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post #11 of 13 Old 03-21-2014, 01:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
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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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post #12 of 13 Old 03-21-2014, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Illinois
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Wow, that was good advice. :) Umm, yeah, I'm a new rider. She probably looks at me and compares me to discomfort. But, I have been working on my riding! I've gotten a little better from the last few years. I always calmly approach her and make sure that she sees me and I talk to her. When the ground dries and the weather is nice, I'm going to ride and use all of the help everyone has graciously given me. Thanks so much! I'll post everyone in a new thread about my first day back in the saddle. ;)

I am who I truly am when I am in the SADDLE

Riding isn't a want it's a need
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post #13 of 13 Old 03-21-2014, 02:29 PM
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blue duck's explanation is good (though I could wish for a paragraph break to make it easier to read). she talks about really watching the eyes and ears to see if the horse is thinking flee or follow. great advice.

I have to catch my lease horse on 30 acres. he is usually at or near a feeding station, with the rest of the horses. he is dominant, so he will be at the feeder if he wants to be, while theothers wait their turn.

I approach and whistle until he turns to look at me with curiousity. I stop, call and see if he will come. almost never will her at the first encounter.

so, I walk a few steps closer. he will usually turn away and back to the food, becuase of course , that is more interesting. when I see that he has "turned his back on me", so to speak, I pick up a stick or a rock and throw it toward him but not AT him, just in his direction but off to the side. the sound it makes, and the motion, is just enough for him to raise his head and look. at that time, I make a small motion (I am standing) with my hand so that he looks at ME.

See, the rock was to interrupt his outward going attention and once it was up for grabs, I do something to grab it. just the little thing possible. when he's looking at me, I turn my core away from him a bit, strike that relaxed inviting position and call him sweetly. he will look at me, then, maybe look back at the hay. If his movement away from me is minor, I give him a sec, then try to interrupt his outward though with first a shuffle /movement of my body, and if that doesn't work, walk forward a step or two and throw the rock/stick and repeat the above.
I don't do it instantly because I may need to give him time to think about his decision. and this is evident when the hrose turns to look at you, then away a bit , then back to you. he's "searching". when a horse is "searching", do NOT interrupt that. let him find his own choice. HOWEVER, if he gets stuck in the "searching" place, you can help him by adding just a bit if pressure when he turns away, so that turning away feel less comfy than turning toward you. then he'll choose. and he'll start toward you. wait where you are and let him come to you, and if you have a treat, offer it when he stops at arms distance (you don't let him walk up ONto you) and halter up, and go off to your good day of riding or whatever.
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