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Teach a Horse to Come When Called

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        04-29-2013, 01:34 PM
      #11
    Weanling
    Personally, I do not take food out to catch any horses (and I work with a 24-horse herd). I taught 2 of my "main" horses to come when called, and this is how I did it:
    1.) I caught them up. Like someone else said, I pet/rub and praise before I halter them. (Most of my horses don't like being patted because volunteer workers "pat" them as punishment. They enjoy itches and rubs much more, especially in their sweet spot.)

    2.) I tie them in their respectable, safe places. When I come with their grain bucket I whistle (you can make any other noise), and when I get their attention they get their grain. Eventually, I could call them in small pens and have them "follow" me (I'd let them loose in a paddock, walk away, call them -- sometimes with goodies, sometimes without).
    After a few times of that, my once horrible to catch (I'm talking took me 3 hours to catch him one day and I gave up) gelding Bamber will come RUNNING. I never, ever, took treats into the pasture. Once they learned that good things happen when they come to me, it went from there. With Bamber, now all I have to do is enter the gate and stand near it and he will come, sometimes before I call out to him. Even if he's been getting worked.

    But remember that they're not robots -- just because they come when called doesn't mean they will every time.

    It also depends on your relationship with your horse. Mine with Bamber is literally a "family" dynamic -- he acts like a foal whereas I'm the "dam," in his eyes. He moves away from feed when I ask him to, moves when I ask him to, etc. Never once have I gotten rough to achieve this; it's all about learning the body language that "speaks" to him.

    Now on the other hand, my barn owner he has fun with.... It takes her at least 15 minutes every morning to catch him when I'm not there.

    There's also a horse that I don't get along so well with in the herd (but we do "work for each other" with a love-hate agreement). While he won't come when I call him, he will stand to be caught because he knows it doesn't get easier if he tries to evade me (you can look up "walking out" a horse).
         
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        04-29-2013, 08:45 PM
      #12
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smokum    
    I adopted a BLM mustang many years back. Talk about tough to catch! She could careless I existed.


    I would focus on round pen to start & used techniques she already knew and did flawlessly.

    My mare was very well trained to round pen work, she knew when I drop my shoulder away from her that meant I was asking her to come into me.

    When I wanted to teach her to come when called I started this...

    I would tossed a bird chirp in there, just when I dropped my shoulder for her to come into me like she already did.
    Repeat that 1000 times.... make it fun.
    Change it up but I whistle because I can loud, you can say her name or anything you want as long as its consistent, the same tone and clear.
    And you don't need treats.
    I was slowly teaching her a new trick, come when called. She already came when I dropped my shoulder now im giving her a cue to come in.
    i'll give this a try but what is a bird chip?
         
        04-29-2013, 10:29 PM
      #13
    Foal
    If you have ever listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd's song "Freebird"
    They make bird chirps in the song with a guitar.
    That's how I trained all my horses to come, I just do short little whistles in reps
    I sound like a very high pitched bird.. chirp chirp chirp.

    When I would drop my shoulder in I would do 3-4 reps of whistling as she came in & I would give her a scratching. It took her a bit to catch on.

    My friend did the same thing, she wanted to learn too, but she couldn't whistle at all so instead she used a clicker.

    I taught my gelding this in about a week, he was very people oriented but I always had to meet him way out back or half way. & then I taught him the same thing & I wait for him at the gate now.
    maddog1991 likes this.
         
        05-01-2013, 11:38 AM
      #14
    Foal
    Oh chirp! I get it now!
         
        05-01-2013, 07:01 PM
      #15
    Weanling
    Get this: DVD: Join-Up® | | Monty Roberts

    Pay particular attention to his body language.

    Problem solved for ever.
         
        05-14-2013, 12:08 AM
      #16
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sharpie    
    How is your relationship with the other horses in pasture? My guy is low in the pecking order too, but every other horse has learned that when I come into the pasture, I have NOTHING for them but the end of a lunge whip if they get in my space or my horse's space. My gelding has learned that when I am out there, he is 'protected' by me from the other horses, and I *always* have a cookie for him. He is very food motivated, so that helps, though I may have to up it to a bucket of grain with me when there's grass around and he's not so hungry for a little cookie. With something like 13 other horses turned out with my guy, there's always someone who wants to try to say hi, get a cookie, or run my guy off each week, but the attempts are pretty half-hearted nowadays as they know I won't allow it and am not afraid to enforce with my lungewhip (or rope, or hat, or keys, or rock from the ground) when they cross me. I have also taught my guy to 'come'mere' in a round pen, and then in the arena with cookies. Walk him off, ask him to 'stand' walk away, and they ask for 'come'mere' and reward when they do. I do it without cookies, using 'resting time' as the reward in the round pen, but find I have to give my guy a little more 'motivation' to want to hang out with me when there are other horses and food and wide open spaces elsewhere.

