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nate1 11-24-2010 07:55 PM

what do yall do?
hi all im just wandering what yall do when your horses refuses to be caught and will not allow you to put the halter on.. to start out with let me say that I have made a couple of mistakes... mistake # 1 I have been busy and just haven't had time to work with my horses. Mistake # 2 I'v avoided dealing with this issue for whatever reason. So today I had to catch my horses and put them on a trailer so I could take them somewhere. well they didn't want to be caught we would walk up to them and they would turn their butt towards us (to me that is their way of saying i don't have time for you and is a huge sign of disprespect) so I said enough is enough and I got the lunge whip out and started running them until they would allow me to catch them and put a halter on them. I am just wandering what yall do when your horses refuses to allow you to catch them. I used to round pen when I had them at a stable but I don't have the room and money for those kind of facilities I also don't want to take feed out to catch them because to me that is the wrong answer so if you have any tips and suggestions about what I could do that would be absolutly helpful

Tobyness 11-24-2010 08:56 PM

one of my new mares had issues being caught kinda. she would just kinda wander away, we had a halter on her luckily and our paddocks are set up right behind the barn with access to stalls and you can gate a smaller part off, which is what i had to do. She got over it quick fast and in a hurry when she realized we werent going to hurt her, she was just timid.

If you can close them into a smaller area, that would be a good start. it sounds like you dont have that option though. perhaps you may want to invest in some breakaway turn out halters for them to wear in the field until they get better about being caught, then take them off. try to avoid the grain persuasion as much as possible. you could try a peppermint. i did that with my appendix and soon he just assumed i had one, and would come over. it would also be good to just catch them, give them love, and let them go. do it often. so they realize they dont always have to do something, like work, when you come to great them.

tinyliny 11-24-2010 09:43 PM

I did just what you did, take out a whip or swing the leadline like a propellor and drive the horse. Really, it's more like this; I approach real friendly (no skulking or predatory "I'm gonna catch you" body language). If the horse turns away from me, I let them take one step and then I make a ruckus and drive him for a whoosh! I don't chase, however, I just walk up to him again and see if he will now let me catch him. If he runs off, I whoosh! drive him. If he turns away and starts to graze, I interrupt that with a swing of my rope, or less if that will work, but I don't let him relax unless he is looking at me and stopped. If he stops and looks at me, I will stop, back up a step and invite him to me. If he comes, great, if not , I go to him and see if he can tolerate my advance. If the horse is almost able to tolerate me approaching but hesitates, I will back off one step and ease off the pressure.
Obviously, this only works where there is an area small enough for you to be able to keep pressure on your horse.

loosie 11-24-2010 10:53 PM

288 Attachment(s)

Assuming a horse is trusting & it's not that they're frightened of being caught, the reason they don't want to is that a) there is nothing in it for them & b) it usually leads to Work and other Bad Stuff. I think getting hung up on whether it's 'disrespectful' in your eyes or such is not helpful.

The simple matter is that if allowing yourself to be caught leads to unpleasantness & nothing much good, why would you do it? Of course, if life is made harder if you don't 'submit', you may choose the easier option(this is how slaves are controlled), but that won't cause you to *want* to come or try hard to 'please' and I wouldn't call it 'disrespect' because you choose not to be hassled when you can get away with it.

'Respect' is one of those terms that seems to have so many different definitions & attitudes about it. It can mean someone is fearful of being 'disobedient' because of repercussions, or that someone feels they have the right to do or demand whatever of another, or it can mean consideration and appreciation for other's views, even if they differ from yours. I personally think of respect as the latter. It's a two-way process that cannot be forced. So IMO it is impossible to *earn* a horse's respect without showing them you respect their attitudes and feelings also.

So in order to teach a horse to come when called, or at very least, to allow himself to be caught, you need to put some time in to teach him it's worth his while & ensure that it doesn't mean Bad Stuff.

I would personally at least start out with food treats, as this is a powerful motivator/reinforcer, although if your horse absolutely loves a good scratch or such, you can do that if you prefer. An effective positive reinforcer is anything that that animal at that time truly desires and will work for(eg. in humans, money & compliments generally go a long way!).

While initially, using food treats as a lure(showing them to the horse to 'bribe' him to come; banging a bucket, whatever) can be helpful to get the desirable behaviour happening in the first place, continuing to do this will not be helpful in strengthening the behaviour, and it also sets up the sort of situation that 'my horse will only com/work for food'. The horse will also learn to do the least possible to get at that food too, such as 'snatch & run'. Instead, put the food treats away and use them(or whatever +R) as a reward for when the desirable behaviour *is already happening*.

I would make a point of doing this every time you go to your horse for a little while, along with avoiding or minimising asking them to do anything they find unpleasant once you catch them for now too. To begin with, I'd just be rewarding them(& negatively reinforcing by backing off immediately after too) for allowing me to approach with a halter in hand. Then as they become good about that, gradually ask for a little more before rewarding them. Eg. put the halter on their nose before rewarding & removing yourself. With repetition and working gradually toward your goal, improvement and a change of attitude should be steady.

Starting in a small paddock/large pen can indeed be helpful, and a few elec fence tread ins and some tape is a handy thing to have & won't cost much. You can also still use the 'you walk away, you work' tactic too, where you might use a lunge whip or otherwise make it unpleasant when they choose not to come, so long as the horse is not at all afraid of the whip. But it's more important to make it worth their while coming.

