Colt tries to eat while leading - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-02-2013, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Colt tries to eat while leading

My 10 month old colt leads very well, but he wants to eat grass all the time. If I'm leading him in the grass he tries to put his head down a lot. Of course, I never let him while we're leading (maybe later when we're done) but I don't like him pulling on me. I usually give him a sharp upward tug on the rope. How can I get him to stop trying to do this?
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-02-2013, 11:37 AM
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Either hold a crop and let him run into it or let him run into your boot on the way down.
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-02-2013, 05:40 PM
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Of course he wants to eat grass -- he's a young untrained horse.

It is your job to make him pay a higher price for a bite of grass than he is willing to pay. Nagging at him by pulling him away by giving little jerks on the lead-rope have only been enough to make him try harder to eat. Some horses learn very quickly and do not take much pressure. Other have to be gotten after pretty hard. The ones that have had inconsistent handling are the worst.

Jerk him hard enough to make him blink his eyes and want to watch you. Then jerk him two or three more time and back him up. Then, since you have not established very good manners in him yet, I would not be inconsistent enough to let him graze on a lead at all. This only confuses him until you have good manners established and he quits trying you.

Once horses have learned good manners and don't try to push past the boundaries you have established, you can let them do things like taking them out to eat, but they have to be very obedient first or you are just confusing them and making them want to keep pulling on you and fighting you. It is all in consistency.
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-02-2013, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
Of course he wants to eat grass -- he's a young untrained horse.

It is your job to make him pay a higher price for a bite of grass than he is willing to pay. Nagging at him by pulling him away by giving little jerks on the lead-rope have only been enough to make him try harder to eat. Some horses learn very quickly and do not take much pressure. Other have to be gotten after pretty hard. The ones that have had inconsistent handling are the worst.

Jerk him hard enough to make him blink his eyes and want to watch you. Then jerk him two or three more time and back him up. Then, since you have not established very good manners in him yet, I would not be inconsistent enough to let him graze on a lead at all. This only confuses him until you have good manners established and he quits trying you.

Once horses have learned good manners and don't try to push past the boundaries you have established, you can let them do things like taking them out to eat, but they have to be very obedient first or you are just confusing them and making them want to keep pulling on you and fighting you. It is all in consistency.
Cherie gave a good explanation here. One thing that I do that seems to work pretty well is when they go to put their head down to graze they get a SHARP jerk on the lead rope. This has to be hard enough to get their attention. Don't pull their head up just a hard jerk on the rope so that keeping their head up becomes their idea, don't hold it there. One of my horse training mentors like to say "If you have to ask more than once, you didn't ask hard enough". I believe in that in some instances and this is one of them. They need to know that this is YOUR time, they need to eat on their own time, unless you direct them to do so. If you do ever let them eat on lead line or under saddle, I think a very direct head down or "graze" cue could be taught so they know the difference.

Cheers!
Les
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