Oh ok. And how much slack do you have in the lead when he eats? When he wants to eat and walk, do you loosen up the slack in the lead or let him walk while you stay stationary?
How much slack? if he is walking behind me, I have no idea, he just has to keep up and grab a mouthful as we go. If I am just chilling with him, he can go where he likes as ling as he is mannerly about it.
Im putting a lot of emphasis on this because there is a lot more too it than I initially thought. I no longer let my mare drag me around and my trainer does bring up a good point in how you shouldnt have so much slack in the lead that its on the ground.
No there is not a lot to it, you do what suits, and I don't care if the rope is on the ground, if he treads on it he sorts himself out and takes his foot off again. No he is not allowed to drag, but I am happy to follow him around as her grazes.
At the old barn people would always hand graze their horses. I always observed. Most would just have a 14 ft lead or so and stand in one spot while they drop the lead and let their horse wander whereever to eat. They can be 15ft from the, even 20 or 25. If that horse spooks and decides to bolt, its either going to run away and you cant hold onto the lead enough, or it will run over you.
Gibbs is NOT going to spook or bolt, he is out grazing, I am watching for things that could be an issue, like Oh a small nuclear bomb. Now my new mare Fergie will be a spooker, but she won't bolt, so I have no worries giving her a long line to graze on. She has been well trained not to pull on the lead, and she has had a couple of real whacks from me and now understands that she is not allowed to get in my bubble unless invited.
My trainer brings up a good point in that by you standing much closer to them, they will stay aware of you and your presense. They will still focus on you. Whereas the further you are, the less aware they are of you. So its mostly a safety thing.
Again, you need to know your horse, and be confident in your own handling.
How Ive been doing it for the past few months since Ive started wit hthis new trainer (even though yesterday when I grazed my mare, it was the first time in at least a month). What I do is hold the lead about 3-4ft from the shank, so technically when her head is down to eat, I am right next to her shoulder. If she spooks and tries to bump into me, I have enough time to quickly get my elbow up and elbow her and then wallop her with the lead. Yes my mare does tend to spook rather easily compared to most horses. A car could drive by down the main road and she will spook.
She sounds like you and her need to get out more.
Now when she wants to eat and walk and eat more. I will keep the same slack in the lead but I will anticipate her moving and get a step up on her by matching her speed. So that way she is not leading me. We are always side by side. Make sense? Is this a good idea? My biggest issue is that i dont want her to think shes leading me, especially now that she is doing SO GOOD when leading.
You know I never worry about it, I know who is boss, when we are going somewhere I am the leader. When we are out chilling it does not matter to me in the slightest, that is chill out time, so Yeah we are chilling