There are a lot of good techniques and sound advice on the topic of How to Catch a Horse. My approach helps contextualize or explain why some are more or less true, while others are more or less “wives tales.” My approach is based on observing herd behavior in horses, and interacting with a small herd of horses in an 80 acre open field for over 20 years. The foundation of this approach is the same as the body language that establishes a bond between you and your horse — or even between you and a horse you’ve never met before.
I do not recommend “pretending” that you do not want to catch your horse. Why would you want to establish that kind of duplicitous relationship with your horse? There is a kind of disconnect in this thinking that produces incoherence. You can feel the incoherence in your own mind as it tries to think what it isn’t thinking, mean what it doesn’t mean, and feign something that is not truly going on. This kind of incoherence the horse rejects.
The second kind of disconnect the horse rejects is incoherent body language. Few people understand how much we communicate to the horse with our body language. The horse is very keyed into the angle of our approach, the tilt of our shoulder, the expression/ angle of our hips, the cadence of our step.
Third, how we present ourselves to the horse, vis-a-vis the halter, rope and/or tack must also be coherent with what we are asking.
And finally, there is follow-through– what we do in the first 30 seconds (not to mention the next 30 years!) after we catch the horse is very important.
I would like to address each of these points individually. In practice they come all as a whole, but in this format, we need to dissect them one by one. Out goal will be to take all these individual skillsets and combine them seamlessly into one coherent whole — which will naturally attract the horse to us.
Lets start by watching a video of a mare and her filly. What do you see?