Patience are running thin- TIPS PLEASE
Well my TB is the greatest partner i could ever ask for, we're the perfect partners in hand, and in the saddle, but he has one issue. . .
It takes me over an hour to catch him. I read Clinton Andersons books, seen his clinics on how to catch a hard-to-catch horse, but I can't seem to get him to be caught easily. When i do catch him, he acts like nothing is wrong, and is a very nice gentle horse.
-We try to feed everyone in the field and get him to come up and then catch him.
-I walk up to him slowly with a bucket with feed and he sniffs it, but walks away.
-I try and let him walk up to me, to see if he's interested in me but he just doesnt listen.
-I've even brought all of his friends out of the field but he STILL doesnt listen.
I'm a very patient person, but taking almost two hours to catch my horse, kinda makes your patience run thin.
Does anyone have any tips on this?! ANYTHING could help.
During this retraining period, you may want to keep a leather crowned halter on your horse, even in the pasture. Generally I think it unsafe to leave a halter on a horse outside because I know of horses that have become entangled when trying to scratch an ear with a hind foot. I've also heard of a horse that hooked his halter on a gate latch and got hung up. Thankfully, it happened as people were standing there and was quickly released. Leather halters, or halters with breakaway crowns are safer if the horse becomes entangled.
If you want to be able to catch your horse you will have to convince it that being caught doesn’t always lead to discomfort or work. You’ll do this by spending time with your horse that doesn’t involve any of what it perceives as negative experiences.
Start by visiting in the pasture. Clean up manure, check for fences; anything but approach your horse. If your horse approaches you, don’t reach out and try to catch it. Just let it approach, perhaps sniff at you and then you walk away. Don’t let your horse walk away from you. You always want to be the final decision-maker in any exchange with your horse. Several brief visits a day will be more effective than the occasional long visit.
When trying to approach your horse don’t march up to it full of purpose and intent, it will read your body language and think ‘oh, oh, something is up’. Instead soften your body language, meander towards your horse. Don’t make direct eye contact. Don’t approach head or tail on. Use your peripheral vision and approach at the neck or shoulder.
If the horse allows you to get near enough to catch it spend a little time doing something enjoyable like scratching, massaging or brushing. Use your knowledge of what your horse likes. Again when you are done, don’t let your horse conclude the exchange. Decide when you are done, unhook the lead rope, make the horse stand, and walk away from the horse.
If your horse only runs away when it sees you coming with a halter and lead rope, then always approach it with a halter and lead over your shoulder. You have to teach your horse that the appearance of the halter and lead does not mean you are going to lead it in to work.
Bribing your horse with treats is only a short-term solution to your problem. Treating a horse, especially if there are other horses in the pasture can get dangerous. If the pasture herd learns that you always come out with treats in your pocket you could get hurt as they jostle each other to get the hand out. You want to be able to catch your horse without carrying out a bucket or a carrot.
If your horse will absolutely not allow you to get near enough to catch it, you’ll have to carve out some free, open-ended time and have your horse in a small paddock or yard. A round pen is too small and a large pasture will work only if you don’t mind walking for miles.
When you approach your horse and you know it will run away from you, keep it moving. Use a longe whip as an extension of your arm to cue the horse to move forward. The best gait is a smart trot. At the beginning your horse may act like this is fun —and gallop, buck and kick. Let him play and he will settle. He may try to stop. He may even try to approach you at some point. But don’t let the horse make those decisions. If the horse tries to stop tell it clearly and firmly to TROT.
Ask your horse to HALT—or whoa or whatever term you use consistently after you see that he is beginning to pay attention to you. He may start looking towards you, flicking his ears, or lowering his head. When he is working steadily around you at the trot that is the time to ask for a halt. When he does as you ask, praise him and send him on his way. Do this a few times so you know you are getting a consistent reaction to your command.
When you see that the horse is halting obediently on command, drop your whip and approach him. If the horse stands quietly praise, scratch or pat and walk away. Send him out at a trot again. Repeat the process until you know the horse will stand and wait for you.
Only after you know the horse will stand should you attempt to catch the horse. If he ducks away from you send him on his way and repeat the process. You need to convince him that standing to be caught is more comfortable than running away. (You are not trying to run him to exhaustion.)
If he does stand for you make sure there is a reward at the end of the lesson. Put a lead rope on him and lead him to a treat in a bucket, do a little grooming or massage. And then turn him loose in his pasture. The next time you have a moment visit him in the pasture or paddock. Let him learn that your appearance does not mean he has to go to work or suffer discomfort. Tip: Friendly horses in your paddocks might help you out. If they will walk up to you for pats and scratches, your hard to catch horse will see their behavior and may imitate them.
Jealousy can also help.....pet and play with another horse in the pasture, completely ignoring your horse until she comes up to you willingly. Then give her the same attention you were giving the other horse.
