I want to get into halter showing with my horses? I was wondering how I can teach my horse to stand square. I mean sometimes three feet are where they should be and when I go to tell him to put the 4th foot in the right spot he moves the rest of them>:( lol.. Any ideas? Also, On how to get my horse to pick up his lead with out me having to pull on his halter for so long:) thanks
Oy.. this is tough to explain.. Especially over the internet, but I'll try...
This is how I was taught to teach a horse to stand square. I'm sure there are easier ways to do it, but this is how I did it:
First things first, make sure your horse can stand still really well.. It'll be really frustrating to teach a restless horse how to stand square (trust me, I know from experience on that one.. LOL!)
Basically, you're going to teach your horse that when you pull up on the lead rope (like literally UP, toward the sky) he will move his front feet, and when you pull down on the lead rope, he will move his back feet.
The way you go about training this takes TIME.
Start by using your show halter (usually with a lead chain, not to be harsh to the horse, but to get more response from less pressure you use)...
Pull the lead rope up/down and once your horse moves the correct feet, praise him.
Say you pull upwards on the lead rope and the horse moves its front foot, then you praise him by releasing the pressure. Do the same on the back feet. Pull downward on the lead rope and once the horse even slightly moves one of its back feet, then release the pressure. It DOES NOT happen overnight. I did this for 10-15 minutes every day for almost 2 weeks before Putts understood what I was asking.
Eventually you will be able to pull upwards or downwards on the lead rope and get your horse to move its feet until they're where you want them, but don't forget to release the pressure once they've taken a step, even if it's an incorrect step. Let them set their foot down and try again after you've released the pressure. It takes a couple tries usually for a horse to get it right, but the judges are patient, and the more you do it with your horse the fewer tries it takes to get the right step.
OMG that was wordy. Sorry that you have to read all that, but I did my best to get my point across as clearly as I could. :-|
Start by teaching the horse to stand still. Position yourself as if you were being judged, and start small. Maybe a minute to begin with.
Next, teach the horse to make small movements when you're setting up. This just takes a lot of practice. Don't ask for perfection every time, and certainly not at the beginning. Set small, reachable goals.
And if you work in your show gear, you will have a finer degree of control and your horse will know wjat to expect.
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Thanks guys! I am going to be getting a trainer just to tighten up and refresh bought me and sunny as well as camo.. Just so That they have a realllylllylylyly good foundation on them..
When standing square you want to set the back hooves up first then the front!
Making sure they're not too far apart or too close together.
I would recommend squaring them up in random places (beach, forest, paddocks, arena.. busy areas etc) to get them used to it in any situation.
My boy is halted trained, I apply pressure on his lead in certain directions and he'll place each hoof i've asked, I also use commands ('set' is ours) and he'll do it automatically.
It can take time teaching them, especially if they're fidgets!
This is how I teach it.
Line their back feet up first, and don't let them get away with it being an inch off because then thats what you are teaching them. Stare at the foot you are trying to move and keep going back and forth until its lined up perfect. Once it is say "Set" and praise. Then I take and use my hands to line up the front and say "set" and praise. Don't practice halter for more than 10-15 minutes at one time. After a few times they will catch on. Then start practicing by the moment you are asking them to stop say "set". A lot of my horses may not stop well but if I say "set" the just automatically move their feet or if I am just about ready to move a foot they will move them on their own.
My mare I showed last year would not walk next to you. It wasn't going to happen. Eventually what I had to do was take a dressage whip. I stood like I was suppost to, and I would ask her walk on. If she didn't I would tap her with the whip. If she then still didn't walk forwards I would turn towards her really quick and push her away or I would spin her in circles. Just get their feet moving!
Jogging was even tougher to teach her! I tried every way people recommended to me, but nothing worked. I eventually had to when I asked her and she wouldn't I would turn towards her and smack her with the leather lead in the shoulder twice. After a few times she learned she better jog. She ended up taking 3rd at the fair against some very very prof. well trained horses.
This is my preference but I don't like using lead chains. I trained the horse above ^ Te Lady in just a plain leather halter and a leather halter and thats what I showed in. I see a lot of people when they are in a show, and their horse won't jog so their first instinct is to jerk forward on the lead. Well that actually backfires. Because that chain acts like a chin strap.
I would recommend teaching your horse to walk, jog, set up, and turn in a plain halter and lead. Then move up into your chain. When you practice in a plain halter just make sure it fits snugly.
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