Does your horse misbehave when you lead him? Here’s horse trainer Jason Webb with a simple exercise that can transform the way you lead your horse – all you’ll need is a jump pole and a little strength.
“This is an exercise for horses who already lead,” says Jason. “Leading with your horse following you is foreign to most people and this exercise is a good way to introduce that idea.
“It means you walk without your horse ever being in your way and teach him to move around you, not over or through you.”
How to do the exercise
- With your horse in a rope halter or headcollar with a long rope attached, lead him to a safe and quiet area where you have some space to move around.
- While holding the rope, lift the pole with both arms (take care to bend your knees as you lift it to avoid pulling your back – no injuries please!).
- Walk on, taking care when changing direction to stop and pivot before walking on again.
Why it works
“The pole represents the boundary line that your horse should stay behind,” says Jason.
“As you walk, he’ll simply walk on behind you. If he leads nicely, he’ll have no problems. If he starts to mess about or tries to push past you, he’ll meet with the pole.”
Jason says that because the pole is rigid, it turns when you turn. “If your horse doesn’t swing nicely out of the way behind you as you move around, he’ll get a little bump on the hip from the pole,” he says.
“To use an analogy I describe the feeling of this leading exercise as your horse being a carriage on a train.
“He should simply follow you in your tracks and, as you turn, hop out of your way.”