“Don’t turn my horse out; I can’t catch him.”
Sound familiar? No matter how meticulously you have designed your strategy, you just cannot catch that sucker. Whether it is in a corral or a 100-acre pasture, you have used all of your wits and he still remains out of reach. The can of grain you shake is meaningless and you’re sure he is laughing at you. Of course he knows you are in a hurry! And he knows how long that rope is.
There are few things more frustrating, so let me share with an old Indian trick that never fails to work.
If you are around horses enough, it is not hard to find a horse that is about to shed a chestnut. The chestnut carries a scent that identifies a horse to other horses and animals.
So, find a chestnut ready to be shed, peel it off and put it in your shirt pocket or your hand. Now, go in your corral with your rope behind you and lean against a post and relax. Your horse will come to you. Let him smell the chestnut as you slip a rope around his neck with your other hand.
Or, sit down in the middle of the pasture (with the horse downwind) and his curiosity will bring his nose right to your pocket.
Get in the habit of slipping it into your shirt pocket when you are going to be around horses. Whatever you are doing, a horse will be inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt during shoeing, clipping, grooming, etc. You may not look like one of them but you will smell like one of them.
Don’t tell, and you will also be known as one of those folks who “talk” to horses.
Martha Cantarini is a former stunt rider and stunt double who worked on many classic Western movies and television shows. In The Big Country she doubled for Jean Simmons and Carol Baker. She stepped in for Claudette Colbert in Texas Lady, Anita Louise in television’s My Friend Flicka series, and Beverly Michaels in TV’s Cheyenne.