Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

Last post 04-18-2011 7:23 PM by FloridaHorseman. 8 replies.
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  • 04-11-2011 6:08 PM

    Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

     I have a gelding that is VERY difficult to catch! I have tried everything that I know of!!! Carrots, treats, food,... He will not come unless he decides its time to come in. When you go out to catch him and its before his time, he runs... very fast away.. He has even fallen a couple times doing this. He is an older gelding and in a pasture with around 10 other horses. (all of which are very easy to catch.. haha!)

    Any suggestions!?!

    Jules

  • 04-11-2011 10:45 PM In reply to

    Re: Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

    Bring everyone else in.  Leave him out alone.  Feed the ones who are in (only) and make sure he can hear that you're doing so.  After a few repetitions (heck, may only take the first time) he should be more receptive to the idea.


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  • 04-12-2011 7:08 AM In reply to

    Re: Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

    A little more information about you and your gelding would be helpful. How long have you had him? How long has he been where he's at? Does he run away from everyone or just you? Do you ride him at all (when you can catch him)? Has anyone ridden him before? And if so, how much? Is he in a boarding situation? Is he your first horse? How much do you know about horses in general? How big is the pasture he's in? Are there any corrals, pens or arenas you could isolate him in? 

    It's a horse's natural job to run away from things they're not trustful of. That's how they survive. ~FH
  • 04-12-2011 7:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

    I have not had him very long... just over 4 months. He has been where he is for several years. He runs from everyone.. the groom, stable hands, owner, me, previous owner, kiddos. I try to ride him 3 times a week (when we can catch him) He is 18 and has been ridden before. His previous owner didn't get to ride very much. She told me he has always been this way.. she used to have two horses and ever since the other one passed away, this has gotten worse.. (several years ago is when this happened). He is boarded. He is in a pasture probably somewhere around 8 acres with around 10 other horses during the day. At night he comes in.. (when he can be caught.) He is not my first horse.. I am pretty knowledgable (althought know I still have lots to learn) There is a round pen that isn't used very much just outside of the pasture.

    The funny thing about the being fearful.. I don't think he is.. After really watching him, I almost think hes playing.. Kinda like a "chase".. if you turn your back to him... he tries to sneak up on you and "tag" you.. haha.. It really is a funny situation..it a conundrum, thats for sure! Smile

    Thanks for helping!

    Jules

  • 04-12-2011 6:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

    bylderchic:
    .. if you turn your back to him... he tries to sneak up on you and "tag" you..
    He's not playing tag. He's looking for the proper response from you so he can "join up". The next time he does that quietly turn to him without looking him in the eyes, give him a rub on the forehead and slowly walk away. He may start to follow you. In an open pasture situation you're actually using the advance & retreat method of drawing him in. Essentially it's the same as join up but ends a little differently.

    You can have better success with getting him to join up if you practice with him in the round pen. Send him away (no longe line) for a few laps and look for licking and chewing. When he starts doing that, stop sending him away, turn your back to him and see if he comes in to "tag" you. If he does, rub his forehead and take a few steps away from him. He should follow. Stop, give another rub and walk away again. Walk some S patterns, both turning into the horse and turning away. He may drop off when you turn away. If so, just walk back up to him, give a tug on his halter and draw him with you. If you do this exercise once a day for several days you should see a big change in his approachability.

    Too many people mistakenly "chase" a horse when trying to "catch" it. It's even harder when there are other horses for him to "hide" behind. It's best to split the other horses off somewhere so the problem child HAS to deal with you. Direct eye contact and walking straight toward a skeptical horse is a surefire recipe for driving him away. Meander toward the horse with eyes downcast and a relaxed posture. The horse may move off when you reach his pressure bubble. That distance varies from horse to horse. But when he starts moving off, stop and turn away. The horse should also stop and turn to face you. Without making eye contact NOW slowly walk directly toward him until he starts to move off again. Stop, turn away and wait for him to turn and face you again. Repeat as necessary until you get close enough to collect him by the *halter. This may take a LOT longer than you may be prepared for. But patience and learning to work at speed the horse finds comfortable is very important.

    *Halters on pasture horses- Horses that are difficult to catch should have breakaway halters on. You will defeat the purpose of the exercise if you finally win enough confidence from the horse to allow you in close only to chase him off again when you swing a halter at him. An alternative might be to carry a length of baling twine in your pocket and quietly slip it around his neck while you're giving him a nice rub. Wear gloves and LET GO if he bolts if you want to keep your fingers.

    This particular horse sounds like he WANTS to have you as a friend. Get him in the round pen, give him the answers he's asking for and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Good luck! ~FH
  • 04-13-2011 5:44 AM In reply to

    Re: Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

    Thank you so much!!!

     This is definitely going to be a fun experience for both of us I think!! Wink

    Jules

  • 04-18-2011 5:14 PM In reply to

    Re: Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

     Ok. Just happy to report... I had my first successful "join up" in the pasture today.. Big Smile Came up to me, trotted away when I presented the halter, I turned my back to him, he came back and nudged my arm, I turned around and he ran away again. AFter we repeated this three times, he let me halter him and he loved on me. 

     

    I can't say enough how much I thank everyone for their  help and advise!! I am so excited!

    Jules

  • 04-18-2011 7:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

    Good job! I hope your friend who bought a horse from you can be successful with him, too, with the same kind of horsemanship.
    Megan


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."

    Anonymous




  • 04-18-2011 7:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Uncatchable Horse??? HELP!

    bylderchic:

     Ok. Just happy to report... I had my first successful "join up" in the pasture today.. Big Smile Came up to me, trotted away when I presented the halter, I turned my back to him, he came back and nudged my arm, I turned around and he ran away again. AFter we repeated this three times, he let me halter him and he loved on me. 

     

    I can't say enough how much I thank everyone for their  help and advise!! I am so excited!

    Congratulations! Well done! ~FH

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