Loose horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 10-24-2019, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Loose horse?

This question has been bumping around in my head for a while. If you saw a horse that was loose somewhere, what would you do? Would you try to catch it? If so, what would you do with it afterwards? Would it depend on the situation and maybe the horse?

In my neighborhood, people are always catching loose dogs and putting them in their backyard until the owner can come get them. It wonder if it's the same with horses. I also wonder what I would do if I saw a loose horse.
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post #2 of 38 Old 10-24-2019, 09:39 PM
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Our horses got loose once and the neighbours herded them back to our house. We know all the horses in our neighbourhood, so we'd probably take it back to their house (unless they've got locks on their gates, then we'd hold them till' they come to get them.

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post #3 of 38 Old 10-24-2019, 09:44 PM
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Depends on where.

On the reservations near me, horses run loose. But, I've been cruising on roads and seen people trying to catch bands of horses. Then I stop and help.

Around subdivisions I try to run them off the roads, even if it's to backyards between houses, then call the sheriff. People get angry about their grass (that feeds nothing!) but they'd be angry if a loved one hit a horse and got hurt, so I just go with the safest option for all.

Around ranches, it's the easiest. Usually I just have to get out and beller "You sons of guns need to git home!" Throw my arms, shake my hat angrily, and follow them. They will either go back to the hole where they got out, or go to a gate. Ranchers here brand, and it's easy to know local brands so even if a horse has more than one, you can figure out who probably owns the horse(s). I carry wire and fence pliers with me and can throw up a patch pretty quick. I've even done it in dresses and heels.

If the above doesn't work, I just have to catch one horse, the leader (not always the same as the one in front), and they then tell me which way "home" is.

I carry baling twine with me and braid it into different lengths while I'm either taking a break or stuck waiting somewhere. I can't count the lengths I've given to people who are trying to catch a horse or dog, or how many times I've used it to tie a gate shut.
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Last edited by boots; 10-24-2019 at 10:08 PM.
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post #4 of 38 Old 10-24-2019, 09:49 PM
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I've found a miniature horse on the side of a highway once; I stopped and made a makeshift halter out of a set of reins I had in my car. Tried to convince the pony to hop up into the hatch of my car, but ended up just waiting on the side of the road until his owners started looking for him.

If it is a horse that is stressed and running, you do everything to keep them off of the road. I don't care so much about catching them, but instead keeping them safe. I found two loose miniature donkeys running in a yard next to the road, and all I had to do was stand next to the road and wave my arms every once in a while until they began grazing and gave me time to search for their owners.
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post #5 of 38 Old 10-24-2019, 09:51 PM
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I have caught a number of loose horses over the years. If I know the owner, and I usually do, I take it back to its home. If I don't know the owner, I put it in a spare pasture or pen away from my horses.

Once when I put a strange horse in my pasture and called the sheriff's department, the dispatcher said, "Some people have all the luck!" I thought that was super cute and funny.

Once I had a bad fall a long way from home and my horse galloped home without me. A wonderful lady stopped on her way to work (I ride early in the morning) and held my horse outside my gate for what must have been a very long time. I probably walked 3 or 4 miles in riding boots, and I was so relieved to see someone holding my horse when I got to my gate as our road can be fairly busy.

My brother fell off my horse years ago and my horse was hit and killed, so I really worry about losing a horse to traffic.
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post #6 of 38 Old 10-24-2019, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by duskexx View Post
Our horses got loose once and the neighbours herded them back to our house. We know all the horses in our neighbourhood, so we'd probably take it back to their house (unless they've got locks on their gates, then we'd hold them till' they come to get them.

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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #7 of 38 Old 10-24-2019, 11:33 PM
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I would try to get the horse. I once was driving to work one morning and found a loose horse. I had leads in my car, so I got her then called the sheriff's department because that's who handles lost horses in that area of Florida. A fence had come down at a local boarding stable and the one I caught was their last loose guy.
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post #8 of 38 Old 10-25-2019, 01:24 AM
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Around home, yes, I would attempt to catch the loose Equine, and either get it home if I knew where, or put it behind somebody's gate in any event. In a strange place, unless the animal appeared to be in immediate danger, no; I'd leave it to the locals. If I saw someone nearby, I would probably stop and tell them about it.

A neighbors mini "Henry" came to visit my boys last week. Easy enough to put an old halter on him and walk him the quarter mile back home. Not knowing where he came thru their pasture fence-line, I put him in their front yard behind the chain-link fence. I've herded their cow "Rosy" home, too.

Boots, I always carry a "catch string"; about eight feet of bright orange 3mm P-cord, in a neat coil in my back pocket. I use it at least as much as a regular halter.

Catch multiple loose horses? (Loose _tame_ horses, anyway.) First of all, don't get excited. Don't try to "walk them down", or bribe them, just stand quietly, not paying any overt attention to them. Eventually (and it doesn't usually take very long), they will come over to you to see what you are doing, and you can slip a catch string around someones neck. Doesn't have to be the Alpha, just pick a co-operative individual; greet him, catch him, and lead him home. The rest will generally follow. I'm always amazed at how few horse owners seem to know this simple procedure, and run themselves ragged chasing after a loose horse with a bucket of grain, a halter and a lead-rope. You can almost hear the horse(s) laughing
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post #9 of 38 Old 10-25-2019, 03:36 AM
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I have, over the years, both found loose horses and had horses in my care, get loose.

Majority of people will herd them into a nearby field and close them in.

Last horse I actually rode was a loose horse, a gypsy cob. It came galloping along the Downs one evening as I had just finished walking the dogs. It was heading for a cattle grid so I stood and waved my jacket at it. It swerved off and went on down the hill.

Me, being both helpful and lazy, sent my BC and GSD to bring it back, which they did. I put the two elderly dogs in the car and mounted said horse to look for the rider.

It was a pig ignorant animal that was walking into me and barging about. Once on it, it refused to move. I had another dog walker get a leash from the car and gave it a couple of one twos to get it moving. I made it trot and canter from whence it had appeared. I found the rider about a mile+ away with another rider. Both were trying to lead her horse which was equally ill mannered.

No thanks from the woman whose horse it was. I was told, "My horse is very sensitive and gets upset if someone he doesn't know rides him."

My reply was, "Well, you might find him less sensitive now!"

I helped her mount and also the other woman. I did get a grudging thank you as they rode off.

I had to walk the mile+ back to the car!
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post #10 of 38 Old 10-25-2019, 07:34 AM
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Yeah, if I see loose horses anywhere and am in a position to help, I will. The only time it happened in my neighborhood is when someone knocked on my door to tell me the neighbor's horses were running down the road. Neighbors weren't home, and since I have horses, they figured I'd know what to do. They eventually made their way down the road to my house (there were three of them) and stopped when they saw my horses. They came into my barnyard out of curiosity. I got out a feed bucket and a halter and managed to get the dominant horse, a larger Percheron X, to eat out of the feed bucket. The halter was a big small for him, but I got it around his ears and buckled it (couldn't do the throat latch). Then I led him, with the other two following, into my pasture while I shut my two horses in the adjacent paddock. Once they were in safely, I started trying to reach the owners who were at work. They were very grateful and quite upset.

As the others say, it's best not to chase down a loose horse. Number one priority is to keep them away from roads. If you have a bucket, luring them sometimes works. When mine have gotten out, I slip a rope around the neck, then use another rope to make a halter if I don't have one (or even the other end of the same rope - just get it over the nose and behind the ears and voilą, halter). But some are very smart and won't let you get near them.
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