Catching A Horse in Pasture?
When I first got my arab gelding, he was fairly easy to catch. I know horses can associate work when they see someone coming to get them in the pasture, therefore they will refused to be caught.
My arab is smart and after a few weeks of letting me catch him after I first got him, he started booking it whenever he saw me coming for him in the pasture. One of the fellow boarders suggested treats (and I know this is a bad idea and will only last so long before your horse figures it out) but I became so frustrated with trying to catch my horse that I went to the treat tactic. It worked for about two months, up until yesterday, then my arab started to run from me in the pasture again.
When this all started my trainer told me to start working my horse around the pasture immediately after I got out there and once we made eye contact. So basically I was told to work my horse around the pasture until he got tired enough for me to catch him. My trainer said this gets the horse in the mindset of "She's making me run around the pasture, so perhaps if I give in it'll be less work and easier for me to just be caught." This somewhat makes sense to me... but I don't want to run around the pasture for the rest of my life catching my horse.
Any opinions or ideas?
I guess that approach could work. I've never used it so I don't know really. Arabs are smart cookies though.
What works with my guy is I never do the same thing twice. Or try not to. That keeps him thinking. I might come out with all his gear, hang it on a post and clean his pasture and leave. Most of the time Mr. Curious can't stand it and has to come over and check out what I'm doing any way. I might come in, get his gear on and do nothing but brush him and make him feel good. Maybe I'll come in and put his halter on stand for 5 minutes and then take it off. I don't have much issue catching him doing things this way. He thinks it's all his idea.
Are you only taking him out for work? If so, then yes, he's going to associate being taken out with having to work.
I walk mine down if they don't want to come to me. I don't run after them, just keep a steady pace and eventually they'll stop and let me put a halter on them.
Does he have a stall?
Unless you want to walk him down for a week or two till he learns he might as well not run, make a pen out in his pasture.
And feed him in it ( unless there's a stall, why not just get him in it with feed? )
Even if its just a handful, if he's in the pen... Well he's caught.
you need to catch the horse take him out, brush , etc, give a treat outside the pasture, If you only take him out to work he will not want caught. Dont just work him everytime you catch him.
I agree with mixing things up. He is probably expecting nothing but work. With my Arab mare I do the same things as BBBcrone and I don't have any problems catching her. It sometimes confuses her and she'll stand there like "that's it?". Her face is very expressive and its quite funny to see her "wth" look.
When you catch him, turn him back out. The next time put the halter on and then right back off. Put the halter on and turn him back out for awhile. Just groom him or scratch his itchy spots and then walk away. Soon he'll associate the halter and you with good thing and some relaxation rather than work work work.
Good luck :)
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I will have to make more time to just go out and give him a quick scratch or catch him then turn him loose again right after. Any suggestions on a time limit between the time I catch him (to give him a scratch or groom him) and turn him loose before I go out to get him again for a ride? Also, until I am able to catch him with no problems, should I just walk when going after him in the pasture instead of working him around like my trainer said?
Some hores you'll be able to walk down, but some will just keep walking (or trotting or running). I have a mare that will happily keep meandering away. The last thing you want to do is start actually chasing the horse - trust me, I've done this out of frustration, and to a smart horse, it's just a fun game. Plus, you'll tucker out a lot sooner than the horse!
Is your pasture small enough to work the horse like it's in a round pen? That may be what your trainer meant. That's what I've had to do with my mare. She's in a large pasture, so I need to be close to something she wants (water trough, feed, etc...) so she won't just take off. Once the horse "joins up," you back up a little, draw it in, and catch it.
You shouldn't need to work the horse until it's physically tired, especiatlly if you've worked it in a round pen before.
It's also a good idea to not work the horse every time you catch it. I'm sure that was part of my problem.
I only take a horse out for work. Mostly I call them into the corrals using the truck horn or with a specific call that I yell, if they are close.
I start with new horses by making them turn to me when I call. Always. First in a stall. Then in a small corral. If, in the corral they try to evade me, I make them work. Then I call, release pressure, give them a chance to stop and turn to me. I repeat until they do it consistantly. Then I put them in a few acre catch pen we all have around here. For keeping a horse close in if you're going to need it the next day. I do the same as I did in the corral.
By that time, I can turn them out on big pastures and they let me catch them or will come in to my call.
And after saying allllll that -- I work for a guy that uses treats. That works for him and that's what I do when I'm working at his place.
I used to have a horse that was hard to catch, so sometimes instead of catching him and working him I would go out where he was and I would just put his halter on and brush him or give him a carrot. But sometimes I would go to him, put a halter on and walk away and just leave him with a halter on for like five minutes and then I would go and take it off and leave him alone. That worked really well for me.
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