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post #1 of 13 Old 03-10-2014, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Coming to you

How do you get your horse to come to you without having to catch it around the pasture? There is a particular horse that comes to mind that I ride at my friend's house. I never have hardly too much trouble catching her. She usually comes right toward me. But is there something I can do to make her come to me without bribing her with a treat?
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-10-2014, 09:40 PM
Green Broke
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Give her a reason to want to come to you. if a horse wont come it's because they don't enjoy being around you. Fix that. Spend time just catching, grooming, taking her out to graze and yes, even bringing treats.
You don't always have to give them to her, but it's something for her to look forward to.
Every horse is different but they all need to feel as though you have something good to offer them, and for some horses this means food.
My filly, for example, always comes to me simply because she is naturally curious and knows that i can be a source of entertainment. My other mare, however, will only come if she thinks i have something to offer her stomach.
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-10-2014, 09:58 PM
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Turn your back to her and sit down. Curiosity usually draws them.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-10-2014, 10:24 PM
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First, quit bribing her. Then, if she walk away from you chase her away and make her keep moving for a few minutes. Ask her to stop, then try to catch her again. If she moves you move her around. If she allows you to catch her halter her and then give the the treat as a reward.

And like the other said, if the only thing your good for is a cardio session, why would she WANT to come to you? Make yourself (and being caught) appealing! Feed her inside, give her some snacks, graze her, scratch her in her favorite spots, just go outside and sit with her.
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-11-2014, 09:58 AM
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Yep, quit trying to bribe her. You actually can't bride a horse to do something they don't want to. You can, on the other hand, reward them with a treat/grain/etc. when they have done the desireable behavior. There is a fine line of difference, yet it is a huge difference once you learn it and use it.

How large is the pasture? SlideStop's method will definitely work! but, the larger the pasture, the more difficult , read that as the longer it will take ,,but it will work.

Is it your own place, or do you board her? Are you the one who feeds her or someone else? or just grass/hay ... ?

I was slowly being successful with the 'catching game' ,but my success JUMPED to great when I had to move him to a different boarding barn, and I was the one to feed him on the days that I go to the barn. He KNOWS that when I arrive, I will be giving him his feed. He now comes nickering to the gate to greet me.
But, even if you are never the one to feed him, you can still win the catching game. Remember that with horses that drive creates draw. Google that phrase and see what all you can find , bet there'll be lots of good info.
Do you know how to yield her hindquarters to cause her to face you with both ears and both eyes? That's how you do the 'stop' portion of what Slidestop described when he/she said 'ask her to stop'.
So, if she doesnt come to you, gently but firmly drive her away. No need to be mean or aggressive about it. Use your lead rope, or stick/string (natural horsemanship tool), or even a lunge whip---swing it , flap it, make some commotion and get a 'move those feet!' look and attitude about yourself. Even if she gallops away, it's ok, just walk with a purpose toward her. As you get near, start trying to yield the hindquarters (learn how to do this). If she won't give you 2 eyes and 2 ears, then drive her away again. If she does face you, then relax your posture/attitude and casually see if you can walk to her. The first time (or two, or several) that you can approach and touch her, just rub her , give her scratches, maybe wad up the rope and rub her with it, then turn and walk away. This will blow her mind that you didnt CATCH her. Make a point of sometimes NOT catching her even after she becomes easily catchable. That way, she doesnt associate you're coming into the pasture as always being caught.
Don't try to hide the halter or rope, no sneaking up --that feels very predatory to her. Just have it casually on one arm.
Ditto what SlideStop says about just sitting with her. This is called undemanding time and is very powerful stuff. Go into her pasture. If safe (depends on # of horses, etc), take a chair and just have a seat. Stand and study a blade or two of grass. If/when she approaches, dont' try to call her , let her do it on her terms. DONT touch her first. IF she touches you, then you can rub her. Don't demand anything of her, just keep her company. Then leave.

Good luck! keep us posted on your progress.
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-11-2014, 12:40 PM
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I am subbing in for ideas as well. My guy is SUPER easy to catch if it's 4pm or later (since he knows it's his feeding time!), but any time before that, he walks away from me, hides behind other horses, etc. I can usually get him by getting him to walk away from me than cutting him off by putting my hand in front of his shoulder and approaching slowly. It doesn't always work. He won't try to get away one the lead is around his neck, but sometimes it takes a while to catch him before that!

