Help! I have a horse issue...
So, this is more of a problem that I have (or the horse AND I, not really sure). For the last few jumping lessons that I have had, I have been riding a young mare named Flirt. She has lots of energy, and seems to like to spend it making the task of taking her OUT of the upper barn and INTO the lower barn difficult to me. (I swear that she and her friend Lola scheme about ways to make my life difficult at night). When I lead her out of the barn, she stops just before she goes through the door. She is reluctant to leave the barn, but when she gets outside she starts prancing and trotting around, and all of a sudden she will pull the lead-rope out of my hands (she is very strong) and dash back to her stall or across the parking lot. I know that these are both big issues, since she could easily get hurt going either way (especially the parking lot). I think it might have something to do with her not respecting me on the ground, because she is fine with the barn manager who usually has to help. I was just wondering if there are any ways that I could work past these issues with her (NOT training, just strategies because she is not my horse and I am only out at the barn one or two times a week). Are there any things that work well to help me with this? I was just recently bumped up to more challenging horses, so I am still a little unskilled with more excitable horses. I would be SOOO grateful if anyone had some advice. It seems like all of my threads are so long...
A very easy thing to do with a horse that does this is simply:
1. take the end of the lead, take some of the slack out (don't pull) and twirl it quickly at the hip (closest to you).
2. stop twirling the end of the lead once the horse crosses the back feet (disengages the hip) as this will stop her front feet, thus stopping forward movement (or any direction movement)
Point is, what you're doing is telling the horse that when she forgets about you (cause that's what she's doing when she's leaving the barn, she's not thinking about you at all, but about staying where she feels safe...with the other horses)....that you will redirect her movement....also, you're telling her to stop her movement by taking her balance away (the crossing of the back feet)
If you do this every time she starts to lose control of herself, you'll see a difference in her demeanor. She'll realize that you are directing her, you're in charge and she'll learn to calm down.
Once she stops and stands calm, stop all the pressure and then go forward as if nothing happened. Don't walk with a tight hold on the lead near the halter but with slack.
Repeat the disengaging of the hip as many times as necessary.
This is exactly what I do with all horses that act like you've described this horse to act and not once has it not worked. Also, don't put any excitement into it (no emotion, it's not punishment, you're simply redirecting her nervous energy)
You need to spend some quality time teaching this horse to lead properly. I have used a chain and let them reach the end of an immovable object (the chain). Most only try that once. The horse's should be at your shoulder and no farther ahead or behind. They stop when you stop and no other action is acceptable. I would like a quiet horse but have no problem with the odd prance step as long as their position stays where they are supposed to be. Their head remains out of my space also.
I carry a whip that will go in front of the horse when I am training them to lead and behind my back to tap their flank when they start to drag their feet (staying behind). I have found this method works well and have shown on the line with no problems even among the stallion classes.
Something that helps with control when you're leading with a halter is threading a chain lead rope through the halter so it goes over the nose and clips onto the opposite side to get more leverage when you need it. I don't know if that's safe to do with a bridle though... anyone know?
Oh yeah, I've had that happen before. Sounds like you need more respect on the ground. I'd disengage that horses hip and make her respect you before leading her around. Remember if she starts snorting or getting excited, just ignore it and keep walking. And if she tries to take off, pull her nose in and disengage her hip like Calamity Jane said, and back her up. Make her listen to you and more importantly, respect you. Hope this helped!
Thank you everybody! This all really helps. I am going to the barn this Saturday, so I will try all of your suggestions. Equestriaan- she actually has one of the chain lead ropes that is put through the halter, and it does usually help a bit. Thanks again for all of the ideas!
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