Catching a new young horse
Hi, I know that catching is often discussed on this site but I was hoping I could get some advice for this particular problem. Last weekend I just bought a 3 year old filly and floated her over to my place. She was okay to lead, not great, but alright, and she seemed okay to catch in a small yard. The owner said that she hadn't been handled in six months + but they had pulled her out of the paddock for the few days before I bought her.
Once at my place I put her in a half acre paddock with an attatched stable, there was a horse on either side of her but she was in on her own. The next day I went out to catch her would not let me near her. If I got within 5 metres she would gallop around in circles. I tried I bit of bribing, with food in a bucket, hay and carrots but she was not even slightly interested in any. My housemate had a look at her and told me about this system where you walk after the horse until they stop moving, and as soon as they stop moving and look at you, then you take a step back, in a direction that pushes out their hindquarters. When they look away you walk towards, and everytime they look at you, then you step back. If they walk to you, then you keeping stepping back.
She's gotten to the point where I can get one and a half metres away from her, and occasionally she'll walk up to me and smell me from as far as she can get then walk away.
I'm not really sure where to go from here. I don't want to grab her because it may freak her out, but its taking a long time, and I don't want to have a horse I can't catch as I need to brush her, get her feet trimmed etc.
If I catch her there isn't really a smaller place I can lock her up in so I want to be able to catch her in her paddock.
Does anyone have any ideas on what I could do?
definately do what your friend suggested. My horse was hard to catch and that worked well for him. If the problem still persists walk up to her until she acknowledged your pressence, then literally just turn around and walk out of the pasture. Give her five minutes, then re-enter the pasture and do it again.
Or just randomly walk throughout the pasture, but IGNORE her entirely. If she comes up to see what you are doing, just walk away like she's not there. She'll soon become interested in what you are doing, that she'll follow you around.
the above can work.
Your other option is to make her work. When you walk towards her and she runs, let her run, when she stops, walk towards her again, she'll run again, don't let her take a break though. No stopping to graze or mozy. Make her keep going until she stops and turns towards you and waits to be caught. It takes about a half hour each time and it takes about a week to get her to just let you catch her, but it does work. The trick is not to get mad and to be patient.
Once caught, I would suggest ( Assumeing you have a small safe place for turnout 1/2 acre is fine just make sure she has nothing to catch the halter on) Leaving the halter on her with about a 2ft length of rope on it. Go out a few times a day, catch her, rub her like 2x and then let her go. Lather, rinse, repeat. :lol: She will learn that getting caught is OK and that she will be allowed to go free. You are building trust.
As far as her stepping on the lead. IMO, if you are going to be able to check her a few times a day, it doesn't hurt for the horse to learn to "give" its head when the lead is stopped.
There have been times where I needed to stand on the lead because I needed both hands with my horses and they won't pull the lead out from under my foot. Just a thought.
Good Luck and Congrats on the new filly!
When I got the wild one (I mean she NEVER was handled as a long yearling) I kept halter AND lead rope on her for 4 days. I also kept her in stall spending as much time as I can with her and just letting her run for couple hours in small round pen for 7 days. On 8th day I let her go to the big (couple acres :) ) field with other horses (including my other one). Never had a problem to catch her since (well, now she sometimes starts to fly around me in circles when I come with halter in field, but she's obviously playing and want me to join :shock: ).
All good advise, including your roommate's. I am not an advocate of keeping a halter on a horse but I do when they are new to me. For whatever reason a haltered horse seems easier to handle. It may be that they recognize the meaning of the halter - I don't really know but it seems to work.
There are two methods that I use with a horse that is difficult to catch. The first method takes more time but is less stressful. The second one is much faster and I prefer it.
In the first one I'll take a chair and a book, set up in the middle of the paddock with the horse and a small bucket of feed. Horses are naturally curious and sooner or latter he'll come over to investigate. The feed bucket is there and I'll let him have some. Little by little I'll use that curiosity and begin to handle him.
The second method is much faster and it involves the methods of riding that we all utilize - pressure and release. If I can't just walk up to him and have him stand there, I'll make him work. I'll get after him making a lot of noise and swinging my lead line getting him moving as fast as I can. Then I'll stop. I'll walk up to him but, and this is important, when I do walk up to him, I am not looking at his head but rather his shoulder. if he moves off again then I'll make him work again. Believe me, sooner or latter he'll stop and allow you to walk up and pet him.
At that point I'll pet him and walk away. He may follow but I don't stop. We're done for now. I may do this several times before actually trying to snap a lead line on him. Then I'll pet and handle him all over until he is comfortable.
Whenever I enter the pasture or the paddock, I have a lead line and halter with me (if he is not already haltered). Sometimes I'll halter him, sometimes I'll just pet and talk to him, but I always have the gear with me.
My favorite saying with horses: Time and Patience. good luck with your new horse. You've come to a great place to learn and inquire. The folks here will set you in the right direction.
I caught a weanling crazy by the same thing Farmpony suggested (in a 40X40 foot pen). I would walk towards her, and when she ran, just keep on walking towards her. When she gave me both eyes, I would back up, relieving the pressure and if she took her eyes off me, I'd walk towards her again. We eventually got to where I was keeping her attention focusing on me and she stood still while i walked up and pet her, left, repeat, lol. I didn't try to put anything on her until she was following me around her pen. Then just slipped the halter on and off until she didn't care. Does your horse lead?
I'm currently at work and don't have the time to read your full post. When I got my colt you could not get near him or catch him. I actually turned him out with a halter on for a full month to make it easier for me. He was kept with a mare who was easy to catch and he would always be with her so when she would come, he would follow and I would catch him then. Sometimes he would take off and there was nothing that could be done.
The select first few times where I was able to catch him, I would take out of his field in the barn and would feed him. He eventually learned that being caught wasnt so bad after all. With time (after a month) I was able to remove the halter and put back outside without his halter and he would come every time he was called.
Once you have that bond with him, you can remove the feed. He just learns that being caught is ok. Both my horses now come when they are called. No need for treats or food, in fact they never get either other than their foal feed.
On a quick note, another phase he went thru was take off once you did catch him. He knew he was already big enought o just pull the lead out of your hands and take off. There was nothing you could do. Also he was so bad with catching that there were times when I wuold not be able to catch him for days at a time. Took a lot of working with him but it was done and now he is perfect. As I said all I have to do is call him, and he comes even puts his own head in the halter :)
I adore this horse.
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