How to use Leading your Horse to get Control and Response
I’ve been around many people who try to lead a horse by
controlling their head with a lead rope. They end up pulling or
jerking the lead rope and the horse will typically pull back or
push around the person with the lead rope.
Ultimately, you want slack in the lead rope while leading your
horse because you don’t want to pull or jerk him. If your horse
moves incorrectly while leading him then you can stop and correct
him by making him move his body.
To really be successful in having control the secret is having
control over your horse’s body. How do you do that? By
controlling his feet by making him move his rear end away from
you. (Also known as “disengaging the hind quarters) Why this
works so well is it alleviates stiffness and tension and almost
magically forces your horse to focus on you.
There are few ways to get your horse to move his rear end away
from you. Much of the time, you can stand facing his shoulder and
point to his hip. If he doesn’t move keep pointing and cluck at
him. If he still doesn’t move, twirl the end of your lead rope at
his hip and cluck. If he still doesn’t move tap him with the lead
rope while clucking at him.
At any time he moves, take the pressure off him immediately. Give
him a pat and a “good boy” and ask for another move. Repeat. Then
ask for more steps. Remember to do this on both sides of the body
too. It won’t be long when you will simply point at his hip and
he’ll move them for you. Do this every day for a while to get it
in his mind that you are in control.
Okay. Now that you moved him, turn your body to walk forward
while holding your lead line. Something magical happens right
here. Your horse suddenly focuses his attention on you. He’s very
aware of your movement and what you’re doing. If he messes up
because he was distracted or something scared him, all you have
to do is move his rear end again. Eventually your horse will
start gauging your pace and keep up with you at the same pace you
If your horse starts to get ahead of you while leading, move his
hindquarters. If he’s lagging behind you, move his hindquarters.
If he goes off into La La Land, move his hindquarters.
Having good control leading your horse is perhaps the most basic
training technique there is. But it is also the way we get horses
in trailers, moving them around, bathing them, and even riding
them. This will help teach your horse to be soft and responsive.
And if you have a soft responsive horse while you are on the
ground, then you will more likely have the same kind of horse
while you’re sitting in the saddle. And that is the ultimate goal.
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of
several best selling horse training and horse care books. For
information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He
is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at
Great Feeling Times with our Stuffed Plush Horses
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