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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
She will come across the pasture for carrots but getting a halter on her or petting her anywhere except her butt is impossible without a second person.

Once you do get her she's great.

Any suggestions besides a breakaway halter?

I've been making progress, at least she doesn't run when I reach out my hand. I'm in no hurry with her.
 

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I can only tell you what I do and that it works well. I also have an idea how you could modify it.

I work with competition horses after lay ups. When I bring them back to work, some would rather not. I can't blame them. Roaming about several hundred acres with running streams, and horse friends? Or interruptions for work.

I used to be able to lure one into a smaller pen. But where I am now, I have to walk one down and then let them loose in a smaller area.

I give them a chance to let me catch them. Reward. Let go. Repeat. Few take advantage of that opportunity.

So I toss a loop over their head. With lariat/catch rope/lasso. I use old ropes about 15-20' in length. Then I go stand or sit outside the corral. It's a large corral. They can evade me.

Oh the drama! I ignore all of it.

Once they can down, within minutes, I walk in and pick up the end of the rope and command "whoa." In a completely nonchalant manner. Most seem to think that I can somehow catch them, and after a few days of this exercise I am able to walk up to them in the pasture.

I occasionally get one that continues to attempt to evade capture, even with the loop around their neck. Those silly ones get to run circles, in the corral, which is square, BTW, until they signal this is no longer worth the effort.

Rinse. Repeat.

Within a few days of this practice, they, too, seem to think I can magically catch them.

If you cannot throw a rope, you can do what a friend does. She catches them the hard way. Puts a 15-20' rope around their neck. Removes the halter. Makes them move their feet in circles a bit. Offers to catch them. If they are compliant, she picks up the rope, tells them they are wonderful. Let's go off the rope. Let's them rest. Makes them move. Catches them. Repeat several times a day, for several days. Many of the ones she trains also act like there is a snake chasing them when the sense the rope.

It works very similar.

Owners or grooms are always happy that their horses are now easy to catch when they pick them up.
 

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I too would set it up so you can get her into a smaller area - small paddock, arena, large pen for eg. If you can't do that, I use the same tactics, just will take longer.

I would NOT continue to offer her carrots in the hope she will come, but be sure to *reward* her with bits of carrot or whatever when she *does* come/look/stay/allow anything.

I use the 'walking down' method. If you're familiar with 'round penning/join up', this is like a low stress, slow & easy version of that. I will ask the horse to come, and if she does, great! Be sure to make it worth her while. Even if to begin with, this means judging where she will come to & tossing her a bit of carrot before she gets there. If/when she doesn't, then walk towards her. If she doesn't leave(or before she thinks about doing so) be sure to reward that and quit approaching(pressure) a handful of times, so she knows it's easiest & worth her while to wait for you. If/when she does leave, 'raise the pressure' a bit, swing a rope mildly, wave your arm, walk more energetically - whatever will cause her mild annoyance but not cause her to be afraid/reactive - and just keep walking after her(this is where a smaller area is good, she's not out of reach of 'pressure' & able to stop & graze till you catch up). Watch her bodylanguage carefully & depending on the 'stage' you're at, you might quit all pressure the instant she even turns her ears on you, or hesitates slightly. Then just rinse & repeat. Rinse & repeat... Soon she will get the idea that to make you quit bugging her, she just needs to stop & face you. Toss her a whole carrot & walk away. Once she's good at that, ask for her to come towards you before you quit/reward.

Once she will come right to you reliably, then you can ask her to stand & allow you to touch her nose, then neck before you reward her & step back. - You can initially go back to 'luring/bribing' to get her to stay, offering the carrot before she lets you touch her. Just don't continue with the bribery, or it tends to backfire, but revert to only rewarding 'Right' behaviours when you get them as soon as she gets the basic idea. Then do the same with a rope/halter in your hand. Once she allows that, then slip the rope around her neck. Reward & take it off. Rinse & repeat. Once you get to putting the halter on, again reward & take it off to start with, make sure it's well associated with Good Stuff before you start asking for things she may not enjoy.

Sounds long winded, and depending on previous experience, how suspicious or otherwise she is about you, it can sometimes be, but if you're honest and consistent with what you're asking of her, she should soon be *keen* to come when called, keen to allow you to put a rope around her neck & 'catch' her.
 

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Why is she uncatchable? That makes all the difference on my answer. I don't think there's nearly enough information here.



Is she just being a jackwagon and not wanting to work?


