Friday, April 13, 2007

Hard-to-catch horses

My grandson, Arick, has been "breaking" a horse he's keeping here at my place. I put the quotation marks around it because I feel that, to properly break a horse, you need to spend considerable time with him. Arick has averaged about two hours a week. It's partly because of the weather we've had, partly because of his work schedule and, on weekends, because of his love life.

Now to give the devil his due, when Arick brought the horse out here, he couldn't even get a saddle on him, and he got tossed off him early on. Now he's riding him with no problem. So he's doing what he is being paid to do.

Only, he can't catch the horse.

After watching him chase and coax for about fifteen minutes last night, I went out and got the horse for him.

I'm no horse whisperer. But I learned from Mark Rashid and my horse, Blue, how to catch a horse.

When I first bought Blue, he hadn't been ridden for three years. After I got him here, reality hit him: Good grief, this woman plans to work me to death!

So he ran from me every time I approached with a halter.

Mark Rashid's books had some tips: Never approach the horse directly or quickly... keep a shoulder toward him. Don't look him in the eye. When you get about six to eight feet away from him, stop (still looking away) and sigh loudly and deeply. What really works best, if you have all the time in the world, is to turn your back on the horse, have a seat, and read a good book. Eventually he'll make the first move and approach you. (It worked with Blue, although one of the neighbor boys asked Cliff why I was reading to a horse.)

I must be doing something right, since I'm the one people come looking for when they can't catch their horses.


  1. You need to teach that boy how to catch a horse! LOL

  2. You, and Celeste, both said "catch a horse", but that's not how it happens. You, the horse whisperer, have never "caught" a horse. You teach them to come to you. It's a huge difference, and I learned a lot from you. I hope Arick pays attention.

  3. I might try this with one disobedient Great Dane puppy (who shall remain nameless) when out walking. Did the horse enjoy the story though?

  4. why dont you just put a handful of nuts in a bucket and call the horse.

    it will come to you.

    and if he wants to train her properly he needs to spend more time than that with her. Training horses can be a hobbie but it must be a consistant one.

    you cna't just stop and take up where you left off a week later. it dosn't work that way

  5. That gave me a good chuckle this morning about the little boy thinking that you were reading to Blue! That is just too cute! Years ago I had a mare that you just couldn't catch and it was so discouraging as a kid not to be able to ride her when I wanted to. It took three people to 'herd' her into the barn. Didn't know about horse whispering then back in the olden days!

  6. Anonymous8:13 AM

    way to go Donna, you know your business!

    good for you for teaching that boy how to catch a horse :)

    nice paint btw, lovely markings.

    blogger is still giving me fits


  7. hi again donna

    thanks for the post, i'm not experienced at all. i only started riding a year ago so its all new to me!

    its great to see so many horse blogs nowadays.

    keep up the good work. i'll add you to my blog list.

    thanks again for the posts

    i'll be keeping an eye on yours


  8. As soon as they submit and put their head down, you've got them. They will walk up to you. My horses come when I bow.


I love comments!