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Have you trained your horse to come when called?

  • Yes

    Votes: 11 45.8%
  • I tried but it didn't work

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • No, I don't care if they come when called

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • Not really relevant because they live in a stall / small paddock

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • My horse comes when called sometimes but not always

    Votes: 9 37.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm starting a new thread so as not to hijack another. This is what I wrote there:

Not too long after we got Moonshine, she was living on a 150-acre ranch, maybe 200 acres. It had a creek that was lined with trees and another big pasture behind that, a big mesquite thicket, a small forest, and lots of small hills. We had gone to meet the vet out there. It took us over an hour, in 100+ temperatures, to find her, and that was with us split up. At that time, she would actively run away from people, I guess because she had some bad associations. I had brought a big bottle of water that was mostly frozen solid ice, and by the end of that hour the water had all melted and been drunk, and I was feeling a little light-headed. I said, Never Again. I will train this horse to come when I call, so I did.

So, I was wondering if other people train their horses to come when called. Part of why I ask is because there are people who board their horses where I board mine who have a lot more horse experience than I do, but their horses don't come when called. These people never try to call their horses, so I'm not sure if they would come when called or not I always wanted to ask them why, but it felt like a sort of accusatory question. So I will ask here, where I'm cloaked with anonymity.
 

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Yes, much like calling in the cattle...the Swedish have a term for it too...can't think of what it's called though right now. Typically, if you can get the boss mare on your side, you get the whole herd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, much like calling in the cattle...the Swedish have a term for it too...can't think of what it's called though right now. Typically, if you can get the boss mare on your side, you get the whole herd.
That's so true! Pony didn't quite get the whole coming when called thing at first, but once he realized that (1) he was part of Moonshine's herd, (2) Moonshine came when called, and (3) coming when called = food, he started coming along, too.
 

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Food is a great motivator...
At first when called they had a reward waiting for them...
Then slowly that reward was smaller, then not always available...
Today, no reward is needed...
I call their names and they come galloping in...need to make sure nothing is in the way as it is a race for them to get home.
Whinnying a answer when they hear their names called and then the feet pounding begins....
Both horses learned their names pretty fast...again food is a great motivator.
The rest is history.
🐴...
 

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She used to but since we moved fields I walk through the field on my way there. Katie now just stands there staring at me, not even grazing, until I walk over to her and pick her up. No halter or rope needed, once I pick her up she walks with me to the holding area 20 acres away. Then when I turn her out I walk through the field home and she stays by my shoulder until the very end, has a drink and sees me off. When I take the dogs I have to walk on the trail adjacent to the field and she also walks with us both on the way and home. In the summer field she would always come running because I called from the gate. So yes and no? :p
 

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In general, a yell brings them over or at least far enough to look over the hill to see who's shouting. Food and bad weather are great motivators as well!

Blaze comes when he sees us, he's never been trained.

Toby was the same, he came when he saw me, it wasn't something I'd to teach. He was a people pleaser though and he'd race me, or the car, to the gate.

Sasha had to be trained. She really needed to be persauded that it was worth the walk over and I'd reward her either a carrot or a pat and fussing then release, without asking her to work.

My other mare, Pepsi, was very dangerous to catch and it could take hours. If I managed to touch her headcollar she'd rear, spin and bolt over a burn that ran through the field. I knew she had issues before she came, but I didn't realise just how bad she was. She didn't respond to treats, catch and release, or coming into a nice warm stable and food, it meant nothing, as she too worked-up by the time she'd been caught. She was kept in a DIY yard at the time and we persauded the owner to allow us to use a small paddock and keep her with a companion. She hated being out on her own and if her friend came in she'd start pacing the fence. We worked for months to show her that, if she waited calmly at the gate, she'd get back to her friend. She was never perfect but it got her in at night.
 

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Our paddock is only about 2 acres so they pretty much don't have an issue coming up to the barn even from the other end of the field. But when we lived on 10 acres, they'd come if you yelled at mealtimes. They knew when feeding was. They'd also come if you had a bucket and sometimes just because, but especially if they'd already been ridden that day, they'd keep their distance. On cold afternoons when I went out to feed, you could shout "C'mon up!" or "Here Boss!" and the horses, cows, dogs, chickens, and whatever else happened to be on the other end of the property would come running up. They know when feeding time is. My mare will come to me if there's nobody else around because she's anxious by herself. My gelding...couldn't care less.
 

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All of mine will come when called. Riley comes the quickest so if they are all together - I usually just call for him but each will come to their name.
 

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I've never 'trained' any of my horses to come when called, they just do - they seem to associate us with good things, so if they see us, they come; if they can't see us but hear us, they come - and they just want to be with us. Six of them escaped into the 3,000 acre mountain block behind our farm once and I had no idea where they were - I stood at the gate calling, "Horses! C'mon, c'mon'. Rev. Dibby, Pigsy... etc" In a few minutes, I could hear galloping hooves and they streamed back home, very happy to see me.

We have a 40 acre mountain paddock on our farm and the horses love going to the highest part. Some visitors look amazed when I go out and call, and the horses come galloping out of the trees, but it's not training - they just like being with us.

