He wont let me catch him. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 04:47 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy He wont let me catch him.

I have been and took the plunge and bought a pony for my daughter he was proven safe and I had advise and took my time in buying him. Hes a gelding 11hh section A. We had a bad experience where I had tied him up for grooming and some dogs got through a gap in the fence next door and spooked him (although I'm not sure if it was my shock that actually scared him) He broke away and broke his head collar and up until that point he was amazing to catch. It took me 2 days to catch him again and put a field collar on I managed eventually by sectioning him down using electric fencing to the size of a stable. He then gave in and let me catch him groom him etc and seemed good let me catch him again was ok. yesterday I went again and he wouldn't let me catch him. I sectioned him down again and this time he jumped the fencing I know enough that I know he will just do that again now :(. Any advice gratefully received from what I have researched Im going to start with just going into his field and letting him follow me around he has been at the moment and just focus on him being closer to me and stop trying to bribe him with titbits (he just steals them!)
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post #2 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 04:57 AM
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Do not chase him, he knows he can get away.
Take some carrot pieces, that he has to come up to you to get.
Take a bucket and shake it. He will come to get the treats out of the bucket.
My horses all come running up now, I may have a treat, i may have some rubs or brushes.
Keep a rope and halter on your arm or shoulder .
You could put him in a smaller pen until he is willing to be caught again.
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post #3 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 05:00 AM
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Take a peppermint out with you! Make a big fuss of unwrapping it and crinkling the wrapper and hold it out in your palm.
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post #4 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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The thing with treats is that he just snatches the treat and backs off so I still cant catch him :(
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post #5 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 05:20 AM
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If when you're in the paddock he stops and stares at you look right at his bum focus on it for awhile and then turn and walk in the other direction. Someone at my paddock to me to do this if my TB was being an *** I did it to him once and he came straight afterwards lol
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post #6 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 07:11 AM
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Providing you not have him on a large acreage pasture field...get him in a smaller area. Figure out a way he can't jump the fence, another bad trait to learn and not safe for him either!
I would be prepared to spend a few hours of getting him... he may not be ridden but he will work!
Yes, I would chase him!
I would chase him till he is tired of running and then chase him some more so he realizes it is easier to be caught than have his legs run off, tired and winded...
Get a lunge whip as that gives you more "reach" and the snap will get his legs moving faster than you otherwise can. Use that whip to your advantage...
I was taught you make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard...
So not being caught is wrong of him...work his butt and don't quit till he stands perfectly still when you walk up. If you approach and he moves...get after him some more.
You may need to do this a few times but he will learn he has to work harder than if he just gets caught and gets ridden...
Once you do catch him a scratch and SMALL treat..... he earns it not steals it and he doesn't need many of those "treats" either.

Your pony is smart, most ponies are smart.
He has your number....
He has figured out if he alludes you he doesn't get worked...
So now you make him work harder by being mischievous and running away. Punishment if you want to think of it that way..
Your pony needs some retraining....they learn from repetition just like a horse does.
So he learned he can get out of work by alluding you.
He now learns he works harder when he alludes you.
Soon, he may not come to greet you but he will also not be running away but staying put as you approach.
Be prepared for exercise for him and you. This won't be fixed overnight but a few times of doing this he will figure it out...

So me...
Catching him...I would make those little legs and him TIRED by running his *** off, not by bribing him with treats...to me that is just asking for more issues like biting when he snatches, then bolts.
He may need a occasional refresher course too on his acceptable behaviors...
jmo...
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post #7 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 08:13 AM
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If he has already figured out he can jump fences do not chase him, that is giving him a reason to jump the fence. I highly suggest using positive reinforcement, rather then P&R for this little guy, for this situation.

Take some hay or small bits of food out and be prepared to be patient. Yes he is going to snatch the food and then back off, let him. But try to beat him to the punch and you back off first, you will draw him into your space. If you use hay it is easier as you can toss it to him out of your space, then take a step back while he eats it. Then he will comes towards you again, toss the hay take a step back, he is being rewarded for coming towards you.

Take some really delicious high value treats with you and hold onto them. When he walks up close to you give him the high value treat then step away from him. Once he is coming up to you then you can put your hand out let him touch your hand then give him the treat, keep moving away from him and getting him to follow you. If he leaves that is fine he is missing out on the goodies. He will be back.

