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 my last two articles, we covered the “come to me” and “whoa”
commands. In this article I will give you the steps to teach your horse the “move away from me”
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.
If you are following my recommendations from past articles, you will create a lesson plan for each
of these training sessions. The objective is for the horse to be responsive to your commands on a
loose lead, without any tugging or pulling on the longe or lead. When doing any ground training
maneuver, move with the horse at all times.
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 “Move Away From Me” Command…
The “move away from me” command teaches the horse to move away from pressure. It also gives
you a tool that teaches your horse respect and helps keep a safe space between you. Moving away
from pressure is a key concept for your horse to understand for all other ground work and under
saddle training.
The first step I use to teach this command is to get the horse to move away from me by shaking or
“throwing” the longe line towards him. Once he understands that this means to move away, you

can minimize the shaking of the line as you do this gesture. This is an important tool to get the
horse to move away from you for safety. He should be able to move away from you, at your
command, without any tension being placed on the lead.
To introduce the next step, put your right hand on the point of the horse’s shoulder while your left
hand gently guides keep head straight during the maneuver. Any excess line should be held in
your right hand. Gently push, or use a vibrating touch, to move the horse’s shoulder away from
you. Give a “cluck” to reinforce teaching him to “move” or “go forward”. Follow his motion
with your body while your other hand maintains a light contact with his halter to guide his head
straight. Do not put any more tension on the halter than you have on his shoulder. The instant
that he responds by taking one step, stop and praise him with a soft mellow voice tone, and a pet.
Your Next Step…
Make sure you are looking at the horse’s topline during the “move away from me” maneuver and
not his shoulder or his feet. Once the horse understands the maneuver, you can continue to ask him
for more steps. Your contact on his shoulder will become lighter and lighter, if you keep him
straight as he learns to move away. Add the “whoa” command when you want him to stop and
don’t release your touch until after he stops.
Until then, follow your dreams,

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