Leading trouble - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-09-2010, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Leading trouble


So, I'm helping out a local family by training the four horses in their backyard. I've had great luck with their placid gelding, dog-like mini and even a rescued Appy mare. The fourth is the Appy's baby.

Molasses is a year old and sweet as can be. So far things are going well, but I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on the one thing I'm getting stuck on. The family hasn't done much work with Molasses, but she is a good little one. I can pick all her feet up, take her halter on and off, touch her anywhere on her body, but she has an issue with leading.

I presume she just doesn't understand what it means. I have complete control over her hindquarters, I have work with following me in circles, trying to change direction if she tries to stop, but it's the straight thing she won't do. Even the slightest bit of tension and she plants her feet.

I do work with her in their field, where all of the other horses are. The mini has actually helped because I have been giving up some leadrope and then giving tiny tugs and trying to get her to walk to me. the mini likes attention so much that he comes to me and she walks over so she won't be alone. I can put the other horses away though if anyone thinks that will help.

Sorry this was long. Thanks for reading.
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-09-2010, 10:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
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A couple of things you can try:
1. make her move her front feet sideways and then go forwards. You may not end up being exactly straight, but once she is in motion it will be easier to guide her to a straight line. Maybe you'll have to do some zig-zags for a bit.
2. Use a soft butt rope as additional encouragement. I have never tried this as I have never worked with very young horses, but many people have done this with their weanlings/yearlings. Since she already seems to respond to pressure, this may be helpful.

Remember, of course, to release the pressure on the lead and/or the butt rope as soon as she moves. Even if it's not exactly in the right direction, as long as it's not backwards!
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-09-2010, 10:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
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I started working with the BO's 7 month old miniature donkey on leading today. He just started wearing the halter on Monday. It started out with 3 peppermints in my pocket. I gave him one right after i snapped the lead on his halter. Another one after we had circled the riding ring twice and changed direction. I didn't give him the third until we had walked out of the riding ring and on a small trail. He finally got it half-way back to the barn. Treats can be a wonderful incentive.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-09-2010, 10:43 PM
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Location: USDF Region 1, USEA Area 2, USEF Zone 3 - Maryland
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She may be too big for a butt rope at a year...

For leading you need to encourage from behind. You try to pull and she plants, so you need to push. Have a ground person (someone who also knows about horses) who can use a whip correctly. You're not going to hit her, just encourage... maybe a tap at first so she gets the idea. Or, if you're coordinated enough you can carry the whip and lead her at the same time.

Just be ready for her to over-react. But that's fine, she's moving forward, which is what you want. You can refine it after she has the basic concept down.

Good luck!

Mom to 3 bays: Beau, Daisy & Cavalina
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-10-2010, 11:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Butt ropes are not usually a good idea, because you have to pull from in front and face them. and treats is a very very bad idea as a incintive, the horse will then expect to get treats all the time and when she dosent she will become sour or even violent! I train young horses for a living and i always begin in a small area if possibel like a stall or round yard if this is not possible atleast start in the corner of the field, then facing the horse stand slightly off center to the horse and put on pressure on the lead rope until the horse moves, it dosent matter if it only moves one hoof a inch thats still progress continue doing this switching side to side until the horse moves with only light pressure, then get the horses right side next to a fence and stand on her left side with a long dressage whip and tap her on the bum with the whip to make her go forward if she jumps forward to far just shank her and bring her back to position and start again walk up and down the fence stopping every few metres until she is comfortable being led in the open and remember if something isn't working your probly moving to fast just slow donwn and go back to the previous step, and dont forget to say "WHOA" in a firm commanding voice every time you stop her. and you will have a excellant leading horse.
Jewls17 is offline  

appy , baby , leading , one year old

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