Handling Confined and Cranky Horses
by Raye Lochert, Raye Lochert Horsemanship
Stall time is a fact of life for many horses. Unfortunately, many horses are not safe in a stall: they may lunge to get at hay or grain, be aggressive, or just hard to catch. With a little time you can train your horse to have perfect stall manners. All our horses here at Critter Creek Ranch are taught to go stand in the opposing corner from the stall door and face me. This allows me to drop in hay or grain without being mobbed. It also allows easy haltering of the horse.
The way I accomplish this is simply by round penning the horse in their stall. While standing in the open doorway I ask them to move. I use a lariat rope so I can “reach out and touch them” without going inside. You need to be smart about this as there isn’t a whole lot of room in the stall. Use as little pressure as you can to get them to move. Because of the space limitation, they can’t move very far. They may simply step back and forth and that’s ok; I just keep them moving until they want to turn and look at me. Once they make this attempt I relax, let them rest, and give praise. As soon as they move away or turn from me I apply the pressure again until they turn towards me. With me in the doorway, they will usually stand in the furthest corner from me. If not I work them until they are in that corner and then relax.
In a few sessions you should be able to open your horses’ stall door and ask them to go to the corner. The most important thing is to be consistent. If you’re in a rush and forget then you can’t blame the horse when he isn’t consistent.
Published February 2012 Issue
Practical Horsemanship – that’s Raye. In an industry that’s exploding with information and trainers, Raye takes the confusion out of horse training. By taking a problem and breaking it down into smaller, doable steps, his solutions create successes for all horse people. No matter the discipline, the age of the horse or the level of experience or expertise of the rider, success is the end result.
There are many fantastic trainers in this industry. Unfortunately, a lot of what is being taught can’t safely be used by the average horse person. Raye wants to relay information in a way that makes sense and feels safe to everyone. If the horse handler finds it confusing or complicated, the horse doesn’t stand a chance.
In the vast sea of horsemanship clinicians, Raye is considered one of the most accessible teachers with an approachable style that truly sets him apart. His intense desire to help people achieve clear and consistent communication with their horses creates a much higher level of learning with his clients. No problem is too small and no question is silly.
In addition to clinics and lessons at Critter Creek Ranch in Santa Rosa, California, Raye travels all over the Western United States (including Hawaii and Alaska) conducting clinics, private lessons and demonstrations. His teaching is also available on DVDs and in special television programming. For more information on Raye Lochert and his schedule, visit Raye Lochert Horsemanship on Facebook.