How To Approach A Horse:
The How and Why

Learn how to approach a horse the right way in this step-by-step tutorial.

Do you ever wonder why a horse is fine being approached by one person, but not with someone else? Many times when we are approaching, we have the intent on "catching" them to halter or ride.

  • This is important because horses read our emotions and intentions - They can feel that you want to "catch" them and are designed by nature not to be caught!

As you can see from the picture, this cute guy is finishing up his breakfast. He isn't offering to approach me at all which is important.

  • He's telling me at this point I don't have his permission or acknowlegdement to enter his space.

  • Now you can see him with me making an approach. Notice how I am not directly in front of him.

Note: People normally walk straight up to horses, which for some of them can be unsettling. Try and walk in an arc instead of a straight line.

  • See my eyes? They are not looking directly at him right now. What is he doing? He's got two eyes and ears looking right at me.
  • By doing this he has given me permission to approach him.

  • Now I've walked up to his side, I offered the back of my hand for him to smell first, and am petting him.
  • Now he is ready to be haltered or loved on

Here are some other tips to help you:

  • Don't always go in to catch him only to ride or work.

Mix it up and don't catch him at all. Sometimes and just offer a treat or scratch. Add some of that into your routine, be it some hand grazing or a good grooming session.

  • Think about what he may want to do once he is caught vs. what you want to do. Try to add in more about what he likes, and soon your partner may catch you instead!

Head back to the beginner's page where you can learn how to lead, saddle, and more essential skills.

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