Friday, August 1, 2008

You can't catch me! Naughty horse

So day before yesterday my friend and I planned a little afternoon trail ride just around our local ski trails and such - no trailering. BUT: her mare had a different idea and would not be caught!! She is pastured in the biggest segment of our boarding facility and it is huge! by local standards. The horses can run for about a half mile from one end to the other. And there are two sections fenced with choice at the outset, so if you are trying to find a horse and pick the wrong section, you will later have to clamber under the electrified fence.

We caught the mare finally after 2 hours of sweating and running, keeping her from joining the herd, and making her keep trying. I have to tell you it was a buggy humid sweaty misery.

The we had 2 lines of thought about what to do with her:

1. Love her up and make the catch a pleasant experience, no work.

2. Work her hard to show her that running away in the pasture doesn't = no work and a love-up session.

We decided on 2, modified: not such hard work, but Work in the roundpen to underline our authority haha.

We did get to ride out and had a good time, but my friend is understandably concerned as this has now happened twice in a week - The Great Chase. Any advice about what might be going on?


BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Oh the joys of the hard to catch horse. Moon is the master. He refuses to look at you when you are approaching, because he knows that eye contact means he is caught. He will sort of look everywhere but at you, wait until you are just there, roll back over his hocks and leave, ever so effortlessly. I hate him for that-LOL. No amount of round penning works with him. Because he scans his surroundings, determines if he can indeed escape and if he can't he walks right up to you..what a total pain in the butt.

But it sounds like you guys have a pretty good plan. Round penning is a good place to start. Move to a larger corral if possible and then use the same techniques in the pasture. as my mom does-carry cake(treats). Also, always remember to give some grain or treats right before you let her go-I know sounds silly, but they say that horses only really remember the last thing that happened to them before you let them go for the day-not sure that I believe THAT, but getting some goodies sure seems to help them have fonder memories of the last time they saw you-LOL.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

My horses ran from me tonight too. They run away when they see the trailer... well, except for Gabbrielle who is up to anything. But I can't ride her, so I have to grab another horse. I think my horses just don't want to have to work. My trainer says they will get to a point where they will look forward to getting out. I hope it's true, because it's no fun having to chase a horse when you are on a time line.

Flying Lily said...

BrownEyed: So you enjoy the pasture pursuits too LOL? Moon sounds like the true own-minded equine. We will try that last-treat technique; it sounds very worthwhile.

NM: Right now my horses are getting much less hay than normal, due to barn economics that are getting to me a little bit but I do understand hay prices etc. Anyway this is really helping with the equine work ethic: if they see hay in a trailer manger, they will march onto a trailer; if they see grass, they will cross a bridge etc.

sue said...

this is an idea that my farrier told me... he has a large pasture and has taught his horses to come to a "bell"... he said that everytime he feeds grain, he rings this bell... and now, when he needs his horse, he rings the bell, and they coming running... thinking of course it's grain time.... he said he always rewards with a little grain.. and that it has saved him many footsteps... I thought I might try this idea when we get our horses to the farm as we have a large pasture area too.... it's worth a try anyways....

c2b said...

Nothing like refusing to be caught to exercise those lazy humans. They like to think they are the ones in charge but us horses know different.

Flying Lily said...

c2b: Ain't that the truth!!?!