Early Days

How to Catch a Horse for $2.99

I was perusing a blog which linked to this website which is basically an advertisement trying to get horse people to buy their advice on how to catch a horse – for the low, low price of $2.99. This “special report” claims it will “change your life” and “transform your relationship with your horse.”

I’m sorry, but solicitous websites like this really annoy me. There is so much FREE advice on the internet these days, who would pay even $3 for something like this?  The hyped up description has so many negative emotions thrown around, its like this “author” is trying to capitalize on poor, frustrated horse-people.

Well, for those of you who clicked this post who really are interested in learning how to catch a horse, here is some advice for FREE.  My other mount, the fabulous but sometimes sassy Miss Paint, lives in 150 acres of grass pastures overlooking the ocean in Santa Barbara. Every so often, she will decide that she does not want to be caught. She is especially naughty after her farrier visits for some reason.

Most of the time I can catch her within 5 minutes, but there have been days where I pursue her for a full HOUR. Earlier this year, there were three occasions in a row where I could not catch her at all. That had been a first, and it really bothered me. A lot.


I had to set emotion aside and use logic to devise a plan to catch her. I’m proud to say, it worked out great. And here is my strategy, free of charge.

Create a situation so that being caught by you more is desirable for the horse than being out in the pasture/paddock/wherever.

I couldn’t think of a way to make the 150 acres of luscious grass less desirable, so I needed to make myself and the prospect of her getting caught more desirable.

First and foremost, make sure you are putting out positive energy when you go to catch your horse. If you’re in a bad mood, if you have a rock in your shoe and you are uncomfortable, or if you start to get stressed out, no animal is going to want to come and hang out with you.

Secondly, have a clearly available reward for your horse. A yummy treat that they can see, hear, and smell works best.  If you have a tiny treat in your pocket, that will not be as tempting as a delicious bunch of carrots hanging from your hand. Crack one of those carrots so they can hear and smell it.

Actual bunch of carrots costing $0.99
3 Bunches of Carrots, which cost $0.99 each at the local grocery store = $2.97 (yep, 2 cents cheaper than those other guys).
If you’ve been having an extra hard time catching your horse, like I was 3 times in a row, take the pressure off by NOT catching your horse. As in, go out there with your goal simply to be to feed your horse and pat it on the neck. Do that once or twice without a halter in your hand, to remind your horse that you are there to have fun and spoil her, not just to catch her. On your third visit, she should remember that you are the fun human with the good attitude and tasty treats and hanging out with you is actually more fun than chilling in the pasture. Calmly loop a lead rope over her neck as she is munching – don’t to straight for the face with the halter. Pretty soon, your horse will be coming over to you! Gotcha, horse!

1 comment on “How to Catch a Horse for $2.99

  1. Yep! Best method. :0) I like to teach my horses the same way. Not getting caught is unpleasant, getting caught is good. With new horses, I do what you described: lots of petting, rubbing, a treat, and then see ya later. And like you say, pretty soon they meet you at the gate and can't wait to see you!

    Speedy likes me so much now that I can hardly do any work in the arena or his pen without him sticking his nose in to see what new and interesting project he can help me with. Silly boy!

    Like

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