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At first your horse won’t be able to touch his nose to his body. So you start with small successes. At first you pull his head back towards you until you get resistance. When you do, hold lead rope tension. Don’t make tension more or less, simply hold it there. The second he looks back toward you more and creates slack in lead rope, you give him immediate relief and take tension off lead rope completely. Then you tell him what a good boy he is. Pet him too. Let him know that’s just what you wanted.
As you do this, you will want him to bring his head farther and farther back until he begins to touch his nose to his body. Don’t try to get him to touch his nose to his body within first one or two ground sessions. That’s rushing it and you likely won’t make it happen. This takes time to get your horse to understand what you want him to do.
Remember to do this on other side of your horse too. What your horse can do on his left side, he should be able to do on his right side.
When you have your horse touching his nose to his side, then you’re ready to get on him and test his emergency brake. Get on your horse and go for a test ride. If he starts to run and you don’t want him to, grab a rein and pull his head around. Don’t jerk reins…pull. Then boot him into a circle. When he slows down or stops like you want him to then release pressure. Remember to do it on left and right reins.
If your horse doesn’t easily touch his nose to his body while riding him, then you need to have him practice it more. Also, before you go riding have him touch his nose a few times on each side with bit in his mouth. Doing these things will cinch your riding into a pleasant experience.
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training and horse care books. For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.