uncatchable horse? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 33 Old 05-28-2013, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Everything you're being told it basically true.
Get the horse into a smaller area, because it's easier to keep pressure on them.
Keep them moving, because horses don't like "feeling the pressure". You don't need to run them (they'll run if they feel like it), but even in a 1/2 acre you can keep moving towards them and keep them moving. They'll get tired of it after awhile. If they stop and act as if they'll let you approach, but then take off again just keep them going. I've "pushed" horses even after they were willing to cooperate if they had a habbit of "acting" like they were going to be good.
Horses have excellent memories and they learn what gets them what they want and what they don't want (they'll also remember if they win and how they won). In this case the objective is for them to learn that allowing you to handle them keeps them from getting annoyingly pushed all over the pasture. And after being pushed around they'll see not getting pushed as rewarding, but feel free to praise and reward them when they finally do the desired behavior (they remember that too).

Keep in mind that, like people, every horse has it's own personality and figures things out at different rates (and often in different ways). I've had horses that it only took about 10 min and they were good from then on. I had one that took the better part of a week before she figured out that this routine would continue until she cooperated.

They're always going to be bigger and stronger so you better always be smarter. (One of my grandfather's many pearls of wisdom)
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post #12 of 33 Old 05-28-2013, 02:10 PM
Green Broke
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where do you feed the horse ? Ive had a couple like that I just alwsy feed them in a small corral , on days I need to do something with them I just shut the gate at feed time
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post #13 of 33 Old 05-28-2013, 09:26 PM
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Persistance and patience are key here. Remove the other horses from the pasture and from view (like put them in the barn). Then wait a while (up to a couple hours) then go fetch her. if she doesn't come, then wait longer. isolation will eventually win out and you might have a better shot
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post #14 of 33 Old 05-29-2013, 01:08 AM
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The caveat to chasing a horse that's hard to catch is that it has to be within a small enough enclosed area that the horse is unable to escape your sphere of influence. That's how they learn to find relief from pressure by allowing you to catch them. In a large area however the very same approach will backfire. You will actually teach the horse to run away which is the very thing you're trying to get her over.

I feel confident in talking about this as I have made that same mistake and made horses worse to catch, and then seen a complete reversal of my results when I reversed my approach. I even began to be able to catch horses that others couldn't, and here's how I do it:

When the horse walks away, follow her. There's a difference between following and chasing and the way that you're thinking about what you're doing determines how you're perceived by the horse. Follow, don't chase.

When she stops, you stop. When she waits, you wait.

When she stands, gradually approach. If she leaves, just go back to following her.

If she walks in your direction, walk ahead of her. She may end up coming right up to you.

Lastly and maybe most importantly, remember that the moment you even think "GOTCHA!" you'll most likely lose her again. The bird in your hand will stay there until you start to close your hand.

I'd recommend picking a time when you can afford to be there all day, when you start this. I took two months to catch one, once. It was worth it in the end though!
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post #15 of 33 Old 05-29-2013, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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post #16 of 33 Old 05-29-2013, 09:45 PM
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I have had luck with this kind of thing the old-fashioned way.

Whenever I go out to see the horses, I take a sweet with me, be it an apple, sugar cube, carrot, etc. I once had a mustang that would not eat any of those things, so I used a bucket with grain in it. Seems ALL horses know what a bucket of grain is. The pasture was 40 acres.

Anyway, for the first while (after first acquiring a horse) I never approach it without a treat. As the horse comes to me for the treat, I whistle. With this conditioning, most horses will begin to come to you from anywhere in the pasture when you whistle.

Once I get the horse coming to me, I begin carrying a halter and lead and only give the treat AFTER the lead goes around the neck, next I start giving the treat only AFTER the halter goes on. Eventually, the horse will look to put its nose in the halter for you.

That mustang mentioned above, wouldn't eat treats of any kind, except grain, but he loved being brushed. I gave him to a friend when I was transferred away, but was able to return to see him three years later. He still came to my whistle and stood by while we rubbed and scratched, no halter or lead. I put my kids on his back and he followed me all around the pasture. Miss that boy.

The best part of this method, is that you get results almost from the first day. You don't have to spend several weeks chasing them around a pasture before you can enjoy a ride.
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post #17 of 33 Old 05-30-2013, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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that sounds like it might work!! Cute story:) always nice to reenact with an old buddy:) thanks!!
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post #18 of 33 Old 05-30-2013, 01:22 PM
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We have a hard to catch horse who is just a turd. He will walk up to you, but when you go to touch him, oh-ho-ho. Nope. We discovered something though: If he was standing quietly, acting remotely interested, we could slowly back up to him and touch him, and eventually catch him. He is the only horse on the farm that wears a halter, and it's a breakaway just to be safe, but if he were to ever get out you'd never be able to get a rope on him. That halter lets us snatch him up if he thinks he can sneak away.

We have also used another horse to be able to catch him, by using that horse to back him into a corner and block his escape. We can also sometimes scratch on the catchable horse and move towards the uncatchable while scratching and do the sneak attack.

He is now MUCH better at being caught, through a combination of trial-and-error situations. If your horse doesn't like sweets, get alfalfa cubes. Instead of a lead rope, bring baling twine. Most horses give in as soon as ANYTHING is around their neck (DON'T tie it. Ever. evereverever.) If they are in a pasture where there isn't good grazing and they know when feed time is, feed the other horses within sight of that horse, but don't feed him. bring that feed bucket with you, and he will turn into a child that wants some candy.

Good luck!!
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post #19 of 33 Old 05-30-2013, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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thanks much!
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post #20 of 33 Old 05-30-2013, 02:17 PM
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I just wanted to give you some hope. When I bought my horse last year, we went through a terrible phase where she would refuse to be caught. It was awful. Everytime I walked up to her, she would run away. I would get so frustrated.
I would eventually give up and she would win.

One day, I decided she wasn't going to win anymore. I followed her all over the field. Sometimes I ran after her, most of the time I just walked. It took about 40 minutes, but eventually she got tired of running away from me and wanted to rest.

That was the last time she ran away from me.

Since then, we have reached the point where she comes when I call her. I think she had been associating me with work. So, I started letting her out once or twice a week to just graze on the better grass outside the arena. Or, I would bring her out just to groom her. Sometimes I just brought her out and sat in a chair beside her as she grazed.

I soon found if I entered her field and called her name, wherever she was, her head would come up and she would look for me. I acknowledged that with a very excited voice. She seems to like my excited voice....some horses may not, but she knows I am happy when I use that voice. So, I called her...kind of like you would call a dog and she came running.

She comes every single time I call her now. She knows when she reaches me she gets a rub and a hug and she knows there is good grass outside her pasture fence. She has no issues leaving her buddies to come and be with me.

If you had told me over a year ago that we would be at this point, I never would believe it.

Here is a video of her running to me this winter. Like I said, the voice I use isn't for everybody but it works for her!

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