ottb uncatchable - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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ottb uncatchable

I purchased a ottb last fall and up to now was super friendly always came to you in the pasture but in the last 4 days she has become uncatchable. It doesn't matter if all the horses are brought in she let's you get so close then runs away.the pasture she is in is about 1 to 2 acres so it makes it hard to chase her around. What can I do?
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 04:38 PM
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have you eventually got her inside or have you had to leave her out overnight ?

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Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 08:47 PM
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I've heard the best thing to do is make sure you have a sandwich and a water bottle and walk her down, even if it takes hours.

Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
All horse people are crazy, but some of us are higher functioning than others.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 09:52 PM
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She knows what you want. You need to determine first of all if this is misbehavior or a fear. Did something happen a few days ago? Maybe someone / something scared/hurt her?

If it is purely misbehavior, you need to (re)train respect. So, if you can't catch her, what you can do is control her movements. Take a lunge whip and don't try to catch her, but move her around. Whereever she goes on her own, turn her the other way. Keep it up until she is paying attention to you. Once she is moving when and how YOU ask her too, and recognizing this (watch her ears, eyes), get to a point where you can tell her to stop and she should look at you for direction. Then tell her good girl and walk away.

Don't try to accomplish something that can't be done. If you will not be able to catch her without tiring her out, then don't go down that road. Physcially exhausting her will only, in the end, increase her stamina. You want her attention and you want to show her that you dictate her movements when you are there. And you decide when it's over, not her.

If, however, she shows interest in being approached or haltered/caught, but just is uncertain, you must be stubborn about it and take whatever time is needed to get her to approach you, or stand facing you with her head low as you approach her. This might take hours so you have to be ready because if you stop before you accomplish it, then she has learned evasive behavior.

I have spent hours just standing in one spot waiting for a horse to come to me because she KNEW that if she came she would get supper; she also knew that supper would come ONLY with a halter. Within a week, she couldn't wait for me to halter her. Just today, she came galloping across the field to me to be "caught". But it takes time and stubborness.

There really isn't just one answer. You have to "read" her to determine if she's playing with you, if she's scared, if she's playing a control game or what.

Definitely, when you accomplish the littlest thing, you need her to recognize that she did well. Praise or a treat if you are close enough will work.

Good luck. If you give more detail, maybe I can give better hints. I've done this with several horses, but all have needed different methods.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-21-2010, 03:22 AM
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Agree with a lot of what NM has said. Also agree that it depends what I see/get at any given time as to what exactly I'd do. Also depends a bit on the horse's innate personality. We need more info for anything more than generic advice tho.

What do you think happened to make her change her behaviour? What has been happening in the past few weeks/months? What is your routine with her? What do you generally do when you get to her?

If there's nothing at all obvious that stands out in the recent past, I'd guess that she's had a bad fright from someone else & is now skeptical about people generally. Or perhaps you unknowingly hurt her - or she got herself hurt - last time you had her, which she's associated with you. Perhaps she's in season or otherwise hurting anyway & doesn't trust or want anyone to touch her ATM. Or perhaps due to what you've been doing with her, she's been gradually getting more skeptical, less friendly, but you didn't notice until she refused to be caught any more.

Considering the above, you may guess that I disagree with NM that it is purely or otherwise 'misbehaviour' or 'respect'. Or perhaps more accurately to clarify, I really mean that whatever the cause, it IS always 'misbehaviour' and lack of respect or trust in you. However, I don't think these lables are helpful, and they often lead to the wrong attitude on behalf of the trainer, IME. Whether or not you discover the actual cause, I think it's important to learn to understand & see her point of view, and convince her, in a considerate manner that it is actually in her best interests to come when called.

I also basically agree with & use the tactics NM has suggested. I find your suggestion about 'uncertain' horses & your 'stubbornness' a bit ambiguous tho NM, so will endeavour to clarify what *I* think & do on that note.

I agree that by all means, taking however long it takes without getting impatient, giving up or trying to force the issue is important. But this doesn't mean you have to get the whole job accomplished in one session. Actually think it's generally better not to, but to work in short, easy sessions & accomplish small 'win/wins' along the way. Generally it works out that I can accomplish a LOT more with a horse for every hour spent, if I do it in lots of small, easy sessions with stress-free breaks in between, than if I were to do it in a few longer sessions. Sometimes 10 minutes is too long a session for that horse, that task at that time. It's what's happening at the time you quit(what behaviour or attitude you're negatively reinforcing), not whether you quit before accomplishing your goal.

Eg. If the horse stands an looks at you, but gets antsy when you focus on her or approach her, I'd be asking for her to accept *just a tad* past her comfort zone for the moment. Eg. I'd take only one step towards her and then turn & walk a few paces back. I'd repeat this until she wasn't so uncomfortable with it, before going a few steps at a time. I would strive to be attentive to her enough that I was turning away *before* she felt the need to do so herself. This is gaining her trust, that you're not just going to push blindly through barriers and force her into situations she's not able to give. That you respect her, which is, I feel, the start of gaining respect from her.

BUT if/when she did turn away, then I'd put *a little* pressure on her - wave a stick/rope gently at her rump, walk calmly after her. Continue to do this until she gives the smallest sign she is willing to try something else other than leaving - even if it's a momentary look or hesitation. At that instant, I'd turn away & stand relaxed for a minute, before either quitting the game for the time being or attempting to start approaching her where I left off.... or with a little less pressure to begin again.

Once I got to the point where the horse was allowing me to walk up, or coming to me, I'd be ready with positive reinforcement - likely Something Yummy(because they're still probably too skeptical for anything else like a neck rub to be desirable) and negative reinforcement - remove the pressure by walking away immediately the treat's given. I wouldn't attempt to touch, let alone halter the horse until she was confident just being close to me.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-21-2010, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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I have gone out and walked beside her made her change directions calmly at a walk she will stand about 8 feet away from me for extended periods of time just looking at me she isn't acting afraid she seems to almost find it comical.the thing is I regularlly go out there and just give her snacks not just ride her. But she also does it to the people that are boarding her for me and they only bring her in when it is evening and to feed them so the only thing she can associate with them is go out to the pasture and she looks at you runs to the other side of the pasture stops and looks as if to say are you coming?I have sat out there with food and had her come up and eat food out of my hand chill out next to me but not let me catch her. I have caught her twice and immediately praised her and gave her treats and then released her. I do believe she is or was coming in heat last week but I just don't know.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-21-2010, 01:57 PM
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Lottie tries to do this every so often, i guess it's her way of sussing out if I'm going to be a pushover. She trots around me in a circle as if i'm free lunging her, with her ears pricked like she's testing me.

If she comes up to you and eats out of your hand, why not try slipping the lead rope around her neck while she's doing it? It's less obvious than trying to put a headcollar on, and you'll have control over her to stop her from moving off. then you can either put the headcollar on and then clip the lead rope onto it or try leading her in using the rope around her neck.

Hope I helped
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-24-2010, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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I have made progress being able to walk up stratch her head walk away, the go back she has improved but she still isn't coming up to me. She was coming in heat last week and is now out of heat has this ever happen to others had problems catching their mare when in heat
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