Can't catch horse
A friend of mine gave me a quarter horse of his, aged between 18-20 years. This is my first horse, and I have him in 3 acre space.
Initially, the horse would come to me right away. This went on for about two weeks. Then things gradually became more difficult. As I approach him with the halter and rope, he simply turns and starts to walk away. Tempting him with feed does not work either; he'll eat, let me pet him, etc., but once he sees the line, he leaves. I was able to "catch" him once last week, after a lot of coaxing which involved picking grass and feeding it to him. In his life before coming to me, I heard that he was worked hard as a roping horse, and that he was "always difficult to catch."
If you are going to use feed to catch a horse, then you need to get a lead rope around their neck or the halter on before you let them have the feed, otherwise they just eat and walk off.
I personally don't believe in bribing a horse to be caught, however. Sure, sometimes I'll bring a treat with me when I go to get my horse, but it's not a usual thing. Try walking him down instead. If he walks away from you, walk after him. If he stops, try walking up to halter him, if he walks away again, follow him again and keep him moving until he gets tired of it. Don't let him go back to grazing until you have a halter on him. Once you catch him, lead him a little way, let him graze a little bit then let him go again. Keep doing this and eventually he will learn that a) it's more work to not just let you halter him in the first place and b) that haltering doesn't always mean work.
Do you have any experience with horses? If not, is there someone who can help you with the horse? There is a ridiculous amount to know about horses (no one knows everything) and they can be good at taking advantage of you if you don't know what you're doing.
my neighbors standardbred is the same way, doesn't like to be caught, pet, or anything.
so i walk towards her, she walks away, i stand still until she stops moving, then i start walking towards her -- rinse and repeat for 30 minutes
now i just walk towards her, and she walks away (she no longer runs away because i am not going to run to catch her and she knows it) -- and i keep walking like i am trying to cut her off, i am down to about 5 minutes to catch her now
Never approach a horse directly as that's what predators do. Instead, carry your halter and lead in your left elbow where the horse can see it and make a large circle around the horse, not looking at it as you don't want to make eye contact. When you are directly behind it about 30' back, suddenly run at the horse, arms waving. Stop as soon as the horse moves. It doesn't have to move far, just move. Stand where it was for 15 seconds then repeat the exercise. The horse will start to watch you and make it harder for you to circle around to get behind it. Good. When it won't let you because of swinging it's hindquarters away, that means it is focusing both eyes on you. Relax, take a deep breath then looking at the front hooves, approach the horse with arm extended and a soft fist with fingers facing downward. Reach toward the horse's nose but don't touch it. It is imperative it closes the last inch and touches you. Back up a few steps and turn your back to the horse. Give it about 15 seconds then approach to greet again. During this time it has seen the lead and halter. When the horse touches again in the horse greeting, rub it's cheek then neck and shoulder, not the throat, then slip the lead over it's neck. It doesn't have to be up behind the ears. Continue to rub the neck and cheek then slip the halter on. Usually as soon as it's done up I like to undo it and walk away. I want the horse to think "that wasn't so bad". It may follow you to the gate. Don't do anything further with the horse at this time but after it's back doing what horses do, enter the field again and repeat the exercise. No treats, no grain. He is letting you catch him because he doesn't like you startling him. When you do bring him out, make it pleasant with just grooming and put him back. Spend the time to do this now over a few days as it usually pays off well in the long run.
Agree with Tessa above on all points. My daughters leased pony is a hard catch and we (or her owner) was never really sure why. Sometimes she'll come, often she'll walk away, but a bribe always works and once you get your hand on her halter she's perfectly well behaved.
We recently found her old owner and the puzzle pieces are coming together - she was a show pony who was often worked hard, so I think she still associates being removed from her paddock as a precursor to a lot of tiring work...many, many years later.
We are working with her now with the catch and release method and it seems to be working, plus I think she likes the sort of work she's doing with my daughter (she's always showing great body language) so she's been an easier catch recently.
But I agree, if it's your first horse, seek the help of a horseperson to ensure you're doing things right, and more importantly, safely. You can do a lot of "untraining" of a horse if you're not careful, and you can also allow and embed a lot of bad habits if you let them get away with certain things.
Stop giving him treats... Make sure you have ateast an hour to just work on this with him (NO RUSHING, OR BEING LAZY), and try to dress warm (If it's cold where you are). Just keep fallowing him with the lead, Run in front of him and try and approach him face on, maybe corner him. You need to show this horse that you are the boss and that you are not giving up! If you give up the horse immediately knows that if he keep walking away he gets another day of. If after 20 minutes of running around with him and still not making much progress, go get a lounge wipp and try to join up with him. If you don't know what joining up is just go on Youtube look up 'joining up' and you are on your way! If after 15 to 20 minutes of running him around and he has still not tried to approach you just continue to lounge him till he is exhausted enough that he just let's you catch him (This works with almost any horse). The next time you go out to work him make sure you have noting ells to do because this might take awhile, do the same thing as I say above but after you catch him lead him out of the gate, to the barn, back to hid paddock, let him go and catch him again(No working in between just catch him, to the barn and back let him go). Do this maybe three or four times.
