Stay out of Trouble with Horses and Gain a Strong Leadership Position

Dec 14, 2020

To be a student of the horse, ask yourself, ‘does your horse feel safe with your leadership?’ and do you have the full attention of your horse when you make a request?’ These questions will help you improve your leadership and gain the trust and cooperation of your horse.

If you are a horse lover and have a strong bond with your horse but are only interested in providing your horse a nurturing environment, leadership may seem unnecessary. This can put you and your horse in jeopardy in many situations such as emergency conditions, natural disasters, and vet and Ferrier care. By being a leader, your horse will seek out your leadership, feel safe in your charge, and connect with you more deeply. When this happens, your horse will give you a high grade on your report card!

Avoid focusing on trying to 'fix' behavioral problems. Focus on getting the horse's full attention in the moment so that you can redirect unwanted behavior. This is a significant point that is oftentimes overlooked. In the Resnick Method, we call this finding the “Entry Point of Connection.” 

You may also want to avoid giving treats to your horse at the beginning of his training. Unless you are an experienced trainer and know how to use treats, it can cause more trouble than you think. You can lose your horse’s focus, and it can distract him from following your lead. This could cause unwanted behavior.

You will stay out of trouble when you learn how to create a sense of safety for your horse. To provide your horse with a sense of safety requires knowing how to keep a horse focused on the task at hand. Even the simplest of tasks should be managed to demonstrate leadership to your horse. For example, leading your horse through a gate. First, make sure you are connected to your horse, and when your horse is ready to follow your lead to a gate, go to the gate and ask him to stop and stand still to be in control of the simple act of going through the gate. When you accomplish that,  ask him to move through the gate, then, when through the gate, again ask him to stand still until you close it. You reconnect by waiting for your horse to relax and show a willingness to accept your leadership at each stage before moving on. With this attention to detail, a horse will naturally follow your lead.  

Helpful Information:

After any separation, take the time to reconnect by getting your horse's attention and trust before asking him to follow your lead. A separation could be as simple as pausing to take a cell phone call, moving out of sight, or starting a new day with your horse. 

A young horse or a horse that has been abused needs to feel that you are not a predator. In these cases, it is essential to gain and keep the horse’s full attention. By doing this, you will have the horse’s cooperation. Every time you move on to a new subject and the horse has refused your request, you need to stop and go back to what was previously working.  Bring the connection back to the same trust and respect you had before the lack of willingness happened. 

As a leader, it is important to gain your horse’s trust and cooperation before asking him to follow your lead. When you listen to your horse, the lessons you learn come from the positive and the negative responses. There is an old Indian saying that a wise leader once said, “I want to know where my people want to go so I can lead them there.” With horses, you have to listen to learn how to whisper.

Right from the start, The Resnick Method, Original Liberty Training Course,  teaches you a step by step approach to building a partnership with horses at liberty, with the same ability as a Horse Whisperer. You will grow in harmony, with integrity, until you are able to have a connection with your horse that is truly magical. Our program is designed for everyone, from horse lovers with basic horsemanship skills to dressage riders to equine-assisted therapists and even professional trainers! We will support you through the entire process of learning how to train and connect with a horse to dance with you at liberty to gain the best relationship, from the ground to the saddle. 

Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings. May the horse be with you!

Carolyn Resnick

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To learn more about the subjects mentioned in this blog, you may be interested in the blogs: 

TRICK OR TREAT? Pros And Cons Of Using Treats For Training Your Horse

How to Make the Transition from the Ground to the Saddle For a Seasoned Rider: 

Improving Performance Under Saddle Using The Waterhole Rituals as a Warm-Up Program: 


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