A Horse in Hand is Worth Two in the Field: catching & haltering

Originally posted on Academie Duello’s blog in March 2012

The second item on the Horsemanship Level 1 checklist is:

2. Enter, approach and safely halter horse in stall or paddock

There are a myriad of videos out there, but really, you can’t do it much better than this little girl:

(Just watch to about 1:35 — it gets a bit chaotic when her sister comes into the scene).

However, for slightly more explanation, this video from Michigan University is informative and useful:

Her reasoning for not using throatlatch clips is quite sound for their situation. However, in your test I don’t mind whether you use the buckle or clip, as long as you halter in a safe and organized manner.  If you do use the clip, I would want to see the halter put on this order: noseband, right ear, left ear.

In a stall or very enclosed space the rope over the neck is usually unnecessary (and, as this instructor points out, can get in the way).  However, if your horse is in the paddock or field I recommend getting that rope over the neck as a first step to pre-empt any attempts to avoid capture.

Here’s what we’re looking for in a testing situation.

1. Close and latch gate after you enter the paddock
2. Approach horse’s shoulder (preferably left)
3. Put the rope around the neck, move to horse’s left side if not already there; move horse if necessary.
4. Put the halter on in an organized, smooth fashion, using buckle or clip
5. Hold the rope safely, neither dragging on ground nor looped around hand, ready to move off

For level 1 you will only be asked to catch a horse in a paddock, and won’t be dealing with hard to catch horses or horses in a herd.

Bonus review question:  What colours are the horses in the above two videos?
Bonus Level 2 question:  What breeds would you guess they are?

Next:  Leading in Hand

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