Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
I just quickly read the thread, not in detail so if someone has mentioned this sorry.
What I like to do is, right from the start this join up stuff I guess, though I have never called it that, don’t really think about it in the kinds of terms discussed either. But Ill relate generally how I go through it.
1) Don’t use a round yard, one with corners is better. Go in the yard and see what the horse does, if it is reasonably comfortable with you you can start. If its climbing out of the yard, cool it and just let it relax with you in the yard with it.
2) If the horse is reasonably calm, use a whip or something, (I use a stick, like a coach whip with the lash cut down with a plastic bag, or a stock whip, or a bit of Polly pipe with a feed bag stuck to it. depending on the situation) get the horse moving, and see if it will bury its head in a corner looking for a way out, that way they HAVE to come round to you to get out.
3) At first, as soon as the horse gives any face to you back off and ignore it. Just let it do whatever it wants for a while.
4) Once its reasonably relaxed, repeat process. As soon as that horse turns to you even a little, even if it’s an accident, back off.
5) As this happens the horse, provided it isn’t a moron (some are) will begin to see a correlation between it coming in your direction and you backing off. And it will start to actively pay attention to you, even if for a second (the smart ones do this real fast, you have to be observant enough to catch it).
6) Once you have it putting an ear and or an eye to you consistently then you can ask for more, like a turn of the face, then eventually a movement of a foot, eventually it will follow you around.
That’s the fairly standard way. The problem is some horses are really pretty smart and figure out what you are doing and will get stubborn, that’s when you have to get innovative. You can use a bit more pressure to get them moving, like a stock whip, rather than a stick with a bag, and that doesn’t necessarily mean hitting them with the thing. But my recommendations, from what you wrote, would be see how sensitive you are to the horse giving you what you want, and perhaps try a square yard, about 5 or 6 meters squared is a good size. That’s roughly what I do anyway, I always start out with a fairly standard approach (like above) and tailor it depending on what the horse is doing.