How to Catch and Turnout a Horse

Three Methods:Catching One HorseCatching Two HorsesTurning Out Horses

Being able to catch and bring in a horse from its field and turn it back out again safely is an essential part of looking after a horse. It may sound easy at first, but there are a few things to watch out for.

Method 1
Catching One Horse

  1. 1
    Find a head collar that fits the horse and a good lead rope. Let yourself into the field, and make sure you fasten the gate behind you.
  2. 2
    Walk up to the horse you want to catch calmly and briskly. As you walk, undo the head piece of the head collar in preparation.
  3. 3
    Greet the horse when you reach it by saying its name so the horse is not startled by your presence. Approach its right side.
  4. 4
    Smoothly slip the nose band over the horse's muzzle when you are close enough. Pass the headpiece over the horse's head and buckle it up securely.
  5. 5
    Clip the lead rope to the circular ring under the horse's chin.
  6. 6
    Hold the lead rope with both hands, left hand closest to the horse's muzzle (about 20 to 30cm of rope between you and the horses chin) and left hand holding the access rope.
  7. 7
    Lead the horse by gently pulling on the lead rope. Stay on the left side of the horse by its neck.
  8. 8
    When you reach the gate, check behind you that none of the horse's paddock mates are following you. Unfasten the gate and hold it open enough for your horse and you to get through. You may need to stand on the right side of the horse so you can hold the gate open.
  9. 9
    Ask the horse to walk on and lead him through the gate. Once the horse is through, ask it to turn to face the gate again. Close the gate and fasten it securely.
  10. 10
    Lead the horse back to the yard carefully, and don't let it stop for grass on the way.

Method 2
Catching Two Horses

  1. 1
    Do just the same as above, but hold each horse on either side of you while you lead them. Hold the access lead rope in the same hand as the leading one.
  2. 2
    When you reach the gate it becomes slightly more complicated. First, open and hold the gate wide enough for one horse to get through. Ask the horse closest to the gate to walk through while you stay on the inside of the gate.
  3. 3
    Ask the horse to turn around, face the gate and stand there once it's through.
  4. 4
    Walk through the gate and ask the second horse to follow. Turn the second horse towards the gate and fasten the gate.
  5. 5
    When you get back to the yard tie up one horse to a tie ring whilst you put the other in its stable.

Method 3
Turning Out Horses

  1. 1
    Halter the horse, and put on a his blanket/rug if he wears one of those as well.
  2. 2
    Tie one horse outside while you collect the other.
  3. 3
    Lead them to the field (as described above).
  4. 4
    Once through the gate, make sure it is securely fastened.
  5. 5
    Turn the horses back around to face the gate. This is important so that the horses don't pull into the field and accidentally kick you while galloping off.
  6. 6
    Unbuckle the horses' halters in a steady manner. Before you take it off put your arm around their neck and make sure they're calm. Instead of them running away from you, see if they will stand still while you walk away from them. This while prevent them from turning and galloping away and accidentally injuring you.


  • If other horses from the field crowd you or follow you to the gate, it is a good idea to use a long whip or extra rope to shoo the other horses away.
  • Lead the horse confidently, and don't look back at them, as this would tell them that you aren't fully comfortable, and they can take advantage of that.

When leading a tall, or strong horse, keep your feet out of the way, and use your shoulder under the horse to move them over if they are too close. To stop, don't pull the lead rope back- gently but firmly tug to the side, and say 'stop' or whatever word your horse recognises as a halt.

  • It is a very good idea to wear a hard hat, gloves, and steel-toe boots, especially if you are a beginner or are leading a difficult horse.
  • Only lead two horses if you are confident and you know they get along.
  • Don't let horses barge into you as this is dangerous.
  • If the two horses get out of control and go separate ways, keep hold of the one that is harder to catch or is younger, and try to retrieve the second horse as quickly as possible.


  • Never loop a lead rope around your hand because if the horse bolts or pulls away it is hard to get your hand out.
  • Never ask the horse to trot in the field as it could slip over or you could lose control of it.
  • Always tell someone that you have gone to take out a horse(s) so if you do not return in a reasonable time they will come and help you.

Article Info

Categories: Horse Care