need to be caught method" I dont look at it like that, I see it as "if you aint going to come to me to be caught (or stand still), then you will work"

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post #9 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 04:42 PM
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The only problem with running a horse is that it can cause a horse to be fearful and make it impossible to catch. I had a horse like that because her previous rider ran her constantly in the pasture until she gave up covered in sweat, then caught her and worked her more and let her out.

It took me forever to undue the damage.

"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."
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post #10 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 06:35 PM
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Some horses just like to be frustrating. My friends horse Pepper is a great example. He has no fear, and is fine to catch 65% of the time... And the other 35% of the time, you can't get near him and have to corner him. You can't walk him, you get within 5 metres and he bolts... *sigh* At least he makes up for it once caught.

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