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Trainer Q&A - Behavior Problems & Quirks - My competion horse has become hard to catch, what can I do?

My competion horse has become hard to catch, what can I do?

Barrelracingchamp Asks:

My barrel horse has recently been hard to catch. We are done barrel racing for the season and any time that I try to go out to catch him from the pasture, he will chase after me he thinks that we are probably going to go barrel racing. He is so board of that, he has become buddy sour. What do i do?

Our Trainer Answers:

Unfortunately competition horses can become burned out and hard to catch. If every time we catch them, we take them out barrel racing, roping, team penning, ect., they begin to think that when they see us coming that it's time to go to work.

To cause your horse to become easy to catch, make sure that each day you catch him for a more pleasant reason. I like to go out and catch my horses before I feed them, this is a great way to teach them to come to you.

Since your horse doesn't want to be caught right now, you will probably need to go out with a feed bucket the first few lessons. Take your halter with you and give him a couple of bites before you halter him. After he's caught, take him to his normal eating area and allow him to eat while you pet on him. Then tie him up and groom him. DO NOT make him work at all. We want him to learn that you and the halter are a good thing. Do this for a couple of days. Then begin trying to catch him without the feed bucket, however, once caught make sure you bring him in and feed him. This will work easier if you keep him on a routine feeding schedule, as he will associate feeding time with being haltered.

Once you can go out and catch him willingly at feeding time, try going out say in the middle of the day, catch him, pet him and turn him loose. I'm not saying stop riding him, just don't ride him every time that you catch him. Catch him for no reason sometimes, or just to give him a treat or a pet. This will cause him to curious when he sees you come into the pasture and soon he will become easier to catch.

Thank You and Happy Trails!

Christy Mellington