Teaching Ground Manners

All equestrians know the struggle of working with a pushy or unruly horse that just can not seem to cooperate with anyone. The fact of the matter is that a horse that disregards the people and horses around them and fails to act respectfully can be quite dangerous, both to themselves and others. Continue reading for more information for teaching ground manners to ensure the safety of both you and your horse, and to establish boundaries with your horse.

Walking Quietly On A Lead Line

Ensuring that your horse walks respectfully and quietly while you are leading them is often the first step in teaching ground manners. If you find that your horse often makes attempts to walk ahead of you or gives resistance when you ask them to do something, you will need to work with your horse to correct this problem.

One trusted method of teaching a horse to walk politely on a lead line is teaching your horse to yield and respond to pressure. This can be achieved by walking your horse forward a few steps, then applying pressure to any part of their body. When your horse yields to your touch, stop applying pressure. Once they have learned to yield to your touch, apply pressure to the poll or nose until they drop their head. Once they comply by dropping their head, reward them by releasing pressure.

Once you are confident in your horse’s ability to comply with applied pressure, walk them forward a few steps on the lead line and evaluate how they are behaving while walking. If you find that they are still attempting to walk ahead of you, use the pressure-application tactics you just learned and repeat until you are satisfied with your horse’s manners while walking. This can prove to be a trying and repetitive process, but with proper dedication and time, you will soon see a major improvement in your horse’s behavior while walking on a lead line.

Lack Of Respect

Many horse owners have trouble with their horse being noncompliant with their requests or commands, invading their personal space, and refusing to move out of their owner’s way. It can be extremely discouraging to have to work with a horse that does not respect you, and it also has the potential to be dangerous. Thankfully, there are a few different tried and trusted methods of establishing your dominance and achieving respect from your horse.

It is important to remember that in the wild, horses are naturally herd animals. This means that they respond to-and respect-leadership when it is presented to them. Horses are hardwired to respond to a social hierarchy between one another, and their relationship with you should be no different. Establishing your dominance with your horse is a crucial part of maintaining a respectful relationship, but it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the bond that you and your horse share. In fact, establishing respect between you and your horse can be an excellent way to strengthen your relationship. Your horse should view you as a companion, but should also be aware that you call the shots, and that they need to be mindful of your wishes.

A good way to begin is to work on teaching your horse to respond to pressure, as previously mentioned. This not only teaches your horse to respect your space, but your presence, as well. If you have found that your horse has a general disregard for you and your presence, establishing yourself as the dominant figure in the relationship has the potential to make a massive difference in the way that you and your horse interact. Practice walking with your horse and teaching them to yield to your touch. Once you have successfully completed this portion of your horse’s training, you will be on the right track to establishing your dominance in the relationship.

Work with your horse on a daily basis, making sure to take the necessary steps to correct any unwanted behavior right away. Given the chance, horses will push the limits to see what they can get away with. It is important to address your concerns with your horse right away to ensure that they don’t develop any bad habits over time.

Strengthen Your Bond

A large part of teaching your horse to respect you and your commands is ensuring that they feel safe and happy around you. Strengthening your bond and companionship with your horse is likely one of the most important things you can do in the quest to train your horse to respect you and behave well.

There are quite a few different ways to build your bond with your horse. One great way is to spend time doing long grooming sessions with your horse. Not only does this help keep them healthy and looking great, it also feels good for your horse, and teaches them that you are a friend, and a pleasure to be around. If you feel comfortable, learning how to perform massages on your horse is a fantastic way to bond with them, as well. Horses groom each other as a sign of companionship, and your horse will soon learn to correlate you with being relaxed and happy. This will have a massive positive effect on the way that they interact with you.

Make it a goal to make it out to the barn at least once per week just to simply spend time with your horse. It is important for your horse not to always associate your visits with having to work. Take time to just be with your horse and build a bond with them; going on a walk, a grooming session, or spending time together in a paddock or pasture is a great way for your horse to see that you would like to be their companion. You will soon find that your strengthened companionship with your horse makes them much more compliant to your requests and commands, as they will trust you.

With the proper dedication and patience, any horse can be taught proper ground manners. Going forward with the information you learned here, you will be able to begin building a respectful relationship with your horse.

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