You grab your halter, head out the door to the pasture to catch your horse and it decides in a game of cat and mouse. A half an hour later, you're sweaty, frustrated, probably angry and your horse is still at the other end snickering at you.
It's a familiar issue. One that I'm sure has many people screaming, "There has to be an easier way!" The answer, Yes there is! Oh if it were that simple to find it though. Just as there are breeds and colors, there are ways of dealing with haltering issues.
Cookie has never been one you could just walk out to the pasture and catch with a halter in hand. Without one, yes. I have decided to break up my training of the side pass and rear pivot to start working with her issue of haltering.
One thing I have begun to do is to take my halter out with me every time I go out there. I don't intend on catching her every time, but I want her to see that I'm not going to catch her every time I have a halter in my hand. This desire for her to run away every time is getting annoying, and what if I had an emergency and needed to catch her in a hurry? I couldn't. At least, not with a halter in my hand.
I can whistle her favorite tune and she'll come up, as long as I don't have a halter. So it begins. I'm sure she will make this particular part of her training a long and drawn out one because she's just that type of horse.
This afternoon, the hay man was coming to deliver a bale. I went out with the halter and she decided to take off in the opposite direction. So I went after her. Yes, you saw that right. I went after her. I made her move her feet and push her away on purpose. I have done this game with her before. She will move her feet until I decide it's time to not move her feet. When she's done with the game, she'll find a corner to get in and look at me as if I've lost my mind. She thinks the halter is what scared her. Believe it. If I put down the halter after this little game, she will actually turn and look at me. With the halter, she begins to get wide eyed and boogery. In the process of running her off, we burned off a whole bunch of energy, got turns in both directions and lucky her, she didn't even break a sweat.
Later this afternoon it was time for a hay net. So I grabbed the halter and went out to feed. She turned and went the other direction where normally, without the halter, she's trying to run me over to get to the hay net. This is good and not so good. It's good because she kept her distance, not good because she's afraid I'm going to halter her up again. So, around we went again. This time I waited until she stopped and took a hold of her fly mask. Lead her to her hay net and let her eat.
When I go out again, I'll again grab the halter and take it with me. This nasty habit of hers needs to be broken and it will be. It's up to her just how long that takes.
I will continue doing this until I see it is absolutely not working, then I will try something else. There's always more than one way to skin a cat, or in this case, halter a horse. I don't want to take the decision away from her... I am giving her the choice to either make it easy or hard.
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