I have written about this subject before, but yesterday a situation came up that reminded me of it again, so lucky you, you get to hear it again.
Here at the barn we work with lots of horses. Right now we have about 23. We feed them, we make sure they have clean water and, we turn them out so they can kick around if they choose too. What that means is, we have 23 different personalities that we must contend with each day. The mistake that I think a lot of people make is, they think that they are all the same. It's true that they will act or react, pretty much the same way with the method that I use to train, but they are all different. Some are shy, some are nervous, some are easily scared. So when you turn out a horse catching them is not much of a problem. They are in a stall, our stalls are big compared to most, but it's still a stall and they don't have anywhere to get away. It's when it's time to bring them back to the stall that can be a problem. Our turnouts are pretty good size and a horse, if it what's to, can avoid being caught.
As I was saying early, we had a situation where a horse, when being turned out, pulled the lead rope away from the handler, Starr is her name, the handler that is. Not once but twice, and that was Starr trying to turn the horse loose in the turnout. Starr got a good rope burn on her hand, one of many to come I'm afraid, but she is ok. She was not sure what to do and asked me to help. I caught the horse, but it took a few minutes to get the horse to settle down so I could take the halter off of her without her bolting. We did and left the horse with her herd mates.
Later that day we had to catch the horse. Starr was determined to redeem herself. With a little coaching, by me, from the sidelines she was able to catch the horse and halter her. It took a little while to get that done because the horse was afraid, nervous, but Starr got it done.
Catching a horse is a skill that every horseman should know and every horse should be taught. It can be a hard lesson for the human to learn, the horse figures it out pretty quick.
You and I, as horse people, or if it's our goal, horseman, need to learn to listen to the horse. If we can learn to listen the horse will teach us more then we ever thought we could learn. It's learning how to listen that makes one a horseman.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.