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[RC] catching in pasture - Jonni

The horses are in a 22 acre pasture. Too big for me to chase them around to
catch them.  So, the first thing I taught them was to come to the barn area
when called. Took out a bucket of grain, shook it, and called them. (I used
a loud, kind of high pitched "Booyyyys!!!") Only took a few times for them
to get the fact that I had goodies. Now, I put a few handfuls of grain in
each of the 5 buckets / feeders, and go to the edge of the field and call
them. They come at a gallop. When they get in the barn area, they each go to
their bucket, and I can close gates, and lock them in the corral that
surrounds the shed / run ins. Some folks have actual stalls to have them run
into. I then, can go from horse to horse to check them over for any pasture
boo-boos, pull burrs from manes, paint hoof dressing...whatever. They know
that everytime they come up when called they WILL get a treat, and that not
every time will they be caught to be worked.

On the hard to catch one I have. (who is no longer hard to catch) I had to
be inventive with him. He was 4, and was halter broke, but had never had a
"job", and at that time, seemed to not really want to be worked. I could
hardly walk up to him in the corral, with out him snorting at me in
distrust. So, he got extra treats by hand once and awhile, just to let him
know I was "OK", and that not every time I got near him was he going to have
to work. Then, when I came to him with the halter and lead, if he decided to
leave, I made it my idea, and sent him moving around the corral. You can use
a round pen, or even a stall. If he stopped, and looked at me, then I walked
up, scratched his face, and rubbed the halter all over him, and walked away.
If he stopped, and turned butt, or did not look at me, he was sent moving
again. When it came time to start putting the halter on, he still had some
distrust / fear when it got near his head. So, I had a little bucket of
feed, and I held it out, and held the halter open above it. If he wanted the
food, he had to drop nose through halter to get to it. I had to do this for
a few days, until I could hold the halter out in front of me open for his
head to drop into it, with no bucket of feed, and THEN, after he put his
head IN the halter, I reached in my pocket, and gave him a treat. Now, he no
longer gets a treat, but just gets scratched in a favorite spot for his
reward. This horse had some fears of the lead rope, and I found out later,
the previous owner had a 'trainer' teach him to tie, using the rope around
the girth, up through the halter. he still has some light scars down one
side of his body, from the 2-3' rope burn he received when he must have
pulled and maybe flipped himself.

Oh, and when we had our horses in a stabled set up (no pasture) I would
always make them FACE ME to get the halter put on. I never walked up to them
if their butt was facing me. I had them move, to turn to face me, and if
they didn't, same as above, I made them move around the 12x24 corral until
they stopped and turned to face me. Most just came to the gate and waited as
I headed towards their corral.

Find what works for you and your horses........



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