Chapter 8 : Lead Training

The lead rope that attaches to the halter of the horse does not control the horse, and they won’t lead horses.  The lead rope lets you communicate the speed, the direction and the shape you want the horse to move.

The easiest exercise is teaching the horse to stop. You can accomplish this anywhere by walking the horse around and every now and then stand still, giving your horse the command to “stand”.  Do not pull backwards on the lead rope when you stop.  You only need to use a little resistance pressure.

Your horse may at first stop in front, but the hindquarters may move a quarter circle.  As you continue to work with him he will learn to come to a complete stop.

These early lessons should only last about 10 to 15 minutes.  You can start teaching this while he is still a foal.

You can start this lesson by taking your horse to a small indoor arena.  Bringing the horse to an indoor arena will mean for fewer distractions than an outdoor arena.  This will make it easier to keep the horse’s attention.

The first time in an arena your horse will want to check everything out.  Go ahead and let your horse play and run.  Don’t try to direct where he goes.  It is best you just follow him around.

You can use his playtime as a play lesson, which you will want to repeat.  By using consistent movements you will establish two concepts that will become logical to your horse.  As you are walking around shoulder to shoulder with horse facing the same direction he is, you teach him a direction for forward motion.  When you turn towards the horse, this will help teach the horse to stop and stand.

After the horse understands these two concepts, you will be able to turn from facing his shoulder to facing with him in the same direction and encourage him to walk with you.  You can do this by making obvious moves with your feet.  You will build on these concepts gradually to lead the horse forward or ask him to stop and stand whenever and wherever you need him to.

Teaching a horse to back-up is important, and don’t think that taking one step backward is backing up.  Pick up the reins; shift your weight back a little, and once he takes a step back you can release the pressure.  Continue working with that until he backs up for as long as you want.

By teaching your horse consistent commands that always has the same meaning, the horse will eventually know what to do.  No matter what it is, like getting on a trailer, or lunging.

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