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Solutions For The Hard To Catch Horse

Does your horse run the other way when you enter the pasture? Or hide in the far corner of his stall when you come near? Horses will tell you how they feel about your relationship by the way they react to you entering the pasture or stall. If your horse is less than perfect and can be a pain to catch, don’t worry as there are some easy solutions to this common problem.

Body Language

Horses communicate almost entirely with body language. Therefore, your own body language plays a significant role in how your horse perceives you. Horses can be taught to accept being caught through pressure and release of your body position/language. Many people make the mistake of marching into the pasture using assertive body language, walking straight up to the horse’s head, immediately putting the halter on, and taking him to be tacked up and ridden. After doing this a few time the horse may start to associate you with work and will avoid you each time you go to catch him.

The Remedy

Before you enter the field or stall be aware of you body language. Keep your shoulders relaxed, hold the halter and lead rope in one hand or over your shoulder. Approach your horse by walking an arc toward his girth area at a steady pace. When you get close enough walk up to his shoulder, letting him sniff you. Rub him a little and then put the halter on. If he walks away at any time keep walking toward him but change your relaxed posture to and assertive one. Assertive body language puts pressure on the horse when he walks away. If he turns his hind end toward you add more pressure by smacking the ground with your lead rope until he turns side on to you, when he does quit swinging the rope but continue to walk assertively toward the horse. When the horse faces you, stop walking and take a few steps backward or even turn away from him if he takes awhile to face you. This method is called walking a horse off. The idea is to put pressure on the horse when he is moving away from you, add even more pressure when his hind end is facing you, and release pressure when he faces you. When you finally catch the horse, halter him then immediately take it off and walk away. You can also give him a treat at this time. Soon he will learn that being near you and being caught is more comfortable then running away.

Tips And Tricks

To prevent your horse from thinking that you mean work every time you catch him, go to his stall or pasture to catch him and instead rub on him then walk away. Giving your horse treats occasionally will also act as an incentive for being caught. Finally, catch your horse and instead of going for a ride only groom him then put him away.