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My Top Five Methods Used to Catch Equines

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You may think this blog is a little out of sort for me considering most of my blogs are usually discussing my most recent Kaboom Eventing experiences. These days Toby the Cow Pony calls dibs on all of the good topics, therefore I am forced to dig down deep into my Mary Poppins bag to find some odd knowledge or experience to discuss.

Please understand that the idea for this topic came to me while I was pondering writing a blog discussing how middle age woman run themselves into a state of poverty by purchasing products from midnight infomercials. A last minute decision drew me away from health and beauty and towards an equestrian topic. So, I hope you are happy with my final choice. What is that? Me? Infomercials? Well I am just as much a victim as the rest of us. I guess I should add that right now I’m soaking in two times the amount of recommended Skin So Soft, reminding myself that it is time for me to purchase another set of Sheer Cover make-up, happily starring at my new batch of Stem Cell Therapy facial cream and softly stroking my cheek wondering if the Arbonne toner that I applied only yesterday has really made my face feel like a baby's butt over night. So yes, I too am a victim of those midnight infomercials. But my favorite topics are those that involve horses.

So here we go:

The Top 5 Methods I use to catch my equines:

I have found over the past many years of training horses that the best way to really make an impact is to set up situations which force them to make their own mistakes. Catching them is no different.


My first horse was a small chestnut trakehner mare out of a polish stallion named Sobek. She was the old school, hot, annoying araby type of Trakehner. I bought the mare as an 8 year old after riding her for a year in a lesson program. This was my first mistake—good lesson horses are never for sale. Noted. One of her many vices was loading. The moment she saw the trailer she would turn around and run away. The mare had a mule-like way of running off and even grown men could not hold on to her! So I learned to always load her with a chain, not just over the nose but under her top lip as a war bridle. When equipped with the war bridle Sigal behaved perfectly and loaded into any trailer without issue. This was a sneaky little trick on her part. Due to great behavior, every once in a while I would give her the benefit of loading with only the chain over her nose. One would have thought that I might learn not to do this the first several times it backfired. But no, I’m not that smart.
One crisp morning I found myself horseless with rope burned hands and waving good bye to my red mare as she galloped out the farm gate and headed down the road. She had about a mile gallop before she would reach the main streets of Plano, TX. The farm owner picked me up and we headed down the road to once again fetch my Polish bred horse. We finally reached the first main intersection and there she was standing self tied. While she was running down the road the cotton lead rope had fallen off of her neck and attached itself over and over again to the velcro of the Dover Deluxe shipping boots she was wearing. The rope was so short that her head was basically velcroed between her front legs and the chain was pulling on her nose. She stood patiently because she could not lift her head to find a good escape route! She had caught herself. Score!
So, thank you Dover for selling me a fat cotton lead rope, nose chain, deluxe shipping boots and most likely charging way too much for shipping. My horse caught herself.
I would also like to add that my very first post on COTH (early 2000s) was on the thread asking “what your tomb stone would say” when you died. I posted that mine would say, “my horse was made in Poland”.


We always have a mini donkey on our property because donkeys run off stray dogs and varmits. Though donkeys are great for protecting the farm they are also great at being annoying. I’m pretty sure all donkeys have the same think tank so I’m going to guess that my donkey catching method works across the board.
Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time running postal towards our donkey with a lunge whip because he always goes where he knows he should not (e.g. into the barn, into the garage, into the trailer). Because of this he’s not always keen on letting me catch him. Well, I have found that like me, donkeys will do the same stupid thing over an over. What is the definition of insanity? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Yes, I think donkeys are insane. Our donkey likes to stick his head in the mounting block (Home Depot foot stool). Yup, he sticks his whole head in the foot stool and then once captured he either walks very slowly with a drunk stagger or just stands looking stupid. I have found that when I need to catch him all I need to do is put out a few of our mounting blocks and wait about five minutes. Once the foot stool has caught him it’s very easy for me to swoop in and act like the savior…with a tube of wormer or vaccinations in my hand. So, thank you Home Depot for making a foot stool just the right size to catch a mini donkey’s head.


