Curb Eating on the Trail

Courtesy of Downunder Horsemanship

If you have a horse that’s too busy eyeing up his next meal on the trail rather than paying attention to you, use these steps to regain control.

  1. A horse can only think about one thing at a time. He’s either got his attention on you or on his next snack. As soon as he snatches grass, bend him around in a circle and kick his side with your inside leg. You’re saying to the horse, “You don’t have time to be eating grass because you’re too busy listening to me and hustling your feet!” After you make your point, put the horse on a loose rein and dare him to take another bite. It’s important to ride on a loose rein so the horse can commit to the mistake. If he tries to snatch another mouthful, repeat the process.
  2. If your horse buries his head in patch of grass and you can’t get him to move, squeeze his sides with the calves of your legs. If he ignores you, cluck to him, using your tongue. If he still isn’t moving, spank him with the end of your reins. Continue to increase the pressure until he moves his feet.
  3. Be prepared for your horse to make the mistake, and then correct him. You’ll find that if you put the horse’s attention back on you and give him direction, he’ll stop eating on the trail and become an overall better trail partner.