How to Easily Catch Your Horse

Does your horse drive you nuts running around you in circles in the field? Are you always late for riding lessons, shows, and rides because your horse took an hour to catch? Don't worry: its happened to me, and I can help you fix it!


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    Remember that horses are prey animals. DO NOT chase after them. Put yourself in their hooves: if you were a prey animal, you'd interpret anybody running at you as someone trying to kill you. Fight or flight: you'd either run or kick that person! If you are that person, you won't want that. So keep this in mind!
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    Don't stare your horse down. That's an aggressive look, and your horse won't like it. If the horse doesn't like what you're doing, he'll be all the harder to catch!
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    If there's a bunch of horses in the field, walk up to a different horse in the field, not yours. This makes it look like you want to catch that horse. Try to pick an easy to catch horse, so they don't walk away and set a bad example! Pet that horse, slide the halter on (if it fits), then off again. Then, keep your gaze down, and try to sidle towards your horse. Sometimes you can walk past your horse to a different horse and do it again.
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    If this doesn't work, try approach and retreat. Walk up to your horse, gazing at the ground so you don't appear aggressive. When they make a move to walk away, stop and back up. Repeat over and over until your horse lets you walk up to him.
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    There are many different methods. If those two don't work, you can also try this one. If your horse doesn't come to you by the count of 10, swing your lead rope at him, stare him down, and get them to move off. Then, drop your arms and gaze and offer him to come towards you. If he doesn't, chase him off again. Repeat as many times as you have to, and eventually, your horse should get tired of the game and come to you. Just be patient!
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    Try not to use a treat, because then your horse comes only to the treat, not to you. But if you have to, lure your horse in with a treat.


  • Some of these techniques (the more time consuming ones!) should be practiced in a smaller field, paddock, corral, round pen, or arena, so your horse will come to you in a smaller area. Then progress to larger areas.
  • Make sure the treat you use is something that your horse likes! However, if you are in a field of a lot of horses, a treat may not be the best idea.
  • Even if you are in a hurry, just yawn and sigh, instead of briskly looking at your watch and running across the field.


  • Any time you are working with horses it can be dangerous. Wear closed toed shoes or boots, you might want to wear a helmet, and get an adult/professional if your horse acts dangerously!

Sources and Citations

  • (very nice site. provides lots of information on mustangs, and has lots of tips for horse training and care)
  • Horse Files: A Horse Lover's Guide by Dandi Daley Mackall (she is an awesome horse whisperer and author)
  • How To Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill (another horse whisperer)

Article Info

Categories: Horse Care