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Leading Your Horse

Leading Your Horse

“An untrained horse is not only hard to manage but can do more harm than good.”

Accidents happen – that is a fact of life when you engage in any risky activity. An untrained horse is not only hard to manage but can do more harm than good. If you aren’t paying attention while riding a multitude of things could go wrong risking both you and your horse’s well-being. The following safety measures should be common sense; however it is amazing how many seasoned riders forget some of the finer points of leading a horse:

  • Pay attention to what you’re doing.
  • Wear sturdy footwear in case you get trodden on.
  • Keep two hands on the leadrope.
  • Don’t pull on the rope. Give the horse some slack but you have to stay in control. As little as 30cm will be fine for maximum control provided you’re not hanging off the rope.
  • Walk on the left side at the horse’s shoulder or very slightly forward of the shoulder.
  • If you intend clipping a leadrope to the bit ring, feed it through one side and clip it to the other. Better still, simply lead the horse by its reins.
  • Run the stirrups up the saddle.
  • Related Article: Commonsense Horsemanship >>

  • Don’t leave any tack dangling.
  • Use a soft leadrope. It will be less likely to do your hands damage if the horse pulls unexpectedly.
  • Never cut corners. Give objects a wide berth as you and your horse pass them.
  • Lead one horse at a time unless circumstances force you to do otherwise.
  • Never wrap the rope around your hand. If you want more to grip, fold part of the leadrope into your hand.
  • If you’re going to trot the horse give him more rope to allow his head greater freedom. It will also get you a little further from the horse and reduce your chances of being trodden on.
  • Wear gloves where possible.
  • If the horse crowds you, push it away with fingers on its shoulder. Stop pressing once it moves away.
  • Never lead a horse by its halter without a rope. If it tosses its head and your hand or fingers get caught you could be in big trouble.
  • Horses can toss their heads around without warning. Wear a helmet if you feel it justified.
  • Stand well clear when you remove a horse’s halter in case it makes a showy departure. If you’ve just led the horse through a gate, turn it to face the gate before releasing it.
  • There are no prizes for hanging on to the leadrope at all costs. Let it go if you have to then go and regather the horse.
  • Sound a warning to others if a horse gets loose. Aside from avoiding a spooked horse they may be able to shut gates and help catch it.