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Trailering Your Horse - In-Hand Work
from Trailering Your Horse by Cherry Hill.

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

Personal Space

Both you and your horse must be comfortable working with each other during in-hand work. Before you even think about attempting to load your horse in a trailer, be sure you have established in your horse thorough in-hand manners and responses.

Don't Crowd Me!

Some horses, when given the opportunity, will crowd their handlers. This can stem from insecurity, pushiness, and, as in this case, excessive sociability. Here, as is shown by the slack lead rope and his relaxed expression, he has come to a stop very close to me and then curled his head to come even closer. While this might seem darling, it can be a nuisance and even a hazard.

Horse Handling and Grooming by Cherry HillOne way to encourage a horse to stay in his own space and keep out of yours is to use the butt end of your in-hand whip as a cuing device. You could use a 30-inch (76-cm) dressage whip with a mushroom-cap end to push on the horse's shoulder or neck. If a horse is particularly stubborn, you can use a whip without a broad cap to deliver more of a poke.


Better Response

After just a few deliberate cues, all that is required is a light tap and Mr. Mellow steps wide to the right. This personal-space lesson will come in handy when you teach your horse in-hand turning and side passing.


Elbow Tap

Another technique to move the horse's body away is to use your right elbow to poke him over. Use your elbow in a tap-tap manner. Don't lean into the horse -- he'll just lean right back.


Pitch a Wave

If the horse is just crowding you with his head, pitch a wave in the lead rope that moves his head away from you.



Ahh, this is much better. Now we're ready to start doing something productive.

Turn on the Forehand

Making Not Breaking by Cherry HillA turn on the forehand is one where the horse rotates the hindquarters around the forehand. If you are standing on the near side of the horse and you ask the horse to perform a turn on the forehand, you are asking him to step to the right with his hind legs. You want him to cross his left hind in front of and past the right hind and then uncross the right hind from behind. Meanwhile, the horse is swiveling on the left front foot, which is the pivot point of the turn, while taking tiny steps to the right and forward with the right front foot. Depending on the trailer, you might use the turn on the forehand or a variation of it to turn your horse around in the trailer or to line him up for loading.

Set Up Your Horse

Tip the horse's nose slightly to the left and cue the horse on the ribs. Here you see the butt end of the whip at the right rib area, and Veteran has already stepped to the right with her left hind for the first step of the turn.

Deep Crossover

In this turn, Veteran is crossing over very deeply with her left hind. Her left front hoof looks twisted because it faces the same direction it was when she started the turn! As she uncrosses her right hind and steps right, she'll pick up her left front leg momentarily to reorient it in the new direction. Now perform the turn without the whip and use only your fingers to give the physical signal.

Work from Off Side

Perform all in-hand work from the off side, too. In a turn on the forehand right, Ms. Antsy Pants' nose is tipped to the right. Fingertip pressure on her ribs is causing her hindquarters to move to the left. She is ready to step to the left with her left hind leg.

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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