Leading A Stubborn Horse
Leading A Stubborn Horse
Learn: A quick fix for getting a horse moving again if he freezes up when being led.
How many times have you begun to lead your horse through a gate, only to have him freeze up a few steps before it? Or maybe he stalls out while you're leading him, plants his front feet and refuses to take one more step? Does he do these things? Uh-oh. In the words of John Lyons, "You ride the horse you lead," so stubbornness and attitude in situations like this suggests that you have bigger problems than you might think. Let's fix these things - but let's also begin seeing them for what they are: Warning signs.
If your horse doesn't walk with you smoothly and willingly, if he drags on that lead rope or otherwise thumbs his nose at you, you need to deal with it right then and there. (This goes for young and old, green or experienced.) If you're leading your horse out to the arena, trail or what-have-you to ride - and your horse balks - and you ignore it - then not only have you missed an opportunity to improve your relationship with your horse, you've ignored potential danger. Your horse has just told you "I'll go along with you only so far." Worse, he's told you he's ready to rebel to get his way. It doesn't take a genius to see that such rebellions (whether in the horse's mind or acted out in the real world) can lead to some major doctor bills.
Now, don't get me wrong, balking is part of horse ownership for a variety of reasons and is to be expected. A few examples: Leaving a horse out in the pasture for any length of time is going to dull his manners. Young horses are going to test you repeatedly in new and unfamiliar situations (a new trail course, his first show, etc.). Experienced lesson horses are going to test inexperienced novice riders and so on. Even the well-trained show horse of the most accomplished equestrian is going to test the boundaries...
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