Teaching a Soft Touch to Your Horse

I’ve been lucky to be able to talk with some great trainers and learned a lot about how they work with their horses. In this article for the Paint Horse Journal, I learned from Heather Thompson how to teach “guide” to your horse for silent communication.

A Soft Touch

You’ve seen it in the show ring: a horse-and-rider team moving flawlessly through the motions, making square corners and round circles, changing direction with what looks to be no real effort at all. You can barely see the guidance the rider gives the horse through her hands, and yet he responds effortlessly.

That silent communication is the basis of what American Paint Horse Association Professional Horseman Heather Thompson calls “guide,” and it’s something she teaches all of her horses and clients.

“When I work with my horses, I don’t like to pull them. I like to push them,” she explained. “If I’m going left, I put that right rein into the horse’s neck and they know that means to ten left. I’m using rein pressure first.”

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“Guide” refers to a horse’s willingness to respond to slight pressure fro his rider. The better your horse guides, the easier he’ll be to ride.

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Download the entire article here: A Soft Touch

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