Originally Posted by grayspeckledgoose View Post
He is completely mindful and respectful of me in the round pen. He follows me around wherever I go, with a low head. When I stop, he stops. When I move, he moves. When I free lunge him, he concentrates on me (for the most part.....and when his mind wanders off, I get after him and get him going in the right direction again). He halts when I want him to, and will turn and look at me, then walk to me with a low head and licking. So it would seem as though I have established myself as leader with him. But, when he's out in the pasture, he's like a different horse, so to speak. He lifts his head from grazing when he sees me coming, but then goes back to eating. I can walk up to him, and he'll lift his head for a head pet/scratch, but quickly goes back to grazing. Sometimes, after a head scratch, he'll go back to eating for a few seconds then walk away.
Just seems like he could care less that I am there. When I bought him, his owner told me he's got loads of personality and likes humans more than other horses...but I am not really seeing that (yet). He acted differently at his old place...was more curious about humans, would meet you at the gate, etc. Of course, at his old place, the horses only had around an acre to graze on. It was pretty much a dry lot. Now, he's got 25 - 30 acres, and six new friends (as opposed to three). He is kind of a loner horse...doesn't "hang with the group" much. He's got one gelding that he seems to be buddies with, but he's always on the fringes of the group, grazing on his own.
I keep thinking things will congeal with time....
(he's only been here for 9 days)
It sounds like you've got the idea about the "join up" stuff, but I don't think you have established a clear CUE to let your horse know:
"When I do this, your place is to do this..."
So, when you go to the pasture, the follow you around stuff falls apart. And you're just not as interesting as grass.
I would put a halter and lead on him and start there. Reason being, these tools give you a back up cue. (I don't use a round pen anymore, just a halter and lead)
so, for example:
I ask the horse to move the hip away and end up facing me with two eyes. I look at the hip and cluck to it and raise the end of the lead and twirl it and tap the horse on the hip with a light tap that gradually increases, not to punish but to make the horse uncomfortable for ignoring the cue. Soon as the hip moves away and the back feet cross, the front end of the horse (the head and eyes) will come in toward me. when that happens and the horse ends up looking right at me with 2 eyes, I leave him alone and rub his face maybe. Let him think about what just happened then repeat the whole thing.
I want to repeat it til the horse hears the cluck and immediately moves the hip away and brings 2 eyes to face me. Then I can eventually phase out the end of the line twirling and just use the sound to tell the horse "I'm telling you to stop what you're doing. To move your hind end away. To bring your eyes to me. I move your feet and I am asking for your attention. If you don't give me your attention, you'll be uncomfortable with more pressure added, til you do."
This simple move will allow you to go up to your horse and cluck to him and he'll raise his head out of the grass and move his hind end away from you and bring 2 eyes toward you. And from there you can add him following you around (hint: just take this same move and spiral out from the horse's side til eventually you can get him to turn and face you and take a step toward you from a distance).
Every time he thinks about leaving or ignoring you, you cluck and look at the hip (act like you've got the line to twirl) and he'll remember the lesson (if you've done it enough times)
This is how I teach horses to follow me in the pasture. It does take a LOT of repetitions and at the same time, I'm working on getting more softness out of the horse (the more hip control you've got the better) and on my stopping and steering for when I ride.
Anyhow, I think if you simply establish some actual cues, you'll find that your horse will be more than willing to follow you.