Some horses can be very bolshy and difficult to lead to and from the field. But how can you teach your horse to lead politely?
Michael Peace is a specialist trainer who works with young and problem horses in all disciplines, here he explains just how to hold your horses.
Teaching a horse to lead correctly is a vital part of his training. It teaches him manners, cooperation and trust in his handler, so treat your in-hand training as seriously as your ridden work.
To start, work your horse in a headcollar with a long rope attached, and position yourself out in front and slightly to the side of him.
This may go against everything you’ve been taught, but when working with a bolshy horse, out in front is the safest place to be in case he rears or barges into you.
It also gives him an idea of where he should be going next.
Walk with purpose, make several changes of direction, and regularly stop and start to keep your horse’s attention.
Another good exercise is to stop, back your horse up, give him a rub on the neck to say thank you if he’s been polite, and then walk on.
This gets your horse thinking about stopping, rather than just pushing past you.
All the time you’re leading him, your horse should be focused on you, so that when you stop, he stops.
If he isn’t concentrating and barges into you, then stop, wave the rope at him to get him to back off and then, once he’s the correct distance away, give him a rub on the neck to say thanks.
This teaches him that it’s his responsibility to respect your personal space.
It’s important to make your intentions clear and be deliberate in your actions, both when you’re leading and when you’re pushing a bolshy horse back out of your space.
If a horse barges into another horse in a herd he will be pushed back, so you’re mirroring horse language.
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