Leading Your Horse, and Why It's Important

Updated: Nov 6

Hey, y'all! Sam here with a post about leading! Now, you might be thinking, "Leading, Sam? That's like, the most boring thing to do with a horse ever! Why on Earth would you make a post about it?!"

I'm glad you asked! First, boring?! You're crazy if you think that leading your horse is boring! The first thing most riders learn is how to lead a horse!

As soon as you're done reading this post, I want you to go out and throw a halter on your horse. How does he lead? Does he follow from behind you? Does he walk up ahead of you? Does he stick to your side? You can better understand the relationship between you and your horse by how he leads.

If he goes up in front of you then you probably need to work on your dominance. Who's leading who?

If he's following too far behind, then he probably doesn't take you very seriously. Or he's just tired/lazy. My horse, Ellie, used to be super lazy. When I got her, she wouldn't pass a slow-trot. I fixed that with every day work: Lunging, grooming, riding.

If he is right at your shoulder, then give him a pat on the neck because you've got a well-trained horse!

If he goes up ahead of you, I suggest backing him up a few steps, telling him to "whoa," and then backing yourself up a few steps. Make sure his attention is on you, not the horse over in the next pasture or the family member that's playing basketball over by the house. If he takes even the slightest step toward you, back him up two more steps and repeat. Do this until the horse stands completely still with 100% of his attention on you, then click and give the lead rope a little tug, signaling him to walk-on. Do this every time that he goes in front of you — eventually, he'll get it.

If he's dragging behind, I suggest lunging him for a few minutes, switching sides every few rounds. Make sure he's at least trotting during the lunge. This will get him more excited and ready to listen.

Remember that leading is an excellent way to bond and get to know your horse. It should be in your daily equine routine.

Alright, that about covers it. Comment below on how YOUR horse leads and what YOU do to help him! Sam out!