Today my mother mangaged to let all three of my horses out when she opened the gate for some workers. It has never really been a problem before because most of my horses are like giant dogs. However, this mare simply refuses to be caught. Any secrets for catching a B!?*#Y mare?
What I really worried about was her getting the other horses stirred up before I could get them back in the corral. We had a horse get hit and killed here a few weeks ago. I am off the beaten path but know you can never be too cautious.
Take the others inside..and use her supper and loss of companionship to convince her your a better deal than freedom. Keep at it..if she bolts away from you leave her alone and take her supper with you..give her time to think about that. Keep going back..offer supper for being caught. Sooner or later she will cave.
My arab pulled that crap with me. We called it the 'wild arabian stallion 'syndrome.it took 2 days!!!! and many missed feedings but he came around. After that he came when called and never gave me 'you can't catch me' crap again.
up the hill from the little river (that floods alarmingly often)
If she's completely loose, as in off the farm/can get onto the road loose, put the other horses in the barn, and put grain, hay and water all inside a fenced-in area. Then see if you can herd her back onto your property into a fenced-in area. I can't tell from your post if she's loose as in off the farm or loose as in can't catch her in a fenced-in area.
Once she's in a fenced-in area, you can work on catching her. And until she does let you catch her, she gets no food, no friends, no flyspray, no nothing nice. BTDT, got the T-shirt. I won't ever own another horse who refuses to be caught.
Once I got my other two in one of the other pastures she followed; It just drives me crazy that she refuses to be caught. She will walk away every time I get near her, even with treats. FYI - later this evening she walked right up to me which further infuriated me.
I have only had her for 5 months and we have made significant progress but this is not anything I have dealt with in my adult years. I had a mean as crap pony as a child that would plant two feet in your chest when you tried to catch her. This new mare is not mean she is just very much a mare.
My gelding was AWFUL to be caught when I first got him. The woman I bought him from made a fuss that he go to a home with turnout, but failed to mention that you will spend 2 hours trying to catch him. To no avail. I tried the treats, the chase-around-until-he-keels-over (see "2 hrs"), the neglect him until I'm the best thing he's ever seen, etc. Nothing worked.
An old trainer/still friend of mine has gotten into mustang makeovers and whatever, and she suggested clicker training of all things. I scoffed at it at first, but finally tried it after a few days I was left in tears trying to catch him (sick owner + naughty TB + trying to bring in for food = bad). It worked!! Within 3 weeks I could walk up to him. Now, two months later, he walks up to the gate as soon as he sees my car pull in. I trust him to graze the property because he mostly follows me around now and always comes when called. This is tangential, but it's been great for helping get him over his phobia of clippers and ear touching.
Clicker training is not for every horse, by any means, but if you seem out of options, give it a try! Even if you just use it for this one thing, it might prove invaluable. Google will provide you with lots of handy links on how to - or feel free to PM me if you want more info.
I have a welsh cob that doesn't like to be caught, but after I chase in his 5 acres field (He is huffing & puffing- from the 'gator' chase) he is easily caught. Now at 9 yrs old, most of the time, he comes(at least stands til I come to him with carrots to catch him). The usual routine is to keep him in his dry lot, catch him after breakfast, then ride him) and he is free until dinner. He is kept in his dry lot to contain his waist line.
My theory is make them work hrarder than smarter when needed! Repeat, rinse, repeat! As necessary.