After more than 30 years of experience at our horse riding holidays centre Il Paretaio, in Tuscany,teaching riders of any level and from any part of the world I can say that the way of leading a horse is something that would need to be improved in 80 per cent of riders. It is not something really well taught and riders do not pay lots of attention about it while I think that leading is one of the fundamental blocks of training. I have seen riders with good experience at riding but really uncapable to establish a relationship while leading for example a horse to trot in hand to be vet checked. Not enough communication, not aknowledge of body language.While you lead your horse you must really concentrate on the intent in order to establish your energetic cnnections to the horse. Leading needs lots of attention and communication: there must be nothing casual about it.
I really enjoyed a chapter about this subject from the book Zen Mind Zen Horse and I will report you a few lines about Allan Hamilton considerations about leading a horse.
"....the istant you lead your horse away, you are making a conscious choice: teach or be taught.
Leading is not about being out in front. It's about being in tune.
The Line and the Lead
When you pick up your horse's lead line, yes, you're holding your horse at the end of a 14-foot (or longer) piece of rope, but your horse is also holding you. So prepare yourself. When you take up the lead, do it with awareness of creating cnnection. You're defining an energetic relationship through a simple piece of rope.
POSITION AND BODY LANGUAGE
You can lead your horse from any one of dozen positions. Some are more difficult to master than others. Always start your training with the easiest position: namely, with your right shoulder aligned with the horse's left eye.
As soon as we lead off, we must depend exclusively on our body language to give directional cues. DO NOT LOOK AT THE HORSE. Instead, focus your chi on the horizon. That is where you intend to go.
How often do our goals take shape after we are able to visualize them?
In a similar fashion, you want to establish the direction of travel for your horse by focusing on where you want to go.
We gain insight from looking at the most common mistakes novices make when leading. they take one step forward, stop, and then turn to look back at their horse. Alternatively, their energy is focused on the ground.
It may be human nature to want to maintain visual contact, but that's not true for equines. The lead stallion or alpha mare does not look back to see if the herd is following. He or she focuses on the horizon, where the herd needs to go. And the herd follows, searching ahead for where the lead mare is gazing."
Leading a horse: a very important part of his education
Cristina Libardi, Il Paretaio Horse Riding Centre 2019-02-23