Teach your horse to follow you

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Session steps

The work begins by establishing codes between you and your horse. Therefore, be specific in your commands. The essential part of the exercise is based on a fundamental point: whenever he is available, your horse must be facing you, with his head towards you. He must keep this stance throughout the exercise. This means that whenever you move, he must turn to follow you, keeping his head turned towards you, without however, trampling you.

Always remember to encourage, immobilize and reward your horse with each movement so that he feels comfortable with you, even in difficulty.

Don't spend too much time on a single exercise and alternate your commands so that your mount doesn't get bored. If you encounter too much trouble, don't hesitate to go back to an easier exercise so that your horse remains confident.

 


 

Setting up the "game" - Side movement

Start by moving on your horse's side, without tightening the lanyard. If he does not turn his head towards you, push his hips to the other side gently using your stick if needed (as a reminder, if your horse is moving his hips properly, one hind quarter moves behind the other hind quarter, under the mass). This action forces him to turn and direct his head towards you. As soon as your horse turns toward you, stop your command. Your horse should stop in front of you. Then, reward him with by petting him on the head.

Restart the exercise from each side until your horse understands what you're asking him to do. Then try to get the same result without using the stick, always without tightening the lanyard.

 

Forward movement

Now that your horse has understood that he has to follow you, move in front of him, then back up a few steps. If he doesn't follow you on his own, you can get him to move forward using your stick, without necessarily touching him or by gently tapping on his shoulder. As soon as he comes towards you, stop your command. If your horse stops in front of you, reward him. If he comes too close to you, push him back so that he understands his place. Always keep a distance between yourself and your horse. Once your horse has mastered these two exercises, you can alternate forward movements and turns by pushing his hips, without the stick.

 

Backing up

The goal of this exercise is for your horse to follow your movements. You move to the side, he turns, you back up, he moves forward... As a result, if you move towards him, he has to back up. Facing your horse, lift your hands by forming a "screen" with your lanyard and move towards your horse. He should move back in a straight line, without creating tension on the lanyard.

If needed, you can stimulate him a bit by lightly shaking your hands, but without touching him. Once you've got him to perform the movement, reward him again. As soon as the exercise has been mastered, alternate moving forward, backing up, turning. 
 

Overcoming an obstacle

Set up a bar on the ground Your horse should now follow you by overcoming an obstacle: the bar. Start by passing the bar while demanding a forward movement. Pause after the front quarters have passed, then again after the hind quarters. Don't forget to reward, then do the same backing up, always pausing.

If your horse is comfortable, you can add an additional challenge by having the front quarters pass over the bar, then demand a backup, so that your horse has one front quarter on each side of the bar.
 

Free

Finally, if you're in a closed area, and your horse is performing the exercises well, you can detach the lanyard and ask him to perform more movements. If he has mastered your commands, he should perform as well as with a lanyard, and follow you everywhere.

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