THE METHOD

Teaching a horse to lead

My method teaches you to work with your horse through the early kindergarten months so he becomes quiet and obedient in all circumstances, ready to move on to whatever discipline you ask of him.

The chapter ‘Basic Riding’ will reveal techniques to help you become a really effective rider and the chapter ‘Working Your Horse Down’ will help you prepare him for every lesson.

Essentially, the method involves the use of a specially designed strap or rope to restrict the movements of the horse during the early teaching process.

Over the course of a week, the horse is carefully and quietly taken through a process which accustoms him to being handled all over, and to accept sounds and objects which might otherwise cause fear. Ultimately, your horse comes to trust you as friend and trainer, and is ready to be saddled and ridden.

My book Educating Horses explains this method with step by step instructions accompanied by full-colour photographs.

Safety is for me most important. Throughout the book I ask you to take your time, to do things thoroughly and above all, safely. You, as the trainer, know from day to day how things are progressing, where you need to maybe spend a little more time.

Be kind to your young pupil. Kindness and gentleness are so important. You set the rules and with kindness, gentleness, firmness and understanding you’ll have great success.

Work area. The yard, pen or corral, should have high sides, at least 1.8m – 2m high with no broken rails or projections. The ground should be free of all sticks and stones and long grass. You want to be able to move about quickly and easily and not be tripping over or impeded by grass and rubbish. I personally like working in a pen, 6 to 8 metres square and to be able to corner my pupil and get him to turn his head and face me square on. He must look at me directly, with both eyes.

There is absolutely nothing cruel or unusual in my method. All the horse’s massive strength and energy is taken up by the rope and he soon gives up any resistance, accepting you as his firm but kindly ‘boss’ and benefactor, the one who feeds and cares for him every day. You are a very important part of his life!