QUESTION: I have a mature gelding that has decided that he will let me easily catch him out on pasture, BUT will not let me lead him back to the barn. He spins, lunges or rears and yanks the lead rope out of my hands every time now. He used to do it only once in awhile but now he does it all the time. The Vet says there is nothing wrong with his ears, eyes or teeth. Why is he doing this and what can I do to make him behave himself? I am a young girl and very upset with this.

ANSWER: A horse only has to get away from someone leading it once or twice to learn that he can do so. It is called HALTER PULLING, whether the horse does it tied to a post or whether he does it when being led.

Once they have learned they don't have to be led and thus ridden or something else they don't like "such as leaving their pasture buddies", it takes a professional trainer to put a stop to it.

The trainer will quickly teach him that it doesn't work with them because the trainer knows how to keep the horses position from his/her own body so the horse can't jerk away. The trainer knows when to hold tight to the rope and when to throw slack rather than letting the horse over power the trainer.

The trainer may also used a steady/calm pony horse to lead this one, teaching it that again, it must lead and not pull away. A pony horse is a trained horse for this, such as ones used to "Pony" race horses from the saddling paddock to the track and to "Pony" the racehorse until it is warmed up and ready to run.

A professional trainer may also use a chain over the nose, under the chin or even through the mouth so that when the horse fights to pull away, the chain bites him, thus teaching him it hurts to lunge, rear or pull to get away. This must not, I repeat, must not be done by anyone but a professional.

The thing is, once you get the horse back home, you have to have learned from the trainer how to use distance from the horse and your body position versus the horses body (head) position to prevent the horse quickly learning that he again can get away from you.

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