Q: “Where do you stand when you´re leading a horse?”
Bill: “It depends on the situation - whether he´s a horse that wants to go way too fast or one that wants to go way too slow [Pg: 356]. If he´s too fast, then you´re liable to be a shade behind or ahead as you work to get him to feel [Pp: 318-321]of you. It can take a little while to get the timing [Pg: 361] right on this so that it´s effective for a horse that´s too quick about things. If he´s too slow, [Pg: 356] then you have to teach that horse to lead up real free [Pp: 332-334] and that´s in the first part of the book (Chapter 4, Part 2). Where you´d stand really all depends on the picture you have in your mind about leading him, and what you have in mind to offer the horse in the way of feel [Pp: 318-321] that will keep him the way he is, or change the way he handles on that lead rope."
Q: “Should the horse be kept far away on the lead rope to keep a person safe?”
Bill: “Get up close and get him to feel [Pp: 318-321] of you and then you´ll be able to handle him out on the end of a rope later on after he can feel [Pp: 318-321] of you up close. If he isn´t feeling [Pp: 318-321] of you up close, he´ll be even less able to at a distance, or when you´re sitting up there on his back. You need a foundation first."
Q: “Is it all right to use a stud chain over the nose?”
Bill: “Then you´re making him stop through pain. You aren´t teaching a horse to feel [Pp: 318-321] of you. You´ve failed in the helping [Pg: 327] part of things, and you´re trying to make him do it (whatever it is you are wanting him to do) instead. That´s not the right attitude [Pp: 299-300]. "
(The same person had this follow-up question)
Q: “But what if when I ride him, he does fine? We win at the shows and he´s basically a really great horse.”
Bill: “He´ll do better for you over the jumps and in front of the cows if you get him better on the ground. It seems to you like he´s doing all right, but he´d do better with this other feel [Pp: 318-321], rather than responding to the pain imposed by a stud chain. But if you don´t know about reaching a horse to learn to feel [Pp: 318-321] of you, then the stud chain approach is just a mechanical solution. It won´t work as well because there´s always pressure [Pg: 346] involved, and it´s applied in a way that it´s difficult for the horse to understand. Without a release [Pg: 347] at is based on his response [Pp: 349-350] to your feel [Pp: 318-321] , he can´t really understand the meaning of the pressure [Pg: 346] in that chain - except that he knows the pain of it. That chain won´t ever bring out the best in a horse. To get a horse switched over from that takes time, and a lot of people don´t want to spend time on that."
Q: “Will he ever gets soft if I continue using a stud chain?”
Bill: “That really takes experience. Getting a horse to be soft with severe equipment [Pp: 316, 317], you´ve got to be an artist. You have to do so little and do it so lightly, that it just isn´t probable that you´ll get it. It´s possible. But really, it is a long shot, because if people are using that equipment [Pp: 316, 317] they´ve missed a lot, and maybe too much, down at the bottom. That´s the part where you learn about feel [Pp: 318-321] on the ground with the horse. Right on the start."
Q: “What if someone hat to get a horse in a trailer and go someplace right away?”
Bill: “They´ve got the wrong train of thought to start with if they´ve left the preparation [Pp: 344-345] out of it. There are some horses that you can make do this. It´s just like with two people going out here to do a job. If one fella was going to make the other do what he wanted to be done, and another pair was going toward the job helping one another get that work done, then there´d be a nicer feeling [Pp: 318-321] about the job. The result would have the feeling [Pp: 318-321] of teamwork based on some communication, rather than one fella running the show and the other toeing the line.
But it´s really natural for people to want to make the horse do something because the horse is bigger and stronger. The ones who take this to an extreme, why they´ll treat a horse like he´s their slave, and this should never happen. It does in some places though. If they give it any thought at all, those people know that what they´re wanting that horse to do isn´t the horse´s idea [Pg: 339] in the first place. If it were up to the horse, why he´d be out there with other horses, instead of doing what that person had in mind for him.
But, if the horse is fairly gentle and can fill in, [Pp: 321-322] if he hasn´t been thumped on and made afraid, then he isn´t going to be trying to get away from you and you can probably get him into that trailer and be going someplace right away. I think it´s amazing what a horse will do for you if he can only understand what it is you want. If he can feel [Pp: 318-321] it and understand it, the chances are good that he´ll do it. And if he doesn´t understand, then he´s lost and he´d do just about anything to get away from you. That´s where people get this idea that they have to force the horse, to overpower him and make him do it. Some people just don´t know it´s possible to help a horse find a way to do what they are wanting to be done. But, when they force a horse into a trailer before he´s prepared, [Pp: 344-345] well, surprising things can sure happen that they might wish to avoid."
From: "True Horsemanship Through Feel” By Bill Dorrance with Leslie Desmond