Hard to catch horses. What to do?
I have had horses for 13 years and never had this problem. Originally I had one then had 2 and moved up to having 4 horses. Over the years we have sold those horses and I started fresh with 1 horse. I went one week not owning a horse (looking for a new one and sold the other one first) and that was a horrible week. Anyway, the new horse always came to me to be caught and all was good. I had her for 1 and a half years and this spring I bought a 2 year old. The 2 year old didn’t even know how to be caught or lead and my 4 year old was great for teaching her that. Up until a couple weeks ago. I went to catch the 2 year old and she started running away from me. I just caught my 4 yr old and could then catch the 2 yr old. No big deal. It has now progressed to the point where I can’t catch either of them. I feed them grain morning and evening and they will let me catch them no problem but as soon as they know it is not feeding time they run away. My pasture isn’t that small and so for me to just follow them around all day is not fun. It would be good exercise for me but that is beside the point haha. I am looking for tips on how to catch them. The last 2 times I have brought the quad out and chased them till they were tired and then I could catch them. The first time I chased them around for a solid 7 minutes and the second time it only took 2 minutes. My problem is that I don’t want to have to chase them to catch them. I would just like to walk in and get whichever horse I want. I had thought of separating them, which is fine but I would like them to be able to be together as it is easier to feed for winter. I have the feed and the water by the gate as well as that is where I feed the grain. I am tempted to make the fence smaller but then again why can’t they just listen in a big fence? It isn’t that huge, roughly 250 Feet long and 100 feet wide with four rows of trees.
As I said, I have had horses for 13 years and never encountered this problem. I know it is the 2 yr old that has taught the 4 yr old and I am not impressed. Please let me in on some helpful tips. I will do whatever it takes to have easy to catch horses again.
Thanks in advance.
For the first time since I have owned her Sunny is starting to become a booger to catch, so I'm interested in hearing opinions.
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I was given a horse once that was difficult to catch. I coul still catch my other ones though, so I would line them up on the opposite side of the fence and give them all grain when the little one would run away. It worked great. She would run to me after doing that a few times. But if both are running... I would dispense with the treats (grain) myself, and only give grain at random times of the day when you want to work with them. Just an idea though. I've never had that exact problem.
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I could try that I suppose. I have a sneaky feeling that they would learn pretty quickly that I was trying to pull a fast one. But I could try it and hopefully wean them off of that eventually.
1. Some horses become sour because all they do when they are caught is work. So when you do catch them, just brush them sometimes. (Or do whatever is enjoyable for them) Then let them go again.
2. Teach the horse how to join up. A join up can be done in a huge pasture (they do it to each other all the time). My horse has tried running from me too, but once I taught him to join up it got better. Now when he tries it I do a join up and then he is easy to catch and halter. Granted it takes some work the first few times since a join up involves some running at times, but it is well worth it. :wink:
I'm subbing, too!
My boy is a hard catch; we have to bribe him into a stall with some food and separate him from the other 2 horses to get him in there. His previous owners would use more than one person and then corner him, trapping him with a rope, and then catch him. So I have that to undo.
So far I've caught him, grained him while I had him in hand, and then just brushed and walked around with him, letting him eat the lush grass outside of his pasture. We exposed him once to the hose and he enjoyed it. Then I turned him out. So far, still hard to catch... I know it's going to take a while but I hate having to make him feel cornered again in the stall. (I always talk to him, and stand stroking him for a moment before I halter him.)
If you do this, be careful as of course they can get roudy and run you over. :-o
He's "off and on" curious. The first day I had him I went into the pasture and sat down and began to take pictures of all the horses grazing. They'd move, then I would move (keeping a wide distance until I chose my spot to sit) with them. He came up to me twice during this before one of his pasture mates chased him away.
The same day I caught him, groomed him and dug burrs out of his mane/forelock (basically pampered him), then turned him out. Then while I was standing and taking more pictures, he came up to me and let me stroke and itch him.
But then two days after that he really wasn't that interested. Lol It comes and goes... I even "make myself smaller" when I try to approach him, with food or with camera, and it has the same effect; sometimes a great tactic, others an "as if" situation.
I know someone who had a horse who was difficult to catch and she said when the horse ran away from her she'd bring a lunge line and when she did manage to catch the horse it got a good lesson in groundwork, right then and there. Then she'd bring her in and do whatever with her. And of course if the horse didn't run from her, it didn't have to do groundwork in the field.
Just a thought. I've personally never tried it, but I guess it would be worth a shot.
^ To me that sounds like a negative reinforcement. "As soon as you let me catch you, I'm going to make you work."
But that's just me.
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