“Stand Still!”

When a horse walks off as you get on, it’s annoying! It’s also a cross between poor manners and unsafe behavior. And of course, the horse is on his own program … not yours.

On the reverse side of things, it’s such a sweet, simple pleasure to get on a horse who stands quietly. He knows his job is to stand still and he remains patient and relaxed until you ask him for the next step.

If your horse does not stand still consider these ideas:

1. First, ask yourself what you do after you get on? Make sure YOU are tuned into the process of getting on and standing still. Be sure you are not getting on and walking off. If you do, perhaps without realizing it, you are teaching your horse to do the same.

When you get on, stand still until your horse completely relaxes and exhales. Stand still until he is expecting nothing else but standing still. If your horse has been walking off, it may take a number of times of standing motionless until he exhales to condition the new behavior.

2. Another exercise I love to do when I get on is flex my horse’s nose from side to side. For the sake of consistency, I like to think of my horse’s chin touching the point of his shoulder. That way I am always flexing him in exactly the same way every time on both sides. Consistency in your work results in calm and clear responses. Inconsistency yields random results.

Also, when you get on and flex your horse from side to side … and then you release the reins … and stand still until your horse exhales before you ask him to walk forward … you will have a horse who never expects to go anywhere when you get on.

3. To correct a horse who walks off, back him up first on the ground and then be still until he relaxes. The moment he even begins to think about moving forward again, in a firm way, stop what you are doing and back your horse up. Now stand quietly by the fender of your saddle until he relaxes. You can also do this as you are mounting or as you are landing in the saddle. If at any point he begins to move, repeat the back up in a methodical manner and stand still until he relaxes.

The idea here is to respond to his moving forward behavior by getting him to do some “work”. Moving his feet by backing him up is his consequence to his incorrect behavior. If you are consistent … no matter how many times you need to back him up … he will find the release from his backing up work by standing still. He will want to relax and remain motionless.

When you pair the backing up exercise (when needed) with always flexing him and waiting for him to exhale after you get on, you will have a wonderfully mannered, safe horse who stands quietly when you mount.

Print This Post Print This Post    Email This Post Email This Post   


5 Comments on “Stand Still!”

  1. Dianne on Tue, 12th Jan 2016 7:23 pm
  2. Hi Barabra. Wishing you all the best for 2016. This article is excellent. Can you tell me how to flex a horse or do a video?

  3. Barbra Schulte on Wed, 13th Jan 2016 7:50 am
  4. Dianne, thank you for your comment. This is a good idea for an article or video to come! Thanks again. Barb

  5. Annie on Wed, 13th Jan 2016 11:50 am
  6. I have enjoyed getting your newsletters in my inbox. So much information without the hassle of creating accounts, passwords, logging in. Consistency in horsemanship is key to any well mannered horse, we need to train that consistent mindset into ourselves first before we can expect our horses to understand. It is always a never ending work in progress!

  7. Barbra Schulte on Wed, 13th Jan 2016 10:59 pm
  8. Annie, yes!!! Absolutely!

  9. Francine on Wed, 13th Jan 2016 11:29 pm
  10. AMEN! Thank you for bringing this up. Seems like every horse I purchase that is broke regardless of age this is a BIG problem and the first thing I work on – that and leading. Who says that cow horses shouldn’t act like a showmanship horse on halter and stand like a halter horse. Doesn’t have to be perfect, but EVERY horse should be taught this! THANK YOU! Happy Happy New Year!!!!! 2016 is going to be FABulous!!!!!

Tell me what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.