I would strive to avoid rushing them or doing anything unpleasant when they're caught until the coming when called, put your nose in the halter behaviour is well established & reliable, but I appreciate that most of us live in the real world and there may be things that just have to be done, or things that we just don't want to pass up. This can cause a bit of a setback, but going back to the routine should ensure it's a minor one. Once the behaviour is solid, then it is fine to pretty much go back to 'old ways' and also not reward the horse too often, but it's best to reduce rewards & 'up the ante' gradually and randomly, not be predictable or change 'cold turkey'.

To ensure this behaviour stays strong and continues, an occasional reward for coming and ensuring what you do with them - particularly what you do as soon as they're caught is generally pretty nice, at least more often than not.

Crickett 11-25-2010 01:58 PM

If all a person does is catch the horse, give it a lick and a promise brushing, throw a saddle and bridle on, ride the hide off them, and then put them away wet...ya, I wouldn't want to be caught either.

However, I've had a few come to me, who didn't like to be caught. I give them every chance to make the right choice. If they so choose not to, then I make the game of catch me if you can, my game. Don't turn your butt to me, that is disrespectful. I make them move, and they continue to move at the pace I want them to move at. I don't catch them when they say ok I'm over it, I'll let you catch me now, I don't want to play this game anymore. I catch them when I say the game is over, and you turn and face me, and take at least one step toward me, when I take the pressure off. It usually doesn't take more than a couple sessions of playing the game my way, for them to make the right choice the next time.

Catching doesn't mean I ride the horse hard and put him away wet. It might just mean I do a good grooming session and then turn them out. It might be I trim their feet and turn them out. It might mean I go for a ride, and when I get home, they get the saddle loosened up, and they stand tied for a bit. Or maybe I'll hand graze them, or maybe I'll even work them a little when we get back from a leisurely ride. Maybe I'll get off that last quarter mile, loosen the saddle, and walk them home. Coming home never means your done for the day. Maybe I'll bath the horse when I'm done. Maybe I'll catch the horse, give a treat, and then let the horse go again. I like to keep things different, so the horse never gets into any one set routine.

faye 11-25-2010 02:10 PM

Depends on the horse and the reason for not being caught.

Reeco likes to piddle about in the rain, when it rains heavily he won't be caught perfect to catch at al other times. Not quite sure why but it is a quirk of his. He is very bribeable. Feed normaly gets him to come to me. If feed doesnt work then taking everything else out of the field ALWAYS works as he is desperate to come in then.

Harvey does it just out of sheer bloody mindedness. On the extremely rare occasion he wont be caught The only option with him is to walk him down - i.e. keep him moving, dont allow him to graze. He eventualy gives up and allows himself to be caught.

Pride used to have a fear of work and being caught it took me a couple of months but he now comes to call. Basicly I Never caught him and then worked him. He was always caught, fed and then an hour later he would be worked. If he was caught for a grooming I'd catch him using treats and then give him a good groom and a scratch. Occassional I'd go up the field, walk up to him, give him a treat or a scratch and walk away without catching him. He never knows when I'm bringing him in for work or for nice pampering session, heck he doesnt know if I am even going to catch him at all.

Soul 11-25-2010 09:21 PM

Our horses are naughty like that and most of the time they run off and it takes a little while to catch them. They don't fear us or anything, they just don't want to work and when we actually get the halter on them, they are just fine and willing to do whatever.
We catch them by luring them in with oats. We shake a bucket of oats and they come galloping up. We don't actually feed out the oats before the riding. If it's a good day, they can have some after.

MyBoyPuck 11-25-2010 09:32 PM

My horse has only pulled that crap once. I didn't attempt to catch him at first. I wasn't going to win a food race with a horse. Instead I waited him out and kept heading him off at his shoulder from about 20' away so he had to keep changing direction instead of run completely away. After a few dozen direction changes and about 5 minutes, he turned in and faced me, put his head down, I walked up and caught him. He hasn't done it since.

loosie 11-25-2010 11:25 PM

288 Attachment(s)
Bribery can be a sometimes helpful 'tool', especially to shape a behaviour to begin with, but if that's the only tool you use - especially if you don't even pay out on it when they do come - it's likely to be short lived, or only on their terms. Like saying to someone 'look, you can have all this if you do this job for me' and then refusing to pay up. They're not necessarily stupid for taking your word for it to begin with, but if you keep it up they'd be considered brain dead if they continued falling for it.

Silvera 11-26-2010 10:36 PM

If I have a horse that I can't catch with nothing then I will bring out a treat, apple or carrot. If that doesn't work then I bring out a bucket of grain and shake it. Most of the time that one works with not to much time. I don't give them any of it until I have at least a rope around their neck.

If however the treat and grain don't work then I make them work for not wanting to be caught. I run them until they want to stop, try to catch them, if they still don't want to be caught then I run them some more. I just repeat this until they want to be caught.

If you make a habit of feeding them something when they come in then after a while they will want to come in no matter what. Until they are waiting at the gate for you. Once they get to that point then you don't have to feed them every time, just every once in a while, but often enough that they don't know either way.

It doesn't have to be grain either, carrets, apples, stuff like that if you don't want to feed grain.

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