This 2 minute video clip gives you a basic idea on how to train a horse to come toward a mounting block and line up so you can mount and dismount. One thing I didn’t mention in the video is that horses are pattern animals so if you work on this every time you go to mount and dismount it won’t take long before your horse knows the pattern. It just takes a little time and patience and before you know it you will know how to train a horse to line up next to you every time you want to mount from a log, fence, tailgate or a real mounting block.
My mare Ms. Winnie is quite claustrophobic and learning how to train a horse like her has been very interesting. Getting through tight gates or even over some things has been very challenging. Interesting enough is that it’s rarely the obstacle and more about the trust you build in your relationship. Hope you enjoy this short video I put together on how to train a horse like my Ms. Winnie using some obstacles and different strategies.
I did a blog about a month ago explaining how to train a horse to backup by the tail so I thought I would do a short video to actually show you how to do it. Sometimes it helps to actually see it so it’s a little easier to put all the pieces together. So in this video on how to train a horse to backup by the tail I used a young horse I’m training right now so that I could show you all the stages. Have fun playing with how to train a horse to backup by the tail!
Now some of you might be thinking why would I want to know how to train a horse to backup by the tail? Well for one it’s just a fun game for you and your horse to play and for another it gives you another way to get your horse out of a tight area. For obvious reasons before you learn how to train a horse to backup by the tail you want your horse to be quite comfortable with you behind him. So first off make sure all of that feels comfortable and that you know how to train a horse to backup by wiggling your lead rope. If your horse hasn’t learned this yet you can reference my earlier blog and video on how to train a horse to backup. This first step on how to train a horse to backup makes this so much easier. One other good tip when working with how to train a horse to backup by the tail is to make sure your horse is okay with ropes around his legs.
So equipment to use when learning how to train a horse will be a rope halter, a nicely weighted 12’ lead rope or longer and a longer whip or stick of some sort. When learning how to train a horse to do anything this kind of equipment will make your communication that much more subtle. And now that you and your horse are comfortable with you behind him, comfortable with ropes around the legs and you know how to train a horse to backup with a wiggle of the rope you can get started.
When working with how to train a horse to backup by the tail it’s a good idea to get him thinking about backing first, so wiggle him back while standing in front of him. Then put your lead rope between his legs and start to pull his tail in stages that progressively get harder. Once you are at your last stage gently wiggle the rope between his legs asking him to back. How to train a horse to backup by the tail can sometimes be confusing at first for your horse and he will more than likely swing his bum to one side. Don’t worry about this little setback on how to train a horse and just try to stick with him by holding his tail and keep repositioning yourself behind him and start again. If your horse gets too worried let go and reassure him. As soon as you get how to train a horse to backup with even one step backwards, stop and reward your horse by taking the pressure off and giving him a good rub. Oh and here’s another tip on how to train a horse if he’s a thinker type: give him a treat at his slightest try! You will be amazed how well this works IF he is a thinker type and not a reactor type of horse. Continue to work with this how to train a horse until your horse can backup at least four steps and always wiggle your rope as a last resort. Then try it without wiggling the rope and again reward at the slightest try. Before you know it you know how to train a horse to backup by the tail!
For those of you that would like to advance a little further on how to train a horse to backup by the tail this is where your stick will come in. You now know how to train a horse to backup by the tail so now stand behind your horse with your stick above his bum motioning the stick back toward you rhythmically. How to train a horse to backup with your stick is the same concept as the rope and tail but now that you got the tail good you are using the tail and stick. How to train a horse to backup by the tail is really that easy and before you know it you can just stand behind your horse and motion with your hand that you want him to backup and voila!
A while ago I wrote a blog on how to train a horse to backup on the ground first. I know many people also learn from visual content so I thought I would post this quick video showing you different ways on how to train your horse to backup. If you do want more in depth information feel free to read my blog “How to train a horse to backup on the ground first!”
Learning how to train a horse to backup can be really quite easy if you have the right equipment, some patience and some leadership. I see so many people just push on the lead rope to put pressure on the nose and that’s no way to “ask” for a backup, that’s a make. First off when you’re learning how to train a horse to backup you want to use a rope halter and a lead rope that’s properly weighted. This way your ask can be much more subtle and you can communicate on a partnership level using the rope as an extension of your arm. Being a strong leader with body language that says “I know how to train a horse to backup…now back up!” is so important just like a dominant horse moving the less dominant horse, BUT patience is key. You don’t want to get angry or frustrated with your horse.
