DbarH Equine Training. Natural Horsemanship.
Medicine Lodge Valley, Dillon, Montana

Advanced leading and tying lesson

This is a lesson for horses that do one or all of the following:

  • Pull back when led, after they know how to lead

  • Does not move when asked to lead

  • Has a temper tantrum when tied

  • Resists and only does what they want regardless of your asking, which can also be caused by lack of proper foundation training by the human.

Notice the horses are leading beside the pickup, and moving forward freely at a walk, with the greatest amount of slack no matter the situation.  Horse on left dragging cans, and plastic tarp hung on an attachment above the saddle. While horse on right is also walking along like a human is leading him.

This is part of the 3 basics - resistance being useless. The horses is teaching himself. Every action has a reaction. This does not mean that you do the below to teach a horse to do beginning leading where a horse needs to understand what you want. Remember this is advanced teaching of leading. This is a lesson for horses that do know what is asked of them (leading), but do not want to listen to you. Or a test to see how they listen

If you have not taught any horse from the beginning this is not a lesson for you. Some people do not understand the below method. These people are usually people that have only been around pretrained horses or trained a horse from birth. And do not know the rational behavior of a horse.

Some prefer to torcher their horse with a chain under the chin or whips when the horse does not lead. This fixes the problem for a short period of time, but the horse continues to try through out the horses leading life. While horses that were taught not to resist will not pull back again after the lesson is taught. Verses the chain and whip where it may seem more gentle, but calculate the time using the chain and whip resisting through out the horses life verses the couple of lessons of teaching a horse that resistance is going to get the horse nowhere and to never have a horse pull back and/or have a temper tantrum again.

A person must also be able to read the horse's behavior language. If one is not, the human can mistake a horse's behavior for something it is not.

Say you don't have a halter one day and he has been taught to lead. If you have a piece of twine or something of that matter all you have to do is put that around his neck and he will follow. then when he has that down you can put your just take a hand full of mane and lead him. And when they know that all you have to do is get them moving with the mane then let go and they will follow you.

Now some of the horses I do this with are really good about it and some are going to throw as big of a fit as they can. It just depends on the horse.

Pulling back

When your horse decides to leave the country with you still holding on to the lead he has one big problem. And he knows that you are no match for him and says the heck with you.

Your horse decides to pull away with you still holding on to the lead, but wait he can't get away and you are still walking. How in the world can this be happening the horse thinks. The horse always won before. Why are you so strong all of a sudden with no effort on your part?

Here is the thing.

  • He has another lead rope tied around his neck. But what is around the neck would be something fairly wide like a gunny sack and then the rope to tie it together on the bottom.
  • Where does this 2nd lead line go. It is tied to a slow/safe moving object that has the strength to put up with everything that he is going to try to get away.
  • Do NOT attach the main lead line to the halter. Halters break and if the halter is broke with the horse winning (getting away) any time the horse does not want to move or wants to go see his buddies he will do so easily.

In the winter time it is our feed wagon when we are feeding cattle and in the other times it is the pick up truck. There is no way that a horse can get loose or win. He is going to throw a big fit if he has already gotten away with getting away from you, because he isn't getting his own way temper tantrum).

  • Now make sure the moving object is safe from things that could hurt him. And don't try this with a 4 wheeler. The horse can hurt you when the horse is throwing a fit. The horse could careless about where you are.
  • Make sure you do this on softer ground, like grassy field. So have someone drive the vehicle as slow as it can go.
  • Preferably a 4 wheel drive vehicle or a tractor vs. a 2 wheel drive, because it is geared lower and moves slower. For those of you living in countries or areas where there is no 4 wheel drive pick-up trucks (Chevy, Ford, Dodges) it is hard to imagine. A pickup can go one mile a hour in first gear, four wheel drive. Much slower than a person can walk.
  • Fix the horse up with the 2nd lead rope and tie it so it is not to close to the vehicle (so he can still move freely), but not so long that he can get a foot over the rope.
  • You still have a lead rope on him also. This is so he thinks that you are leading him entirely. have enough lead line that you can be away from the horse when the horse might throw a fit.
  • Now you are ready to for the vehicle to start moving. First gear slow as it can go. Just casual walking. Slower or same speed as if you were walking normally.
  • You walk with the vehicle so the horse still thinks that you are leading.
  • When and if the horse decides to make the move to get away from you the 2nd lead is going to get tight and if the horse is throwing a big fit that might in some way harm you throw your lead over the horses back and step away. The horse could care less if you are there and won't watch out for you. The horse has priorities and that is trying to get free and win.
  • Do not stop the vehicle when the horse throws the fit.  That's what the horse wants and the horse wins again.
  • Just keep driving and go the speed as if you were doing a faster walk, almost trot with your horse.
  • When he is going to put on the brakes and be a brat. The gunny sack around the neck encourages him to step up. If you just put that lead snapped to the halter it is just going to stretch out his neck and he won't be able to get his body under himself again. And not to mention the halter will break.
  • The horses feet may move just enough to go along, but won't move freely and the horse is pulled tight against the rope.
  • The moment the horse gives and the rope gets the slightest amount of slack and the horse moves more freely slow to almost a stop/casual walk again.
  • That lets that lets the horse know that "hey I quit fighting and now I am walking on my own and its a heck of a lot easier than fighting".
  • But sometimes the horses thinks" well I'll try it again. I know this person can't hold me back after that fight". So they try it again, and the driver goes in to a faster walk, almost trot again.
  • The horse catches on quicker this time.
  • When the horse leads with the vehicle good without fighting, then that is enough for that day.
  • Lead the horse around on your own and you'll notice you'll have a horse with manors.
  • The next lesson period do it again. See if the horse still remembers. If the horse does good go back and lead him around by your self again.
  • If the horse puts on the brakes then the horse has not learned. And the horse gets lead by the vehicle and you by the horses side again.
  • When the horse is doing this well move him into a trot with the vehicle and you will see that when the rope gets even the slightest bit tight he will move along with it and he will be trotting right beside the vehicle.

The horses I train are not halter trained until they pass the test I give them. Either they will pull back and learn their lesson or they don't pull back much and learn to go with the flow quickly. It is all in the personality of the horse.



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Donna Hildreth 1998 - 2009
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