I basically rough board, and only ride a few times a week, so when I go catch him sometimes it's just to groom him, or try a new saddle on his back (but not ride), or take him for a walk in the indoor. He does LOVE his herd though.. I hate that he doesn't like being with me.
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-11-2014, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Illinois
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Thanks for all your awesome replies.
lilruffian, Yeah, I am an inexperienced rider, (because I've technically been riding for not even a year since I was six due to the loss of horses) but my friend says I do well enough on her horse that she should like me. I can catch all of the other horses fine! But that Haflinger is stubborn. Usually if I don't look at her in the eye, she'll come. Thanks for your tip about giving her something to look forward to.
Saddlebag--I will try just turning my back to her and letting her come to me. Thanks. that's great!!

mslady254----Thanks for all of your wonderful advice. But, sadly the Haflinger isn't mine..nor is she at my house. But, everytime I go to my firned's house, I will do that. Heck, I have six hours to kill there anyway! (not including the 2- 2 a half hours we ride)
Thanks again everyone!!!
PS I'll keep you posted. Here in a few weeks I am suppose to go ride and I'll inform everyone in a new thread how it went. :) (in full detail)
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-11-2014, 02:50 PM
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Yes, you can bribe your horse, but a horse when grazing eats ~8x/day, small meals, so treats won't get your far.
I suggest that you use grain and grain your horse about the same time every day. Evenings are best. The temperature tanks until about 6am, so feeding grain at night increases lower gut digestion and helps keep a horse warm in the winter, and is the coolest time to feed when in the summer, so it's the same time, for both reasons.
If you do not feed grain, I would suggest getting a bag of plain oats. They are not packed with sugar and are the easiest to digest. By the time you have made it through 100 half pound feedings of a 50 pound bag of oats, your horse will be easily catch-able. Otherwise use what you normally feed.
1st day, pour in a bucket next to the fence. Wait for your horse to come over, then push it under the fence. Make sure to play with your horse's ears while he eats.
2nd day, same, but climb the fence and put a rope around his neck while he eats.
Work towards tying him while he eats so that he becomes used to it. You can groom him up WHILE HE IS EATING!!! I do.
Then, start tying him up before he eats.
Eventually you will get him to come over to the gate and get haltered, then led to a graining spot. He will come to associate being haltered and caught and tied up as a pleasant and normal thing.
I learned to do this in 1985 when I had a herd of 6 and couldn't catch any of them. I've posted about this before, so if you want more specifics, please PM me. =D
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-15-2014, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mslady254 View Post
Yep, quit trying to bribe her. ... You can, on the other hand, reward them with a treat/grain/etc. when they have done the desireable behavior. There is a fine line of difference, yet it is a huge difference once you learn it and use it.
Just thought that should be repeated

Corporal, from a diet perspective I nearly got hung up on the grain comments & forgot the training bit I disagree on that front, but it's OT so won't go there.

It seems that despite your first line, what you describe is a form of bribery - lure the horse with feed. I disagree tho that bribery doesn't work & is necessarily a bad thing, but it is limited in value & I think it's generally mostly useful to instigate a behaviour to start with. Not to use in continued training.

Feeding only once daily, at the same time of day, can be a problem because horses being hyperspecific creatures, don't associate with other times, if there are never any rewards at other times/places. That's why I'd rather carrying treats on me, for anytime rewards, rather than only the bucket & a particular time being associated with Good Stuff.
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-21-2014, 01:26 AM
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I break horses down that are hard to catch in the pasture or really any setting into two mindsets, from their perspective. The first category is that your horse is afraid of you. Horses tend to shy away from new and or strange things/situations. The second is your horse has associated you with discomfort. Now i try to determine which perception my horse has of me. Once I know this I have a goal. If he fears me I have to ensure him i am not there to hurt or eat him. How I do this is I watch my horses body language as I approach him in the pasture. Particularly his ears and head expressions/head position. A horse will direct his ears towards you and look at you with both eyes if he is focused on you. Approach your horse as you would walk up to a human that is the same distance. Do not sneak around or anything. You look like a predator. Imagine how you would feel if someone at a distance was moving toward you in a sly way. As you approach if you pay attention the horse will tell you what he is fixing to do. If his head is up high and his ears are toward you he is trying to see what you are. If a ear starts to turn to one side he now is focusing on where he is going to flee. Stop and turn your shoulders away from him. Let him absorb what you are doing. Still pay attention out of the corner of your eye. A lot of times a horse will move towards you. Two things are happening at this point the horse is figuring out what you are and you are getting him comfortable with the enroachment of his comfort zone. All you are trying to do is break down the barrier between you guys. In this case it is space. A horse will lick his lips when he is excepting something. Also he will lower his head. Both may not happen but he will show you a sign he is comfortable and at that point repeat the process. Before you know it youll be by his side. I do not like to halter my horse in the pasture. I like to give my horse affection and/or security then have him follow me to the gate. At the gate I will halter him. He will learn to come to the gate as you approach.
The second view your horse may have of you. He associates you with discomfort. This could be an endless amount of things. Initially if this is your problem go about catching him the way I explained. However if you do not fix the root of the problem this method will have to be applied every time. Because your horse doesnt fear you, he is avoiding you basically because your no fun. That is an easy way of explaining it. Now to me this is fairly easy to resolve. Do what everyone has been telling you. Make the time with your horse enjoyable for him not you. What i mean is fun to you may be running through the woods and jumping or running barrels or watever. Horses want only a few things in life. Food/water, safety, shelter, and a leader. Now you have the answers. Make him associate those things with you and he will gladly come to you and oh by the way he will more than be happy to do the things you enjoy also. I will stop there I have more about if your horse runs from you while your approaching what i do. If you are interested Ill share it. Hope this is helpful.
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