The Magazine Spring 2019

Caught out

Posted 31st March 2020

If your horse is reluctant to be caught, what could he be trying to tell you? And what can you do about it? Anna Haines explains

Horse being lead

Being asked for help with horses who are difficult to catch isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the life of an equine behaviourist. Many horses out there seem to have read the manual on all the best ways to avoid being caught – but not only is this frustrating, it can also pose a safety risk. What happens if he’s injured in the field and you need to get him in quickly for the vet, for example? To avoid a stressful situation worsening, there are a few lessons to learn of your own. 

Why does it happen?

There are a whole host of reasons your horse might not want to come in. First and foremost, you’ll need to do some detective work to find out why he’s avoiding being caught before you can work towards overcoming it. Some of the most common reasons this might happen include…

  • pain or discomfort when ridden or handled
  • fear of what will happen after he’s caught
  • only being caught when something unpleasant happens, such as vet visits
  • lack of positive experiences once caught
  • a management routine that doesn’t meet his needs
  • memories of a previous bad experience

Did you know?

The close relationship between pain and behaviour problems is the reason all reputable behaviourists work on veterinary referral and remain in close contact with clients’ vets. This way, any physical problems can be identified and addressed before behavioural modification takes place

To find out more about overcoming catching problems, get your copy of May Horse&Rider direct to your door with free P&P, here

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