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At the barn I ride, I usually catch and tack up the horse I’m riding and then help out catching, grooming, tacking up other horses as asked by the barn owner. The ones I already know are fine and will come over to greet me or at least stand to be caught. I sometimes have trouble with new ones (ie ones I have never ridden or interacted with) particularly if they are eating at the hay bale with a friend. For these horses, I’m trying to fine tune my approach of projecting confidence while meandering and not approaching like a predator (ie too directly with eye contact etc). Wondering if anyone has a good approach. I have read on the subject but haven’t discovered advice for separating a pair. It’s way harder to get to the left side, let alone close when they are manoeuvring as a unit and also when they are joined at the hip (as they seem to be in these moments) they are not particularly curious about me and it’s harder to make any connection. Note: there are no safety issues as I keep my distance and usually patience pays off or the trainer comes and helps me (or even stands close by which changes the dynamic) but I would like to perfect my methods/speed up the process if possible. I should also note that I am looking to gain more general horsemanship tips to help me in times like this rather than anything that involves a training plan for any of these individual horses as I do not own or ride them.
 

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With my own herd I just wade in and halter the one I want. If I were dealing with horses I didn't know well I would stand a safe distance behind and a little to the side and just stand there and fiddle with something like the rope or halter until they got curious enough to turn and face me at which point I would walk up and halter. This would be a good time to treat with the owners permission. If they are in catch me if you can mode then I walk them down.
 

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Thanks for the response @JCnGrace. I tried what you said (though approaching from the front) and what I read about the flight zone and horse psychology and it worked like a charm - I was catching a horse I have ridden before but we had a great time together and he was much more relaxed than he sometimes is. I wonder if the way I approached set the stage for that.
 

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Carrying a long whip is never a bad idea. Not only to protect yourself (from the sounds of it, that is not necessary), but to indicate to the other horses that you are there for a reason, and can drive them away if needed.

I do not feed treats to horses when there are other horses around them. I'm not saying no one should - but I personally find they get far more aggressive towards each other as soon as I take out the food. Instead, if I want to reward the horse I am catching, I wait until I've safely removed them. Once in a stall, on the cross-ties, whatever, they might get a reward if I feel it is helpful (for those who are hard to catch). And I know that they say you have to reward instantly, but I assure you, my horses know that if they behave for the next few minutes, there will be a reward at the end. They can learn to delay gratification.
 
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