Welcome back to Horse Chats!
Do you have troubles catching your horse? Do you want some simple tips for more success with your horse? Well today, I got your back! I had some troubles with my horse, Sky, a while ago where she was very hard to catch, but with the tips I have learned from my trainer and riding friends, I was able to correct it and I now know the methods that work for her. So I totally understand if you are having the same struggle because at times it can be very frustrating!
Today, I am going to be giving you 10 tips on catching the uncatchable horse which might be what you are experiencing with your horse. Enjoy!
1. Guide your horse away from the herd
My first tip is to guide your horse away from the herd. If your horse is a part of a herd, I highly recommend this. When your horse walks away from you and doesn’t want to be caught, direct him or her away from the other horses so you can focus and that they all don’t become a distraction. Your horse will naturally want to go back to it’s herd and this will teach your horse that he/she has to give in and let you put the halter on before they can return to the herd.
2. How is your relationship with your horse?
When you horse is being difficult to catch you have to make sure to assess your relationship with your horse. Do you have a strong, trustworthy relationship with your horse? Your relationship is your foundation. Are there improvements you could make in your riding that would help the relationship with your horse? Is your horse responding negatively when you are riding? Is he or she stressed or irritated? These are some of the questions you have to ask yourself so you are able to pinpoint the main issue.
3. Be patient and stay focused
I know it can be very easy to get frustrated when your horse is not cooperating with you, but make sure to just be patient and stay focused. My riding instructor has always told me to be “unemotional” when your horse is not cooperating. What this means is to keep your emotions level and not express your frustration to your horse (even though you might want to). Horses are very sensitive and can pick up on the smallest hint of frustration or anger, so make sure to keep your emotions level when dealing with your horse that does not want to be caught.
4. Approach your horse at the shoulder
Approach your horse at the shoulder instead of directly in front. Horses actually have a blind spot right in front of their forehead, they might be inclined to shy or walk away when you are walking straight towards their face. This will also help you to get in beside them so you are able to put the lead rope over their neck.
5. Don’t blame your horse
This is pretty self explanatory. I have realized that I have to constantly check my own riding and see if I can improve in any area before I blame my horse. For example, if I realized that I was constantly pulling on my reins and irritating my horse, I have to work on solving that issue before I go straight to saying that it is my horse’s fault.
6. Spend time with your horse
Spending time with your horse is SO important! When my horse was not wanting to be caught, I would sometimes just go out into the field with just a grooming brush and love on her. I found that this helped to strengthen my relationship with Sky. It also can make your horse realize that you are not going to come out every single time with the halter and try to catch him/her.
7. Teach your horse to free-lunge
This is one of the tips that I have used on Sky and it has worked really well. Teach your horse to lunge first and then take off the halter and lead rope. Also, teach your horse signals for when they should stop as well. When I ask Sky to stop, I raise my hand in the air and say “whoaaaaa” really slow and because she is now used to that signal, it works well when she is being difficult in the field. Find what signals work for you and your horse.
8. Use treats if necessary – positive reinforcement
I don’t recommend using treats every time, so only use if necessary. Use treats as positive reinforcement so give your horse a treat once you catch him/her. This will be a reward for your horse when he or she is easy to catch and eventually your horse will start to learn 🙂
9. Let your horse move
You might be wondering what this tip really means. Well, I used this definitely helped a lot with Sky. Sky would sometimes just trot away from me, so I would take the approach that if she wanted to run she can. I continued to push her forward into a circle around me in a trot until she decided to stop. For the first few times, it took awhile to catch her and then it started getting shorter and shorter. Sky learned that I would continue to push her unless she stopped and gave in. I don’t suggest using this on a horse who can easily get worked up as it might just fuel their energy and they won’t stop. If you have a horse like mine who doesn’t want to run for 30 minutes and can be lazy, then it is definitely worth a try (HAHA).
10. Move to a smaller space
The last tip I have for you is to move to a smaller space. If your horse is just not giving in and you are not making any progress, I suggest moving to a smaller space especially if your horse is in a large field. It’s not fun to be running around with your horse in a large field, so if it continues to be an issue, moving to a smaller paddock or field might be wise.
That is it! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and that it will be helpful to you and your horse!
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Until next time… don’t forget to hug your horse!
What are your tips to catching the uncatchable horse?