by Al Badia
Chances are the very first thing you’ll ever do with your horse is lead it somewhere. This is a basic skill that everyone who owns a horse or pony will need to know. Walking quietly beside you is also something your horse must learn. Although it is traditional to lead on the left side, you should be able to lead from the right (offside) as well. Walking obediently beside you is the basis for many other things you’ll ask your horse to do such as loading on a trailer and longeing.
Begin with your horse haltered with a sturdy lead rope snapped to the ring on the underside of the halter.
Standing on the left-hand side (near side) of a horse, hold the lead rope about 8 inches from the snap with your right hand. Hold the end of this folded to fit comfortably in your left hand—this will help prevent any accidents if he decides to pull back suddenly.
With the end of the lead rope folded over in one hand and the lead rope in another hand, take a step forward with your left foot and gently place the folded end on the ground behind your horse’s shoulder.
Holding onto both ends of the rope with both hands, take another step forward with your other foot. As you do this, pull up lightly on both ends of the rope until they are taut but not tight around their neck. This will cause them to follow along behind you as you walk away from them.
When walking with a horse or pony for the first time, it’s important that they learn that following along behind you is what they need to do if they want something tasty like hay or grain!