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Catching Your Loose Horse Who is Panicked or Scared

A horse may get loose at any moment. It does not matter if you are at an event or simply at your own barn. Before jumping in to retrieve the animal, take a closer look at the situation.

Quite often a horse is not running scared, but instead simply has managed to get out and is enjoying its ill gotten bout with freedom. Such an animal is captured most easily by simply having a large number of people form a chain and then walk toward the animal until it is cornered. Be well equipped with a halter or lead rope and then walk up to the animal itself to get it back under your control. Take great care not to frighten the animal, lest it reacts in panic and gets hurt.
If your horse has run away in a panic – perhaps there was a loud noise or even an injury – it may try to find a place to hide, such as in a herd of other horses. You will need to approach this horse quietly and cautiously. If you have ever seen a panicked horse, you know how strong they are! Thus when securing your animal to an inanimate object, such as a post, make sure that the items will be able to withstand the animal’s pulling. Should you encounter your animal after it has panicked and also dragged off whatever item you tied it to, you will need to employ special caution. First and foremost you will need to gently disentangle the animal from whatever it may be dragging with it. If the item is heavy, it will eventually fall off, but if the item is light, then it might keep hitting the horse, making it run even faster and more furious. While you are still able to walk the horse down, do not approach it unless you absolutely certain how to handle such a panicked animal. If you do not know for certain that you can handle this, then it is wisest to get someone else to do this.

Consider that while the animal is still at the height of fear, it is also quite possibly has gotten injured and it will not take much to make it run again and sustain further injury. If you will handle the horse, it is imperative to ascertain which direction the animal will choose if it will once again run for it. You must approach from the other direction to prevent getting entangled with the object your horse may be dragging around if it runs. Generally speaking, an animal will try to get away from an object that is attached to it. You will be able to also observe this in the animal’s body language by taking a good look at the direction in which the horse is leaning. Pick the spot from which the animal will turn away if it should decide to make another run for it and then approach it slowly.

Once you are able to approach, you will need to decide how to get the horse untangled from the object it is dragging along. Is it attached to a bridle you could just slip over its head? Is it attached to a lead rope that could be quickly unsnapped? Look for any solution that is quick and requires the least amount of patience on the part of the horse. Keep in mind that picking up the dragged item is extremely dangerous and thus unwise. So take your time, approach slowly, and plan your moves before you make them.

Read the next horse training article on Costs of Training a New Horse.
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