Filed in Category: horse training
Catching In A Herd
My Questions are numerous but I will start with this one today: Catching a horse when they gang up on you. I understand WHY they don't want to be caught and I understand how to go about the catching process and it works very well in my experience when I have just one horse alone. With more than one do you just focus on the one horse you want or all ? It just so happens the one I want is the keenest to get away! (Guess I am not endangering any " horse whisperers" out there! Do I have to invest in time just to go out and read a book for a few minutes and visit them on days I don't ride or catch them? I must admit I haven't had the luxury lately to do that and I guess I might start to find the time!!! I have found perhaps that I have neglected the process when there are two horses together or even three because I am not sure if I should change how I go about catching one horse in particular. And then I just sometimes catch the easier horse to get to the other horse. The other horses can start to muck things up by herding the "wanted one" away or galloping off at the crucial time! Other times I have been able to kid them into thinking they were cornered and then they gave up and were caught. When time was the essence, this all fell apart -as they were having a rip roaring time coercing me into believing they might get caught. So I chopped and changed the process as time ticked away, to eventually "corner them" and they stood allowing me to catch them but not how I would have done so on a perfect day! They were in a small fenced off section about 60 m squared. I let them run around quite a bit, then Meg had a drink of water and I thought, right, EBONY! You are not having any water until you are caught, so I tipped the bucket out! Revenge can be sweet, even if I am not meant to be revengeful!!!!!! Would you believe Meg was the much more settled horse?! Sounds like I am doing a purler of a job on Ebony! (Hope you can read"mock" in all of this!) That's all from me for today! Amanda
I'm a little unclear what it is that you are asking. I think you want to know about catching a specific horse in a group of horses that walk away.
There is no doubt that it is a lot harder to catch a horse if it is in a herd that avoids catching. You are making the task several degrees more difficult for yourself. But given that that is your circumstance, I would pick off the easiest horse to catch as my first victim. Get him caught and lead him to a yard. The others may follow and even go into the yard too. But if not, leave your first horse in the yard and go get your next easiest horse and take him to the yard. Pick them off one by one until you have the horse you want. As the numbers in the paddock dwindle, there is less motivation to run from you because horses can feed off each other when it comes to avoiding being caught.
If the catching issue is serious and showing no sign of improving over time, you will have to separate the horses so that they live apart. You have to put time into addressing the catching issue. When we have had difficult horses to catch we put the horse in a yard where we can work on the issue. Several times a day I would go into the yard and teach the horse to face up and be caught. Then let him go and try again later. This might take a week or so before I can move the horse to a much larger yard or fenced off corner of the paddock. Then I'd repeat the catching exercise again a few times a day. Usually 3 or 4 days in the larger yard is enough to allow the horse to return the horse to the paddock with other horses. But even then I would only put him in a paddock with other horses that were easy to catch and would not run. If you put him back with horses that run away, you'll be back at square one again.
I hope that answers your question.
Filed in Category: horse behaviour
How To Turn Enemies Into Friends
I’m hoping you can help me with my problem. I have just bought a new horse. He is very lovely. Due to circumstances, I agist him and my old horse on a nearby agistment property. They are in the same paddock, but they don’t get along. My old horse chases him around a lot for no reason. The new horse is getting picked on all the time and I can’t afford to pay for separate paddocks. I’m afraid he is going to get hurt. Is there anything I can do about it?
You don’t say how long you’ve had the new horse, so I don’t know if it will settle down or not. Nevertheless, it is the case that some horses just don’t like each other.
If they are only been together a week or two, I would probably give it a bit more time to sort out. Alternatively, you can put a third horse in the paddock. This will have the effect of dividing loyalties. Either the new horse will buddy up with the third horse or the old horse will buddy up with it. Which ever it is, it is likely there will be a decrease in the amount of bullying by your older horse.
If that’s not feasible there is a way that I have known to turn enemies into lovers. Put the new horse and the old horse into a float together and take them somewhere unfamiliar. Make sure the trip is at least 20-30 minutes long (or even longer). When you get there, let them out. Maybe work one of both of them or not. After a time, put them back in the float and take them home. When you let them back into their paddock things will probably have changed for the better. I have seen this work in every case, but sometimes you might have to repeat the exercise a couple of times – always take them somewhere unfamiliar to either of the horses.
The one problem that can result (but not usually) is that it works so well that now your horses suffer separation anxiety and can’t bear to be separated. You can substitute one problem for another. But that’s relatively rare.
I hope it works for you.