Palm Partnership Training™
Building a Partnership with your Horse
Horses need to respect four major ground training commands: “move away from me,” “come
toward me,” “stop,” and “back”. In this article I will give you the steps to teach your horse the
“come to me” command.
Before starting, make sure that your horse is properly equipped. He should be wearing a properly
fitting halter, with a longe line, and leg protection. I prefer using a longe line over a lead rope for
ground training, but will use both terms in these articles.
No matter what the horse’s age, I introduce these commands first in a confined, familiar location
like stall, round pen, or small paddock. Remove any distractions such as buckets or hay. This will
help him stay focused on you and relaxed. As the horse learns, you can then graduate to teaching
him the same lessons in progressively bigger areas such as an aisleway, a round pen, and paddock.
I will give explanations of these maneuvers as if I was teaching them in a stall and from the
horse’s near (left) side. Remember to teach the maneuver from both sides of your horse. Be
patient when working on his off (right) side because the horse from the very beginning of his life
is handled mostly on his left side.
Teaching the “Come to Me” Command
The “come to me” or ‘follow me” command teaches your horse to trust and accept you. This
command, together with the “move away from me” command, are essential for the horse to learn
respect of the handler and for safety.
With your horse equipped with a properly fitting halter and lead or longe line, position him so his
body is parallel to the wall of the stall. This will give you an advantage in keeping him straight as
you start the maneuver. Keeping the lead line loose, move 2-3 feet away from him toward the
middle of the stall. Stand facing him, slightly in front of his left shoulder. Don’t forget the
Golden Rule to never stand directly in front of a horse.
For now, don’t worry about which hand is holding the longe. Always be organized with your
longe so it is loosely coiled and the line is stacked in your hand. Never let the longe touch the
ground. This could lead to an unsafe situation. If there is any tension in the line to your horse’s
head, you will have a tendency to pull. One of the hardest things you must teach yourself is
not to try to control the horse by pulling on the longe or lead.
Start by addressing the horse, saying in a mellow tone “come to me” or “come”. Watch his ears
and eyes for signs that he is listening and responding to you. If he starts to take a step toward you,
you should back up as he continues to follow you. If the horse does not respond, give the voice
command again to encourage him and add a light tension on the lead. Immediately release the
tension if he steps towards you. As soon as he moves, praise him in a mellow, but different voice
tone than used for the command. Stop your movement and stroke his forehead as he stops with
Your Next Step…
In teaching the “come to me” command and other ground training maneuvers, make your
movements slow and soft. Be patient and reward any progress your horse makes. Your goal is to
make each ground training lesson a positive experience for you and your horse. This will create a
solid foundation for your partnership on the ground and under saddle.
Until then, follow your dreams,
For more information, please call 1-800-503-2824 or visit www.lynn palm.com.