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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2007
    Location
    Pen Argyl PA
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    3,957

    Default hates to be caught.

    our newbie, the 6 yr old from auction, is still not trusting humans 100%. he is doing amazing under saddle, but he does not want to be caught in the paddock.

    We have tried luring him with treats, luring him with his food bowl with food in it, trying to wait it out, trying to get him used to having a rope thrown over his neck, we try to catch him and release, etc.. he is too smart. when he knows we want him, he won't be caught. but after the ride, he won't back off. we can do anything once he knows his work is over.

    if i try to catch him,he will take a treat from my hand, then he'll back away and canter off. i can't even get close enough to touch his neck.

    He lives outdoors with a shelter. i am guessing i might be able to pay for a stall for a month, leave a halter on him, and have him brought inside to eat 2x daily. The handling might help.

    We hate leaving a halter on him, I especially hate breakaway halters, since one of my past horses used to break out all the time. So if he needs a halter, it will be his nylon halter. I know some folks have left halters on with a short length of rope.

    Tell me about your success stories with hard to catch horses..i can use all the ideas i can get..



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area, California
    Posts
    4,631

    Default

    I was taught to put "pressure" on a hard to catch horse. As you walk up, keep eye contact and when he turns to run away, calmly walk toward him. You may have to walk after him for a while, but eventually there will come a time when he will stop and turn toward you. At that instant, take the pressure off, by turning away and relaxing your body with your head down. You turning away is his reward for stopping and turning toward you.

    You can then try to approach him in a softer manner by averting your eyes and approaching toward his shoulder. If he turns and runs again, simply repeat putting pressure on him and repeat the pressure/reward cycle. Eventually you will get the halter on, but the first couple of times you will have to be patient and give yourself plenty of time for this exercise. When you do get the halter on him, lead him around for a bit, give him a treat and pet him a bit, then let him go.

    It make take a couple of days to work through it, but it will work. As you have learned, bribing him to come toward isn't a good method!

    Good luck!
    Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
    http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
    http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    17,328

    Default

    Yep, pretty much what jenm says--I walk em down. Here's a good article describing the process:

    http://www.ceoates.com/info/walking_down_a_horse.html

    With a tough one, I'll also give the horse a token amount of grain when I bring them in. NOT as a bribe (no taking the grain out into the field or anything) but just as tool to help reset the expectations. Being caught and coming in might be riding and work, but it's also a nice little snack before all that starts.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    24,606

    Default

    The worst offenders of "You Can't Catch Me" I've ever met were all Appies. Especially my first horse...it took HOURS to catch her at first. Having her in a 30 acre field didn't help...plus she'd round up the rest of the horses and make them all run around with her. Or try to hide behind them. And sometimes she'd try to hide behind a fence post...like nobody would see the fat white horse sticking out on either side. Or she'd stick her head in a shrub...if she can't see me, I couldn't see her.

    If I needed to catch her in short time...(and I wouldn't recommend this) I'd lay down. Always made her come over and investigate the Dead Person, who might have Treats.

    It took time, but with her it started out with walking her down. I just kept walking at a steady pace towards her at all times. Even if she galloped off and dropped her head to graze, I was approaching and she didn't graze long before having to move off again. Eventually she'd get tired of running off and let me catch her.

    I also taught her to come when called. But not just in turnout. I kept tiny bits of treats in my pockets at all times. My pockets were *jammed* with goodies. When she was in, I'd call her name "Bloooooo!" in a high pitch and loud (even standing right next to her" and then give her a treat. When she was on cross ties getting groomed, same thing. Random calls and treating. Same with farrier. Even same when riding, I'd call out her name the exact same way and bend over and hand her a treat.

    And I also worked with her on a lunge line...not working her, just leading around, hand grazing, whatever. And randomly call her name, reel in the line to make her come to me (if she didn't already) and give her a treat. Then ignore her and let her do what she wanted.

    Then used a smaller turnout area and her loose with a grab rope and calling her over for random treats. She learned she ONLY got treats when she heard me call her name loud and in a high pitch. And since I kept it up constantly, in any and all situations (even on her, when I obviously didn't need to catch her) she associated that high pitched, loud call of her name with a treat. Not that it meant "I got you!"...just that it meant a treat. And she had to come to me to get it.

    It started working in a couple months, less time to catch her. By the end of 6 months it worked often. Within a year it was pretty much a 100% recall, I could stand on the pasture gate and holler her name in a high pitch and she'd gallop in from the back of the pasture. I credit it taking an entire year due to her being an Appy, a mare AND a pony, LOL!

