Dealing With a Horse that?s Hard to Catch

There?s nothing quite as frustrating as standing in a large pasture with a halter and lead rope in your hand, watching your horse run away from you to the farthest corner.? If your horse is difficult to catch, try the following training tips:

  1. Visit the pasture often for brief visits, without approaching your horse.? This will teach your horse that your presence does not necessarily mean work.? Don?t approach your horse or make eye contact, and if your horse approaches you, let him sniff you, but walk away before he walks away from you.? Remember ? you are the decision maker.
  2. Give your horse special treatment in the field, and don?t always take him out to be worked.? A grooming session or massage, depending on what your horse likes, will be a nice treat and can be done in the field.
  3. If your horse is wary of you approaching with a halter, then get in the habit of carrying the halter over your shoulder and make frequent visits to the field without trying to catch your horse.? When he is ready, you can approach him with the halter without attempting to catch him.? Slipping the halter over his head, leading him around for a moment, and then letting him go can also be useful in teaching him that a halter does not necessarily mean work.
  4. Try leaving a breakaway halter on your horse while he is in the field.? This may make it easier for you, rather than trying to get the halter over his head.? A breakaway halter will snap should your horse become entangled, so if you do decide to let him loose in the field with a halter, definitely make sure it?s the breakaway kind.? If you do have to halter your horse in the field, loop the lead rope around his neck first so that if he starts to move away you can guide him to a stop.
  5. Be cautious of bribing your horse with treats.? Feeding treats with other loose horses present can be very dangerous, as they will often crowd you as they anxiously try to get their share of the goodies.? It is much better to train your horse properly than to rely on treats for good behavior.
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