Hard to catch horse

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Hard to catch horse

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    12-31-2010, 10:51 PM
Post Hard to catch horse

First off, I want to apologize if this isn't where it should go. I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out where to put in and then I decided on here. I was asked my a lady at my barn to post this question and I gave her an answer and then went out and caught the horse, but I still want to post the question for her.

First off, this lady is about 50-60 years old, so she's not very nimble anymore. She has a blue roan Tennesse Walker that is very hard to catch. The mare likes to play the game of "let's see how long it takes you to get me". For a while, the lady would pretend to walk out to the field, walk past the horse, and then turn back around and the horse would just stand there. But after awhile, the horse learned the trick and wouldn't allow this to happen. She's tried to bring the horse in and grain her, thinking that it would teach the horse that coming inside is a good thing. Well that didn't work.
When I went out to catch the horse, I approached the horse with my eyes down and walking with my shoulder to her. She stayed pretty much in the same spot until I got 10-15 yards away. Then she just turned away from me and took a few steps, so I turned my back to her. We did this for a while and then I just pursued her. She would turn one way, I would block her movement, she would turn the other way, I would do the same. We did that for about 10 minutes until she turned to face me and let me approach her. I stroked her and praised her then turned to go.
She followed me back up the pasture until we got half way up, then she took off at a canter and barreled to the front of the pasture. I didn't really mind. Then when I got close to her again, I went to pet her again and we did the "block her movement" thing for about maybe 3 minutes until she turned to face me and stuck her nose towards me, then I stroked her neck a little bit and then left the pasture. That's all I wanted to do, just pet her without catching her and then leave her be.
Now, I would like to know what this lady can do to catch her. I'm not going to be around all the time to catch her horse for her and I'm not sure if she's able to walk around in 2 feet deep snow all the way down the pasture and blocking her movements like I did. Any suggestions, tips, ideas?
Kudos to you if you read the whole thing, sorry its so long.
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    12-31-2010, 11:50 PM
It's not about strategies like wearing the horse out, herding it into a pen, etc. It's about the relationship between horse & human.

If it's totally at zero with the owner, she can start to build the relationship by hand watering the horse a couple of times a day, although I'd like to see a horse watered 3 times a day, but the point is to use water drinking to make the owner start to look like a friend. There's also feeding time: have owner be the feeder, & have it be just her horse that comes in to her (other horses not fed in same area/at same time.). Then just keep showing the horse that you're a good friend, interesting, & a good leader.

The horse will come for the owner when the relationship's good.
    01-01-2011, 11:23 AM

This lady does the chores everyday for about 40 horses. She feeds them, she waters them, etc. Pretty much all the other horses love her.
    01-01-2011, 11:35 AM
Green Broke
The lady could always try giving the horse a treat. I hate doing that though, but if the horse won't come up to her & the she can't move very well that may be a start.
My sister & I keep out horses together. Her paint can be hard for me to catch sometimes. I will usually do what you did until she comes up to me & lets me put the halter on.
My horses don't behave that way though, but I also work with them more -riding, ground manners, grooming, etc...
So I wonder if she just needs to spend more time with her horse.
    01-01-2011, 11:37 AM
Green Broke
Guess that would be the relationship thing Northern was talking about -duh.:)
    01-01-2011, 11:43 AM
The horse needs to be taught to turn, stand and face when approached.....teach this lesson and you will never have trouble catching your horse and if they do test....its a quick 30 to 60 second refresher lesson.

Since this lady is may not be nimble enough to teach this lesson she should probably hire a trainer to work with the horse.

Super Nova
    01-01-2011, 11:53 AM
I've had this problem before with my first horse and I was never nimble enough to block him from running past me. I don't remember where I learned this tactic, but it's supposed to be alpha mare type stuff - if the horse doesn't stand still to be approached/caught, then the "alpha mare" - you - make them move their feet. She will run to the other end of the pasture or whatever, that's okay. Walk up to her again and see if she'll stand; either catch her or make her move off. It took 2-3 trips across the pasture for my gelding to figure out that this wasn't a game anymore. He might dodge me once in a while nowadays, if I have wormer in my hand, but his old habit is definitely broken for good. This has worked for me to teach horses to allow themselves to be caught for almost 30 years. I admit I give a treat once the halter is on. Also, the first time or two you get a lot of exercise if the horse is in a 20 acre pasture. I didn't believe this would work at first because how would the horse figure out whether you were pushing them to move off or catching them? However, your body language is different whether you're catching or asking them to move off. Walk up without eye contact, look at their neck, be confident but not aggressive, and they'll figure it out.
    01-01-2011, 12:40 PM
I teach this lesson in the round pen........and then move to a paddock, then the pasture.

Its all about body positioning.......you move the hips over and then block the shoulder......this is easy to do in the round pen as the wall is a great help.......all my horses are taught to stand at 12:00 o'clock.......the pickier you are about this lesson....the greater the understanding.

Super Nova
    01-01-2011, 10:54 PM
Our horses are on a 40 acre pasture, so I cannot do the run them down thing, though I know what you are talking about.

So, since they are in a herd and where goes one, go the others, I put some tasty hay on the ground and let the other horses come up and feed. I do not allow my target horse to approach the hay. I drive him off. He runs way off and circle to the other side of the hay pile and I drive him off. I do this until when I drive him off, he changes his mind and turns back toward me. I then try to approach to halter him. HOrse know the difference between when you are approaching to drive and when you want them to stand there and be haltered. If he doesnt' let me approach then I drive. What keeps him within the area where I can do this (instead of out on the 40 acres) is the yummy pile of hay everyone else gets to eat.
Once he is caught, I may give him some treats or take him over and give him his own handful of hay on the ground.

Perhaps this lady could learn this technique.
    01-01-2011, 11:03 PM
Tiny, I like this - it's like the "alpha mare" technique I described, with more than 1 horse to deal with. Horses do not want to be separated from the herd and they will quickly give up if they are driven off. Good idea for using the hay to keep the rest of the herd in one spot!

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