After he is following you all about then do the same thing with the halter that you did with your hand, have him touch the halter then give him a treat, step back. Repeat the process until he is no longer moving away from you, then put the halter on and make sure to reward him for that as well.

Since he is already broke it will not take long at all for him to come around and be all up around you again. Especially if you change the game of chase into giving him a reward for doing the right thing.

If your interested in learning more about positive reinforcement there is some good information on the internet, and videos. If your worried about using food and muggy behavior don't as that is one of the first behaviors you teach the horse, to not do those things. I used to be all P&R, but since working with a positive reinforcement trainer I have learned to value that method as well and find it handy in situations such as yours.

My trainer friend, who has impeccable timing btw, was able to get a halter on and off a mustang fresh out of the pens within hours of walking into the pen with him. Or I should say got the horse to shove his face into the halter, on his own, she thinks they need to halter themselves LOL. Then the owner was able to do the same thing. Using only positive reinforcement.
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post #8 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 08:15 AM
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Whichever you choose, move him to a smaller area.

I'd go with 1. Make him work. He can either choose the lunge whip or the halter. If you can't catch him then he's gotta MOVE! No lazy trotting, BIG movements. Stop after a while and try again. Reward him when you can't him and let him go. Or take him out and make it pleasent for him! Groom, graze, handwalk, etc.

Or 2. Feed him in the barn. Try to catch him, if he doesn't want to be caught he doesn't eat. I've never seen a horse skip more then 1 meal! feed him inside (even if it's his grains and a small amount of grain) and he'll start looking forward to coming inside. When you bring him in between meals throw some carrots in his stall as a reward for coming inside. After a week or so you can phase it out.

Whatever you do make being caught a POSTIVIE experience. Honestly, why would a horse really want to be caught? They are leaving their happy place to do and hour of cardio ! Don't always make catching the precursor to working. You can even do as little as catch him, reward him and let him go again. Also, if you can, try to catch him SEVERAL times a day!
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post #9 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 08:25 AM
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I don't normally disagree with the whole world but this time I don't agree with anything that's been said.

First don't try catching a horse when you only want them for work. Pretty soon they will be difficult to catch no matter how many dogs sneak thru the fence. Which BTW, sounds like a whole nuther event that needs addressed.

Don't plan on catching him for awhile. Take a book or take your IPad and a lawn chair, and go sit in HIS space for awhile. Keep some treats in your pocket or fanny pack. Plan on sitting in that chair, entertaining yourself until he comes to you, give him a treat, let him sniff you, your book, and don't try to catch him right away.

If you bought him as kid safe, he should not be a horse to walk up and try to bite or kick you, he should be a curious horse that wants to see what you're doing in his space

Don't worry about his being brushed. He's fine without being brushed for awhile but, if you don't have any success with him eventually coming to you out of his own curiosity, you might want to invest in a trainer.

You can chase that pony until the cows come in for milking and still not catch him. What you could do is over heat him and make him colic or worse, sour him from being caught, cause yourself a bunch of not needed frustration.

Good luck in your endeavors.

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #10 of 33 Old 04-09-2015, 08:30 AM
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Different horses seem to react best to different techniques.

Running them down may work if you have the stamina. However, it may not do the best job at setting up a good relationship. It can also develop into a game of "catch me if you can".

A similar, but less stressful, method is to simply follow the horse around calmly, turning to cut off attempts at evasion. This method relies more on persistence than pressure. It may take as long or longer than the previous method, but it would be less stressful for the horse and less physically demanding on you.

Going into the field and standing or sitting until the horse becomes curious enough to investigate you is another method. This may be combined with the previously mentioned method. Follow the horse for a while; then, let him follow you.

Treat or food attraction can prove helpful. I, however, find it better to give a horse a treat when I release it after work. This makes it a reward rather than a bribe. It leaves the horse with a pleasant memory of his last experience with you.

This brings up the importance of building a good relationship with the horse when he is with you. He should learn to trust you to meet his basic needs of food, safety, and reliable leadership. Overly disciplining a horse may obtain obedience but not a true desire to be with you. Being overly affectionate may be perceived as being too intrusive.

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