Ever get ready to go for a ride to find your horse running away from you. If you go one way, he goes the other. If you start going faster, he speeds up. Did you find out the doggone horse can run faster than you can. Yeah, we’ve been there too. Chasing a horse through the pasture on foot isn’t the best way to start your ride.
How do you catch a horse that runs away? Depends on what you really want. Are wanting to catch him one more time so you can take him to the sale or do want to be able to easily catch him when you want. We’ll assume you’ll still want him when you finally catch him again ( you may not while running through the pasture ).
A small amount of feed in a bucket is a starting place. It will take a few days to a week with most horses. Walk out in the pasture with a feed bucket and call your horse. Let him smell the feed and rub his head. Don’t let him eat until he lets you put a rope around his neck. Sometimes you have to give him a bite or two to keep his attention, but don’t let him really eat until he learns rope first, food second. Someone may point out, my horse won’t come to feed, then what should I do?
If you have a horse that won’t come, take a friend or maybe a couple of friends. Make sure everyone has a rope to swing or a hat to wave. Position people around the pasture in such a way to be able to make him run. Walk towards the horse with your rope and halter in plain view. If he turns away, holler “move your feet” and run after him swinging your rope. If he has a tendency to kick, don’t run too close. As he heads away, have the next person ready to swing their rope and make him move his feet. Don’t let him stop running until you see him beginning to breathe, then say “whoa” and try to walk up to him. If he doesn’t stand, repeat the process. Make sure he gets tired so he learns that if you come into the pasture, he needs to stand still or he’ll have to go to work.
Once you have your horse where you can stand near him, don’t get in a rush to catch him. Take a minute when you get close and see if you can stand and rub his neck or his face. Practice being able to stand next to him with your rope in hand and just pet him. Go out and practice when you don’t want to catch him. Pretty soon you’ll have him standing while you walk up to put on the halter.
The big problem most folks face is the same one with everything else related to horses; lack of time. If you work all week and want to ride Saturday morning before the social event in the afternoon, there isn’t a lot of time. So we do things the human way, whatever it takes this time and worry about fixing the problem another day. Unfortunately in the rush, the horse is learning not to stand to be caught. The more you hurry the process of catching your horse, the worse it gets.
If you will spend the time when you don’t want to ride, it will pay off when you decide to go. Some horses are harder than others and there are a lot of other ways to train a horse to let you catch him. Some horses respond better to feed, while others seem to like to avoid work. Some do better with some praise and a quick rub of the neck. See if you can figure out what makes your horse tick and we bet you can fix the problem.