Question: Can I use a chain on my horse? When I lead him, he pulls his head down to eat anything on the ground. It’s killing my arms to try and pull him up all the time. He leads with his head on the ground sniffing for food.
Answer from April Reeves: In my world, a chain is a way of saying “I’m not willing to take the time and learn the proper way, so just give me a quick solution”. The other problem with them, is that once the chain comes off, the horse usually reverts back to old behavior. They know the difference. They’re not stupid.
I am concerned about why the horse is constantly looking for food. Either it’s a habit formed over a long time, or this horse needs more groceries, or possible free feeding. That is for you to decide, unless you want to send me photos.
If you want a horse that’s easy to lead, you need to learn how to train for groundwork. Without it, you will fight with him your entire life. Another thing to consider, and I consider this the most important, is that a horse that pulls you around on the lead will also continue that behavior under saddle. You need to understand that groundwork leads to a better saddle horse.
There is nothing simpler than teaching a horse to lead properly, yet one of the most denied form of education a rider gives his/her mount. You can change difficult habits in minutes by changing your habits and actions, and being consistent with your training.
I have many articles on this blog regarding groundwork, and I suggest you look them over, study them and use them. Just type in ‘groundwork’ in the search box. The best article is ‘Basic groundwork and saddle work for the herd bound horse’.
I also have a great video series by Jay O’Jay on Horseman’s U.com. Follow this link:
I hope you take the time to learn and grow with your horse.