A Good Grounding

Part 5: Keep Your Distance

You need your horse to stay out of your space unless and until you invite him into it. This is another sign of respect (like backing up on command), but it is also more: when working with a 1000+ pound animal this is a matter of your safety, as well. A horse who crowds his handler is both disrespectful and dangerous.

Stand facing your horse, about four feet from his head. If he moves in toward you, back him out again using the same cues you learned in the Back Up exercise. Keep doing this every time he moves in on you, and he'll soon start to get the message. The more you do this, the more he will relax and begin to pay attention to you, watching you for his cues. You may find that at the completion of other exercises, such as the Sending exercise, he may try to move into your space and you'll need to back him out again. Do this consistently, even outside of training sessions; your horse must learn that he is not ever allowed to enter your personal space (roughly a four-foot circle around you) unless you invite him in.