How to Approach Leadership With Horses While Having Fun

Leadership with horses is so easy.

They are herd animals. It is natural for horses to lead and to follow. But when we begin to train they can seem to be resistant to the whole idea of us taking a leadership role with them. Often this response is because the person training the horse is resistant to having to take on the role as leader. What I hope to do in this blog is to influence the reader to see that training and shaping behavior through leadership at liberty is an enjoyable endeavor.

Hillside Arena - Maestro

Making a Good Relationship Great.

When a horse shows resistance to our leadership it is usually caused from not pushing hard enough, pushing too hard, or we are offering a program that is not appropriate for the horse in the moment. Since good relationships are developed though trial and error this back and forth is desirable because it exposes the true path we need to take with our horse to gain unity and harmony through leadership.

We have 1 spot available in the December Beyond The Waterhole Rituals clinic!

Please email if you would like to join us!

Finding The Joy.

The way I approach a horse each day is that I have an agenda for what I think would be enjoyable while being a leader. By doing this when my horse greets me I offer him security and cause him to be interested in what I have in mind. Curiosity is so important to develop in a horse. It is a great way to keep his interest and enthusiasm for learning. I never pick a goal that I would see as something I would dread or that would drain my energy because my horse would react negatively to my attitude and energy.

What we hope to gain using my method is a horse that looks forward to our leadership as the best part of his day. Everything on earth stays younger from learning new things. The support from leadership skills is something a horse cannot resist. But there is a big part of the puzzle that must be taking into consideration when plans are formed. We must be willing to give up our agendas as soon as we see that our horse needs some support in another direction. For example: As many of you know we are two weeks away for the Beyond the Waterhole Rituals Clinic so we are preparing for this event. I am preparing three of my horses to function as School Masters. I need to have horses that will perform easily at liberty so that my students can practice Dancing at Liberty. At the Beyond The Waterhole Rituals clinic, we are offering many exercises where it takes one horse and two humans to practice. One day I got up and was very excited to practice because we had so much fun practicing Team Leadership Exercise the day before. In this exercise you direct a horse around a small arena (42x70) with two people to develop a leader into a team player. It is fun and teaches a horse to find his pace and self carriage easily while the two people are focused on timing, rhythm, unity and harmony. It is great fun because you can feel your skill growing quickly and the horse’s gait becomes beautifully active and fluid for dressage through this shared teamwork game.

Keep Your Agenda Working For You.

One day I took Maestro out to the new Hillside Arena but I noticed he was a bit nervous. I felt that if I turned him loose and asked for this lively game at liberty he would not have felt safe enough to enjoy it so I had to throw my agenda out the window. Instead I choose to walk him around with a lead rope in both directions to let him find comfort. We walked for 40 minutes until he felt fluid and comfortable. Then we spent about 10 minutes on the Team Leadership Exercise that I wanted to start at the beginning. To keep agendas from working against you, you have to be willing to change them. Again the reason to have an agenda is because if you have a plan the horse will want to follow your lead because of the energy your plan has created in you. I picked these pictures to show the moments of connection that we want to keep consistent with a horse when we have our horse at liberty. Enjoy!! Have a wonderful weekend and watch out for new horse and human sightings, may the horse be with you.

Warmly, Carolyn

PS We have 1 spot available in the December clinic!

Please email if you would like to join us!

Carolyn & Chip

Kai & Maestro

Sharolyn and Sonadar - The First Kiss to the First Dance: