Horse grazing while on Lead problem - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 12-23-2012, 11:51 PM
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I don't like stud chains and would never use one unless it is the last resort. I teach our horses that I decide when they can eat. Usually they follow the rule but they will test it if given the chance.

I wouldn't even try to start a pulling match trying to get their head up. I've never tried booting them in the muzzle. There are times that I lead 2 or 3 at a time and I can't be near each muzzle at the same time.

Just like any other training, as little pressure as possible but as much as necessary. I start with contact or pressure on the halter. Next I would give a bump/jerk on the lead rope. Finally, I would make their butt move. It's not easy to keep grabbing grass when their feet are moving. Next time I would repeat, contact, bump, move. They learn things quickly and learn to lift the head when they feel the contact.
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post #12 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 12:31 AM
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Yep. YOu can use the toe in the chin if you want, but that only works when you are right next to them.
I lead my horses off of me a bit, and when I go through a gate or somehting, while I am chaining it closed again, they must stand and wait. They sometimes get to thinking that the grass looks good. I watch 'em out of the corner of my eye, and if I see them even THINKING about the grass, I interrrupt that pronto. I can use as little as a verbal hiss or an "ah! ah!", or, I can use the lead line and by swinging it back and forth I send energy down the line until it bops up agains their jaw. I dont' stop until they lift their head. Once you've done that a few times, and use a verbal scolding sound, then you dont' have to use more than the scolding sound.

However, I encourage you to look at it as something that you must be 100% clear on. So, no hand grazing with the horse on the lead line and you holding it. You cant have it ok sometimes and not ok others. When the horse is on the leadline in my hand, there is NO grazing. If I must let him eat, then I drop the lead line on the ground.

that's how I do it. It's just one way that works, not THE way.
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post #13 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
When the horse is on the leadline in my hand, there is NO grazing. If I must let him eat, then I drop the lead line on the ground.

that's how I do it. It's just one way that works, not THE way.
This a dropped lead and an OK mean the head can drop. I've used the boot to the chin when I was close enough but just keeping them moving and focused is generally enough.
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post #14 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 01:12 PM
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To me, this is a hole in training where you have to step back and address it. It's not a hard task, but you do need to be consistent and insistent. When leading the horse, it should be at your shoulder. This way he can't cut you off or lag behind, unless you allow it. You can start with a driving whip...the crop is too short and a lunge whip may be too long....but you can decide what is most comfortable for you to get coordinated. With the horse walking at the shoulder and he decides to stop, for whatever reason, you give a tug on the lead rope, then cluck if that pressure doesn't work, then use the whip to tap his butt if that doesn't work...all the while facing forward. I use the whip to represent what Mamma horse would do with her tail. You will have to be sure that you horse knows that cue with the whip as well beforehand. You should be able to use the whip cue less and just go lighter with the tug of the lead rope/cluck cue. After you put the whip away, because he is doing better and you find he does it once in a while, remind him with the end of the lead rope...same concept. I hold the lead rope about a foot from the snap in my right hand and the left carries the slack, in a fashion that would allow me to be coordinated enough to swing it behind me to reach his butt, if needed. It didn't take my mare long to learn this way. Then, you can add to the training, by allowing him to actually graze while you have him on a lead rope, but then testing him to make sure when you say 'enough is enough' to follow along with you.
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post #15 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 01:34 PM
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I use a riding crop with the butt end down. Every time they go to put their headd down I say head up and I have the crop under them and they kind of bump into my butt instead of whacking them . It takes me about 5 minutes or less and then it isn't a problem. I do this on a loose lead in lush green grass. Getting the timing down is important.
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 05:11 PM
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When this happens I'll first tell the horse "head up" and if ignored it is immediately followed by a good tap on the hip. After 3 or 4 times the horse will lift it's head on command. You need to teach it when it is ok to graze and only when you bend forward a bit and tell him "head down". This teaches him that you are in command, not him. In the herd if a horse wanted to move him it would bite his rump, which motivates the horse to move forward.
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post #17 of 21 Old 01-13-2013, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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The boot in the chin doesn't even work that great. I just carry my whip around whenever leading but I have to always whip him over and over to get his head up willingly. But at least it works, but you definitely have to do a few good whacks each time for him to understand it and each day. Finally, he'll get it and you won't have to whip him that long, but I need to remember to bring the crop each time I get him though. He is really one of those bull-headed ones...
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post #18 of 21 Old 01-13-2013, 12:50 PM
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I was teaching a very small 8 year old girl to ride. She had a 12 h. pony that was a little dvil when she went to mount her. Pony would put her head down pulling the reins through her hands and eat. When she got her foot in the stirrup the pony would either charge off or swerve into her making her fall.
I told the child that when the pony put its head down to not pull on the reins but to kick her under her chin. Not like kicking a soccer ball but hard enough that it hurt the little devil.
Child did it once and that was it. It also transcended to when she was being led out , no more problems.
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post #19 of 21 Old 01-13-2013, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Saranda View Post
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.


you need to watch the horse more carefully and interrupt his thinking about grazing before he has actually carried out that thought.

Also, if he ignores you and puts his head down, pop him on the butt (when you are off to the side and out of kicking range) . He is ignoring you so you move him on and to do that, you pop him on the butt.

You need to make a big enough impression that when leading him he keeps you in one of his eyes (better yet, both eyes_) at all times, since he needs to know where you are and what you doing. He would do that to the lead horse, I assure you.
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post #20 of 21 Old 01-14-2013, 10:51 PM
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Before he gets his head down, get his head up. Once he's got it all the way down it is very hard to pull him away, but at the first sign of him going down to graze give the headcollar a good yank up, and use the word "UP!". Brock was the same when I got him, now I just have to say "up" quietly but firmly with no pressure on the headcollar and he immediately puts his head back up and listens to me. Horses grazing while you're trying to lead them is a subtle form of resistance and subordination - he should do what you want him to do until you tell him it's OK to go play. It's really important to have clearly defined "work" periods, he shouldn't go off and do his own thing (graze, chat with his buddies, stand still, go off for a trot) while he's with you, unless with your express permission.
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