Getting him to Trot at hand?

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Getting him to Trot at hand?

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  • Where to whip a horse to get it trotting
  • Horse won't trot in hand

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    07-23-2009, 01:32 AM
Getting him to Trot at hand?

So I have this huge gelding (huge by my standards -- about 16hh), 2-Pak, and I've always wanted to show him at halter, because he's just so pretty. Originally I couldn't because of his trailering issues, but now that that has been solved, I realized that he doesn't know how to/won't trot at hand!
I tried getting him to the same way that I trained Bandit and Dante -- just sorta take off running and keep the pressure on his halter until he breaks into a trot, then adjust my pace -- but he's so long legged, he just speeds up his walk and refuses to pick up the pace! By the time he decides he's had enough of the pressure on his halter, I'm practically out of breath!
I tried having someone run behind him and yell, but he doesn't mind them at all.

Any suggestions?
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    07-23-2009, 02:12 AM
Dressage whip. Carry a dressage whip with you (make sure first that he won't take off if you tap him with it, or isn't scared of it), and when he won't start trotting, tap him on the butt to get him going. I have had several horses that didn't want to trot in hand, and I would tap them with the whip and after a few times they figured out what I wanted. Start with a very light tap, and if he still doesn't respond, tap a bit harder, and then a bit harder if he still doesn't respond, but try to go for the lightest touch you can that gets results.
    07-23-2009, 10:37 AM
Keep the lead rope in your right hand and the lunge whip/dressage whip in your left hand. Ask him to take off at the trot first (with a kiss noise or whatever) and when he doesn't tap him on the butt. Don't use the lash, use the stick of the whip.
    07-23-2009, 01:47 PM
My daughter had this same problem with her horse. We found that the horse did not like the pressure of being pulled. We taught her to just pick up her pace (kind of like running in place) and click to her horse(the same noise she makes when riding and asking for a trot). Then if she still didn't trot she would smack the horse on the behind a little with the end of the lead rope. In no time the horse learned to trot as soon as my daughter started to pick up her pace.
    07-23-2009, 02:47 PM
Problem with the whip is that he'll flip out at the sight of one. I've had him since he was 2 (he's 11 now) and we've never been able to have a whip anywhere near him -- he'll even throw a fit if someone else has one in the arena.

And enough... that's basically what I'm doing as it is. Except the part with the lead rope.
    07-23-2009, 10:36 PM
I've used the method the others have mentioned for many horses who can't\won't grasp the 'trot in hand'.

I use a longe whip that doesn't have a long tassle on it, and walk foward normally, ask the horse to "TROT", give him a chance to respond, then gently flick the hind quarter; Expect the horse to shoot foward the first couple times!!! THIS IS OKAY! Just run with him, praising him for his effort, then bring him back down to a walk, and praise him some more! Repeat, until you don't need the whip flick cue...some horses might only need a couple of times, where others you might have to do it a couple days in a row that way.

Have you tried desensitizing him to the whip, instead of just bringing it out, letting him see it, flip out, and taking it away?
    07-24-2009, 01:28 AM
I personally have never used a whip, especially not with a skeetery horse that's already leery of it! I've always just clicked/kissed and used the end of my lead rope flicking their toosh to get them moving. A couple horses this method took awhile for them to figure out, but the lead is soft, there's no big popping sound to spook them, and it's an unseen encouragment from behind.

Like Mom2Pride said, he may bolt the first couple times because he's not expecting the lead to "sneak up on him" but praise him for picking up his pace and repeat...Don't overdo it, maybe a couple times each time you go out, and he should catch on. Definitely let us know how it goes!
    07-24-2009, 02:23 AM
Originally Posted by mom2pride    
Have you tried desensitizing him to the whip, instead of just bringing it out, letting him see it, flip out, and taking it away?
Yes, I've tried desensitizing him to it. His last trainer tried, too. He just doesn't get over his fear of it. We have both a lunge whip and a riding crop, and he's sometimes OK with the crop being near him, but as soon as it touches him -- even just a brush -- he throws a fit, and there's not a lot I can do from the ground but let him run it out.
I'm not just letting him see it and taking it away because he pitches a fit. I've desensitized him to all sorts of other things, and quite honestly, he's never had quite the same severe reaction -- he's always been spooky, but the only thing that'll put him into a bolt is a whip touching him.
I'm told that, when we first got him, he wouldn't get in the trailer and the guys trying to load him ended up using that rope-behind-the-rump trick and a few whips. And he has some barely visible scarring on his hindquarters that look like whip lashings to me. My assumption has always been that he's afraid of whips because of that time.

In summary, I *won't* use a whip on him. He's been just fine with being tapped with the end of a lead, so I will try that.
    07-24-2009, 01:24 PM
That explains alot, then. The lead will work too, as long as you can coordinate your hands well enough! Good luck getting him to trot in hand. Sorry you can't get him over his fear of whips...that's really sad; I hate hearing stories like that! What some people do!!!

Another method you can try is having him longe on a small circle, then trot off with's harder to coordinate, but it can work, because the horse is already moving, and will likely move out atleast a few steps with you, which is all you need at first.

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