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Both my mare and my gelding used to do this with me. It was nothing that I taught them, it was based on trust and respect. The only time I ever had a leadline on my gelding was when I was either using him with a student, or at a show (where I pretty much just used it out of respect for the barn owners & other competitors). You can use body language to "invite" your horse to follow you, and likewise to tell him or her that they need to stop, turn, get out of your space, whatever. It's all about body language & the relationship you have with your horse. I'm sure following can be taught as well, it's just never been something I've done. I'd rather my horse walk around with me because he enjoys my company, and not because I'm carrying a whip or something.
 

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I suppose if by "training" you mean it's something the horse has learned from repeated behaviour, then sure, call it training. My gelding would follow me until I turned around, looked at him a certain way, & said, "Stay there, Simes". I could then walk into the tackroom or walk away from the cross ties (he was never tied in, he just stood in them) or whatever, & I'd know that I could come back & he'd still be there. If I left him standing in grass, maybe he'd lean down to have a nibble, but he wouldn't wander off. He didn't do it because I'd specifically spent time"training" him to do it, he did it because I was "mom" or "alpha mare" or whatever you want to call it, & he wanted to please me. He wouldn't do this for me until we'd formed a bond, and he'd never do it for other people, because he did not have that level of respect for what they wanted. I never once hit him or threatened him with a whip in the 7 years that I had him. If you think you need a whip or some other "training aid" to get a point across to a horse, then you are very mistaken.

And you asked how far love and respect get you in a show arena - I'll tell you, they get you VERY far. Look at a pair where the horse & rider do not have any sort of connection or respect for one another, & then look at another pair that are obviously a TEAM. There's a difference. I'm not saying respect & love always bring in the ribbons, but I am saying they'll make a world of a difference in the way your horse will act for you.
 

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kiwigirl - I'm using MY horses as an example. I realise other people people's situations are different. I was in no way implying that you can't have a successful show career without that relationship. I spent my entire riding career under a very prestigious eventer, so I've most definitely seen both sides of the spectrum as far as horse and rider relationships go. I just said it can make a difference. Horses can absolutely love, just like they can feel sad or worried, etc. It's not the same human emotion of love, but it's their own form of it, and it can certainly apply to both humans and animals. Have you ever seen a depressed horse after their best buddy passes away? Don't tell me he didn't care about that other horse. And they most certainly understand the concept of respect. Out in the wild, and even out in the pasture, their herd dynamic is based on different levels of respect. Can you train your horse to follow you around & do whatever? Absolutely. Can you put zero time into "bonding" with them & still get your horse to perform & have fun riding? Of course. But for me, personally, working hard to form a bond with my horse is something that I enjoy, so that's the route I chose to take, and my relationship with my horses has always absolutely been based on respect & "love" (or trust or feeling safe or comfort or whatever you want to call it with horses).
 

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oh kiwigirl, I absolutely agree with you, I was just talking about MY 2 individual horses, not everyone's horses! Absolutely training & curiosity can cause them to exhibit those behaviours, I wasn't at all trying to say that they can't. I was just talking specifically about my 2 horses.
My Arab that I used to lease, for example, was TERRIFIED of all new situations. And when I say "new situations", I'm talking about anything that didn't directly relate to her being out in the field with her herd. She was a rescue case, and had a lot of emotional issues. Leading her into the barn would cause her to have an absolute panic attack. The obstacle courses that were periodically set up in the arena for clinics (plastic strips over the entrance, tarps on the ground, etc) would likewise set her off. But by the end of the summer, you bet she'd follow me under those plastic strips and into that "big scary barn", no questions asked. If I left her alone to go into the tack room for a second, she'd get worried & have to come peak her head in, just to make sure I was still there, but as long as I was within sight, she was calm as could be, because she trusted me to keep her safe. Just an example of how I KNOW I was bonded with that horse.

I'm not stupid enough to expect that with every horse I ride, though, my mare & my gelding are the only 2 that I've ever had that with. With every other horse, if they're following me around, I expect it's because they want something from me - more petting, perhaps, or that carrot that's buried in my pocket :p

RiosDad, that picture is pretty funny :p
 
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