I've got the "HARD CATCHER" problem, and it's bad....
I'm the proud owner of a 2000 Standardbred. I've known him for three years and owned him for a little over one. He's ALWAYS been a very hard catcher.
-He doesn't have a sore back, teeth, those kinds of issues
-He really really enjoys being ridden and is very eager to go out, in every part of his demeanour (so he's not trying to shirk work)
-He's never been abused or maltreated
-Very easy-going ground-wise and incredibly patient and quiet. He loves people and kids and is incredibly friendly.
But when I go to catch him from the pasture, it seems like he just plain values his freedom. He may come to pick a carrot from your hand, but try to take his halter and he'll wheel around in a flurry of hooves. Unrelentlessly. Then he'll get more and more stressed up about it. I can follow him slowly around the pasture for half an hour and he just won't give up.
I've developed several techniques for catching him. Lately out of laziness I've taken to following my BO's technique and just open the gate and let him walk inside by himself (zero problem). Otherwise in summer in the huuuge pasture, I'll use fencing tape to gradually reduce the size of the pasture to trap him in a small enclosure where he allows me to approach.
***We DO have a border collie who has an extreme herding instinct - she loves to chase him and his buddy around. This has led me to wonder if he actually perceives it as a game. I've never considered this option before but I'm starting to wonder... Sadly there's nothing I can do about the collie.
If I have extremely tasty treats with me I can get the big guy to follow me around the pasture like a dog. However, only nice treats will do this... And if I just try to approach him business-like, I'm up for a view of his butt.
I'm growing frustrated with this, and wondering what it is I'm doing wrong in my horsemanship. Is it just a game, or am I behaving wrongly towards him? He's very submissive and never questions my authority in handling. I've also lately taken to just visiting him in the pasture with treats and then leaving again, so that me in pasture doesn't necessarily equal loss of freedom. But so far this isn't really giving results.
I've had hard catchers before but this one is just getting the better of me! Also, this is the ONE big drawback of this lovely horse. Aaaargh HALP!