How Does Your Horse Lead?
- November 14, 2016
- Lynn Kohr
How Does Your Horse Lead? Does he accompany you and come along with you? Does he pull, push or drag?
I was recently with Tom Wagoner, Feet First Horsemanship, and he was just working a colt that had pretty sticky feet: the colt did not want to move them, meaning he did not want to lead up with Tom. Right in the midst of Tom’s work, we were called to lunch. I watched Tom as he smiled at the colt’s owner and said, “If you don’t mind, I’ll take your colt along with me to lunch?”
Tom had the colt’s feet moving just enough for the colt to “follow along with him” and then the colt just hung out with Tom for lunch. As the conversation ended and tummies were full, Tom started up again with the colt, moving his feet this way and that way, forward back left and right. The colt was interested in keeping up with Tom and “Going along with him!” Hence, Tom was leading the colt, not dragging him, not pulling him, and not pushing him!
A few years ago, a customer sent me a colt to start on barrels. Not too long after I had their colt they called curious as to how their colt was doing. I said, “Well, your horse doesn’t lead well.” In my mind I was meaning I had to drag their horse everywhere. Their horse had no feel, she did not know to give lightly to pressure. Well, she didn’t even know to give begrudgingly to pressure, was resistant to load in the trailer, and to tie up. Really, she drug everywhere and didn’t know to move her feet. The customers were offended because in their minds, all they knew were to drag their horses around.
Today I heard a used car lot’s advertisement: “Drag, pull or push your car in for money off one of our vehicles!” It reminded me of this horse and her owner…teaching a horse to give to the slightest pressure, and move their feet when you ask makes all the difference in how they lead, load in a trailer and tie up!
Watch at your next horse gathering at how horses lead for their owners: are they willingly going along with slack in the lead rope? Is the owner marching off dragging their horse behind? Is the horse running off with their owner in tow?
Watch for Part I: How to get our horses to go with us instead of dragging behind or pulling ahead.
Watch for Part II: By teaching our horses to go with us, loading in a trailer is made easier.
Watch for Part III: How horses that know where the end of the lead rope is are easier to tie up.
About Lynn Kohr
I am a barrel and pole horse trainer, giving springtime barrel racing and pole bending clinics and workshops, competing in barrel racing and pole bending futurities while marketing our horses for sale. I am a Mom of 3: Sage, Cedar, and Stratton. And wife of...