When leading the horse, the right hand should be on the lead shank and a few inches below the snap and knot.The excess lead shank should be held neatly in the left hand.Both hands should be held in a comfortable manner in order to allow the horse to walk with its head held in a natural relaxed manner.
When leading, it is important to keep your eyes looking forward and focused on where you are going.
A person’s body position is very important when leading.The proper position is to walk between the horse’s shoulder and throatlatch. Common mistakes made when leading a horse include:the hand is held incorrectly on the shank and the horse’s head is held up as is done when leading cattle and also the leader tends to get out in front of the horse and looks back at him. These mistakes could interfere with your safety.
Leading a horse through a small opening such as a stall door presents a dangerous situation. Horses may be apprehensive to move out of or into a stall because the areas inside and outside of a stall area can be very different. The horse’s response may be to bolt through the opening or resist moving forward. If uncontrolled, the horse can easily injure a handler because of the proximity of surrounding structures.
Once haltered, the horse should be positioned beside you as the door is opened. The door should be large enough for you and the horse to move through the opening together so you can stay positioned along the horse’s side. However, many openings are too small for the handler to remain along side of the horse. In that case, the best alternative is for you to open the door and position the horse in line with the right side of the opening while you maintain position along the left side of the horse’s neck. If the horse can be stopped or movement can be slowed before going through the opening, you can step through before the horse and then cue the horse to follow. If this is the case, you must move quickly to the side of the opening when leading the horse through to avoid movement of the horse.
Many swing or hinged gates are constructed to have wider openings than stall doors. You must keep position along the side of the horse when moving through the gate while maintaining control of the gate and the horse. One option is to swing the gate completely open, walk the horse through the gate, move the horse to the other side of the gate, and swing the gate closed. Pushing the gate away from the horse in this manner can create enough movement to cause a horse to shy from the gate. Also, if the gate swings freely, it may move back toward you and the horse. If you lose control of the gate, other animals in the area might try to move through.
The recommended procedure for moving through a swing gate is similar to other gates.