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steedaunh32 06-16-2011 11:16 PM

How to get a horse to walk behind you?
There's a horse at the barn that I sometimes ride and although most of his ground manners are good (he's a mustang), he tends to want to walk right beside me instead of a few steps behind. He never pulls to the front, but I want to get him to respect my space and be a little bit more behind me, and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on how to do this...?

Sunny 06-17-2011 12:17 AM

I'm not sure why you want to change this. It sounds like he is doing what he should be doing; walking next to your shoulder.

Horses walking behind you are very dangerous. One spook and you're run over.
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mom2pride 06-17-2011 12:28 AM

Not necessarily Sunny...since horses tend to go sideways one way or the other, you are normally in less danger of being trampled with a horse being a few steps behind than right beside you. In my experience from training anyway...

But, that said, I do agree, if he is otherwise respectful, I do not see a reason to change his behavior. I do not 'train' a horse to walk behind me unless it is already a pushy jerk... my current mare is not a pushy horse, but is extremely respectful of your space, and so prefers to stay slightly behind; unless I am working on halter classes, I don't care, and she knows the difference, simply because of the halter change (rope halter is everyday halter, flat leather halter/chain lead is show halter). My last horse, an Appy, was a pushy brat...I taught him quickly to stay out of my space using Clinton Anderson's "hula hoop" exercise, I would then just have to wiggle my lead to get him to back slightly out of my space as I lead him.

Sunny 06-17-2011 12:36 AM

Interesting, M2P. I see how that could happen, definitely.
My brat used to have a problem with staying a step or two behind me, and this has resulted in quite a few bruised ankles from spooks. :/ :lol:

I agree that if the horse is respectful I don't see a reason to change it.
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mom2pride 06-17-2011 12:49 AM

Well, when I say 'behind' me, I don't mean, literally "behind", I still want the horse slightly to the side, just incase he does choose to leap foward, but like I said, in my experience with training, "most" horses leap one side or the other when they spook...but I guess if it's a from behind spook they could conceivably come foward...I've just not had any come over me, because of where I expect them to be even if they are 'behind' me.

Sunny 06-17-2011 01:02 AM

See, this is why I never stay up late! :lol:

This whole time I've been envisioning the horse directly behind the handler, when the wording obviously states otherwise.

Sorry for my delirium! -runs to bed-
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smrobs 06-17-2011 03:08 AM

It also may have something to do with how he was originally trained. Some people like for their horses to walk with their shoulder even with yours, meaning that their entire head and neck are ahead of you. I really dislike handling horses that have been trained that way because they just feel pushy to me even when they aren't.

I like for mine to be no farther forward than their head at my shoulder though a couple of steps behind is okay too, depending on the horse.

OP, can you tell us which part of him, exactly, is right beside you; head, neck, shoulder, ribs, etc?

Sahara 06-17-2011 09:54 AM

I had a pushy gelding that needed help with this. I started with a basic leading lesson. Walk forward with a tall posture, shoulders square with the lead in your right hand with some slack in the lead. Ask for the horse to stop by leaning your torso back slightly, say whoa, and plant your feet. The horse has to stop immediately. He can't let his energy putter out and slowly come to a stop. You have to listen to his feet. If he steps after you stop moving your feet immediately turn facing him and back him up by shaking the lead rope and waving a whip in front of his face. He should look at you like your nuts. Repeat the exercise. Before you know it he will be anticipating that rapid back up and will wait to see what you are going to do by trailing behind you a few steps.

Be sure you desensitize him with the whip by rubbing it all over his body following the leading exercise. You want him to respect the whip, not be afraid of it.

mls 06-17-2011 10:26 AM

Beside me for sure. I like to be able to see their eyes and ears to indicate any potential issues.

iridehorses 06-17-2011 10:27 AM

Truthfully, he isn't your horse and although you may not like it, his owner may. In this instance, you should talk to the owner before trying to change something.

As for the way I like to have my horses, I like their head off to the side and even with my shoulder. That way I can see what they are doing or looking at and can anticipate a spook.

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