Natural Horsemanship – How can I get my horse to move away?

Horseman's Stick

Adiva Murphy and Pal


Question: So when they try to knock into you what is the next step? I haven’t quite figured out how to work the stick yet but I have been using my lunge line.

Answer: Get familiar with that stick – it is your new best friend. I used to stumble along with the rope for years because I felt it was too much to handle having a stick in my hand, but once you realize you use it like a longer arm….it is FANTASTIC!

Remember to watch the horse closer – they have four phases. The horse will have shown you a phase one, two and three before they run into you…stop them at once!!!

You see out of the corner of your eye as you are leading, that they are tipping into your space. Use your elbows rhythmically into their side, neck or shoulder until they move away…then rub them. Or, wave your hand at them when they run into you – like you are hitting them BUT WITH rhythm. The key is not how you do it, but that the level of intensity increases and you stop when they try.

They do not understand aggression and angry punches (they fight back) but they do understand rhythm and will respect the consequences for their actions and will then in turn respect you. I will also “windmill or fan” the rope, swinging it in front of them and drive them back fast the second they make the “mistake” of running into me. Every time you back them up you are showing dominance.

Question: Also, when you are trying to get them to move their front end away from you by stepping towards them. If they try to run forward what do you do then? Do you go back to moving the hind end around. How do you stop the front end from going forward?

Answer: One thing – this horse does not respect backing up enough. SO the stop moving forward cue will not work very well. Get this good on the ground because you will have a horse that ‘leaves’ transitions and halts, before you want them to.

One tip – move closer to the nose and focus hard into a circle…cut them off. You are most likely too far back to the drive line and you are asking for forward motion. Get farther ahead of the point of the shoulder towards the nose…too far ahead and the horse with back up – try it! You can be out by an inch and get a different response!

Next, if the wandering is really bad, do not let it go past 3 steps before you do something about it – put rhythm in front of the horse. Wiggle the rope (snap) until the horse rocks back. Or put the stick out in front and wave it. Play with this – you will find what works. The main thing I think – it is your positioning and/ or the horse not respecting that they do not think forward but think in reverse.

Question: When you are standing in front of them asking them to back up and they try to run past you instead what do you do?

Answer: You are not asking hard enough for that horse. Use your stick between the chest muscle between the legs and tap them harder and harder until they move. Once they do stop see first question. You can wiggle the rope as a cue then bring the stick into play fast and go as hard as you need to until they try.One mare of mine  was a phase 10 –  now you barely need to wiggle the rope. Because she knows that a stick will come eventually. Consistency is the key. If I have to I can snap the rope at the chest or my hand if I don’t have the stick. I have a feeling inside of me like you are going to DIE because you ran into me…but as soon as they back off I totally relax. Just like a horse does.

Question: Also do you think horses that have blue eyes see different than with brown eyes. Are the shadows different? Just wondering. Shandi has two blue eyes and I wondered if it would have any effect on her.

Answer: I have found no research to say that they see different. Some farmers think so…think it means they are spookier etc…dogs and people with blue eyes see no different…as it is just a pigment change not a function change.

Find out more about Adiva Murphy Natural Horsemanship at:

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