I walk down to the catch pens and shelter breeze way. I shout out “whup, whup!” to alert Encore! to come to the catch pen. She gallops eagerly towards the gate, but when she sees I am carrying her halter, she does a U-turn and runs to hide behind her good friend and stable mate Coltrane. Coltrane keeps coming towards me knowing that I will let him out to graze.
When Coltrane arrives I let him out and Encore! seeing that she might be left in the pen gallops past us and up to the top of the catch pen and nibbles some hay. I quickly shut the catch pen gate from the larger paddock then let Coltrane out to graze. Encore! alone in the catch pen usually comes over knowing that she has to put on the halter before she can go out of the pen. Today she takes issue with the order. I give her a couple of opportunities to yield on her own. When I see she is determined to be in charge, I leave her and look for the lunge whip to drive her round and round the pen until she gives up her head strong ways.
In my experience most horses surrender quickly, but Encore! has an independent streak that borders on stubborn. I keep her moving away from me until I say “ho” and she allows me to put on the halter. I’ve never met up with such determination in horse or human. Several times I give the opportunity to stop, but the moment I offer the halter she moves away. I then get after her and move her on forcing her to acknowledge who is in charge. Finally, after numerous run arounds of the catch pen I say “ho” and she allows me to put on the halter. It’s true if I had a bit of carrot she would eagerly allow me to catch her. Today I had a handful of boring timothy hay pellets. In retrospect, who is training who?