Not being able to catch your horse when you need to is a very frustrating experience. Chasing it down, or tricking it into letting you approach is not a great way to begin the time you are going to be spending together either.
It really is worth spending a while teaching your horse to be caught safely: after all, not only does having to out-think and out-maneuver a horse that doesn’t want to be caught tax your time and patience, there may be a time that it is vital that you do so quickly, too.
Perhaps a farrier has arrived, or your vet needs to look at your animal -or maybe the race you are wagering on at one of the many Australian betting sites providing instant access is beginning. Whatever the case, you should always be able to catch your horse when you want to!
Rethink Turning Your Horse Out with a Halter On
As a general rule, horses should not be turned out with their halters still on them. However, while you are in the middle of retraining it so that it can be caught quickly and easily, you may want to consider keeping a leather crowned halter on it, even when it is in the pasture.
Horses have been known to entangle themselves when trying to scratch an ear with one of their hind feet, or hooking a halter on a gate and getting hung up that way. Leather halters and those with breakaway crowns are the safer option if either of these situations occur.
Associate Being Caught with Good Things
If you want to consistently be able to catch your horse when you want to, the most important thing you can do is convince it that this action will not always lead to discomfort or work. You can do this by spending time with your horse doing things that do not count as either of these.
Start off by visiting it in the pasture or paddock. Clean up its manure, check the fences -basically do anything but approach the animal. Should your horse eventually approach you, do not reach out to try and catch it. Let it approach, let it sniff at you if it wants to, and then walk away.
Don’t allow your horse to walk away from you -you want to ensure that you are always the final decision maker in any exchange you have with it. Several short visits a day will be more effective than one occasional long one, too.
Watch Your Body Language
When you are approaching your horse, don’t march smartly up to it, full of an obvious intention and definite purpose!
If you do this, it will very likely read your body language correctly and make for the hills! Try softening your body and meandering towards it in a relaxed fashion.
Avoid direct eye contact, and make sure not to approach its head or tail. Using your peripheral vision, make your way towards its neck or shoulder.