We've never been able to go into any of their paddocks without them coming up, which is lovely, but annoying if you want to do fencing or tree planting as they all have to stick their noses into whatever we're doing - picking up tools, pawing at buckets of bolts, taking the shovel from our hands. If you want to go for a walk, you'll have six friends tagging along with you - break into a jog and you have them trotting with you.
 

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@Palfrey, we do that with our sheep too! We have the 'lead' little group of sheep that know our voice and when we say "Here girls! Hut! Hut!" That little band comes and the others all follow.
 

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Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Yesterday, when I threw hay, Rusty was already up on the ridge. I hollered, he looked at me putting the hay out, and went back to grazing.

They come up to the barn by themselves at night and will mill around in close proximity until we have the stalls ready.

If DH and I are both at the barn, they won’t come in when he calls them, they wait for me to call them 😂

They have to be in separate pastures. If I have to get them up for some professional care that can’t be scheduled for early AM, I go out on the 4-wheeler, get next to their hind side, point to the barn, say “get to the barn “, rev the engine a little and they go.

They get cookies when they get in their stalls —- yes they do — I am not that big on treats as rewards but every time they let me herd them to the barn on the 4-wheeler, is treat worthy in my book.

I could carry their halters and pony them to the barn but why should I, when they go by themselves just as well.
 

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My horses come galloping when I do a low monotone whistle and scream “red! Jake! Daisy! I have treats!” Most of the time I reward them so coming to me is a positive experience. I do it when I don’t want to catch them as well because then they don’t learnt that they’re always being caught when they com. My cows come when I scream “c’mon c’mon c’mon!” And my sheep come when I yell “Milko”
 

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Our horses usually come when called, there is almost always a treat waiting in their stall when they come in. Great motivator to come. This last year, because they tend to get too fat on pasture turnout they are restricted in the time they are on grass so when called they are really not ready to come in, would like to stay out for more of that lovely grass so we have to walk out to them. they will always walk up to meet us and I give a small treat, and scratch them and say softly "sucker", and lead them to the barn.
I might mention that this is one of the few times I ever give treats and I think it makes the horses happy to come up to us. they never grab at you or demand more. When I say "that's enough" they know there is no use asking for more.
 

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Food, the great motivator.

Mine come as a herd to a whistle or each to their name. Never intentional trained them. Barn knows when you whistle them up to come as it is meal time. A few come to their names. Some come search you out when they see your vehicle, no calling necessary.

I think a lot has to do with their curiosity and rewarding, whether that be attention or treats.
 

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Yes and no...

If I have a halter, then YES they are right there ready for a ride, butting in front of each other hoping it’s their turn.

If I don’t, then they usually look up and throw a nicker my way. They know I’m just coming out to give them treats and love on them and they won’t have to move.
 

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I sorta unintentionally trained my boy to come to me at the fence. Keep in mind that my horse is very well behaved and naturally has a sweet disposition. I love my pony and whenever I went up to catch him I gave him a treat, over about 6 months span I started to realise that I no longer went into his paddock and he just came up to the gate. Now after a year of leasing him and me just recently buying him, I open his paddock gate and he will come up to the entrance and wait for me to put his halter on despite that gate still being open and a full opportunity to make a run for it. I am truely blessed to own him. 😆
 

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My mare will come with a whistle. Well, she at least always makes the effort to. If she's hanging with her buddies, she will usually start coming, but then realize her buddies aren't following and sometimes will go back to them instead. The lead mare and mare #2 are offstandish because their owners don't really work with them. My mare is #3 on the totem pole. #4 loves people but loves grass more, and will only readily approach if she is fairly certain you have carrots or cheerios.

The four mares are quite the odd bunch. All of them besides my mare are always reluctant, and sometimes even very resistant, to come in for daily grain. The BO and all the boarders share a log book for our daily feedings and chores, and it usually says "April followed me in, took me half an hour to catch the rest" regardless of who's catching.

Although this is in a confined area and not her usual pasture, you can see she does respond to a whistle:
 

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I have to holler at mine because I can't whistle worth a durn but they usually come. Not at a run though they're lazy. LOL Gamble is getting deaf in his old age so if he doesn't notice the rest of his herd heading for the barn I sometimes at least have to walk where I can get his attention by making enough movement he notices. Wonder what people think when they drive by and I'm out there screaming, jumping up and down and waving my arms.

Now if something has them all worked up they'll totally ignore me calling them to come in. Last week the neighbor across the road had a tree come down out in his pasture during some wind and that had them all freaked out. They absolutely do not like anything looking different in their world. We also go through this every time he buys some new calves.
 

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Food is a great motivator...
At first when called they had a reward waiting for them...
Then slowly that reward was smaller, then not always available...
Today, no reward is needed...
I call their names and they come galloping in...need to make sure nothing is in the way as it is a race for them to get home.
Whinnying a answer when they hear their names called and then the feet pounding begins....
Both horses learned their names pretty fast...again food is a great motivator.
The rest is history.
🐴...
The same with mine. This is one of the first things I teach them. Nothing is more aggravating than chasing a horse to put a halter on them. I also teach them to ground tie very early and I rarely tie one to tack up. When I drop the lead rope they stand to be saddled, bridled and clean their hooves then, stand still for me to mount and don't move off until asked to.
 
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