Catching the Difficult Horse!

A newly acquired horse or a horse that may be herd bound needs a little assurance from us. They want to know that you are not going to hurt them or abuse them in any way. You as the owner/ trainer must create a friendly, but "I' am the boss" relationship with your horse, if you want a long and rewarding partnership with him. Horses, no matter what age, are constantly learning from their interactions with us. Whether or not you think your interaction with your horse is a "formal training
session" or not, your horse is always learning. This is the case whether you are riding, longeing, feeding, playing, bathing, or just walking through your horse's pasture
or in his stall. Your horse will come to trust you as you work, play and interact with him. To start this process you must make every experience with your horse an enjoyable, learning experience.

For instance, if you are having problems catching your horse in the pasture then you probably don't have a working relationship with him but this can be handled with
a little patience and persistence from you.

First you must reassure your horse you mean him no harm and that it is a pleasant experience when he is with you. When you go out into the pasture don't just go with the intention of "grabbing" your horse for a quick ride, workout or training session.

Instead, walk up to him with a treat in hand; a carrot or apple will do. He may be stand-offish at first but his natural curiosity will eventually win out and he will accept the treat. As he reaches for the treat try to pat him gently on his head and neck. Maybe you won't be able to pat him today or tomorrow but the next day you will. Persistence is the key to remember! Do this every day, several times a day until he realizes you aren't there just to catch him and put him to work. Eventually he will learn to enjoy these "little get togethers" and these "little get togethers" will build his confidence in you. Before you know it he will be coming to you whether you
have a treat for him or not.

Horses are by nature very curious creatures and are always interested in someone or something in their space. Take advantage of this! Maybe you need to work on your fencing, or round pen and chances are that if he sees you in his space he will come to see what you are doing. Seize this opportunity to just talk to him and give him a gentle pat. I don't know about you but when I am in the pasture working and my horses come to see what I am doing I always take a few minutes to ask them how their day is going, and give them a gently pat or two.

You must be persistent and patient in your efforts. Rome wasn't built in a day and your horse will not let you catch him in a day. This will take a few days or possibly weeks but he will come to trust you and as the trust begins so does your partnership with him.

Written by, Michele D. Anderson
Publisher/editor of Horse Tales and Clips an informative FREE newsletter on the care and business of horses. If you would like to sign up for our FREE newsletter please use the link provided:

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Updated: October 2005.