How to catch your horse

Catching your horse in a pasture
Catching your horse in a pasture

Right now I have a horse that is so people oriented that you can’t get him to leave you alone. It doesn’t matter how large the field; he’s in your pocket. If you try to chase him off he just turns around and stares at you in disbelief.

However, I have had horses in the past that simply don’t want to be caught. I’m not a big fan of using treats or grain. The only thing that’s worse than a 1200 lb animal that doesn’t want to be caught is a 1200 lb animal that is demanding that you feed him. Having watched a full grown adult knocked over by a pony who wanted food, I’m not going there with my horse. Even worse is when there are several horses in the field and they all want food. I don’t want to be the object of such interest.

I read an amusing thread yesterday where people shared their strategies. At then end, I’ll share mine.

  • Back up to your horse slowly hiding the leadrope and halter. This wouldn’t work for me because I’m way too clumsy and would fall down.
  • Lie down in the middle of the field and pretend you’re dead. Curiosity will make your horse come over and check you out. This works only if your horse doesn’t step on you.
  • Crinkle a piece of cellophane or a dollar bill. This only works with horses that have been fed peppermints and gets you back into the situation where you are hounded by your horse for food.
  • Shake a can full of grain. This is really dicey when you’re in a  field with several horses as you can be mobbed.
  • Ask a horse psychic what name the horse wants to be called and use that. Haven’t tried that, so I can’t comment.

Here’s what I do. If a horse won’t let me near them, I make them work. I don’t chase them, but I don’t let them stop and graze. After awhile, the horse decides that this isn’t fun. It’s no longer their idea; it’s mine. All of a sudden, getting caught looks more attractive. The first time I tried this it took me about 30 minutes. The second time, it took about 10 minutes. Eventually, this horse just figured it was too much work to run away and started letting me catch her.

One thought on “How to catch your horse

  1. I see alot of people going out into pastures with entire bags of treats – it’s really scary! Once they get surrounded they get terrified and then think that in addition to the treat bag, they need to have a lunge whip too. It doesn’t make any sense! Arm movements, voice, body language and/or a swinging lead rope can accomplish so much and still keep your hands free. I hope that alot of new horse owners read your post because so many just don’t have a clue and think that they have to use treats to motivate a horse to do anything and everything.

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