Following/ Leading without rope. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Following/ Leading without rope.

I've always envied my trainer's ability to have his horse follow him around without a halter or rope. Now, I've tried this with Hoover, but my baby has ADHD....seriously. My trainer said he has the shortest attention span of any horse he has worked with in 40 years. Hoover tries, he really does...but keeping his attention is a battle.

Gunner, on the other hand, is a little easier. He follows me around the round pen on command, and will stay without needing to be held in the yard with me for at least 20 minutes. He wandered away because he thought my instructor was feeding at the barn. He also does lead rope very well, and will stop shoulder to shoulder with me after a few small reminders.

So, my question do I further work with Gunner to improve this? Do any of your horses do this?

Oh...I'm not looking to do this anywhere except the ranch, where he knows the ground and at most will run to the barn if he stops listening. I wouldn't put him in danger...we're 100s of acres away from a road.

"Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die...don't be scared, jut enjoy the ride." - Chris LeDoux
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post #2 of 21 Old 03-16-2010, 11:28 AM
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Notice that most of the trainers are carrying whips?? That is their connection to the horse. A whip trained horse will follow like a dog on your heals because he knows he can not turn and run without paying the price. He can not run past you either so he sticks close, the only safe place to be.
It is easy to teach but most boarding places would frown on it. To get a horse to follow you around the stall take minutes to teach and then you just expand it to outside.
Again I have taught it to a degree far above whip training but would I ever do it again? NO
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post #3 of 21 Old 03-16-2010, 11:30 AM
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A lot of these techniques are used in Natural Horsemanship. Like with Pat Parelli and such....It's mostly about teaching your horse that you are its herd leader, and becoming his friend. I'm not entirely sure how to do it from scratch, but my suggestion would be to watch Parelli's "Games of natural horsemanship" then continue on with whatever you have been doing. Eventually the horse will want to be with you.

The only horse I've ever had follow me around without incentive is Jester. But he's very special and sometimes not smart enough to figure out that there is no lead rope on him, ha ha. But I have seen others do it and it is not out of the question. You just have to know body language and such.

You can communicate with your horse on his own terms if you know how. And it doesn't necessarily have to be whip training. My trainer has a little filly she leads around without anything on it and she uses only body language and she spend slots of time with the filly so she knows exactly who is the herd elader and who she wants to be with, not who she has to be with.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.

Last edited by SorrelHorse; 03-16-2010 at 11:32 AM. Reason: Typo, and adding something :)
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-16-2010, 11:39 AM
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Any horse I've ever spent significant time with has more or less picked it up. I do do groundwork, but I never set out specifically to teach the horse to follow without a lead rope. I practice grooming and showmanship, and I make the cues, etc. as light as possible, and I expect the horse to respond to as little as a shift in my weight even on the ground. I look at it much the same as I look at bridleless riding; it's a byproduct of good "regular" training, and most horses with a solid foundation and respect for the handler (as in, the rider/handler is the "herd leader") will follow without a line.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #5 of 21 Old 03-16-2010, 12:06 PM
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I know...seriously! I'm a kid at heart!!!!!

All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of board, and he'll listen to me any day.
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post #6 of 21 Old 03-16-2010, 12:08 PM
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Both my mare and my gelding used to do this with me. It was nothing that I taught them, it was based on trust and respect. The only time I ever had a leadline on my gelding was when I was either using him with a student, or at a show (where I pretty much just used it out of respect for the barn owners & other competitors). You can use body language to "invite" your horse to follow you, and likewise to tell him or her that they need to stop, turn, get out of your space, whatever. It's all about body language & the relationship you have with your horse. I'm sure following can be taught as well, it's just never been something I've done. I'd rather my horse walk around with me because he enjoys my company, and not because I'm carrying a whip or something.
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post #7 of 21 Old 03-16-2010, 12:11 PM
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Jadedeyes: hahaha you are too funny dude! DODO!!

- If today was your last day, and tomorrow was too late, could you say goodbye to yesterday?
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post #8 of 21 Old 03-16-2010, 01:29 PM
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I will say, this is a Parelli thing. I did this with my arab mare. It is a trust and respect thing. The reason I started this with my mare is because her fear with being caught and her fear of people. I spent alot of time with her, getting her trust. I started with a lead rope and yes a crop. But my mare was so sensitive that I never really had to use that on her. Sometimes tho I used the end of my lead rope as a popper. If she didnt face me when I would turn toward her butt, she was instantly popped. I also got her to pivot on her front feet both ways away from me without running away. It takes alot of time and patience but now, I can take her out of her paddock without halter, lead and just start walking. She will instantly follow me. Even if she gets fresh or spooks a bit, all I have to do is body language and she calms down and comes to me. I dont carry a halter, lead or whip. She is free to do as she pleases. Even if she does run off, she always heads towards the barn to be with the other horses. But not something she has ever done. If I run she runs, if I stop she stops. I actually think she enjoys doing this with me. I take her out to the pasture where there is tons of grass to get at and I still have that strict connection with her. Mind you, our horses dont get out on pasture very often. I think too, that if your horse sees you as a leader, its so much easier. Just have fun with it.

Last edited by mbender; 03-16-2010 at 01:33 PM.
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post #9 of 21 Old 03-16-2010, 01:30 PM
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It's nice to say they do it out of LOVE out of RESPECT but that doesn't make for a reliable horse. Given something better he will just walk off. Try putting on a show in an arena for a crowd and see how far love and repect get you??? Not far.
To be reliable you need that connections and the whip is the connection. Sure it would look nice to drop the whip, makes for a better image but the alternative is not nice either.

Again I have been there, a reliable horse that comes running at the mere whistle from any distance, dances around me but follows on a heal as good as any obedience dog and then stands and stays outside the barn while I go in to get a hoof pick to clean the feet before giving permission to enter the barn.
That is not Love and Respect, that is training.
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post #10 of 21 Old 03-16-2010, 02:21 PM
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I suppose if by "training" you mean it's something the horse has learned from repeated behaviour, then sure, call it training. My gelding would follow me until I turned around, looked at him a certain way, & said, "Stay there, Simes". I could then walk into the tackroom or walk away from the cross ties (he was never tied in, he just stood in them) or whatever, & I'd know that I could come back & he'd still be there. If I left him standing in grass, maybe he'd lean down to have a nibble, but he wouldn't wander off. He didn't do it because I'd specifically spent time"training" him to do it, he did it because I was "mom" or "alpha mare" or whatever you want to call it, & he wanted to please me. He wouldn't do this for me until we'd formed a bond, and he'd never do it for other people, because he did not have that level of respect for what they wanted. I never once hit him or threatened him with a whip in the 7 years that I had him. If you think you need a whip or some other "training aid" to get a point across to a horse, then you are very mistaken.

And you asked how far love and respect get you in a show arena - I'll tell you, they get you VERY far. Look at a pair where the horse & rider do not have any sort of connection or respect for one another, & then look at another pair that are obviously a TEAM. There's a difference. I'm not saying respect & love always bring in the ribbons, but I am saying they'll make a world of a difference in the way your horse will act for you.
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