    Tl;dr: two items 1) make sure the other horses know that they are to leave you and your horse alone 100% of the time when you go out and 2) make sure your horse gets something they want 100% of the time when you show up.
    ok! So I have an update on Gypsy's (mare in question) progress with the command. So I work at the barn every Sunday so when I go out to feed the horses in Gypsy's paddock (there's only one right away in the morning) I make sure that the other mare gives me plenty of space before I feed her. I usually will give her to give me a horse length or two of distance and I'll go give Gypsy a pat and a little handful of her grain. I'll also mix up who's feed gets handed out first (the other mare was really pushy at grain time so I started this to make her wait for her food). So after a couple of weeks of doing this I went out to feed the two on Sunday (the 12th) and the other mare was a little fiesty and trying to kick, so I got after her when all of a sudden (cue the angelic choir!!) Gypsy trots up to me nickering away all nuzzly and cuddly! It was great! I praised the heck out of her and I came back that afternoon to give her some bran mash (we do bran mash on Sunday afternoons instead of grain) and the same thing happened again! So this time I did the "bird chirps" whenever she was walking towards me to start conditioning her to associate the cue with tasty treats! Thanks everyone who contributed and posted here! I'm so excited and all the advice was greatly appreciated!
         
        05-14-2013, 12:57 PM
      #17
    Weanling
    I have my 3 horses trained to come when called :)

    It is easy if you are the one that feeds every day, and if your horse is already friendly. I just called them by name and set their feed right there, even if they come only a few steps closer. Pretty soon they come racing across the entire pasture at the call of their name.

    After a sold month of only feeding after calling their name, you can use it to catch and halter your horse, with cookies or treats usually, but do keep up the calling and feeding regularly.
         
        05-14-2013, 01:08 PM
      #18
    Showing
    The problem with teaching the horse to come to food is what happens if your in the field without it and the horses decide to demand it? My horses learned that they have a choice, they can either join me or I will walk them down. And when they join me they are expected to remain about 6' away. I may approach one and extend my hand in greeting and offer a rub or scratch. The other waits respectfully. By walking them down it reasserts my dominance which they are content with. The horses will test me, as horses do, but now walking down means small hand movements to move them on and it takes maybe half a dozen steps at the most and they will turn to face me and approach.
         
        05-14-2013, 01:21 PM
      #19
    Trained
    I need to make a Notepad of this bc I think it's helpful. When I first got horses I bought 6 at a time and kept them in turnout with a shelter. They were all broken to ride, BUT, it was next to impossible to catch any of them. I decided to try using grain in buckets outside of their turnout. I brought in a halter and lead and caught the first horse I could. Then I led him out to a bucket with grain, tied him up to eat it within sight of the other horses. They were very interested, but they didn't get any. The NEXT day my herd leader was waiting for me at the gate. I haltered him, and led HIM out to be tied to eat grain. I soon had them all waiting, in pecking order to come out every day for their grain. I soon demanded more. Each horse had to put his head over the gate and wait to be haltered before led outside. I took them out in pecking order and put them back in in pecking order. When I took them back in they HAD to walk around the gate, put their head over the shut gate, and wait for me to unhook the halter.
    After years of this, my old herd would walk to ME whenever I came out to their pasture to catch them with a halter and lead. It was always, "Take ME first!"
    It is vital that no matter what your horse faces you when you turnout, and learn to be patient whenever your halter them, and learn to lead correctly, and quietly.
         
        05-14-2013, 01:24 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
    The problem with teaching the horse to come to food is what happens if your in the field without it and the horses decide to demand it? My horses learned that they have a choice, they can either join me or I will walk them down. And when they join me they are expected to remain about 6' away. I may approach one and extend my hand in greeting and offer a rub or scratch. The other waits respectfully. By walking them down it reasserts my dominance which they are content with. The horses will test me, as horses do, but now walking down means small hand movements to move them on and it takes maybe half a dozen steps at the most and they will turn to face me and approach.
    I would think that goes without saying. I totally agree. I was thinking more of when your horse is so far away they can't see you or interpret hand gestures, how to make them come to you without stomping way out in a 40 acre pasture for them :)
         

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