Endurance Tack Home Page| Training Corner
Art Gallery (Horse Art)


 Keep It Simple

Preparation Concepts


Eric Hought

Return to Directory of Keep It Simple Entries 


You Can’t Catch Me

Sorrely had just arrived at his new home. His first impressions were, “Wow, look at this place. It has clean shavings in the stall, fresh water, hay in the hay rack, wow, even a paddock area. I have died and gone to the big green pasture.” It took no time for Sorrely to settle into his new home.

The next day Sorrely saw someone walking down the alley towards him carrying a halter. “What’s this? Oh, oh, he’s going to try to catch me. I’ll teach him who’s boss.” Sorrely turned and ran into the paddock and put his head into the farthest corner. This was one of Sorrely’s habits. Sorrely ignored the call. Suddenly, he saw something fly past him; it was close. “Hey, what’s going on here?” Sorrely hadn’t finished the thought when…thump, a rock hit him on his back side. “What’s this?” It unsettled Sorrely, but he thought, “I can take this.” Thump, another rock hit Sorrely. He now had Sorrely’s full attention with both of Sorrely’s eyes. “Why is he backing away?” Curiosity. “I guess he’s done. I’ll go back to my corner.” Thump, right on the backside, Sorrely focused his full attention on him. Sorrely thought, “Who IS he?” Sorrely, with both eyes, faced and saw him backing away.

“What on earth…?” thought Sorrely. “I am going to see what’s what.” Curiosity. Sorrely, with his two eyes on the fellow, took a few steps and stopped, then thought to himself, “If I keep both eyes on him, he won’t pelt me with a rock. Why is he just standing there? Oh, oh, he’s moving around to my side…I’m keeping both eyes on him…now he’s backing away again. What’s the deal? I’ll just step a little closer to check him out.” Curiosity.

Gradually, Sorrely figured out that when the fellow backed away, the pressure was released. As long as Sorrely faced him with two eyes, everything stayed soft. The fellow moved to Sorrely’s side which caused Sorrely to move. Once Sorrely moved, the fellow withdrew to draw Sorrely toward him.

In order to catch Sorrely, three degrees of pressure were applied, each increasing in volume. They were: 1.) the suggestion; 2.) the asking; 3.) keeping the promise.
If you wish to catch your own horse using this method, some advanced preparation is required. Before entering the stall, gather 6-8 rocks about 3/4" in diameter. Put them in your pocket for use in Step #3, then follow these steps:
Step #1: suggest. Enter the pen. Stand still holding the halter; remain quiet and wait. Once you determine he is not coming, move to step two.
Step #2: ask. Remain still and call him. If he does not come, move to step three.
Step #3: promise. Bend over as if to pick up a rock. Throw one of the previously pocketed rocks at him. Your horse will observe this action. Each time, before a rock is thrown, bend over as though you are searching for the rock. Soon your horse will determine that the bending is the final preparation before the rock is thrown at him. Think consistency. At this point, you will have his attention. Watch carefully for both his eyes and any steps in your direction. Repeat the actions until he looks at you with both eyes and steps towards you. When he steps in your direction, do not throw rocks, but back away immediately. The action of stepping away will release pressure and draw him to you. If he stops and turns away, repeat Step #3. Be very sensitive to your feel because that is what will make this procedure work for you.

Now you are using the horse’s habits to your advantage and once the technique is understood, it can be applied to resolve other problems.

A horse is a creature of habit who wants to be comfortable yet is curious. Sorrely’s habit was to put his head into the corner. The game put Sorrely in charge and he usually won by waiting for someone to come to him. It forced the person to do most of the work. This new fellow was different because he had unsettled Sorrely out of an old habit or comfort zone. Sorrely had to look for a new correct answer to find a new comfort zone. The correct answer was to face with both eyes and go to the fellow. Eventually, with consistency and feel from the fellow, who only spoke during Step #2, Sorrely came quietly and quickly when the fellow bent as if to pick up a rock. The final outcome of the learning exercise was when Sorrely heard his name called, Sorrely came to him. The man was now the leader.

The first day was long. Depending upon how deeply ingrained Sorrely’s habit was, it might have taken an hour for results. To obtain the desired outcome, it was extremely important for the man to be consistent and understand feel. Sorrely finally understood what was expected and walked over to the fellow who gently placed the halter on him. He softly rubbed Sorrely and said, “My name is Bill.”

Keep It Simple

 You Lead-If.....


 Email - hought@hought.com

 Copyright ©1997 - 2019 by Gail Hought. All Rights Reserved.