I love fudge pops. In the summer it’s pretty hot around here and I find a fudge pop stocked freezer is mandatory. One particular hot stuffy day in Azle, Tx I had the opportunity to watch my grey thoroughbred run around the farm fully tacked with reins flapping in the wind. I will spare the details of this unfortunate occurrence but I should add that my breeches were torn from knee to hip by way of the barbed wire fence and my dressage whip was somewhere out in the middle of the field. Come to think of it, I never did find that dressage whip.
There was no catching this horse. So instead of worrying about him I went into my house, grabbed a fudge pop and sat down on a muck tub by the barn to wait out the galloping fiasco. Each time the grey horse would run by me with his sh*t eatin grin I would yell, “keep your head up you dumb a$$,” because the reins were flapping in front of his thundering hooves. Well, eventually his luck ran out and he lowered his neck—at which time he jumped roped through his reins. Nope, the reins didn’t break, but the action did pull his entire bridle through his mouth and his bit was now hanging cattywompus near his left eyeball. He stopped under an oak tree (we live on a tree farm), looked around, and began eating acorns. He LOVES acorns. Once I finished my fudge pop I hopped up, walked calmly over to him and lead him back to the barn. I was fairly annoyed but not angry, so instead of yelling at him (which would have not done any good anyway) I made him stand with a cone on his head. Yup, this is how the cone head picture came to existence. Without that fudge pop I would have been blowing smoke out of my ears and bleeding fury through my aura and most likely the grey horse would have taken one smell of me and run off again. So, thank you fudge pops for being so tasty in the hot Texas summer. Oh fudge pops how you sooth my soul.


Scent of a Mule is my favorite Phish song. But don’t worry, I will not ask you to smell my mule or fire laser beams at your head unless you name is Kitty Malone. Yes, you guessed it, we have a mule too. Please do not forget these animals are one half ass and they act accordingly so. The half ass is hard to catch all the time for no particular reason. Not to worry friends because it seems as though mini donkeys are programmed with an ass catching setting!
When I need to catch the half ass I just let the mini sized full ass out with the horses and bingo! Mini Me trots ecstatically towards his jack eared counter part and either latches on to his tail bone or sticks his nose up the ass’ butt and holds on like a piranha. Problem solved. I just wait by a tree or around the corner of the barn for the mule to walk by and reach out to grab him. You see, with a little black Mini Me hanging off of his rump it’s hard to concentrate on running from humans! So, thank you God for the creation of the mini ass.


I’m new to the southern hospitality of cow ponies but I can image they all have the same Baptist good old boy upbringing. I think they all speak with a twang and use generic phrases such as, “yes ma’am”, “no ma’am”, “thankya ma’am”, “ya’ll”, and “all ya’ll”. I’m not sure what the intelligence level of these horses is but Toby (our cow pony) is pretty easy to catch. His feed bucket nearly always catches him but everyone already knows that trick.
I have found that the next best way to catch a cow pony is to let his water hole run dry. I did this one time and that darn cow pony stood by his water hole for hours. He could have walked over to the other trough—which was full--, but I guess that’s not the southern way. He wanted water in HIS hole. The auto ground tie was convenient because I needed to catch him anyway. So, thank you sun, for making our cow pony’s water hole run dry thus making the task of catching the cow pony easy as southern pecan pie.

This marks the conclusion of my Five Ways to Catch an Equine blog. I hope it will be helpful for someone in the future. Please note also that I not only illustrated 5 different catching techniques, but I also used five different types of equines.

1. Polish
2. Donkey
3. Thoroughbred
4. Mule
5. Cow Pony

Thanks for reading, and please let this ice melt soon so that I can get back to work and riding!


scooper said...

Your most awesome post e'vah!!! Thank you!! I'll see if any of these work on catching that Irish #$%^&* that recently broke my arm! xo

February 9, 2011 at 10:45 AM

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