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Question: Heinz is an older horse, and I used to have to chase him to catch him. I’ve worked with him to teach him that when he sees me, he needs to turn in toward me, instead of me chasing him. I started with roundpen work so he will give me two eyes and respect me as a leader and that has helped. I was wondering if you have any advice that would make him want to be by me/come to me. – AJOHNSON319445
Clinton’s answer: You’re on the right track, mate. Keep working on the roundpenning exercises and then continue on with the rest of the Fundamentals lessons. Between training sessions, spend some quality time with your horse, just relaxing with him. Go out into the pasture a few times a day and rub on him. Find his itchy spots and make him feel good. Or, go out in the pasture and feed him a treat. Then walk away from him—don’t halter him and lead him to the arena and work him. Or, just go out in the pasture and read a book or play on your phone. Ignore your horse. You’ll find that the more you ignore him, the more he’ll be attracted to you. It won’t take long before he’ll be grazing right next to you or nuzzling your jeans.
The point is to show him that just because you come into the pasture it doesn’t mean he’s going to have to go to work. You could be coming out to the pasture to just spend some time with him. If you’re smart, when you go out to the pasture, even though you don’t intend to catch your horse, you’ll take the halter and lead rope with you. That way, when he sees you coming into the pasture with the halter and lead rope, he won’t ever know for sure if you’re coming out to get him to go to work or if you’re coming out to rub on him and feed him a treat. If you keep your horse guessing, he’ll stay true to you.