In order to be in control of your horse it’s important for your horse to know how to yield off pressure. This will allow you to communicate to him through feel and have him learn it’s his responsibility to find comfort. You can teach your horse to trust you and come forward off pressure by following your feel. He will do this by learning to go to the place of least resistance.
For example, if you wanted to move your horse’s front end over, you can put steady fingertip pressure on its shoulder and neck. The horse will find that it is most comfortable if it yields off the fingertip pressure. By doing this, the horse takes responsibility of finding its own comfort. Horses love comfort, so once they learn to follow your feel you will have the ability to move its body in any direction you desire.
It’s good to teach this to your horse early in life and he deserves to know this. It gives him training on how to safely deal with situations that he might get into such as getting caught up in a fence.
Rather than panicking, he will know to stand still so he does not get cut up more. This will prevent further injury and will save you time and possibly money due to a vet bill. It will also eliminate unnecessary pain and stress in the horse, not to mention the blemishes and scars.
There are different ways that a horse can follow your feel. Leading on a halter would be having the horse follow the feel towards you whereas fingertip pressure would be having the horse follow the feel away from you. You can also have the horse follow the feel when you’re riding by having it yield off your leg pressure.
In the process of the horse learning to follow the feel they learn to become braver and they will overcome any fear of having pressure on all body parts. It is very important for a horse to learn to come off pressure at each gait. It tends to be mentally harder for them to come off pressure when they are at a faster gait because they are thinking more from instinct.
This process can be taught in a round corral where you are both safe and the horse can drift to learn. They learn best when they are moving and you allow them the space to learn.
Once they are desensitized of being touched and get over their fear of the pressure they learn to come off the pressure willingly and follow the feel. After a horse learns to follow the feel they will be much easier to lead, guide and ride. They will pick up their feet better and not have the need to kick, which is extremely helpful for the farrier. They will know to move off of fingertip pressure and you will be able to move them in any direction you desire. When the horse learns that it is his responsibility to come off the pressure/follow the feel from every body part and is willing to move in any direction that you put pressure on you will have a much more controllable and safer horse.