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How To Catch Your Horse
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How To Catch Your Horse

Now that summer is finally on the way our horses are enjoying their newfound liberty grazing in the fields.  Whilst this is wonderful to see, many of our equines would much prefer to be munching on ‘Dr Green’ than being ridden, and catching them can be a real problem.

How to Catch Your Horse

Give yourself plenty of time if you suspect that catching your horse might be tricky.  If you have to abandon the task because you’re late for work, your horse learns that by employing avoidance tactics he’ll get his own way.  When you do catch him, always reward him with a treat or a nice head rub.

Be calm, relaxed and passive with your body language.  If you’re too determined and brisk, you could startle him into running away.  If your horse is particularly flighty, try sitting in the field eating an apple for a while.  His curiosity will eventually get the better of him and he’ll come to investigate.  Give him the apple core, pet him and then leave.  If he gets to understand that you won’t necessarily try to bring him in every time you come to the field, he’ll be less stressed and easier to catch when you do want him.

Establish a routine.  Bring your horse in at the same time every day and give him a few carrots or a small feed while you spend time grooming him.  Don’t always ride him or maybe ride him first then turn him out for the day.  If he thinks he’s coming in for some TLC and a tasty snack, you’re far more likely to catch him than if he associates being caught with work.  Sometimes bringing field companions in first can help with a tricky horse that won’t be caught.  If you leave him by out himself, he’ll most likely be keen to come in and be with his friends.

Use a small paddock to turn your horse out in if you initially have trouble catching him.  There’s no point letting him loose in a 30 acre field then complaining when you can’t get near him!  Running after him in hot pursuit won’t work!  Take a bucket of nuts or some tasty treats in a rustling bag to peak his curiosity, and then let him come to you.  Make this a game; you walk away and he follows.  Eventually, allow yourself to be ‘caught’ and share your treats with him.

It can be really frustrating to get near your horse only for him to make good his escape as soon as you try to get the head collar on him.  Use an old leather head collar and turn him out in it.  Clip a few inches of rope to the head collar so that you can quietly catch him using this.  Attach a lead rope and the job’s done.

In Conclusion

There’s nothing more frustrating than being unable to catch your horse.  Usually, time patience and a little kidology are all it takes to solve the problem.  Good luck!


Image sourceWikipedia.org

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  1. Mark Calvo
    Mark Calvo
    I laughed out loud when I saw the photo that accompanies this blog. Great choice as it drew me right into reading this entry.
    1. autumnap
      Many thanks! I think we've all been there! x
  2. James Kenway
    I have a better idea. I advice that need no trickery, no force, no anything. But if I write all of it, it would be a whole book. So I'll just say listening to this audio book I add along here. It will solve most problems one can have. And, you'll learn a lot about horse anatomy, physiology, terminology and sociology that you won't find or learn on any riding school or riding instructors. A lot of truth will be said here: http://ourhorses.org/download-the-path-of-the-horse-book/

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