Is she your horse? (I assume so, but felt I need to ask)



What's her history that you know of? Has she been abused in the past and associates human interaction with pain?


Does she get worked and ridden and then unsaddled and tossed back out in the pasture without a hi bye or thank you?


Is she worked each and every time you need her caught, as opposed to being caught and just groomed or fed at the tie post, and then turned out?



Is she not seeing you as the lead mare and thus not respecting you?


Is she previously unhandled and thus has zero trust in you?



How old is she? Is she a senior horse that just doesn't give a crap anymore and has a Leave me Alone, Kid attitude about it?



I've had all of the above and for each and every one, I've had to do something different.
 

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She will come across the pasture for carrots but getting a halter on her or petting her anywhere except her butt is impossible without a second person.

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I've just recently resolved a very similar situation. Blast knew every trick in the book to be able to take the treat I offered but at the same time prevent me from even tossing a rope over her neck, much less put on a halter. The last 3 times, I've been to the farm, she not only comes to me (I do still have to get fairly close before asking her to come...about 15 feet away). I do want her to come to me rather than me walking up to her , I could have done that easily , btw.

1. establish a word with a specific tone (similar to clicker training, I'd guess) that she associated with earning a treat. I use 'good!' in a high pitched tone, so I would never say it unintentionally, and I only use it when I am going to give a treat. Also, every time I turn her back out in the pasture, once I am back out of the fence, I walk away a bit from her, and call her with a "Blast, come!' in a high pitch and she gets a treat when she comes. So, I have created two cues that are guaranteed to earn her a treat if she responds appropriately. The treats will be phased out over time, and replaced with praise and pets.

2. If she approaches you to get the treat,use the hand further from her to give the treat, ie if you are on her left side, give the treat with your right hand and position it as far as you can to the right. This will have her head turned away to allow you access to her neck. Rub her neck, withers and back with the rope all wadded up. Let her walk away if she wants to. Build from that until you can slide the wadded up rope forward of her withers, and let the end fall off the far side of her neck, reach under and get the rope. Viola, you now have her under your control and should be able to put the halter on. I spent a few sessions, just rubbing her with the rope on both sides and then I walked away, didnt't even try to put the rope over her neck. It took a few sessions before she would even let me on her left side, she KNEW I needed to be on that side to put on the halter. I still praise her when she lets me put the rope on her neck and put the halter on, and give another treat after the halter is on.

3. (sounds like she already comes to you, but if she didnt, use #1 (Blast, come!) to encourage her to come ---to get the treat and let herself be haltered. There are other things that I do, but too long to type in light of the fact that she already comes to you. I used the 'Blast, come!" the other day when I got clumsy with the rope and she got away from me not in an enclosed area, which made it far easier to catch her.

Blast isn't my horse and I only get to the farm once or twice a week. She is a retired Barrel Racer, 20 y.o. and has been a pasture ornament for some time. She's a strong willed, been there,done that mare with a 'nuh-uh- attitude that is nicely changing to 'what're we going to do next' with more good ears and me being able to be softer with cues (groundwork) and also under saddle (goes, turns, transitions down , and sometimes halts with only seat and leg cues. I got lots of the mare glare at the beginning of ground work with her, and lots of arguing about which direction to go at first under saddle.

Good luck. keep us updated on your progress.
 

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1. establish a word with a specific tone (similar to clicker training, I'd guess) that she associated with earning a treat. I use 'good!' in a high pitched tone,
Yes! Learn to use the *principles* behind 'clicker training' effectively & then you can choose whatever specifics you want to do it with, be it cues, rewards, whatever.
 

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OP, could you describe what you have been doing, up to now? and how big is pasture, and other horses in there? feeding routine? (in pasture, in stall? Do horses come in at night? How often is she caught by someone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
More info:

20 yr old opinionated mare, shown early in WP, had one foal and basically turned out in a 5 acre lot with 4 other mares.

She is not mine, but I've been "given" her to use when I can't ride mine. She has lots of quirks and a devil attitude on occasion. Stalled occasionally in bad weather, she prefers to let herself go from pasture to stall generally at breakneck speed. Decent stall manners but an occasional pinning ears, when I'm brushing her neck. She will "offer" her head for the halter while in stall.

We are making progress, just seemed to be stuck at the "getting rope anywhere near her" stage. I'm too old to chase her (65), I do not throw a rope.

Thanks for the suggestions. I am in no hurry. If I have to sit on that stump in her pasture waiting for her so be it.
 
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