How do I teach my Horse....
Not to panick when he steps on his leadshank?
He is a 16yr OTT who was a school horse before I got him. But he has a few things that he did not get trained well at and this is one of them. Now don't think I just let him walk around with his lead on hanging on the ground, cuz I don't, but it has happened twice now in 2 years and I would like to teach him to be calm if he steps on his lead. When it happens he yanks his head up really hard and once broke the breakaway part of the halter. I think him learning to be calm would be a great lesson for him to know incase of any other emergency.
Any advice would be great.
The way I've done this is to supervise the horse and let it graze/walk around with the lead rope dragging. The horse soon learns to calmly take its hoof off the rope whenever he steps on it. He might panick a bit when he finds he is stuck but he'll settle down as he gets more and more used to it. Use a strong halter so it can't break - if it breaks it will teach him that pulling really hard is how he can get release. However, this should only be done while the horse is under your direct supervision otherwise he could get hurt. Especially if he decides to go for a canter with a lead dragging - not good!
I agree with sempre. I have left on a stiff lead. It was actually part of an old lariet. Its stiff enough that it doesn't get wrapped around the horse's legs. I do supervise them and make sure they are in a clear pen. We have about an acre that is horse safe. The horse will eventually get used to having its head "taken away". Good Luck.
I would begin by teaching your horse to submit to pressure. You can start off by gently pulling down on his halter with the rope. He might try to fight against it and raise his head higher, but eventually will drop his head. Even if it's just barely enough release the tension for a second, immediately release the pressure and give him a pat. Timing is essential! Or another way to get the same effect is to use your fingers instead of the halter. One hand will be across the bridge of his nose and one hand will be behind his ears. Same thing, gently apply pressure until he drops his head down a little. Do it a couple of times a day and he'll realize the best way to get rid of pressure is to give in to it (which is basically what you want them to learn when riding) Get him to where you can just gently pull his head down however low you want it to be. Doing this with a rope halter is the easiest I think because they have knots that affect their pressure points and the thinner width of the rope is much harder to ignore then the thick soft nylon in a typical halter. Also there's no hardwear to break. Then when he pulls against himself he should realize (hopefully, if he's not the panicky type) that the best way to get out of that situation is to drop his head down.
I really appreciate the advice but the smallest space I have is an indoor arena. Do you think that would be a good place as long as nothing is in there but me and him?
Thanks uonover, and Dumas' Grrrl
Also Upnover your idea is great but he does lower his head for me when I put pressure on the bridle path area and give him the command"down" because I have to trim that area often so he has been doing that since I got him. It is just when he has a lead on him that he panicks. lol TB's.
Thanks so much guys I will definatly work with him on the pressure and release more with the lead on.
Yeah, I think an indoor arena would be fine. In fact, if you can, I'd leave him in the arena with the lead on all day. I'd maybe feed in there with a few small piles of hay and let him step all over his lead. Its just a desenseitizing exercise. If you use a stiff lead there is less likely hood that he will be able to get it wrapped around his legs. Thus, he won't get a rope burn or risk tangeling his front legs up and falling. The stiff rope won't wrap around posts or anything like that either.
A friend of mine will do this when he is starting new colts. He will leave 4-5 all together in a round pen with a water tub and feed tub. The babies step all over each other's leads and they just end up learning not to panic. I'd check on him at least 6-7 times a day. Then put him up for the night. It may take 1 day, it may take 4-5.
Good Luck!!! :D
Getting him to learn to accept pressure is a major deal.
I'd work on that first and for most.
Leave his halter & lead on in his stall and let it drag around for a few days...
I wish more breeders would do this when they are babies. We've only had 3 little ones but we learned early to let them drag a lead rope around for a week or so in a controlled area. We bought the really cheap ones because when your done they are trashed. We let the baby's step on it, their mom step on it etc. Just general getting themselves into a bind and letting them figure out how to get out of it.
That is the best as far as I know on getting them over that freak out when they step on the lead. It also helps eliminate pull back problems before they ever start. Good luck and just let your horse freak and figure it out.
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