Horses That Won't Go

Horses That Won't Go

Tips & Tricks for Fixing Horses That Won't Move, a how-to article from John Lyons trainer Keith Hosman.

By Keith Hosman
Learn tips and tricks for dealing with the horse that freezes up and won't take one more step!

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." (It's free to print out and take to the barn. Find it at

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...

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