How to Catch a Horse – Approach

If you watch the previous video closely, you should see that the mare and her filly always move in parallel. You can see that no matter where they are running, how close or far apart they are, or what turns they make, they arrange themselves like this. Similarly, when approaching your horse, you should arrange yourself so that you are always parallel to the horse.

 

This position is the natural bonding position between horses. Just walking with your horse in this relationship of bodies  creates a kind of resonate  morphic field and will result in a significant difference in your horse’s attitude. Try it! It draws on the natural instincts of horses. Some horses have lost much of their instincts. Horses that have not spent enough time with their mothers, and have been raised in box stalls and paddocks all their lives, away from herd relations, are more difficult to bring around (see A Friesian’s Journey on the Path). But most horses — if they have lived a relatively “normal” life, can dig down into their past experience with their mothers, and understand what you are communicating here.

A few years ago I was interviewing for a horse -human teaching job. The horse in question was a spunky shetland pony. As I stood in the ring with the horse’s owner, talking about the horse and her daughter (the human part of the equation), the little pony ran around the ring, tossing his head, refusing to be caught. While I was talking, I kept making these little adjustments to my body, turning this way and that, depending on the angle and direction the pony was going. A couple of minutes later that pony was standing by my side “at attention” as if to say “ok, what do you want to do?” … and the owner was dumbfounded. Needless to say, I got the job.

If your horse is in a big wide field, you don’t have to keep up with him. You just have to keep walking with him, even from far across the pasture, in a way that keeps the plane of your body parallel to the plane of his. If the horse is turning inside to you, all you have to do is circle inside with him. If the horse takes a big bold, outside turn, you do not have to chase to the other side. Watch the video of the mare and her foal again. When the foal cuts to the outside, the mare “crosses over” and turns once again inside.

A person cannot keep pace with a horse. While approaching, then, you must create a “virtual path” to follow. Here is a diagram:

PreApproach

 The black line is the path of the horse. The yellow line is the path you would be taking, if you could keep pace with a horse running in an open field. Even if you could, there is no need to do so. To create a bonding situation, all you have to do is follow the virtualfollowing path with your body language.

You might almost just pivot in place like I did with the pony. Here is an illustration of the actual path you would take: VACT

 From the above illustration you can really see that the person actually crosses over his own path, though the person and the horse only cross-over “virtually”.

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