Training Tip with Clinton Anderson: Hard-to-Catch Horse

Written by Clinton Anderson

If your horse is hard to catch, don’t approach him like a predator. A common mistake people make when trying to catch their horse is approaching the horse like a predator.

They grab the halter and lead rope and walk straight up to the horse as if they’re on a mission. Sounds simple enough, but to the horse it looks as if a predator is coming straight toward him and all of his instincts tell him to run from the situation. This is especially true if the horse isn’t very familiar with you.

To seem less like a predator, look at the ground and walk back and forth in front of him, gradually getting closer with each pass. Act as if the horse isn’t even there – you’re just looking for your lost keys on the ground. Instead of the horse walking away from you, he’s going to think you’re half-crazy walking away from him. How far away you start walking back and forth in front of the horse depends on how severe his catching problem is. It doesn’t matter where you start as long as you find a starting point.

As you’re walking back and forth in front of the horse, keep a steady pace, not going too fast or too slowly. When you get up to the horse, hold your hand out and let him smell it, and then retreat and walk away. Repeat the process, letting him smell your hand and then retreating. Any time the horse looks at you or follows you, turn and walk away from him. If you repeat that process three or four times in a row, you’ll soon be able to halter your horse.

About Clinton Anderson

Born and raised in Australia, Clinton grew up with a love of horses. Although he lived in the city with his father, Rob, mother, Cheryl, and sister, Andrea, he looked forward to the weekends he got to spend on his grandparent’s farm where his grandmother would give him rides on her old Thoroughbred mare. By the age of 12, he began playing polocrosse and was eventually chosen for a national team representing his state. In 2001, he became the first clinician to create a made-for-TV horse training program that aired on RFD-TV.

The use of untrained horses and a variety of topics covering common problems faced by horse owners quickly made Downunder Horsemanship the network’s number one equine program. Nearly 15 years after establishing Downunder Horsemanship, Clinton continues to instruct horsemanship clinics, presents Walkabout Tours across the country, produces two television shows, hosts an internet TV website and is constantly creating comprehensive study kits and training tools to make learning horsemanship as accessible and easy as possible. Clinton and Downunder Horsemanship are recognized as world leaders in the equestrian industry and continue to offer the very best in innovation, inspiration and instruction.