Advice for Walking a Feisty Horse

by Bonnie Conrad
Regardless of whether you ride the horse daily, work with him from the ground every day.

Regardless of whether you ride the horse daily, work with him from the ground every day.

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Every horse has its own unique personality. Some are laid-back and easygoing, while others are high-spirited and feisty. If your horse falls into the second category, even simple things like leading it in from the pasture can become a real challenge. Walking a fast-moving and spirited horse can be difficult, but consistent training and discipline can make a big difference.

Corrals or Pens

The biggest danger when walking a feisty horse is that the animal will pull loose from you, run off and get hurt, or hurt someone else. Until you can walk the horse without him pulling ahead or trying to break free, you should work only in an enclosed area like a riding ring, round pen or corral. Working in an enclosed area also serves to focus the animal's attention, something that is sorely needed with a high-strung or distractable horse.

Leads and Halters

The right equipment is essential to both your safety and that of your horse. When choosing a lead rope, look for one with a large brass snap. Also choose one that is made of soft cotton that will not burn your hands if the horse pulls it tight. When choosing a halter, look for a rope halter with knots positioned behind the horse's ears and under its chin. You can use these pressure points to gain control of the horse, using leverage to make up for the difference in weight and strength.

Grab the Horse's Attention

When you are working with a high-strung, spirited or feisty horse, it is very important that you get the animal to focus its attention on you before you even leave the stall. When you enter the horse's stall with the halter and lead rope, move directly toward the animal and begin putting the halter on. If the horse begins to pull away or tries to ignore you, immediately tug on the lead rope to bring its attention back to you. Maintain firm control of the horse while leading it; that starts before you take a single step.

Know When to Get Help

If the horse is excited or has a lot of energy to burn, you should be able to get the situation back under control rather quickly. But if you find that you are being lead by the horse around the paddock on a regular basis, it is best to ask for some help. If you have a friend or family member who is an experienced equestrian, ask that individual to work with you and your horse. You may even need to engage the services of a professional trainer until enough groundwork is established for you to continue his training safely.

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