FREE ONLINE TRAINING PAGE 2
LEARNING TO USE ROPES AND STICKS
2A-Becoming comfortable with your tools.
natural horsemanship doesn't require lots of costly tools and equipment: a quality rope halter, a 12 or 14ft line and a Horsemanship stick with attached
string is all that is needed until you advance to much higher levels where you will need longer ropes.
items are a must as you "speak" down them to your horses and trying to communicate effectively by using thick webbing
halters and short lines just isn't going to work-sorry.
you start to use these new pieces of equipment you will probably be a
bit clumsy with them at first like we all are, so getting used to handling them will be
your next lesson and it's best if you do this without your horse to
begin with. It might feel a little foolish but it's worth it as you don't want to be poking his eye out or getting tangled in ropes etc..
HORSEMANSHIP STICK & STRING
This is sometimes called a Carrot Stick or Training Wand. This item is not to be confused or used as a whip. It has been designed to be much stiffer than a whip and acts as a pure extension of your arm to allow you to guide your horse from further afield, so as not to put you at risk by allowing you to be able to interact with your horse from a safe distance and be as long as he is with its use.
Try to practice with your stick and string using both hands. Pass
the Horsemanship stick from one hand to the other to get a "feel" for it and keep doing this until it feels so natural. Now
use it to flick the leather popper end of the string onto a mark or
object somewhere near the end of your reach-try to hit the exact spot at
least 10 times using both hands. Wrap the string gently around a
helper if possible and ask them to rate the "feel" out of 10. 1 is being
whipped by you and being scared of it (lol-I hope not) and 10 would be that it
felt soft, gentle and your body language was non threatening or too
direct-see belly button info in lesson 1A-try to have your stick in "neutral" when you're not using it rather than having it high up which can be perceived as threatening at first to your horse. Also using it in a rhythmic way helps to calm your horse so try practising this too.
QUALITY ROPE HALTER
Firstly please don't use cheap nylon halters as they can dig into your horses skin and see-saw his hair off, as well as cause rope burns too. A true Natural Horsemanship rope halter is made from purpose made equestrian yachting braid which is both strong but yet soft -they may cost a little more to buy initially but they will outlast a cheap halter by decades and they feel so much better on your horses face too. Plus quality rope halters are a much more effective tool than a regular thick strapping halter as they communicate effectively with your horse by the correctly placed knotting system creating an uncomfortable irritable pressure if he leans into the halter, which gives him a reason not to do this and when he is not leaning its the kindest type of halter available as its really soft and light on his face. Before placing your halter on your horse-Please show your rope halter to your horse first and allow him to have a good sniff of it. Do not hide it as you need to be transparent and honest with everything you are going to do with your horse.
A good tip is not flick the headstall
part of the halter over your horses neck as this can scare him or cause
other dangerous complications for both of you.
CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTOS
To fit a ROPE HALTER safely, hold
the end of the longest part of the halter with one hand (the headpiece) and the the
loop where the halter ties with the other hand and pop one arm over his head and reach under his neck with the other arm holding the long headpiece part in order to pass it to the hand waiting on his neck. You can now draw your horse's nose towards you and slip
the halter onto his nose and push into place near his throat area to make sure it's not to droopy and tie as shown around the loop itself.
Correct tying is essential or it could come undone or over-tighten making it impossible to undo. Please do not leave any halter on your horse when he's out in the pasture as this is dangerous as it might get caught on something.
12FT OR 14FT LEAD LINE
Your lead rope has been designed at this longer length with your safety in mind. The 12/14ft line allows your horse more room and this makes him feel safer as no horse likes their feet being restricted as they use flight as a defence mechanism, so it's vitally important to horses to feel they can move around if necessary, which actually makes them less likely to want to run away and therefore keeps your horse calmer. So I suggest never holding the rope closer than about 6ft away so that's about halfway as to offer your horse some room and space. Also for your own safety learn to pass the rope behind your back or under your feet-PLEASE DO NOT PASS IT AROUND YOUR NECK as if your horse spooks it could be fatal. Learn to use the crook of your elbow to hold it in as this allow both hands to be free and will help when also handling the stick too.
The correct line should have "feel" which is why it's important to
have the correct weight and thickness of rope. After all you are going to be communicating down
this rope to your horse so it has to be correct for these purposes.
There are many different snaps to choose from on your line as shown
here. It's up to you which one you choose and some very sensitive horses do better with just a
rope loop but that's obviously your choice :)
In order to feel how your horse feels please hold the rope halter while a friend wriggles the rope lightly so you can feel how light you will need to be when you start "talking" to your horse through these lines. Now swap with your friend and try it for yourself as we need to see it from the horses point of view to be empathic to his needs.
Again always show your rope to your horse before attaching it to his halter and if he bites it -no worries it's no big deal? Add it to your rope halter once he's ok with it and vow to let
your horse have at least 6ft of it from now on giving him the whole 12/14ft if he is spooky at anytime as the last thing we want is a scared horse on top of us.
Natural Horse will not be liable for any injuries sustained by the incorrect use of these techniques as you are responsible for you and your equines safety.
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