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Beginners Guide to Horse Training by Yates
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Horse Training: Does Your Horse Have The Feel?

by: Andy Curry

There's an old horse training saying. It says "your horse should have the feel."

Basically, that means if you're leading your horse with the lead rope, does he follow you with virtually no tugging on that lead rope?

As part of the breaking process a horse is taught to lead. That's a natural part of how to train a horse when you're a horse trainer.

when he does, the goal is to have him step in sync (and stop) with you.

When you step, the lead rope has almost no "pull" on it.

That's the goal (in leading, anyway).

When your horse "feels" that pressure from the lead rope, he should move. Thus, he has the feel.

If you've ever seen someone leading their horse and they're tugging and pulling, the horse obviously doesn't have the feel.

Little does that person know he's teaching his horse to not lead with him.

So how do you get a good lead with the horse?

There are lots of ways.

I'll try to describe one of my favorite horse training videos that shows Paul Esh doing this.

When filming Paul Esh for, we caught him doing it like this:

You're standing beside your horse at approximately the neck area. You're on his left hand side.

You hold the lead rope in your right hand and point forward. (That's an alert to the horse that something's about to happen).

Then with your left hand you twirl the end of the lead rope and lightly tap him with it.

More 'n likely, that'll get his atten- tion and cause him to move.

So you'll point, take a step, and tap him with the rope.

Walk a little ways. Stop.

Wait a few moments and let him soak it in.

Do it again.

You'll find as you repeat this you soon won't have to tap him with the rope. He'll see you point and he'll know to step.

And not too long after that, you won't have to point and step because he'll know your body language and what he needs to do.

Ultimately, he'll have the "feel."

Before you do this with your horse, it is assumed you know him well enough that you're confident you can lead him close to you and he won't jump on you.

If you're not at that stage yet, better teach him to respect your space first. (That's also one Paul taught in our Super Stars of Horse Training filming)


About The Author

Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training and horse care books. He is also well known for finding, interviewing, and filming expert horse trainers and making their expertise available to horse owners who want to learn different horse training tips and secrets and how to solve behaviorial issues with horses. For information visit his website at