Lots of people will disagree here, but CHASE HIM. I've done this with TONS of horses and it worked wonders for all of them. Just walk up to him like normal, and the SECOND he turns away, run at him. It makes it your idea. Your tricking him, he thought he was all clever running away from you, but now you are chasing him and making him work. That just isn't any fun. Look for the signs of a "join up" [licking and chewing, lowering his head, keeping his ears on you, basically showing signs he wants to stop] and let him. Walk up to him and if tries to turn away again, send him off. It WORKS, there are tons of people out there against it for whatever reason, but it WORKS so I don't see why you shouldn't try it.
Once you catch him, it's up to you what to do next. You can halter him and walk him to cool down, give him lots of treats, lots of affection, a good grooming, or just a pat and leave him along, whatever you think he'll enjoy the most. Repeat the process when necessary.
This is from a book that I have been reading.. don't know if it works but there is a huge section in it about this.
She says if treats, trying to corner him etc doesn't work then to try this.
Fill a coffee can with sweet feed just to get something that rattles and to walk into the middle of the pasture he is in and rattle it and call your horse at the same time. If he runs off, don't follow. Give him three chances to come to you. If that doesn't work then you go to plan B.
Bring back the can of feed, a chair, and something to do (book, magazine, cell phone) because apparently it could take a while. Put his halter under the chair. Then you sit down and read and don't look at him. (you would probably want your horse alone in the pasture for this). It says eventually he will walk over to you because horses are naturally curious. But don't move just allow him to sniff you and check everything out. He may even back off but he'll come back. The second time he comes give him your "come command" and a handful of feed and tell him he was good. The next time he comes up to you tell him to come and then just reward him with your voice. This time stand up slowly and drape the lead rope around his neck. If he slides away hold on to lead rope and sit down but he'll come right back. Now with you holding the lead rope draped around his neck repeat the steps by asking him to come and feed or reward him. Basically it says to get him to associated coming to you with a treat. It says you may need to repeat this but the process should get shorter each time.
Like I said i've never tried this but hopefully it will work. 2 hours sounds stressful! Good luck! :)
I've tried the jealousy move, He has four girlfriends out there, and a gelding that he's not to fond of, and I'll get all of his girls with me and let them eat out of the bucket, then I'll go to the gelding and he'll look at me and nicker like "that's my food, don't give that to him" but he wont do anything, he just stands there.
I bring people out there that he's not familiar with and even they have a problem, I know its just a game that he's playing because I've seen signs of licking and chewing and his ears facing me, but he doesnt know the term "Game over" Once i do finally catch him, he's calm as can be, it just gets aggrivating sometimes.
I personally have never found any of Clinton Anderson's methods to work at all, at least not with my horses. I threw away my book that I had and my one DVD.
There are many reasons why a horse will be hard to catch
2) you're the evil work monster
3) something happens when he's out or he thinks something will happen
(just to name a few)
By sniffing a bucket of food and walking away, I would say it's not number 1....and it doesn't seem to be number 3
So that leaves 2
How many times do you sit with your horse and just do nothing? Like literally sit and do nothing for the whole day while you hand graze him? Alot of catching problems that I find is that the horse learns that when being taken out of the pasture, he is going to get worked or whatever.
My suggestion is to just sit in the pasture...ignore him...read a book draw, etc. Let him get curious and approach you. Do this for a couple days then see if he'll allow you to take him out. If he does, HAND GRAZE him and put him back then leave for the day. If not then just hang in the pasture with him...let him know that being with you does not always mean work :)
He knows that I'm not the "work monster" most days, I'll sit there and just let him graze or I'll give him cookies and bathe him, and brush him.
Even if its one of his work days, I spend an hour grooming him, spending time with him, then its work time, i just don't throw him out when I'm done, most of the time I feed him outside of the field and I'll brush him and let him graze and eat his feed.
So he knows that I'm not all in for the work. And every time i do catch him, he gets his favorite cookie treats, so most of the time, he's being spoiled and not worked.
And he knows I do not believe in harsh punishment, because of his abusive background with his previous owners, so when it does take an hour to catch him, I praise him when i do bring him in from catching him, instead of making a scene and increasing the chances of not being able to catch him again.
A good leader won't always work a horse...if you go up 5 times a week, spend one of those days just hanging out...and doing "undemanding" time.
oh those TB's huh? I think there is some great advice on here and definitely from people who know a lot more than me but I just rescued a TB who is also a dream but his 1-2 problem areas are/were pretty big problems. What has worked for me is just getting over all respect. Maybe don't treat this as an isolated "hard to catch" problem. My boy wouldn't stand still in the cross ties or wash rack but was perfect under saddle or leading. For a long time I treated it like these were his only problems and worked on having him stand in the ties or rack, fighting the battle over and over. I gave up on that, started doing more ground work, really making him very sensitive to me and understanding that I am in charge (in a completely non-harsh or abusive way, just getting him to move his feet, change gates, etc absolutely no yelling or hitting) and what do you know a week later I have him in the cross-ties like it was never an issue. Some days he still tests me- he's a TB through and through but getting his respect has made a world of difference, turning our huge battles into 20 second testing on his part. Good luck.
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