Teaching a horse to lead properly

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Young horses do not inherently know how to lead properly; gradual horse training will help teach them this important lesson. Here are some horse training tips to get you started in teaching your horse to lead properly.

Prepare for the Horse Training Session

Before you begin any training session, set the horse up for success. Only conduct training sessions during quiet times free of distraction. Poor timing, like training the horse when horses are being fed or taken outside, will almost certainly result in an unproductive training session.

Be sure to put a well-fitting halter on the horse, and use a lead line long enough so that you have enough room to have some play in the line. Wear good gloves to protect your hands and wear boots intended for use around horses.

Training a Horse to Give to Pressure

The first lesson that your horse must learn is to give to pressure. This is a lesson that will follow him through all of his life and training, so it is important to spend the time to ensure that your horse fully understands the concept.

Begin by placing your hand on the lead line just below your horse’s head. Give a gentle, steady pull straight down, encouraging your horse to lower his head in response. When your horse gives to the pressure in even the slightest bit, immediately release the pull on the lead line and let his head return to the original position.

Repeat this process again and again, and each time your horse should give more of a response to the pressure, lowering his head down more. Once your horse is able to lower his head, use the same tactic to ask him to bring his head around to the left and to the right.

Once your horse has mastered this lesson, teach him to give to pressure on his sides. While holding the horse on a loose line, gently press the end of a dressage whip or lunge whip against his hindquarters. Tap him gently until he moves forward, then immediately stop the pressure, rewarding him for the behavior. Repeat this process until he thoroughly understands what you are asking of him, but be sure to keep yourself out of striking distance in case he should try to kick or suddenly leap forward.

Training a Horse to Lead

Once your horse understands the need to give to pressure you can train him to lead in-hand. Hold a dressage whip in your left hand and take up a gentle hold of the lead rope. Standing by the horse’s shoulder, take a deliberate step forward and exert gentle, steady pressure on the lead rope. If the horse does not respond, reinforce the request to move forward by reaching your left hand back and gently tapping the horse on his hindquarters with the whip. Once the horse moves forward, even if it is just a step, release the pressure immediately and praise him.

Continue this process until the horse understands what is being asked of him. Always keep yourself in a safe place, and be aware that young horses may overreact to stimuli, such as the whip, very suddenly.

Horse training is a gradual process, and training young horses requires particular patience. With time, you will be able to train your young horse to lead properly. TOPHORSE– browse youngstock for sale or place an ad to sell horses.

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