teaching a lead horse to follow? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-11-2011, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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teaching a lead horse to follow?

I have a 3 1/2 year old spotted saddle gelding. I have had him approx. 1 year. This is my first horse, I am 53 and decided I wanted to train it myself. He has been doing great until this last weekend. My wife and I both ride together as well as with others. This past weekend there were 4 of us riding. My horse has always enjoyed leading so I have let him, thinking this would help his confidence. Well I decided to make him go to the back and hold him up while the others rode ahead. This turned into a spastic buck and bronc ride. I tried this on several occasions on this day and each time the same result. He became so nervous being held back and just wanted to throw me and get back to my wifes horse and the rest of the pack. I would spin him in circles to disengage him and then hold him in a lateral flex until he would calm down enough to continue but he would still be nervous until he could catch back up to the pack. Is this just going to take time or does anyone have a helpful hint. I did not come off but am afraid at some point it might happen. Thanks. Mark

Last edited by gracie1; 10-11-2011 at 11:34 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-12-2011, 12:37 AM
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Just going to take some work. Spend time riding him by himself. Spend time making him follow. Spend time having him lead. Most importantly, spend time taking him away from the other horses then returning again. Start with small distances at first and increase it with time. He'll learn he can leave horses and eventually will meet up with them again.

Remember every ride is a training session and youngsters take a lot of patience.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-12-2011, 06:43 AM
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Ride him out alone more often,,
Do figure 8's off the trails around trees,
DOnt be to proud to get off and do some ground work as the other horses ride off, make him pay attention to you.
Mine had some issues like this early on, getting off and walking him at my pace seemed to calm him down.
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-12-2011, 08:01 AM
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My younger horse doesn't like to follow, either. She's not as violently persistent about it as yours is, but she's very forwards and really likes to power-walk along.

I've started taking her out with our unflappable older horse and sticking her right behind. She rides with her nose up the other horse's butt, pushing on that horse, trying to get out around, but everyone keeps her where she is and eventually she slows down. Not a lot, she's still forwards, but I'm hoping the more rides we do this, the more patience she'll learn.

If your horse wants to buck, keep him bent so he can't get leverage on you. Walk him sort of bent on an angle down the trail if you need to, if you feel him hunching up for the buck.

Ultimately, I think it just takes time and patience to teach a horse patience.
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-12-2011, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe4d View Post
Ride him out alone more often,,
Riding him alone will reinforce his role as the leader.

pintophile - start the process by riding side by side with another horse. Once in a while stop and let the other horse get ahead. It's going to take some time and he may never be 100% happy about being the tail horse but you can work down some of the "OMG I have to be in front".

I do feel some of the attitude comes from the rider. My personal horses like to lead. My husbands horses don't care - until I ride them, then they like to be in front. I feel it's the confidence of the rider that transfers to the confidence of the horse!
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-12-2011, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mls View Post
pintophile - start the process by riding side by side with another horse. Once in a while stop and let the other horse get ahead. It's going to take some time and he may never be 100% happy about being the tail horse but you can work down some of the "OMG I have to be in front".
Riding her beside the other makes her still want to speed-walk ahead.
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-12-2011, 09:28 PM
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I wonder if it would also help to lead him behind other horses being led or ridden, especially since he is rather young to spend too much time on his back. If you're up to it, instead of hopping on his back for a long trail ride, put on some comfy shoes and walk along.

You could also ride along, then just stop and stay in one place as the others leave without you. After he stands quietly, then turn around and go back to the barn at a walk.

I agree, this will take some time and some horses are never truly relaxed unless they are in the lead, or conversely in the middle, or in the back. Some just feel they have to be in a particular position in the group. Regardless, it is important to continue to work on this and enforce/teach him that no matter what he must stay focused on you.
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-12-2011, 09:52 PM
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This is a strong instinct you are dealing with. Try circling him back just a horse length or two then allow him to take up his position up front again. Make him keep to a walk while circling. We don't want the circle to be too big at first so he doesn't panic. What you are teaching him is he gets to do more work. Ride a minute and repeat the exercise. After about 10 times enlarge your circle, again keeping to a walk. If he tries to rush to catch up circle him. Usually after 10 or so times they become more cooperative so hopefully a larger circle won't bother him. If the first larger circle goes well, his reward is being allowed to walk in a straight line.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-16-2011, 08:49 AM
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Riding alone is not a great option for a 3 year old...I've trained many! Is it possible for you to go out with another horse or two, then cut into the woods alone a little more every time. this way he will be paying more attention to cutting through trees to get back. He will think less about the distance of his friends, although they are in sight .
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