So here we go with how to train a horse to backup. Stand in front of your horse with a leadership stance, hold the end of the lead rope and slowly start to wiggle the rope so your communication gets to the halter. It’s important when you are working with how to train a horse to do anything that you use stages to up your “ask”. Give your horse the chance to respond and use about four stages asking with more wiggle in the rope each time and quickly stop at your horses slightest try then ask again. Some horses may be quite stubborn as first but once they feel your end stage they will learn soon enough that you mean business and you know how to train a horse to backup. Then you will find that your horse doesn’t want you to go there again and will start responding to the first time you ask.
Remember your patience and your leadership/partnership when “asking” your horse to backup. You can also work with this same technique of stages on how to train a horse to backup using your fingertips in the chest area or on the nose. Horses that are more thinkers have a harder time being backed up especially by the nose so just take note of that. Before you know it you will know how to train a horse to backup so well that your horse will see that stance in you of “back up” and all you need to do is wiggle your finger and he will backup.
Who has time to train a horse over the holidays? We seem to barely have time to get the tree up, decorate, shop, wrap and everything else the holidays bring. After all don’t we want some time to spend with family too? Many of us think we need to have that slotted time to be able to train a horse and in reality that doesn’t always have to be the way. We still need to go to the barn and fill the water tub, feed the horses and clean up after them. Now this is a great opportunity to do a little training while you tend to your chores. Don’t you notice that they always seem to be standing where you need to clean up? So why not give them a little rub and a scratch then ask them to move over a couple steps with your fingertips and release at the slightest try. This teaches them to yield from pressure and if you are consistent they become extremely light when asked. Then you can really start playing and try to get them to move the exact number of steps you want. Also feed time can be a very dominant time so ask your horse to respect your space and wait for you to drop the hay or hang the hay bag. This can be a great exercise in leadership and for your horse to look at you as the alpha horse. Again consistency is a must and once you drop that hay the game is over and you need to walk away. Be creative because there are many things you can do to train a horse even when all you are doing is chores in the pen.
If you are a head of your holiday schedule and have 15 minutes put the halter on your horse, take him out of the pen and just ask for some yields or use an obstacle and ask him to do something with it. Go over it, around it, put his foot on it, push it, stop over it, only have one leg over it, oh there are so many things we can do! They love it when you engage their brains and ask them to figure out puzzles. Instead of giving them the gifts of carrots this Christmas give them the gift of puzzles. Train a horse without them even knowing it!
Ms. Winnie is trying to connect on yet another level. I’m really starting to think there is a truly playful girl hiding inside. The other day I gave her all my attention and boy did I make sure I was reading her body language. I made sure I didn’t barge into her personal space without being invited and I just waited until she was ready for some play. I would back off at the slightest hesitation from her and even turn around until she came to nudge me. She would start with nudging then explore my pant legs, boots then get closer to see if I was hiding any treats. When she realized treats were no where to be found she really started to play with her nose with my clothes and my hands. I could see her revert back to that silent girl and then start yawning and yawning. Then the play would start again and she was so much fun. We must have played standing under the overhang for about 10 minutes. I don’t know what has been done to her in the past but it feels like a horse that had her spirit broken. Winnie just finished two weeks of homeopathic phosphorous pellets and white chestnut flower essence for her nervousness and past issues. I’m also noticing a much calmer horse when we pony Mr. Tay. Knowing how to read your horse is key when you are trying to convince her you are her partner and not a predator.
Thought I would share some fun I am having with the young three year old mare I am training. Her name is Sasha and she has a wonderful disposition with a very kind eye. She does know how to be the leader and a dominant one at that when she feels she has the upper hoof. How to train a horse Part 1 is learning what she is all about. Watching her behaviors and figuring out what makes her tick. Does she need you to go fast or slow, does she need consistency or variety, do you need to match her energy or get inside her head with psychology? It truly is so much fun figuring out how to train a horse.
She is learning how to follow a feel now and is very willing to lead out with slack in the rope. She is also starting to respect my space instead of barging through thinking that kind eye will get her everything she wants. Quickly we learned treats were not a good reward as she is way too dominant over her food. So a good scratch and some rest is doing the trick instead. She is such a quick learner and once she’s got it she’s sure to show you how to train a horse like her, is to “ask” ever so slightly. Gotta love that in a horse!