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How to get a horse to walk behind you?

This is a discussion on How to get a horse to walk behind you? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horse walking behind me too close
  • Horse walks too close when leading

 
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    06-17-2011, 10:59 AM
  #11
Yearling
I think it all depends on the horse, and his trust. My horse used to be with his head just past my shoulder. I hated it. We worked on it for a while. If he stepped too far in front, id make him circle around me. When he was doing much better and just needed a reminder, id swing the lead in a circle in front of his chest so he knew his boundary. Now that we have a much closer bond, he walks a few steps behind me. I think its more of a comfort thing for him. Before his mind was "Where are we going? What are we doing? Whats going on?" now he's more in the state of mind of "ok, moms comin' to get meh." as he moseys along. But I keep his awareness and ground manners sharp. If I stop, he stops, if I turn toward his hind end, he moves it away. If I run, he trots. It doesnt sound as if he's dragging you along, I would leave it.
     
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    06-17-2011, 11:19 AM
  #12
Trained
I agree with iride, it isn't your horse, and seeing as he isn't actually doing anything wrong there isn't much you can do.

That said, I like my horse's ear to be at my shoulder. I can easily get out of the way, and I can see any problems before/as they come up, as mls said.
     
    06-17-2011, 12:18 PM
  #13
Showing
My concern with a horse that isn't walking as my parnter is zoning out. When alongside he is paying more attention to his surroundings. Less likely to spook. Further back isn't natural for him and a horse will often zone out. If something should suddenly cause him concern he's liable to react in an explosive manner.
     
    06-17-2011, 12:59 PM
  #14
Showing
I agree with iride & ricci.

I teach all of mine to lead with my shoulder at their throat latch. Really simple reasoning behind it for me, in a halter or showmanship class the judge should see your horse with you & have a view of their head.
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    06-17-2011, 03:09 PM
  #15
Weanling
Hi all, thanks for some good advice. I completely agree - it's not my horse, but the owner and I were talking about this and she was wanting to work on it, so I figured I'd solicit some opinions here. Definitely don't want him feet behind, but I think he's been trained to walk shoulder even, so yes, his head and neck are always ahead. I guess it's probably not a respect thing, just a training thing. Thanks for the advice!
     
    06-17-2011, 09:30 PM
  #16
Showing
Most horses actually want to walk with the handler by their jaw. It is not disrespectful.
     
    06-17-2011, 09:42 PM
  #17
Green Broke
Interesting one. Having spent the majority of my horse life handling racehorses, I can tell you that they always walk beside me, never behind. I walk just in front of/at their shoulder and keep them on a relatively loose line, just dangling from their headstall to my hand but that slack can be taken up mighty quick if need be.

Simple reasoning being that regardless of which way they jump, strike, buck or rear (all possibilities with TB's when they are at the track) you have more control at their side, more warning that they are about to do something funky and you can see what they are plotting quicker.

Those suckers move QUICK when they want to be goofy, obviously you can't compare racehorses to all horses as it is a different kettle of fish.

As for training a horse to walk behind you, I am of no help - sorry! Why does the owner want the horse to lead in this manner? Just asking out of curiosity; to each his own
     
    06-18-2011, 01:41 AM
  #18
Super Moderator
I don't like leading a horse if it's head passes my body. I feel that the horse is then leading, not following. I may be holding it's line, and I may be able to haul on it if he spooks but am not leading it anymore. I am just going along with it.

I want the horse to stand back of me, with it's head completely behind me (of course, off the the side.) If he needs to spook, he will do this and move forward and not trample me. I walk with one eye kind of cocked over my shoulder to keep a light eye on him. It is his responsibility to keep slack in the line and space between us. If he approaches too close, I will fling the line back at him, or just raise the leadlind holding hand and kind of "shake" it a bit to remeind him to back off. I test by walking slow then fast, then stop, then back up. From time to time to see if he is paying attention.
     
    06-18-2011, 01:40 PM
  #19
Weanling
I never understood the walking behind. My gelding sometimes walks a get steps behind like when we do everyday routine from stall to crossties. But anytime we go somewhere new or towards the yard to graze :) he walks beside me. It's not disrespectful he's just paying attention and interested. If I stop walking he stops right along side me.
A little bit ago a horse I used to work was sold to a woman who although had been around horses all her life was very very green about them. The mare a 12 year old TB who had never been phased by anything was trotting on top of her walking past a yellow Jeep when I walked her she was fine when she was walking along side me but then her owner said no I want her walking like this and had to stiffen her arm backwards to keep the mare behinds her and was fighting her the whole time. She was afraid and it was night time there were no other horses around her. She wanted that security of being right next to someone. That's my logic at least. I don't mind a horse walking next to me. I prefer it. Especially in unknown areas where I can get a short lead easily.
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    06-19-2011, 02:34 PM
  #20
Trained
His shoulder should be at your shoulder. Unless he's invading your space shoulder to shoulder, he's being a good boy.
     

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