    I've since used it on every horse and it's worked on all of them. All in a LOT less time, LOL! I can holler either of my geldings' names and they come running. Even though they only get the treat once in a while now, only to reinforce.

    I would keep a halter and grab rope on him for now. There are different types of break-aways. The types with the all leather crown piece make it super-easy and cheap to replace a broken strap. And they only break it if it gets caught on something or if they yank hard when tied. If you're holding the leadline, you'll get yanked off your feet before the halter breaks. (guess how I know that)
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    42,519

    Default

    No horse here earns his freedom until he has learned to come when called.
    So, they are kept in a small pen, caught several times a day to bring in for a few minutes to eat a bite of excellent tasty grain, maybe brushed and back to his pen all but when you want to ride, then they go to another place to get saddled, etc.
    In a day or two, horses love to be caught, it is fun, the riding is not connected to being caught.

    We had one horse that was so scared of being caught, he would practically climb out of a pen if someone entered.
    Taught him static tricks and asked one on entering, so he was too busy with that to think to run off and was waiting for his treat for his tricks and so we got where he too would come to the gate when he saw us, quit freaking out from someone coming after him.

    You have to keep trying different methods until you find one that fits your horse, just try not to keep practicing what is not working, change what you do until something does work.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    Walk him down. Be prepared to spend as long as it takes. Give him a cookie and let him go. Rinse and repeat.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2007
    Location
    Pen Argyl PA
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    Default

    i do come toward him softly- with eyes down and etc.. he will come to me, grab the treat and take off, so he will get close, he's just too smart to let me get a rope on him.

    My other horse comes to the gate when called and drops his head into the halter. I wish this guy was that easy. my very first appy was a hard to catch guy, but once you got a rope over his neck he gave up.

    Piper is just a Pita. i love him, but praying he changes his thoughts bc i do not want a hard to catch horse forever. Hubby has better luck than me, b/c he does a lot of clicker with him. I only ride him, so he knows it is work. but i do make the trail rides as comfortable as possible, and as fun as possible for him. I stink at Clicker training, but i suppose i could try to do other groundwork. but since he does not want to be caught, it's not easy. one day i spent an hour and 15 minutes out there. i hate to let the horse win, but i had no shot.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2013
    Location
    Neither Here nor There
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    33

    Default

    I third/fourth/whatever the "walk down" method- I never knew that's what I was doing until someone was giving a demo at an expo I was attending. A lot of what I do has to do with body language and "feeling" the horse out through their body language.

    And I am SO SO SO relieved that I am not the only crazy person who has also laid down in the middle of the field! MistyBlue- do you think it's a NorthEast thing? haha! Never heard of anyone else doing that, and anytime I've suggested it I've gotten some interesting looks to say the least.
    "Sit back and prepare to be pissed off!"

    Eventer, Ballerina, Dancer, Model, and Waitress Extraordinaire (cos a girls gotta eat!).


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Minnesota
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    17,328

    Default

    A horse like this? He doesn't get a treat until the halter is on.

    And make sure you've got enough time to catch him when you go to catch him. Going out there and coming back empty handed is going to make it much, much harder to break the habit.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2009
    Posts
    862

    Default

    Sounds like he has a nice patience person to help him trust again....Try a fly mask... It's easy to grab and might do the trick when approaching with a treat

    But there r some good suggestion above to help train for long term



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    I always turn out the hard to catch with turnout halter.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2001
    Location
    Trailer Trash Ammy!
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    Default

    I don't "walk them down". That's playing *their* game. I change the game and make them play mine. I park my fat asp out in the paddock with a chair, a good book, a drink and some carrots, and prepare to stay there all day if necessary. Once they come up and grab a carrot, DO NOT get up, catch or chase; just calmly give it to them, and go back to your book. Once they've wheeled away, grab another carrot. Work your way up slowly from horsie grabs carrot and RUNS thru horsie grabs carrot & hangs around at discreet distance to see if there's another carrot, thru horsie will eat carrot and stay close enough to be petted, to horsie will let you hold halter while eating carrot, and so on. Make the HORSE move HIS feet; no reason for you to move yours!
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


    4 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2007
    Location
    Pen Argyl PA
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    3,957

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    A horse like this? He doesn't get a treat until the halter is on.

    And make sure you've got enough time to catch him when you go to catch him. Going out there and coming back empty handed is going to make it much, much harder to break the habit.
    this horse WON'T be caught without a treat. i am not going to chase a horse around the pasture for 10 hours. and he needs to learn that coming to humans is not a bad thing. By giving him treats he at least has motivation to come to us.He does not care if i have no treat, he has grass and Hay 24/7.


