27 May 2008 13:04
I can't catch my pony in the field in the summer. Also, if he doesn't want to go somewhere I want to go, he backs up with his head in the air and takes off! It's getting to the stage where I want to sell him. He's a good ride, safe and reliable apart from this. What should I do?
By Your Horse
Natural Horsemanship Expert Charles Wilson replies:
At the moment your pony prefers grazing to being with you and feels he’s entitled to decide for himself whether he comes to you or not. It’s up to you to make him realise you won’t give up.
Set aside a time when you can spend as long as you need to accomplish this task. If he senses frustration or impatience he’ll know he is winning. Ideally, keep him in a small paddock. Don’t hide your headcollar and rope – your intention is to catch him and you’re not going to be sneaky about it. Approach calmly and confidently, at an angle rather than head on, and keep your eyes off him. If he looks at you with interest,stand still in a relaxed way, keeping your eyes down. Then continue to move nearer to him. At some point he’ll probably run off. When he does, encourage him to leave. Swing your rope in a circle around your head – he’s going to learn that, if he leaves, you’ll make him do extra work.Repeat this for as long as it takes. It’s only by wearing down his defiance in a non-threatening but persistent way that you can change his habits. There will come a time when he allows you to touch him. Put on the headcollar, praise and fuss him, then release him and simply walk away.Repeat this over the next few days. Soon he’ll understand being caught doesn’t always mean work will follow.