A basic groundwork exercise is leading. Horsefulness Training distinguishes 3 types of basic lead exercises. First you have leading from the lead position (1st position). Second you have leading from the partner position (2nd position). And third, you have leading from the drive position (3rd position)
Leading from the lead position
With this position you walk ahead of the horse, in the leading position. The horse follows. The horse stays outside your intimate space and in case you ask to, also outside your personal space. It is therefore necessary you are able to demarcate your space in a friendly assertive way.
The purpose of this exercise is to show the horse that you take your space in a calm but confident way. The horse learns to yield when you ask him to. At the same time you also take the lead because you indicate direction. You decide where you both go to.
Leading from the partner position
In this position you walk shoulder to shoulder and you ask the horse to turn to the left/right, slow down, accelerate, stop, follow, … without putting pressure on the head. Every horse reacts to body language, pressure on the head is therefore mostly not necessary.
In this position the human can ask the horse forward in an active way, this can be necessary with for example a more phlegmatic horse that doesn’t follow closely in trot from the lead position.
It is called the partner position because this position provides for a better connection, you are more in contact with each other, you really walk side by side, the human can touch his horse and the horse can touch and nose at his human.
This exercise gives some horses more “support” with incertitude or fear and is a preparatory exercise for gymnastic work in hand.
Advanced trainers can decide in some instances to give the lead to the horse in this lead position.
Leading from the drive position
In this position the human walks behind the drive line of the horse. So the horse walks in front of his human. The trainer walks diagonally behind the horse.
Also in this position the trainer can the lead in this “herd of two”. However, the advanced trainer can also give the lead to the horse when he wants that. It is important that the human can take back the lead at any time.
The liberty connection exercise “easy herding” is the ideal preparation for this lead position, but also the previous 2 lead exercises can contribute to leading from the drive position. Also from the drive position we try to work mainly with body language and to let the horse to turn and to stop without too much pressure on the head (from the lead rope).
This exercise makes the horse more alert towards your body language. The trainer learns to use his body language more subtle and also to read the body langue of the horse better. This exercise asks a great awareness of his energy and body language from the trainer. That is why this exercise contributes a lot in the development of trainer qualities!
Leading becomes a harmonic game
From each lead position you can lead your horse from point A to point B, through a obstacle course, in traffic, …. Depending on the horse and the situation you choose your lead position. You can also alternate these positions depending the situation. First you practice each lead position separately, then you learn to deal with them dynamically so you can change from one lead position to another as in a reflex. Leading becomes a harmonic game of leading, accompany, following, driving, steering, and form a bond in leading…