Do you ever walk down the road and wonder if your purse is coming with you?
Silly thought isn’t it? Of course that bag, hanging there on your shoulder, is going where you are going!
(Men…think gym bag, diaper bag, whatever lol)
Now where am I going with this?
So many people attempt to lead a horse in all the wrong ways. They look over there shoulder constantly, they turn around, face the horse, and walk backwards, they walk really slow, like they are dragging a cart with eggs in it that they must take care not to jostle and break.
HOP teaches Animal Control Officers horse handling once per year in WV and one of the classes is how to halter and lead the equine. I always use this purse analogy to teach proper leading.
No one ever worries a bit about how their purse is progressing down the street. Women stroll confidently along to the bank or the grocery store and the purse goes too!
Horses are prey animals. They worry about “things” and they depend on leadership to survive. If you are a good horse owner, You are that leader. When you walk slowly, or backwards, or are always looking over your shoulder, your horse is reading that behavior as, “there is likely a lion behind us” or “we are worried about this awful place we are going”.
So face forward, hold the lead rope casually, but aware. Keep your head up and think about your horse, but don’t, if you know what I mean. Be ready if things go awry but not expecting them to. You will be surprised how much better your horse will go along with you when you change your body language.
And for pete’s sake, don’t encourage them to be right on your back. Make them give you a little space and hang to one side or the other. This teaches them to be more respectful and gives you a little room to get out of the way if they spook. Choking up on your lead rope or holding a horse tightly under the chin only serves to worry him more anyway.
So step boldly forth and go down the paths together with your new partner contentedly ambling behind her leader and have fun out there!