How can I train a wild Mustang to lead?
Note: The following excerpt is the transcript from a question I answered from my Facebook Live made in the Steady Horse Facebook Group on 5/29/19. Watch the video or read the text below to learn the answer to the question.
Mustangs are very instinctual. They have very strong fight-flight responses because they have these are survival mechanisms that are built into them to help them survive. So, it’s important to be very patient and gradual with everything you do. Because even things that we take for granted, like being in a stall or paddock, are completely foreign concepts to that horse. So during this time, he’s going through a radical change in how things have been used for him. Everything’s new, everything’s different. Don’t ask for too much too soon.
When you’re asking your horse to lead, typically when you ask the horse to lead you’ll pick up that lead rope and start walking. The expectation is that that horse will start walking with you and following your lead.
One of the things that you want to start with is putting pressure on that lead, just a little bit of pressure and maintaining that pressure. Don’t go to tugging and pulling and expecting him to move right off of that pressure, but maintain the pressure until he gives you just a little bit of an advance movement. That’s the goal. Get him to understand that when you apply pressure on the lead rope, the lead rope connects to the halter. When it connects to the halter underneath that ring, it’s pulling on the halter.
What’s happening is as it pulls on that ring underneath there, or rope if you have a rope halter, it’s putting pressure behind the poll. That’s where the pressure is coming from. The goal is for your horse to actually move away from that pressure and to move in the direction which the pressure is pulling them. So, the moment you see your horse even pull that head forward, release because he’s moving in the right direction. Then take a deep breath, rubbing love on it and let them know that he’s doing a great, great job.
Remember. Don’t ask for too much too soon. Make sure you end on a good note. It’s super, super important to end when that horse is doing well and moving out confidently.