We SERVE horses by EMPOWERing humans with the KNOWLEDGE and principles of natural horsemanship.

When a Horse Refuses to Stand Still

When your horse won’t stand still, it can be so frustrating and so maddening. He circles, invades, pulls, even rears up. Sometimes it can even be a little unnerving. Humans are small in comparison to the size of a horse, and a restless, restive horse can feel dangerous.

There are two things that can help your horse not only stand still, but want to – and they are both the exact opposite of what most people do.

 
  • When your horse refuses to stand still, instead of holding him tight and jerking on the halter, give him more rope and get him to move more! It’s called reverse psychology and it works. Give your horse at least four feet of rope, put your back against a wall or fence and then play the Driving Game, sending your horse quickly from one side of the fence to the other. When a horse is full of adrenaline, holding him close makes him feel claustrophobic and panicky. By giving him more rope, you stop aggravating this feeling.
  • When a horse needs to move his feet, the more you try to stop him the worse it gets. So do the opposite…get him to move his feet faster than he wants and pretty soon the adrenaline comes down and all he wants to do is stand still. Oh…and don’t let him go in circles. The fact that he has to go back and forth, faster than he wants to is the secret to this exercise. This can take a little time if it’s an extreme horse, but even though a few minutes might feel like an eternity to you it’s a drop in the bucket of time where a horse is concerned.

One of the great trust and confidence builders in the Parelli method of natural horsemanship is our Seven Games DVD. Starting with the first game – the Friendly Game – and progressing through the series is a natural way of building a partnership/relationship between human and horse. The Driving Game we refer to above is also one of the Seven Games.

One of the common mantras of Parelli natural horse training is “Take the time it takes.” So many people don’t take the time it takes to do things right, and end up spending so much more time dealing with the horse’s problem on an ongoing basis. If you invest the time it takes to understand why your horse refuses to stand still and then do what it takes to naturally discharge the underlying cause, you’ll have a horse who stands still with no problem.

A happy, calm, peaceful, satisfied and relaxed horse.
A happy, calm, peaceful, satisfied and relaxed human.
That’s what natural horsemanship will get you every time!

Anyone can sell you a stick or a rope. We give you a place to belong, to learn, to grow. Parelli wants you to be a part of our community of like-minded individuals committed to a better, more natural way of developing a partnership with your horse. We realize that if you have a hard time loading your horse into a trailer, you might be having other problems that can be remedied by a better foundation of learning for both you and your horse. And, we want you to have FUN with your horse! The Parelli Savvy Club is dedicated to your growth as both an individual, and as a responsible horse owner.

Won’t Stand Still Q&A:

My horse is a Left Brain Extrovert/Introvert. We are doing some things in Level 1 (Squeeze and Sideways) and some things Level 2 and higher (she will Yo-Yo at Liberty). I have two questions about her: First, how do I teach her to stand at the mounting block? I watched Linda in the Savvy Club DVD about getting on from a fence and need more information. I can get her to stand there, but as soon as I walk around to get on the mounting block she moves her butt out, backs up or goes forward. If I stand on the mounting block and tap her with the stick in Zone 4, she moves either front or back and out of my range so that I can’t keep tapping and then stop when she gets it right. If I give her a treat when I get her to stand there, she moves her head and gets out of position, in other words, she follows me because she wants more. I’ve gotten her in position many times, and just stood there petting her so she knows she’s doing the right thing, but as soon as I put my foot in the stirrup, she thinks it’s time to walk off. How does Linda get her horse to think they need to stand next to something? I keep thinking that maybe she’s not giving me permission to get on.

Try to think about the mounting block as a sweet spot. Can you play with her out and around with a lot of effort and then relax and do nothing at the mounting block? Then just rub her, leave and go play, come back and play the Friendly Game. It sounds to me like she is doing this more with the left side of her brain. When she gets out of range, just try to find a way to be effective without moving your feet and stick with it long enough to release at the right moment. Expect a lot, accept a little, and reward often. She’s just testing you out on the ground to see how good of a leader you will be once you are in the saddle. That’s okay because we do the same thing with them to see how good of a partner they will be once we get on. So, when it comes time to put your foot in the stirrup and she moves, then quickly go play again and ask her to put in a fair amount of effort, then come back to the mounting block and try again. If she moves, go back to it. Pretty soon she will start to think, “I wish she would hurry up and put her foot in the stirrup.” This way you can cause your idea to become her idea. Play with mounting rubbing her on the other side before getting all the way on, get off, try from the other side, and just try to think of it as an extreme Friendly Game. When you get to a good place, get off of it and play with something else. Continue to progress until you can mount and have her stand still for a few minutes while the two of you just sit there. If this doesn’t seem to help, then it may be more of a right-brained behavior. So you need to figure out what you can do to build her confidence. A lot of approach and retreat, and confidence building in different Zones would be a good way to start. For example, she may be moving because she isn’t comfortable with things in Zone 3. Try to break it down into small ways which you can help her.

“When the feet need to go, move them faster in a smaller space so they stick to the stop.”

The Parelli Savvy Club gives you a place to belong, to learn, to grow. Parelli wants you to be a part of our community of like-minded individuals committed to a better, more natural way of developing a partnership with your horse. We realize that if you have a hard time loading your horse into a trailer, you might be having other problems that can be remedied by a better foundation of learning for both you and your horse. And, we want you to have FUN with your horse! The Parelli Savvy Club is dedicated to your growth as both an individual, and as a responsible horse owner.