What You're Feeling For
July 10, 2014
Written by: Keith Hosman
Written by: Keith Hosman
Time for a quick demonstration: Take a lead rope and halter in hand. Hold on to the end of the lead with one hand, pitch the halter onto the floor, several feet away from you with the other. Slowly pull back the halter and get a feel for how much pressure it takes.Would you like your horse to turn or back up or sidepass with pressure just this light? Well, for many folks this would be a grand improvement, however...
When properly trained, your horse will not wait for you to pull his head, but instead he'll act as your partner. He'll stay tuned in, mirroring the movements of your hand.
Take the halter and hang it around a fence post. Take the lead in your hand and simply move your hand back and forth toward the hanging halter. How would you like your horse to move with only this amount of pressure? That'd be really cool, right? It can still be better.
To see how much better, ask a friend to take the halter in hand while you hold the end of the lead rope. Ask your friend to move the halter in concert with your hand movements. You move to the left, the halter moves simultaneously in a mirrored fashion. Now that, that dynamic feeling, is what you're looking for when you make any request with a rein. And that is exactly what you will get with enough practice releasing the rein the very moment you even think the horse has the right idea.When properly trained, your horse will not wait for you to pull (however lightly) his head, but instead he'll act as your partner. He'll stay tuned in, mirroring the movements of your hand. I include this description here (of what things "could be") so that you will be aware of what's possible and begin aiming toward this in your everyday training. Knowing what's possible will keep you working on your timing and releases until you reach this ideal.
Wanna teach your horse to drop its head and stay relaxed? When you're finished with this article, click here to read about the "Classic Serpentine."
The article above is an excerpt from my book "What I'd Teach Your Horse: Training & Re-Training the Basics."
It's Basic Training for Every Horse
If you broke your horse to saddle and rode it for the first time today, this book is where you'd start tomorrow. Likewise, if you have an older horse that needs re-training, you'd start here. This book is a roadmap to building the foundation every horse needs, regardless of age, breed or background, regardless the type of riding for which it will eventually be used.