Make sure if it is cold out to cool him down before putting him out in the cold!
The horse is doing this because as I mentioned above "You try and catch him and then soon after give up" This shows the horse that he is the boss and as long as he runs around or walks away from you for a short amount of time that he get's rewarded with the day off. Sometimes it's not a short amount of time, maybe you run around trying to catch him for two hours, you can't give up it's part of owning a horse!
heck, I would rope the bigger. When I want a horse, it had better stand still or I am going to work the heck out of it and make it beg me to be caught. Or I will rope it and teach it it's getting caught no matter what. You need to quit putting up with the game, quit trying to bribe it, and get some respect.
You haven't had him long, have you spent much time with him?
He might just not have much trust or respect for you yet.
Building a relationship takes time (I have just learnt) 😄.
Lots of ground work if possible and just quality time grooming , talking etc I found makes a more approachable horse.
Appeal to his curiosity make yourself interesting to him.
Don't ever let him put one over you, he will respect you so much more for it!!!
I know it's not the most technical answer but these are all things that worked very well for me 😃😃😃😃.
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when the horse walks , I walk behind him.
when he stops, I stop. The idea is that if the horse choses to walk away from you, you stay with him, and you even make him feel a bit uncomfortable for turning his back on you. If he stops , looks back at you, he is about to change his mind from "I am going to show my hind to this person and walk away from them. they aren't something I am interested in" . . . . to . . . ."what's going on back there? it doesn't feel good to walk away from her. I better look back and see what this is all about".
it's when the horse stops and looks back that you reward that correct choice with yourself stopping. you can even turn your body off to the side abit, wait, and if they exhibit pricked ears and some curiousity, you might even try stepping back or off sideways to draw theit attention.
if they walk off, you follow them. If they stand still for a bit, you can try approaching but be ready for them to choose to leave you, again. if they do, you can just walk after them. I will sometimes make a little bit of motion with my hands, off to the side, to see if I can't draw their eye back toward me. if they reallyl blow me off and move away, I might scuffle the ground, or make a bit of a commotion so that they WILL jump out of being startled. heck they turned their back on me, they shouldn't do that. However, I will nave make a commotion when they chooose to leave until they really have made that choice and moved a step or two off. if you do it too soon, the horse thinks you are telling him to leave. what you are telling him is that turning his hind toward you and walking off was the wrong choice and you make that uncomfortable.
but when he stops, and especially when he looks back, you take your "pressure" off of him. he made the right choice. he might even chooose to come and walk up to YOU!
As in all things horse training, make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.
Go out wearing comfortable shoes and a warm jacket.
Go out to the pasture and walk up to him on a bit of an angle. Don't hide your halter and leadrope either, you said he moves off when he sees the lead rope so get him used to seeing it from the time you enter the pasture. I personally carry my halter and leadrope on my left side. I have my forearm up sort of like i've got my purse on my arm and have the crown of the halter hanging on my arm and the leadrope doubled over and draped over it. I like to walk up to a hard to catch horse at an angle because there's less pressure than just walking straight at them. It can encourage a bit more curiosity to see what the heck you are doing instead of the horse feeling pressured to walk off. If he looks up and pays some attention to you, stand sideways to him and just hang out there for a moment. Since standing still to be caught is the easy thing here you want to make sure you aren't putting any pressure on him to move. Then start approaching again, just walk up real casually. You aren't sneaking up on him and you aren't power walking up there either.
It's perfectly fine that he chose to move away but make that decision more difficult than it was for him to stand still to be caught, if he wants to leave at a walk put pressure on him and have him trot off. Then just follow after him. If he wants to stop, great! Stop and give him a break.
When you can get up to him, don't try to catch him right then. Give him a scratch on his neck or where ever he prefers then retreat. Then scratch a little longer. Rinse repeat. Every time you approach you want to do a little more. Build to scratching him with one hand and with your other arm just move it slightly so he sees the halter and leadrope move, if he is one to get out of there wuick when you bring the leadrope out just do a little movement. You want to stop moving that arm with the halter before he moves then retreat again. Then build to where you can move that arm around while you scratch and then move tat arm up to scratch him with the hand holding the leadrope too, even build to having that leadrope getting draped over his neck then remove and retreat. Retreat at regular intervals before he does. When he is more relaxed about the leadrope THEN halter him. When you do halter him, put that leadrope around his neck first so you've got a hold of him then slip the halter on his head.
If your timing is off and he leaves, don't beat yourself up about it. Just make him move off a bit quicker than he'd like and start from the beginning, yes the beginning. You'll find that he'll get to the point you were at quicker this go around however.
The more you catch him the better he will get and the less you'll have to walk after him and do the approach and retreat.
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