I Haven’t Forgotten You
Not that you are hopefully getting more time at the barn and in the saddle, you are spending more time doing things independently with the horses.
Is Your Horse In Or Out?
If your horse is in a stall when you get there, by now I’m sure you have gotten comfortable with putting on a halter and lead and bringing him out to the cross ties, or wherever you go for grooming and tacking.
If your horse is turned out when you get there to ride, you need to proceed carefully until you get the hang of things! When going out into a field of horses, you need to be diligent about watching what is going on around you.
Watching All The Horses, Not Just The One You Are After
When getting your horse from the field you need to not just have eyes on your horse. You need to have eyes on all of them. Where is the rest of the herd? What are they doing? Do they seem relaxed or on alert? The whole herd is part of whether or not you can get your horse out safely.
Know The Pecking Order
The pecking order in the herd is the hierarchy of who is the boss horse, all the way down to who is the one pushed around at the bottom of the barrel, last one to come in to eat, etc…
Is Your Horse Dominant Or Submissive?
Knowing where your horse stands in the herd and whether he is dominant or submissive can make a big difference of how easy or hard it might be to get him out of the herd with the other horses.
A Dominant Horse Is Easier
Unless it is a dominant horse playing hard to get, there are fewer worries about going out to catch your horse if he is the head honcho. You shouldn’t have to worry about other horses trying to get in between your horse and the gate. They are smart and will normally hang back until the boss horse is out of the way.
Catching A Horse That Is Lower In The Pecking Order
If your horse is non-dominant, you may have a little more trouble catching him or her. The boss horse in the heard is constantly moving the other horses around. If your horse is the low man on the totem pole he is likely to have one eye on the boss horse at all time. If the boss horse tries to move your horse away from you, your horse may get scared and try to getaway. You need to make sure you are watching what is going on. That way, if you need to get out of the way quickly, you can.
How To Tell The Pecking Order
The easiest way to tell the pecking order of your horses herd is to watch them at feeding time. The pecking order is very clear at this point, the boss horse comes in first, and then the rest will come in when it is there turn. If you still aren’t quite sure where your horse stands in the herd, ask one of the barn employees. The people that bring them out of the field will be able to tell you exactly where your horse stands.
Taking Food Or Treats Into A Herd Of Horses
Personally, I never take food or treats out in the field with a herd of horses. There is just too much potential for them to start getting way too close to you looking for food. This could lead to the bossier horse kicking and biting the other horses, making it easy to get hurt. When loose horses have a skirmish out in the field, it can happen quickly and be hard to get out of their way.
If you want to feed your horse as a treat as a reward for being easy to catch, do it when you get the horse in the barn.
Ask For Help
Until you get comfortable with going out in the field with the horses, ask for help! Someone more experienced can go out with you, show you what to do and help you get more confident.
Then you can graduate to the person just watching from outside the field just in case you need help.
Before you know it you will be confident going out to catch your horse all on your own!