RBEI MASTER COURSES: EQUINE MANAGEMENT: LEADING 2
COMMON MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE:
GRIPPING THE LEAD TIGHT WITH A STEADY AND STRONG HOLD ALL THE TIME
Any signal or communication you give to a horse must be clear and intermittent. Many people, even at elite level, do not realize this.
There is a great analogy about a frog who is placed in a pot of warm water and it is heated slowly. The frog doesn't jump out because the change is so gradual and it boils. In contrast if you placed a frog into hot water it would jump out immediately.
With horses people tend to provide unclear long and slow signals then wonder why they are ignored or say their horse leans and ignores them. This is not the horses fault but a handler fault.
If signals are steady and unclear the horse will think you are simply being annoyingly present.
When leading you MUST use intermittent signals on your lead. It is also critical you use a lead that has zero stretch.
You gently give and take in clearly defined hand movements when you want to slow down, stop or turn, etc. If you simply pull, lean or drag, you are teaching your horse to lean, pull and ignore you.
LEAVING THE LEAD TOO LONG, ALLOWING THE HORSE TO WANDER OFF TOO FAR
You should be up by the horses head and shoulder with a short lead and a loop in it. Never further back than the shoulder. What happens when the lead is too long, is the horse wanders too far away from you for you to effectively lever him back because he is too far away.
Often people will micro manage horses defensively to the point their horse just stops listening. Similar to the 'boy who cried wolf' analogy, if you keep 'at' the horse for no reason all you teach him to do effectively is completely ignore you. Be purposeful when asking for something, then leave them alone, or just pat and encourage them on a loose lead.
OVER FACING THEMSELVES
If you have a new horse, or you are not confident leading, you should practice and get leading them down pat in a small confined area before tackling larger open areas. Develop your communication with your horse until it is effective.
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