Challenge 4: Leading past the shoulder

This Challenge is all about asking your horse to lead past your shoulder. You’ll learn to guide, not drive (and why), improve your rope skills; and watch for how your horse feels as it passes your shoulder (note: leading past the shoulder can be tricky).

Getting a horse to lead past your shoulder comfortably is an essential part of establishing a good riding connection. I always find horses at clinics who struggle with this – so even if you are sitting there thinking your horse can do this – follow these steps as we break it down and check that it is really working.

Key ML Horsemanship Principle:


Up Skilling: Rope skills

Before we start this challenge, let’s refine our rope skills.
You can work on these at home on a rainy day.

Videos to watch this week

Your 4th Challenge:

Leading Past the Shoulder.

Watch the videos, then give it a go!

Leading past the shoulder starts off as a confidence building opportunity for many horses. Just be aware that an inclination to not want to do this is probably due to lack of confidence. It is hard for them to move past your shoulder.

It is also an opportunity for us to take out some areas where they may brace. Just like the back up, your horse will get to the stage where its confidence will carry a nice thought past you.

Our positioning is very important in this. We need to establish a good bubble and teach our horses to walk around our space not through our space. This is why it is important that they follow a feel by you – not just wander past. Keep your rope active.

Before I get a horse to step out onto a circle, I teach them to pass me. Then when I get them to the stage where they can go past me comfortably, I can later get them to think and step out and then go past me comfortably.

Things to watch for:

We are trying to get our horses to soften so watch for any hardening of their expression or eyes. Don’t ask them to go further until they have softened in that position.

Complete the course questions