Continued from page 1
Other reasons horses run from their owners is they may lack good training. Another reason is maybe horse is getting positive reinforcement at wrong time. How can that be? A horse could learn to run from his owner - and if he does he gets a carrot or some kind of temptation AFTER he runs. So how do you stop running and catch your horse?
It depends why horse runs. If your horse is fearful then you need to get his trust back. You do that by doing positive things with your horse. When you catch him, donít ask him to work. Get out your brush and groom him. Heíll like that. You want him to think of being with you as a pleasant experience Ė one that he wants when he sees you. This is especially crucial if youíre going to take him away from his buddies in herd.
Because horse feels safe being with his buddies in herd, you must make him feel safe being taken out of herd. Thus, when you catch him you can groom him and give a good experience to make him feel safe.
A good practice is to put your horse in a small pen and go up to him. Teach him that itís good to be with you. This will give you a good foundation to catch him later when heís in an open field.
Another nifty trick you can do is use lunging to teach your horse to come you. Donít simply run him in boring circles. Have him change directions, go over and through obstacles, etc. Make sure to praise him when he does well and give him rest. Donít run him into ground. If you do, heíll go back to thinking youíre going to make him work real hard.
As youíre lunging him, use commands to get him to do what you want him to do. As you and he get good at this, heíll respond much better to you in open field.
A mistake many people make is chasing horse to try and catch him. You simply canít do it. Theyíre too fast and agile. Not only that, it tends to reinforce a horseís instinct of being preyed upon and they need to get to safetyÖwhich meansÖget away from you.
Sometimes you can use another horse to help you catch a horse by being buddies with horse you donít want to catch. If you go to pet a horse it can sometimes draw horse you want to catch. He may want petted too.
Be sure to never punish a horse once you catch him. First, he wonít know why he got in trouble. And second, itís a great way to get him to NOT want to be with you . If he doesnít want to be with you, he will evade you often.
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training and horse care books. For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.