The Horse Wanting To Lead
One may not think that the horse that always wants to be in the lead is a “herd bound” issue, but it is!
The goal for this horse is to learn how to be content, following your lead. To be able to be in the lead, middle, or back of the line with no problems. The exercises I’m going to share with you are best accomplished with a group of four or more riders who are willing to help you. Make sure during these exercises you allow ample time and distance for your horse to make a positive change.
Here are a few exercises to follow:
As you are riding with the group and your horse decides to pick up speed to get in front, *don’t hold him back*, instead let him get to the front, but make him go about 30-40 yards past the front. Then turn around and trot all the way to the back of the group. Once you get past the last horse turn around and ride with the group ON A LOOSE REIN. If he seems to want to go to the front again then repeat the exercise. Do this until your horse decides his idea is a lot more work than your idea.
****Thought to Remember: Containing (holding back) a horse like this will often add fuel to the fire and make things worse. This exercise allows him to “get what he wants,” but with you directing him, instead of containing him, which in turn will get you what you want.
EXERCISE TWO – “The Snake Trail”
Riding in zigzags down the trail will help direct the horse’s energy, allowing him to cover more ground without putting any more distance between your horse and the others. Use the terrain as markers to weave in and out of (trees, rocks, bushes, etc.). You are moving forward with the others, but this will allow your horse to be focused on you for the next turn instead of wanting to be in the front.
EXERCISE THREE – Make A Lot of Transitions
Making a lot of transitions will keep your horse’s attention on you. If you are making him do something different often enough it will not allow him to think about what it wants to do, but what you are asking it to do.
Here are a few transitions you can do….
~ Change Direction
~Change Speed (ex. trot 10 strides, walk 5)
~Ride Around Obstacles
Often times a herd bound horse will whinny at the other horses. Instead of getting after them for doing that, refocus it’s attention with a “job” to do. Ideally being proactive in your riding and catching him before he whinnies is best.
All of these exercises mentioned in the “herd bound” series will help broaden the comfort zones of you and your horse. It will develop a strong partnership and willingness in your horse to want to be with YOU! Remember to ride proactively and to work through little steps at a time, progressively getting better and better until the problem is worked through.
To Your Riding Success,