Horses That Won't Go
By Keith Hosman, John Lyons Certified Trainer
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Horses That Won't Go
What we'll address here: Horses that stop moving and stubbornly refuse to take another step. Two things we won't address here (at least not in depth or specifically): Horses that have gradually become "dead-sided" and crossing obstacles. To train a horse who ignores your speed-up cues, to install speed control or wake up a sluggish mover, read the article called "Speed Up Your Slow Horse." (Find it at Horsemanship101.com/Articles.)
Warning 1): Putting pressure on a resistant horse's mouth, especially evenly with two reins, just might cause them to rear. Rearing is bad, real bad. It's one of the most dangerous things they can do - so don't ever foster that thought in your horse's head, not even for an instant. If you've got a horse that refuses to move forward, then you've got a potential rearing candidate. How and why? Because rearing is the ultimate case of "not moving forward." With this in mind, if you even sense that anything described here might cause your horse to get lighter in the front end, DON'T DO IT. Read articles about getting better with your hands (like "Tips to Improve Your Use of the Reins" and "How to Pick Up Your Reins Like a Pro."). Attend a clinic. Best bet: Hire a pro. Hiring a professional horse trainer for several months is much cheaper than even a single trip to the emergency room.
Warning 2): Horses that lock up are sometimes signaling that the next step they take will be explosive. The methods described below pertain not so much to green horses with their nervous energy (or horses with a history of any dangerous habits, for that matter) as it does stubborn war horses who just seem to be playing you. You'll need to decide which horse you're riding, factor in common sense, and go forward accordingly. Again, hire a pro if there's a doubt.
"How do I get my horse to move when it freezes up?" I've heard this same question many times at clinics all over the US - and world, for that matter. (Odd but true: Every where I go to conduct a clinic, from the US, to Germany, even the Czech Republic... their citizens have the same horse-training issues as we do here in America. Funny that!)
I actually had this exchange once: A guy asked me "What do I do when I'm out on the trail and the horse just freezes up and won't walk off and I'm stuck miles from home?" I asked "How did you deal with it last time?" He answered: "It's my wife's horse. I took out my cell phone, called her and told her to come get me and her (bleeping) horse." So this article, then, is for those of you who get caught out on the trail with your lover's horse and no cell phone.
Important: Horses that pull this stunt are signaling that they need you to fall back and teach or re-teach some basics...
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| Meet the author:
John & Josh Lyons Certified
Clinician and Trainer
Utopia, TX (Hill Country of San Antonio)
Keith Hosman is based in San Antonio, TX and is available for clinics, lessons and training. He frequently travels to Los Angeles, CA and Kansas City, MO where he partners with fellow clinician Patrick Benson for clinics and demonstrations. You can find him on Google+ and Reddit.
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Lyons Training 101: Issue Twenty-nine, Part 1
"To Train a Horse: Horses That Won't Go"
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