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Leading Velmu

My horses enjoy eating hay in the safety of the yard. And there is a big bale of hay next to my house. So, when I was riding with no equipment, at first I just allowed Velmu to go where he wants. And he went to the haybale. I let him eat for a while, and then I asked him to start moving. I used gentle sound cues, together with small gestures with my hands, and finally a small tap with my heels. Velmu took two steps away from the haybale, and then stopped. It was like he was asking "Are you sure about this idea? Why can't we just stay here and eat some more?" - and I knew that wihtout any equipment I have no means to force him to do anything. So I let him go back. I dismounted, and standing next to the horse I gently placed my hand on his chin. This way I asked the horse to come with me. After a short moment of hesitation he agreed, and I was leading him away from the hay, to a place where I could mount again. He stood still while I mounted, and then I rewarded him by riding back to the haybale.

Apparently, I'm not The Leader in the eyes of my horse. But then why was he following me when I was leading him without a halter? I'm sure he knows that he is strong enough to just sweep me down with one swing of his neck. He is fast enough to leap, turn around and run away before I can even blink my eye. He has teeth sharp enough to bite a bleeding wound to my soft skin. With a single kick he could send me flying all over the place. But he just chose not to do so. Instead he followed me smoothly, and waited for me to mount. So, it feel that we are more like friends. There is no struggle over leadership, there is just open conversation.

But it is still bit a mystery for me why it makes such a big difference if I'm mounted or not. Maybe, if I'm walking with my own feet next to the horse, he sees me more as comforting company, and finds it nice to go together with me. Or then it is just that I'm more skilled at walking than riding, and unconsciously feel myself more confident when standing on my own feet. And it might plainly be lack of practice.

Come on, let's go!
come on, let's go!
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