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Monday, March 14, 2011

Horse Lesson 101: How (not) to catch a horse....

Well, I would like to announce that we are now the proud owners of Honey...

A very beautiful, Tennessee Walking horse.   Cam is in the orange sweat shirt..riding Honey.

We actually bought Honey a while back, but waited until now to bring her home.  She started out on a farm with about 8 acres of pasture....we have about between 60-70.  In our pasture Honey tends to go to the very FAR side of the property where there is a smaller section that is separated by woods from the rest of the pasture.  I'm not sure why she "hangs out" over there, but I'm not feeding her there.  So I have to walk to the other side of the property, and try and catch her.

Well....she didn't want me to.  She is bigger than me, and moves much faster than me...needless to say I didn't catch her for quite some time.  I actually gave up and left, then came back. 

So I though that mabye you would let me tell you how NOT to catch a horse...since I can't exactly tell you how TO catch a horse...

Kelly's Guide to (Not) Catching a Horse:

1.  You don't just walk up without some sort of food or treat in your hand.  You must have something that makes them want to come to you.

2. If you have a treat, you don't hold the treat in one hand and the lead rope in the other, you also don't hang the lead line around your neck/shoulders where the horse can see it.

3. When giving said treat you don't try to grab the halter with the hand that is holding the lead rope.

If you do these things you WILL be following a horse up and down a hill that my son has always called "The Mountain" for no less than an hour, and your butt and thighs (although they need the workout) will hurt for at least a day or two...

What I learned

What I did figure out though is this:  When I spot her, I drop the lead rope at my feet and hold out the treat and walk up.  Then I give her the treat and grab the halter.  Then I walk her to the lead rope and pick it up and bring her home....where I feed her the grain/oats (whatever it's called)...  :)

This morning before work, I walked over, got her, brought her home and fed her before leaving to take Cam to school....We even got there early for a change :)

Y'all have a good day now.  If any of you horse people want to lend some advice to us beginners please feel free to do so!


Rachel said...

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Only because if a horse doesn't want to be caught - there is just no dang way you can outrun it... just ask me how I know :)

There are loads of people who don't believe that you should feed a horse treats from your hand. I'm not one of them.

My girl was starved before we got her and those treats were part of our bonding when she wasn't quite sure of me and my intentions.

I keep my leadrope and halter together. Nothing more frustrating than trying to clip a leadrope or drag a horse by their halter (dangerous too).

My advice - is that as she gets to know that being 'caught' is a GOOD thing because you will love on her and give her good attention, being sneaky about a leadrope will be unneccessary.

I have a special "call" when I have a treat. She knows I never call her with that whistle unless I have something special for her. So it gives her a chance to come to me when she hears it (she actually knows the words CARROT and APPLE as well, and will run faster for a carrot anyday!)

I actually keep the halter and leadrope at my side, opposite hand as the treat (if I have one). I gently put the leadrope over her neck to indicate to her that she's been caught. I wait until she's done chewing before I slip the halter over her nose. I expect her to drop her head into the halter.

Whatever you use to catch her, it's always been something for me to remember that you are training them with every interaction... or they are training YOU! :)

Congrats on your beautiful girl! I hope Cam has a blast with her!

Beth Zimmerman said...

I guess it also helps to remember that the horse is SMART! :) I know people who don't seem to believe that animals think or feel but I KNOW better! Our German Shepherd was depressed recently because we put her back on her chain after complaints from the mailman. Now she's on her chain in the morning and off it the rest of the time. Happy dog! And I am so grateful that we have a SMALL yard!