How to teach a horse to follow your lead?

by howdy9533
Published: Updated:

This question comes regularly: “What am I supposed to do when my horse stops, and does not want to follow?”

Pressure / release principle

The idea is to use the same old principle: pressure vs release. Remember that horses learn when you release, timing is a key here again. The process is quite simple: just pull steadily. No bumps, no hard pressure, do not waste your energy trying to pull your horse: you just can’t! Keep in mind that the smallest horses will still weigh at least three times your own weight, that battle is lost in advance (except with Shetlands ponies maybe ;o).

So, instead of a battle, let’s try the easy way: be patient and keep pulling until the horse shifts his weight forward, that’s the perfect moment to release pressure. This is how you can communicate with your horse, every time he moves one step forward, you release completely the pressure, and reward your horse. Pretty soon, he will follow you everywhere as avoiding pressure is the horse’s first objective.

Pulling back

Those horses that pull back pretty hard when they are tied are horses who do not know how to deal with pressure. Some people come behind the horses, and slap them or scare them in order to make them move forward: basically, they add pressure to the pressure… the volcano eruption is not far! Teaching your horse to deal with that pressure coming from the front will prevent such pulling back. Indeed, the first reaction will then be to move forward one or two steps in order to get rid of the tension, and be in peace.

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