Horse grazing while on Lead problem

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Horse grazing while on Lead problem

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  • How to lead a horse that wants to graze
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    12-23-2012, 06:04 PM
Horse grazing while on Lead problem

My horse has this bad habit of lowering his head whenever we're leading. When the head is down, I'm at a loss as to what to do to get his head up instead of pulling on the lead. I've seen a training video of Warwick S. That said to not pull their head up but to let the horse willingly have his head up, but he doesn't continue on what to do when the head is down (it's a half good video...)

I've started just carrying a short whip with me while leading and using that each time he eats to get his head up, it works but I have to pop him a few times and I'm wondering if there is a better way?
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    12-23-2012, 06:47 PM
I've said this answer many times.....not many people like it, as they think I'm telling the poster to 'boot' the horse in the chin with the toe of their boot.....I'm not.

When he drops his head, and your at his shoulder (where you should be to have this work) IMMEDIATELY give his chin a tap with the toe of your boot....this is the easiest, most straight forward way to deal with this issue. Your foot is right there on the ground by his nose.......he will soon learn that if his nose goes down without permission....that your boot soon says 'hello!'.......

The horses nose/chin is their most sensitive/vulnerable body part.....he will soon move it up when he realizes he has it in a place that's going to open it to discomfort.
Tianimalz, Palomine and Foxhunter like this.
    12-23-2012, 06:49 PM
Muppet, I've been told the same thing, but it doesn't really work unless you get kind of aggressive with your foot, not hurting, but aggressive...
    12-23-2012, 06:51 PM
I agree with giving a small foot tap to their muzzle.
I also (with the really bad ones) pull their head up and yank hard one or two times. It's always worked for me, and no you're not going to hurt the horse. They're a thousand pound animal, a hard yank on their nose will do nothing to hurt them permanently. It should stun them and they decide "if I eat I get yanked..." Therefore they decide not to do it.
    12-23-2012, 06:51 PM
Sorry, double post.
    12-23-2012, 06:56 PM
I would rather have to give a few rude whacks with my boot than deal with a horse that does the nose dive into the first patch of grass. If you don't want to boot them in the chin, get the stud chain and give them a good tug when the nose touches the ground.
I do not allow my mare to eat grass with the halter because she is so rude. She also knows my verbal warning of "Head up" and knows she is not allowed. I don't feel bad because she is pastured 24/7.
    12-23-2012, 07:02 PM
Green Broke
Agreed. Toe Tap the muzzle.

Some horses are more disrespectful than others and do need a little harder tap, with a simultaneous "NAH!!" <--- I have one that used to be like that --- the tallest one at 16.1H & has been with me 16 years.

I am only 5'2", I do not have strength or time to monkey-fuss around with his sometimes-bullying-pig-headed-self. It took him a lot longer than the others to figure out the Toe-tapping to the chin would stop if he stopped trying to yank the lead away from me so he could eat. Nasty person that I am, sometimes would give him the "proverbial inch to take a mile" just to see if he'd take advantage

Disciplining horses is the same as disciplining children --- some do great with just a few words - others need a hard trip to the woodshed, words, and grounded for awhile
Palomine likes this.
    12-23-2012, 07:08 PM
Super Moderator
More effective than trying to fight the consequences (lowering the head and grazing) if fighting the causes (loss of attention and impulsion of movement). So, instead of trying to lift his head or stop him graze, use your body language and, if needed, your crop to make him continue moving. Also, when leading him, check his body language for any signs that he's already looking for a patch to graze and remind him, if needed, to continue moving. Don't pull or push, it will only cause more resistance. Imagine - if a horse higher in herd hierarchy is grazing and a youngster runs up to him, trying to nip and pull at his face, the horse won't be bothered or will just push the youngster aside to continue grazing. On the other hand, when a more leading horse approaches, the grazing horse will move away and start moving just from the gaze of the leading horse! The leader is the one who can make others move more. Besides, trying to get a horse away from grazing...can just focus their attention on grazing, whereas making them move gives them a new focus - to follow the leader.

Having separate sessions on groundwork may also help as it will establish your leadership, if done correctly. I've dealt with numerous horses that have this habit, including my own, and none of them try to pull this trick off on me anymore.
Tianimalz, themacpack and Kliment like this.
    12-23-2012, 07:28 PM
What everyone else said and put more effort into stopping him from getting his head down. If you need to use a stud chain and give him a yank, then do so.
    12-24-2012, 12:24 AM
When I lead my horses if they put their heads down to eat while I am walking I will give a yank to get their attention....if they are looking for something to eat they aren't paying attention to you. Mine know if I stop and face them then they can eat but not if I am walking they are expected to follow...

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