I love pat parelli's methods. Right now i have a yearling. so i am working only on the ground. so Pat Parelli's seven games work GREAT!
a carrot stick is a fabulous tool! =] its pretty much just a big stick that you use to point and direct and guide, not to hit your horse with.
here are my descriptions of the seven games for you to try with your horse sometime, kind of like a tester to see if you like it or not.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF HORSEMANSHIP
1.] The Friendly Game
Start with touching him everywhere. if he doesn't accept a spot that you touch,
don't force him to accept it, instead go back to a safety zone that he doesn't mind
if you touch. After touching him everywhere you can start on touching him with other
things such as plastic bags and ropes and other things that he might find scary.
Also play the friendly game when saddeling him the first few times. The friendly
game teaches a horse that you and whatever object you are using is HIS FRIEND.
2.] The Porcupine Game
[START WITH YOUR HANDS NOT A CARROT STICK!!!] This teaches the horse to yeild
to pressure. this prepares him to work off the bit and your legs and a whip. First TOUCH
him with the carrot stick, if he doesn't move increase pressure until he does move. When
he moves INSTANTLY release. This game needs to be played on ANY place you can
touch on the horse. the nose the cheek the legs, everywhere. when he yeilds to the
pressure [even in the slightest bit] reward him with the friendly game.
[REMEMBER TO "ERASE" WHERE YOU USED PRESSURE.]
3.] The Driving Game
This teaches the horse to move to implied pressure. Where you suggest the horse moves
and he moves without having to touch him. Four fases are used in the driving game, 1 is
tapping the air, phase 2 is light tapping with fingertips on the horse, phase 3 is medium
and insistent tapping with the fingers, phase 4 is slapping with flat hands. AS SOON as
he responds, reward him. LIKE THE PORCUPINE GAME BUT WITHOUT TOUCHING.
4.] The Yo-Yo Game
Send the horse backwards and forwards away from you in a straight line using your lead
rope. Use 4 phases to move your horse: Start phase 1 by just wiggling your index finger
at the horse. Phase 2, wiggle your wrist so it affects the rope only slightly. Phase 3, bend
at the elbow and shake the rope using your lower arm. Phase 4, straighten your elbow and
shake your whole arm and watch how much more the rope moves. Only escalate the phases
until you get a response. The instant your horse moves backwards, stop! This will let him know
he's done the right thing. It is also important to keep both your horse's eyes on you. As soon
as the horse turns one eye away from you by turning his head, you will lose the back up and
the straightness! Pay attention to the details and make corrections before he gets off course.
You can play the Yo-Yo slowly at first, on flat ground. As the response improves, get more
provocative and play it on uneven ground, at a faster pace, over a pole or log, or on a longer rope.
This is how you teach a horse to respect your space when leading, to develop suspension and
self-carriage, improve his stop, develop a slide stop and teach him to come to you.
5.] The Circling Game
Keys to Circling Game: Three parts - Send, Allow and Bring Back; four phases;
allowing the horse to learn his responsibilities.
There are three parts to the Circling Game - the send, the allow and the bring back. All of
it needs to be done without moving your feet. To send the horse, "lead" his nose in the
direction you want. If the horse does not follow the rope, lift the tail of your rope and swing
it toward his neck. Once he is traveling around you, smile and pass the rope behind your
back, giving the horse the opportunity to take responsibility for maintaining gait and direction
on the circle. This is "the allow" part. Do a minimum of two laps and a maximum of four. If
you have to continuously ask your horse to keep going, he is winning the game. Trust the
horse to do the right thing. If he stops, turn and face him with a concentrated look, redirect
his nose onto the circle and start again. When he goes, smile! To bring your horse back to
you, turn and face him for Phase 1. Phase 2, start reeling the rope in until you have enough
tail in the rope to lift it. Phase 3, swing the rope towards his hindquarters. Phase 4, touch the
hindquarters until he has swung them away and faced you. Again, stop and smile at any
moment the horse makes the right response. Bring the horse all the way in to you and rub
him. Disengagement of the hindquarters (swinging them away from you) is very important.
It is how you teach a horse to be easily controlled - mentally, emotionally and physically.
6.] The Sideways Game
zone 1 (the nose) and zone 4 (the hindquarters). You need to play the Driving Game in
repetitions of zone 1 then zone 4. Send zone 1, then zone 4, then 1, then 4, etc. until
the horse straightens out and moves laterally sideways. Allow a loose rope and a little
distance for the horse to get moving but not so much distance that he could turn away
and kick you. Sideways is important for developing suspension, lead changes, spins
and to balance out "forwardaholics". Start slow and right; use a fence or rail to help
prevent forward movement while the horse is learning.
7.] The Squeeze Game
Keys to Squeeze Game: walk backwards, start with a large space and move
in small increments to smaller spaces, use four phases, play it with practical objects
like trailers and jumps.Ask your horse to go through the space while you stand still.
In the beginning, it may help if you walk backwards and parallel to the fence to help
your horse squeeze through. The reason walking backward works well is because it
helps draw the horse toward you. For phase 1, direct your horse's nose into the gap.
Phase 2, lift the tail of the rope. Phase 3, swing the rope a few revolutions. Phase 4,
touch the horse behind the withers once. Then stop and begin again until the horse
tries to move forward into the gap. As soon as he does, release the pressure, relax
and smile. Pretty soon your horse will make it all the way through. Stand still and
allow the rope to slide through your hand as he passes by you so he feels total release.
You want to avoid him feeling a jerk backwards on the rope. As your horse gets more
confident, make the space smaller and smaller until it is just three feet wide, like the
stall of a horse trailer. You can use the principle of the Squeeze Game to teach the
horse to jump, or to go into trailers, wash bays, starting gates or roping boxes.
Getting less claustrophobic also helps a horse to accept the cinch.
The next challenge is to get all Seven Games equally good!
You can tell a gelding, you can ask a mare, but you must discuss it with a stallion.