View Full Version : cant catch her
15th May 2002, 06:50 PM
Hi everyone, wonder if you can help.
I've got a welsh section D, 5 year old, and for about the last 6 months shes been difficult to catch, but i've managed. HOwever the last week I havnt been able to her at all, luckily shes lives out so it hasnt been that mush of a problem but its really annoyin and it sstarting to upset me.
She only started getting difficult to catch once we broker her in, so do you think that if i were to stop riding her, catch her by using a bucket a food and then just grooming her she might beccme easier to catch.
I really like to start some some schooling with her again (we left her over the wnter to mature) but i'd rather be ablet obuild up a good realtionship with her first.
15th May 2002, 07:31 PM
A bit of hard work now but It will be worth it.
Try dividing the field so she has less room to run, stay patient and dont chase her. Walk up calmly and when she takes off stay patient and keep trying. Dont let her graze, approach her calmly and call her name.
When she does allow herself to be caught be nice to her.
Dont just catch her to ride, vary the routine so sometimes its a grooming, sometimes feeding, sometimes riding / schooling and sometimes just to say hello:p
Then she wont always associate being caught with hard work.
It could take some time so be patient and always praise her when you catch her.
15th May 2002, 07:41 PM
i cant divide the field cus my aunty rents its off a farmer, to keep her horses in and i keep mine with them , i have tried what you said and i'm always quiet when i try to catch her, i dont take a lead rope in the field with me cus then she runs off, instead she has a headcollar on all the time which i sue to catch her.
The only problem is, if you folow her shes runs off for a mad gallop and then shes even more wound up, im going up tomorrow though and i've got all day so i'll try again, i've got to catch cus i'm trying to train her mane so shes got plaiting bands in it and i need to take them out cus shes had em in a week, i dread to think what state her manes gonna be in.
15th May 2002, 08:02 PM
Dont just catch her to ride, vary the routine so sometimes its a grooming, sometimes feeding, and sometimes just to say hello
I think that is so true. I am trying to do that right now. If this doesn't work you might want to take a peek at a book called "Almost a Whisper". It has some interesting ideas on catching hard to catch horses. Those ideas are based on herd mentality. For example Sam Powell suggests if the horse runs from you, make her run . So that it will look like it's your idea, not hers. Then it's much less fun for her, etc. Ideally when she's tred she'll come to you and won't feel like running off the next time. He explains it better than I could, so don't discredit it based on my poorly written descritpion of it.
But I'd try the variation thing suze mentioned before!
Good Luck. I can imagine how tough this must be. DJ is turned out on 20 acres and I sure hope he will never get the idea I should chase him down in that large of a pasture...
15th May 2002, 09:02 PM
been reading a few thought provoking things about positive and negative reinforcement recently. (Partly a link posted elsewhere on this board about trailer loading).
The idea of making it uncomfortable for the horse until they do want we want is a form of negative reinforcement.
So how can we turn this around and use positive reinforcement to encourage a horse to be caught ? This would be finding ways to make her want to come to you, and to reward her when she does.
I just got the latest UK Horse and Rider magazine, with an update from Kelly Marks on her project with Namibian horses. She talks about putting food on the ground near her, and sitting there with a book waiting for the horse to come near.
It sounds like you are quite keen to catch the pony within a certain time. Maybe you should just go down there at the weekend with the plan of spending the whole day there, and not worrying about the catching part. Take a book, some drink, and something nice for the horse. Watch how they act, see how close they come, be nice. Then go home and do the same thing the next day.
Many years ago I bored a horse into being caught :D it was so curious why I was just sitting there and not trying to catch it that it came up and practically asked to be caught.
I don't know the answer, but I'd be interested in any thoughts on the positive vs negative stuff ...
15th May 2002, 09:49 PM
When my horse is being naughty to catch,i never walk up to her as she turns her back and walks away, but i stand in the field and let her come to me with treats and a bucket of food, that as always worked for me.
Email me to tell me how you get on
15th May 2002, 10:15 PM
I've caught lots of awkward horses by this method, I think it's positive reinforcement! Leave yourself an hour or more and just keep quietly following the horse, don't let her stop to eat or chat to her friends. When she stops, you stop, when she walks on, you walk on. After a while, probably quite a while, you will be on a fairly small circle, when you feel you can approach, do so without looking, shoulders dropped etc, and offer food. She may still want to walk away, but you're nearly there, just keep calm and quiet and DON'T GIVE UP!
When you do bring her in, make sure there is always a treat in her stable so she has something to look forward to.
And be consistent, don't ever try to catch her if you are short of time and may have to give up. Things will get better!
16th May 2002, 05:54 PM
intouch - this approach uses the theory about reward by removing discomfort, which is negative reinforcement not positive.
Positive would be e.g. there is nothing negative about staying outside of a trailer, but something really nice (in a horse's mind) if they go inside. We all tend to use negative reinforcement, even if it is quite "kind" and passive.
16th May 2002, 08:59 PM
My share horse was very very hard to catch last summer when he was turned out, so I did a bit reading up to see if I could find a way of improving this before I spent hours chasing him pointlessly this summer. I can thoroughly recommend Kelly Mark's booklet How to catch your horse. Essentially it works along the same lines as intouch suggest, emphasisng body language and realting to the horse. We now have a horse who can be caught without much bother, a vast improvement. I posted a thread about it on the Natural Horsemanship Forum.
16th May 2002, 09:37 PM
cvb - Hi, I take your point, but as you are also rewarding required behaviour, would you not agree that perhaps it's a mixture!
I have also used a clicker - clicking each time the horse stopped and looked at me as well as standing still. The horse didn't understand the clicker to begin with, and I couldn't get close enough to reward, but the next time she did understand and was caught quite quickly. Unfortunately the owner didn't keep it up and is still having bother, but if I have my clicker, I can catch her.
17th May 2002, 08:30 AM
hi intouch, yes I do agree. I'm just trying to get me head around what is and is not positive reinforcement, and trying to challenge some of what I have grown up with !
Thats why I was posing my original reply as a question not a statement, cos I figure some of you guys out there are ahead of me on this.
17th May 2002, 09:28 PM
I think most of us are feeling our way, it's just great that so many people are trying to avoid the old "breaking" attitude, in whatever way is best for them.
20th May 2002, 05:56 PM
thanx everyone for all of your help
last week i went up and caught her by using a carrot, i then groomed her and put her back in the filed. I then rode one of the horses and and brushed 3 others and te whole time she was looking over the fence as if to say ' why aren't you riding me?'.
I think becasue of this she may be playing a game with me, sort of......see how long it takes to catch me kinda thing.
I will try some of your suggestions, i'd already though of the sitting in the field one until she come to me but we havnt very god weather over the weekend so i couldnt do it. Maybe tomorrow though cus i've got all day off school.
21st May 2002, 02:57 PM
Well done so far elle. Food is often a good way to catch but dont do it everytime:)
I was doing somefield work at the weekend and sat down for a rest.
They all come up one by one just to see what Im doing.
The last two came up together and I became a pony sandwich:D
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