What if you could get your horse to calm down with just a touch of your lead rope?
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this exercise as to how powerful it is as a training foundation for your horse.
First, the practical reasons why this works, think about it,
when a horse is grazing they are relaxed and when they go on high alert their head comes up.
We are going to use the horse’s natural instinct to teach her (or him) to relax & use the thinking side of her brain,
by giving her a signal to drop her head.
In the Horses-U Riding Academy it is called The Relax Cue.
It’s easy to teach and it is a GREAT confidence builder for both you and your horse.
Again! Don’t skip this because it sounds so easy, it really and truly works,
and you will find yourself using it all the time.
Let’s get started…
Step 1: Teach your horse to stop and stand when leading.
Step 2: Stand on the leading side of your horse.
Grab just below the buckle of the lead rope and apply a soft downward hold.
You are applying a soft pressure until your horse gives at all and then you release.
The softer your horse gets doing this exercise the less pressure you will use and the more drop you will get in your horse.
If you have a horse who is not giving to light downward pressure, keep the consistent pressure and add a soft left to right to slowly and softly move their head to relax their pole and help them to relax and drop.
Step 3: Now that your horse had learned the cue and how to stay relaxed, so their head is lower then their withers and they are stretching down consistently you can add this cue to your training to trigger your horse to relax.
Always start on the ground first.
You can lead your horse and ask for a relax and stretch down.
Anytime your horse raises their head to worry while you are working together, pause, ask for the relax and then take pressure off and continue.
You can incorporate this into anything you are doing with your horse and working on. At any time of your horse gets tense or worried ask them to relax.
Continue the relax cue through your desensitizing as well but, make sure to start with the initial relax cue and work on that before you move up to anything else.
Here’s a quick video from our upcoming Western Dressage video that shows the effectiveness of using the relax cue in your groundwork…
Now it’s your turn! Go try the Relax Cue and let us know your results!
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