Teaching a Weanling to Lead - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By JCnGrace
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-27-2013, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Spokane, WA
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Teaching a Weanling to Lead

I have just purchased a 6 month old filly, she's a Fresian/Paint cross and she is beautiful and very sweet, but also quite stubborn. Thanks to some outside circumstances, she doesn't really know how to lead. She knows what a halter is, and she will back and move from side to side but for the life of me I can't get her to go forward unless tempted with grain.
I have never worked with a baby before, I've owned horses for 13 years and I know how to work and train with older horses, just not one this young. All the advice I can find is how to train a foal, less than a month old, and with mine being 6 months and substantially larger I'm at a loss on how to start.
Any ideas?
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-27-2013, 09:58 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Sometimes if they are extremely stubborn I will use the never-fail butt rope method. Just put a lead rope around their butt and use pressure from that as well as from the halter.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-27-2013, 10:35 PM
Green Broke
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I don't agree with the butt rope method... If they learn to lead from that, then once you take the butt rope away, they still need to learn how to lead from the halter.

If she wont walk forward at all, pull her off to the side until she takes a step, then reward her. NEVER use grain! Bribery never works, it only creates bratty horses.

Once she gets good at the side step, try adding some forward motion after that. Remember to always reward her for trying! Even if it was only one step.
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Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-27-2013, 10:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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I use a figure 8 butt rope method. It goes around the butt and gives encouragement but it also goes through the halter rings so as not to stress the neck. It usually only takes a few sessions with my "foal come along" to get them walk right beside me and I've never had one even notice when the butt part comes off. I'll try to rig up my colt and get you some pics for ideas.

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post #5 of 7 Old 10-27-2013, 11:26 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
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I always waited until mine were at least 6 months old before teaching them to lead. I'd start lessons by pulling them around in a 180 from each side (praise for responding to the pressure-no treats). Then to go forward I put steady pressure on the lead. The second I get any forward response, release and praise. This includes a slight shift in weight or even them stretching their head/neck forward the least little bit. The next step is keeping the pressure on until they take a step with one foot, release and praise. Ask for a little more each time. The key is patience and timing. Release needs to be immediate after a response so they understand exactly what they are being rewarded for. Since you're working with a youngster keep the lessons short and stress free. Always end the lesson on a good note. For me it has never taken more than a couple of these lessons for them to learn that pressure on the lead rope means to give in to whatever direction that pressure is leading them (forward, back, turn). Occasionally one will decide to be stubborn and then I'll use my body to keep the pressure up so that my arms don't wear out, which is having the rope taught and then leaning my hip into it (DO NOT wrap the rope all the way around your body)...gives me a little more leverage.

I do have a disclaimer...this method never worked on my mini's. I'll train a full sized horse to halter any day over trying to train a mini to lead. Good thing they're small because I would hate to come across a large horse with a mini attitude. LOL
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-27-2013, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Spokane, WA
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Thank you for the ideas! These are all very helpful, and I can't wait to start and try them out. I hope that just pressure alone will work with her. She is very sweet, just stubborn and I hope with a little time she'll be leading like a dream.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-29-2013, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
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The rope around the hindquarters works well, but you have to be able to flex them to. Horses, young ones especially, will lock up. Once their weight shifts to the front end, they brace there legs and you will not get them to move. Start her flexing, then let her step out of it to the side. The hindquarter rope can be used in assistance, but don't rely on it.

American by birth. Cowgirl by the grace of God. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
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leading , teaching a horse , weanling

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