never coil the lead rope around your hand, ad you can be dragged if the horse suddenly takes off
Lead ropes don't lead horses. You're kidding yourself if you think a little rope is all it takes to control a horse. You use the rope to tell communicate the speed, the direction, and the shape you want the horse to move.
The simplest exercise is teaching the young horse to come to a halt. This can be done anywhere, by walking the horse around, then every now and then standing still while giving the comand "stand". But do not pull backwards on the lead rope when you stop, just a little resistence pressure.
At first the young horse will stop in front, but its hindquarters may move in a quarter circle. But he will learn to come to a full halt.
These early lessons should only last from 10 to 15 minutes, and can be begun while the animal is still a foal.
Start by bringing the horse into a small indoor arena. In beginning lessons, this will have fewer distractions than being outside and make it easier to keep the horse's attention.
Its first time in the arena, the horse is going to want to check everything out. Let it run and play, do not direct where the horse goes, you just follow it around.
Repeating this play lesson using consistent moves establishes two concepts that become logical to the horse. When you face the same way as the horse shoulder to shoulder, it indicates a direction for forward motion. When you turn towards the horse, it means stop and stand.
Once the horse understands these two concepts, you can turn from facing his shoulder, to facing with him in the same direction and encourage him to walk forward with you. You do this by making an obvious move with your feet.
You will gradually build on these concepts to lead the horse forward or ask him to stop and stand whenever and wherever you want.
Teaching the horse to back is important. Don't think that one little step backwards is backing. Pick up the reins, shift your weight back a little, and as soon as he takes a step back, release the pressure. Build on that, until he keeps backing as long as you are asking.
Your goal in lead training is to teach the horse a consistent language that always has the same meaning. The horse will eventually know what to do, whether it's longing, getting on a trailer, or standing for the farrier.
Dealing with rearing and resistence to your lead training
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