Leading is a very important exercise in Horsefulness Training. Whoever can’t successfully lead their horse will also encounter problems with their horse in other areas. That’s why this is the most important basic groundwork exercise, after Liberty Training.
Some important pointers when leading your horse
- There must be respect for the personal space.
For the horse to respect your personal space, but also for you to respect the horse’s. The latter regularly goes wrong… You are constantly aware of your own “bubble”, but you also have to constantly be aware of your horse’s.
- Your intention is of major importance.
What do you think and how do you think, and what is your sentiment towards your horse? A positive intention is very important. You would also rather come along with someone who thinks positively about you and is understanding than with someone who is constantly growling and judging you.
- You must have a clear idea of where you’re going.
If the horse senses that you are confident in where you’re going, you convince it to follow you. It can be helpful to visualize your route ahead of time and to then stick to that route as well.
- You show understanding if your horse decides to not follow you for whatever reason.
Many people assume that the horse shows dominant behavior in that situation. This is not always the case (more often than not, to be precise). Try to convince the horse to follow in a friendly and assertive way instead of wanting to be “more dominant than the horse”. This is another area in which many people have room to improve. Horses don’t follow those who are dominant, but those whom they trust. Try to be the one your horse WANTS to follow instead of the one whom it HAS to follow.
The various leading positions
At first, we will be leading from the lead position, where we walk ahead of the horse and where the horse follows us. This way, we show the horse that we are aware and protective of our personal space. When this basic leading position is going well, we will also be leading the horse from the partner position and the driving position.
In Horsefulness Liberty Training we also use these different positions, but there the horse is not attached to a rope. In liberty we only have our body language to use, so the Horsefulness Liberty Training is the perfect preparation to start groundwork.
If you can lead your horse perfectly with a halter and a rope, and you have established 100% trust, then you are ready to start leading your horse with just a piece of rope around the neck.
To sum it up.
When leading your horse:
- The horse should respect your personal space and you should also respect the horse’s
- Very important is your intention!
- A clear idea of where you’re going is key
- Don’t put yourself in a dominant position, but be the one your horse wants to follow instead of the one whom it has to follow.
If you take into account these points you are well on your way to lead your horse successfully!