About Me

My photo

You've found the Mary-Dixon page about horsemanship.  Horses are my passion and my obsession.  They have helped me become a kinder, more confident, more patient person.  What they have taught me about them and taught me about myself is immeasureable.  I now try to teach folks about the nature of horses and how to understand each other which leads to a more confident human and a more confident little darling.
Adventure Horse Riding in NYS

8/21/11

Tip #27:.... I Ain't Movin'

This has come up twice now so let's address it :  your horse just won't move forward under saddle.

And, first, let me tell you that this is a really tough problem to fix.

Make sure your saddle and pad are right for your horse. (I know, I know, it's like saying consult with your doctor before doing any exercise or taking a medicine)

If your darling is pulling this - he is telling you he is not have a good time and he could give a hoot about you.  On the good side, he is not bucking you off - always look at the good side !

So you really need to work on the mental connection with each other since this is a mental problem and not a physical problem.


But this doesn't help diddly-squat while you are out on the trail. You can turn him in circles or back him up - make him work - until he figures out it is easier to walk on than just stand there.  However, and I have been there,  if he won't move one iota, and you can't turn him or back him or move him at all, you can get off, get your long lead line which you have on your saddle, and work his tail off.  Then get on and walk.  If it is still  a no-go, do it again,

It'll take a spell for him to figure this out but he will figure it out.  The negative side of this is that it is exhausting and you have to keep mounting and dismounting - very tiring.  These are all the nice ways of working out the problem.

When you work with a darling, it's "as gentle as possible, as firm as necessary" and how firm is too firm??? whatever it takes to get the job done because you have to get the job done.  Period.

And most of you aren't going to like this one little bit, but here goes:

You are the leader in this partnership and your lives depend on each other.  If he won't move for you, there is no respect and something needs to be done.  A really solid whack on the side of the neck will almost absolutely get the job done.  And you won't have that ever problem again.

I know, I know - some of you wouldn't dream of smacking your horse - you think it's brutality.  Well, there are just times you need to take extreme measures and this is one of those times.  Since you don't have the mental connection with him (or he wouldn't do this) and he doesn't respect you (or he wouldn't do this).

You are on this magnificiently strong creature whose survival depends on YOUR  leadership - he's a mess without it - and a whack is not going to hurt him.  You want to do a really firm whack - and only one whack that really gets the message across loud and clear -   You will get his attention and his respect.  And that is what he desperately wants.  

So, even though you're are going to have fits about a good solid whack - just do it - do your horse tremendous favor and show him that you are without a doubt the leader and that he can trust you.

Remember, all you asked was for him to walk.  You gave him the best deal possible - walk - and he chose not to take that deal.  So you offered him several other deals and he didn't take those either.  Well, here is another deal for your immovable darling and that deal is the single solid whack.  So be it.

If you allow this behavior of not moving forward to continue, your horse has lost any confidence he ever had in you..   That is a real pity.

Mary Dixon               Adventure Horse Riding in NYS                     RideNYS.com