Is your horse hard to catch?

Lets get into real problem solving instead dealing with a symptom, it is obvious your horse does not want to be with you. This is your horse loudly speaking to you. So instead of learning all kind of horsemanship tricks to catch your horse. I wish to inspire people to find the root of this problem.

First of all, see it as a challenge to learn, to get a better relationship with your horse. This transforms a so called problem into a chance for development and growth. 

In some cases the problem was created in a former life situation of the horse with a different owner but nevertheless, it is a problem now. And it can be solved.

There are so many different reasons why the horse does not want to be catched, I cannot possibly write down here everything. But as you know your horse and the situation better believe in yourself that you will find the answer. The key is to ask yourself questions like:

What activities do you do together is there enough variety?   Is it enjoyable for your horse as well?   If you train your horse, are you consistent and clear?    Do you force things too much?    Is your horse in pain?    Does your tack fit properly?    How are your emotions, are you stressed or always in a hurry?    Do you spend enough undemanding time together?    Do you listen to your horse?     Is your horse herd bound?    Is your horse confident enough?    How are your riding skills?    Is your horse happy?

If you give your horse a good reason to be with you he will be positive to see you. Do not make him regret being with you. Ofcourse we cannot stay in the comfort zone 100% of the time. But if you realize when you lost some credit from your relational bank , you know you have to put effort in to create circumstances that are positive for your horse so the balance keeps in the plus.  They are forgiving and tolerating but if your credits are all spend things get difficult. They have excellent memories, give them good things to remember from being with you.

I want to warn people with hard to catch horse who are practising the natural horsemanship ‘games’. They are not really funny for your horse if you ‘play’ them too often with too much pressure or no variety. Then the so called games become restraining and dominating because the human always want to ‘win.’ They must be done with lots of feel and never overdone. Do some research about horse behaviour and you know what I mean. I am not against it, I use concepts from Natural horsemanship myself, Karen Rohlf is a good example for me, of somebody who uses the concepts with good feel and purpose. Dressage naturally  is her training system. She has a great attitude around horses.

If you have found the possible answer why your horse does not want to catched, start to work on that. Maybe at first give him a time off for a while so the horse knows he does not always have to work if you catch him and take him. And then slowly pick things up again, with your new insights in mind. Horses often become better after you give them a training break. They need time to mentally absorb things and they stay motivated.

You can learn to be a better trainer, even if you do not see yourself as one. Learning about learning theory and positive reinforcement will be of great help. So does learning about horse behaviour.

Please note that the majority of common ideas about horse training and behaviour are coming from old tradition, nowadays contradicted by  scientists and ethologists and good trainers, so seek for more enlightent information. If needed with help from somebody specialized in horse behaviour based on latest insights.

For your horse physical health and well-being,  you can contact a veterinarian and osteopathic healer. Do not forget to check your saddle fit. And be sure your horse has had his dentils checked. Pain is a main reason for horses to reject things we want them to do.

Once I was called by a man to help him with his horse. The horse did not want to walk when he was mounted. I found out this man tightened the girth so tight, the poor horse was in pain. How many horses are out there facing the same problem. Use mounting block for mounting, and keep the girth as loose as possible. If you have bad balance you find out soon 😊 ( then you have found yourself Another thing to work on, it is very unpleasant for a horse to carry a rider who cannot sit properly anyway.) So if you have to tighten the girth to strongly to stay on your horse. Practise riding bareback for a while. This gives you a natural feel for balance.

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I have a 21 year horse who was extremely head shy when she came living in my herd, she was abused. I am extremely gentle with her, she let me halter her now. But she was also hard to catch. Make putting a halter on something positive. With her I always take my time to never give her the feeling I will trap her. So I stand next to her and wait. Our ritual is that if she moves her head away, I respect that. And I just talk and wait for her to be ready and make the choice. Positive reinforcement solved the haltering problem. And I did lots of things to improve our relationship.

This was just some inspiration, bottom line of the subject is, learn to understand horses, and search for knowledge to improve your relationship. Everybody has the power to solve his own challenge, and this turns an initial problem in a chance to learn and grow. Horses  therefore, are the best teachers we can imagine.

Let the horse be with you!

Praise the Horse! ehh… Lord. Amen. 😉

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