Monday, April 18, 2011

Helping Sara Catch Her Horse

I received a question from Sara in Florida on her hard to catch horse: “I have my 10 year old paint in a rental stables near my college. When I go to get him on the weekends when he is turned out, he is evasive and hard to catch. He spends a great deal of time out in the turnout each week so I don't understand. I've never treated him badly so he should not avoid me. Any ideas? Sara, Florida .”

Sara, if your horse is only turned out on weekends when you come to get him, he may be associating that with being put back in from turnout, and I'm sure he'd much rather have the freedom of the turnout and interaction with other horses than being in his stall.

If you work him hard each time you pull and ride him, he may be remembering that too. Or any other unpleasant thing he is exposed to.

Often if you walk directly up to a horse, they will move off. Watch how a horse, higher in the herd hierarchy, moves other horses off or out of his way with a subtle look or a step towards them. This can certainly be the case if you are anxious to catch and saddle him so you are moving fast towards him. In other words he may see you as a threat.

Instead try moving to him indirectly and watch your body language. I’ll see if I can demonstrate an aggressive approach and a better approach on the video below:

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