Hard-to-Catch Horse

By Clinton Anderson

If your horse is hard to catch, don’t approach him like a predator. A common mistake people make when trying to catch their horse is approaching the horse like a predator. They grab the halter and lead rope and walk straight up to the horse as if they’re on a mission. Sounds simple enough, but to the horse it looks as if a predator is coming straight toward him and all of his instincts tell him to run from the situation. This is especially true if the horse isn’t very familiar with you.

To seem less like a predator, look at the ground and walk back and forth in front of him, gradually getting closer with each pass. Act as if the horse isn’t even there – you’re just looking for your lost keys on the ground. Instead of the horse walking away from you, he’s going to think you’re half-crazy walking away from him. How far away you start walking back and forth in front of the horse depends on how severe his catching problem is. It doesn’t matter where you start as long as you find a starting point.

As you’re walking back and forth in front of the horse, keep a steady pace, not going too fast or too slowly. When you get up to the horse, hold your hand out and let him smell it, and then retreat and walk away. Repeat the process, letting him smell your hand and then retreating. Any time the horse looks at you or follows you, turn and walk away from him. If you repeat that process three or four times in a row, you’ll soon be able to halter your horse.