For Advanced Riders
1) Picking up the correct leads
Well, you have come a long way with your horse, and now you are ready for more technical instruction. We are focusing on teaching a horse to pick up the correct leads. When cantering/loping the idea is to make the horse move forwards in a smooth and collected manner, but how do we achieve this??? Well we should begin all training methods with a well thought out plan and the rider needs to know exactly what he/she is trying to achieve. There are many different methods to do this, however in MY opinion this method works best. First of all, always try to have some sort of fence line, the best being in an arena. Take your horse at a slow jog or trot and with the hand nearest the rail, turn your horseís head towards the rail. Squeeze only with the leg nearest the rail and constantly push your horse forward keeping the horseís head turned slightly towards the rail and make a kissing sound or telling your horse to lope/canter. By keeping his/her head slightly turned towards the rail you are literally pushing his/her inside leg forward thus picking up the correct lead. This will also work with horseís that have forgotten their leads. Do this every time you canter or lope and soon your horse will understand and you have taught your horse his/her leads.
2) Teaching Something New
Now you are advanced and you have the ability to teach your horse something new. No matter what you are trying to teach your horse, it is VERY important to NOT get frustrated, if this should happen you have lost this battle!!!! Letís say you are teaching the horse to canter/lope under saddle, and they are just not getting it. If you lose your cool, the horse will only remember that when you did this the last time, he/she got in trouble, making your next attempt even more difficult, and the horse more fearful. They want to please us, so NEVER bring on a fight!!! You need to become their safe place!!! So letís say you got the horse to lope/canter, what then??? What I always do is take the horse to the center and just let it stand. I will sit there rubbing itís neck, this tells the horse ďyou did goodĒ also rewards the horse for itís effort! OK now letís say the horse is just NOT getting itÖ and you feel yourself getting irritated. At this point, I would take the horse into the middle and sit there rubbing itís neck. Now I know you are thinking "but it didnít do what I wanted", that is true, but more than likely it is because it didnít understand, so by taking it to the middle, you have rewarded itís effort and you are giving yourself the chance to calm down!!! Once you are relaxed, then and ONLY then begin asking again. Iíll bet the horse will go right into itÖ just remember DO NOT let yourself get frustrated!!!!!
If you can remember to do that, you and your horse will make a GREAT team!!!!
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Last Updatead 3/18/04