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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Minnesota
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    Default

    I didn't say don't give him a treat. Give him a treat AFTER you get the halter on. In fact, I'd bring him in and give him grain EVERY time you catch him, whether you ride him or not. Change his expectations.

    If he gets a treat before ducking away, all you're doing is reenforcing that snatch and duck away behavior.

    And if you think you need 10 hours to catch him, then he really needs to be in a smaller space until he's willing to be caught easily.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    24,606

    Default

    And I am SO SO SO relieved that I am not the only crazy person who has also laid down in the middle of the field! MistyBlue- do you think it's a NorthEast thing? haha! Never heard of anyone else doing that, and anytime I've suggested it I've gotten some interesting looks to say the least.
    LOL, maybe it is a New England thing. Worked like a charm a time or two, but probably not the smartest move in a field with a lot of horses in it. Horses are nosy buggers, or just thinking they'll raid the "corpse" for treats.

    Walking down works for plent of horses. My auction guy went through a "you can't catch me" period too. I walked him down. Daily. He got sick and tired of trying to wait me out, he knew it wouldn't happen.

    Nezzy, does he have a pasture buddy? Sometimes if you catch the buddy, the run-away is easier to catch. And I'd keep him haltered with a short grab rope. You need something to grab when he comes to grab the treat. Or a smaller turnout. Sometimes when they have pain in the arse habits...it's a pain in the arse for us to break those habits. Which means that even if it's annoying and lengthy, we go through the time it takes to break that habit.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2009
    Location
    Texas Hill Country
    Posts
    609

    Default

    I used dogged persistence and carrot bribery to coerce my evil Arab mare into being caught. After much diligence, I got her to where she was putting her nose right in the halter, which delightful behavior continued for a few years.

    Until a couple weeks ago, when I decided that her 3-year pasture puff vacation was over and we were gonna start training for an endurance ride. A few lunge-line sessions later: ack! She now cleverly ascertains whether I've got a halter when she sees me coming. If I don't, she's all "Hiya, Crone, my best friend ever! Welcome to our humble pasture! May I tempt you with a martini?" But if I do have a halter, she looks at me like I'm something pale and squishy that lives under a damp log, and it's 23-skidoo.

    So now I've gotta start all over, this time remembering that even if I'm just delivering hay or picking feet, whenever I so much as rattle the gate latch I've gotta have that flippin halter draped over my arm. Ack, I say.
    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    42,519

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
    I used dogged persistence and carrot bribery to coerce my evil Arab mare into being caught. After much diligence, I got her to where she was putting her nose right in the halter, which delightful behavior continued for a few years.

    Until a couple weeks ago, when I decided that her 3-year pasture puff vacation was over and we were gonna start training for an endurance ride. A few lunge-line sessions later: ack! She now cleverly ascertains whether I've got a halter when she sees me coming. If I don't, she's all "Hiya, Crone, my best friend ever! Welcome to our humble pasture! May I tempt you with a martini?" But if I do have a halter, she looks at me like I'm something pale and squishy that lives under a damp log, and it's 23-skidoo.

    So now I've gotta start all over, this time remembering that even if I'm just delivering hay or picking feet, whenever I so much as rattle the gate latch I've gotta have that flippin halter draped over my arm. Ack, I say.
    Horses are so good at training us, are they.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2011
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    East Longmeadow, MA
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    3,551

    Default

    Lots of good advice here for the OP. I had the same problem with my guy when I first got him. Now he usually comes when called. But PLEASE don't leave him turned out in a nylon halter. Either thin leather or a breakaway.
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2007
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    South of Georgia, North of Miami
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    1,118

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nezzy View Post
    this horse WON'T be caught without a treat. i am not going to chase a horse around the pasture for 10 hours. and he needs to learn that coming to humans is not a bad thing. By giving him treats he at least has motivation to come to us.He does not care if i have no treat, he has grass and Hay 24/7.
    Unless you willing to put time into this your always going to have a problem.

    Walk him down, sit him out, whatever works for you, but he does NOT get anything until he stands for a halter. Period.


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  20. #20
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    I would never turn a horse out in a nylon halter. Didn't someone on COTH just lose a horse after his foot got caught in a halter?

    Leather turnout halters...they don't break easily, but they do break.
    Last edited by LauraKY; Apr. 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM. Reason: removed the snarky comment
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



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