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The Importance of Teaching Your Horse to Move from a Standing Still Position

When you ask your horse to walk forward from the halt, what happens? Even horses that are otherwise well-broke sometimes struggle with walking forward from a halt when asked. Your horse may throw their head up, hollow their back, or even back up when you ask them to move forward.

Like many problems you’ll encounter when training your horse, this is mostly an indication that you and your horse are not communicating clearly. You’re asking your horse to move forward, but he is not understanding you. Once the two of you speak the same language, achieving that quiet, confident walk-off is pretty easy. Our video “Teaching Your Horse to Move Under the Saddle” shows you how to develop that language. 

What Failing to Move Forward Looks Like

Failure to move forward can look different in different horses. If your horse does any of the following things when you ask them to move forward, then our approach will help.

  • Throws their head up and hollows out their back.
  • Starts backing up.
  • Stands incredibly still like a statue.
  • “Dive-bombs” their head towards the ground.
  • Bucks or crow-hops
  • Pins their ears and swishes their tail
  • Moves forward, but very slowly and reluctantly

When a horse does not walk forward when asked, riders often become frustrated. They may kick, growl, yell, or use force to demand that their horse moves forward. Sometimes, these approaches work in the short-term. They get your horse moving in the moment. However, they do nothing to teach your horse to move forward willingly and quietly the next time you ask.

Teaching a Horse to Move Forward: Our MethodThe approach to teaching your horse to move forward is all in the details. That’s why we purposely created our video, “Teaching Your Horse to Move Under the Saddle.” This video and our entire Easy Horse Fix program is NOT about teaching you to become a horse trainer. Instead, we teach you how to improve your relationship with your horse. By building good foundations, good communication, and good habits, you will have a much better experience with your horse. To watch this video as well as get access to our entire library of videos, click here to become a member.

Note: before you start teaching your horse to move forward, we highly recommend watching our Foundational Flex 7 video. This video shows you how to encourage your horse to flex and give through the neck and poll. You’ll start by performing the exercise on the ground, but it will translate easily once you’re mounted. This exercise will be your starting point when you start teaching your horse to walk forward from a standstill. It’s also the basis of the new language you and your horse are learning together. This is also included in our member library but can also be rented separately.

Once you’re comfortable with the Foundational Flex 7 exercise, you are ready to move on to our “Teaching Your Horse to Move Under the Saddle” video. In this tutorial, we show you a gentle method that starts with a flex at the poll, followed by a gentle application of the leg aids. It will be important to perform the steps in the right sequence, and also to respond appropriately when your horse reacts to your cues.As you watch, you will see how and when we release our rein aids and leg aids, thereby guiding the horse towards doing “the right thing.”

This approach is a gentle one. There’s no kicking, yelling, or aggression involved. Practice consistently and patiently with your horse and he will soon be walking off quietly and calmly, whether you’re in the ring or on the trail.

Overcoming Common Horse IssuesEven if you have a “perfect horse” it still takes time to forge a bond together, even to accomplish simple things. We’ve taken our decades of experience and knowledge and put it all together in an easy-to-understand format with our Easy Horse Fix program to show you how to perform tasks like this as well as others, such as Teaching Your Horse to Stand Still, Teaching Your Horse to Walk Up a Hill and Not Run, and many more. To access these videos, become an Easy Horse Fix member by choosing one of our plans HERE.

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