Working with your horse closely and going with them on the ground is very important for building your horses confidence with you. It is also a great way to get your horse to lead out and think forward ahead of you whilst you travel with them. Some horses can find this very difficult because they have relied on a lot of our energies and cue’s to hold them up. What I am going to ask you to do with this is to ask your horse to think about where it is going whilst it is also tuning into you with it’s secondary focus.
This Challenge will build trust your horses trust in you in and help your horse to make confident decisions. Both of these help to make a happy horse.
Although this is a quick lesson with long reining, it shows the concept I want you to be aware of - allowing your horse to have room to leave you.
For horses that get a little lost, it is important to give them room to leave - to create curiosity to search out. Sticking to their body too early may just get them to think back on us too strongly.
Here I am preparing a horse for long reining but it goes through the stages of getting a horse to lead from the hip - which you will need for this Challenge.
Watch me work this nervous horse and how I help him to feel better about me travelling with him. I am working from the saddle and getting close to the hip area.
You will have seen the start of this from last weeks Challenge - watch now from 3mins 45secs.
Once your horse is confident at passing by your shoulder, the chances are that you can walk beside it as it is walking forward in a straight line at its shoulder or just behind its wither. This is a good place to start this Challenge. (If you go to the hip too early, your horse may start to disengage and face you.). So start walking at your horse’s shoulder, then work down.
Your first aim is to get them confident at just walking forward + thinking forward + being okay with you going with them. Once your horse is comfortable with you going along with it then you can put yourself in slightly different positions, like the hip. For the more sensitive horses, walk with them but not too close, being aware of their bubble.
Try to get to a stage that your horse is taking in the environment but tuning into you. If you get slower, your horse gets slower. If you stop, your horse stops with you. At the start, just match your horses rhythm and this can often tune them back into you.
If your horse faces you there is a video above to help you.
If your horse has done a lot of circles or lunging, it will be hard for them to do a straight line. They will want to keep cutting across to do a circle. Look and cast your focus in a straight line and walk purposely You can try walking next to a fence (you will next to the fence).
Do it from both sides.
Remember your tool box tools: Be 100% present
Advantages: Leading from the hip sets your horse up for self-loading on horse floats/trailers.
It also helps your horse to think forwards when you are riding.