When an obstinate horse refuses to go forward, it may first respond by backing up rather than moving forward. Just keep calm and focused on him while "pushing" forward and tapping with the whip until the backing stops. Then let it go and try again. If this fails, you will have to use force.
The most effective way of leading an obstinate horse is by means of a "rein back." That is, without actually tying the reins off, leave them so that he knows they are not free to wander away from you. Lean into the animal's neck and gently push his head forward in the direction you want him to go. He will then follow because he wants to move forward and cannot do so if he is pulling on the reins.
If you are working with a stubborn horse that won't go forward, don't worry about him going backward. Instead, focus on what you can do together. You can still take steps toward your goal by using the rein back method. As soon as your horse turns his head away from you, stop pushing him forward and start again later when he returns to face you.
Sometimes horses will simply refuse to go anywhere. In this case, you will need help from someone else or you could get hurt. If you are alone with the horse, stay calm and don't give up. Call for assistance from someone who can come and lead the horse instead.
Distracting your recalcitrant horse from the reason he's balking is one of the simplest methods to alter his mind. Giving him the instruction to back up, or to pull back on the reins or lead rope so his nose dips into his chest, starts him going, even if it's in the wrong direction. He's now more likely to follow your lead instead of resisting it.
If you want your horse to stand still, don't give him a choice by not allowing him to move when he wants to. Force him to stay put by scolding him or hitting him with a brush handle. Then he'll learn that standing still is better than moving around looking for an opportunity to rejoin the herd.
Horses have been domesticated for thousands of years. In those days, people needed reliable transportation for long journeys. They found ways to control and use the horse's nature to their advantage. For example, they trained horses to respond to gentle commands by walking forward until someone gave them a bit of food or someone else took over the leadership role. This made it possible for humans to travel longer distances without getting bored or tired.
Today, there are many different methods used by trainers to change a horse's mind set. Some methods work better than others, depending on what type of behavior you need to modify. But regardless of which method you choose, always remember that your horse needs to feel safe in order to lower his defenses and be open to new ideas.
Proceed with caution.
If the horse continues to refuse to go forward on the lead line, flick the whip or rope until it reaches the horse's rump. If the horse moves forward, praise him and walk with him. If the horse continues to refuse to move, keep flicking, increasing the force with which you strike the animal. This may cause the horse to pull back on the lead line, in which case stop him by putting your foot against his side. Remove your foot when he calms down.
Here are some additional ideas for getting a reluctant horse to walk:
Give him a carrot! It might not be enough to actually cause him to start walking (or even eating) but it will definitely make him more willing to tolerate being led around.
Tie him up! If you're able to catch him when he's calm, this is probably the best way to get him to cooperate with leashing up. You can use ropes or chains, but make sure they're not too tight otherwise you'll have the same problem as giving him a carrot - he won't be able to move around enough to eat it!
Shoot him up! This isn't recommended unless you know what you're doing because it will temporarily disable the horse. After shooting him up with xylazine or telazol, you should be able to get him to stand still long enough for him to be haltered or bridled.
"Take a few paces with the horse following after you, then come to a halt," Amy adds. If the horse does not follow, apply gentle pressure to the rope until he does, or if he creeps up behind you, nearly collides with you, or attempts to move past you, reverse him several paces and ask him to remain calmly for a minute. He will soon understand that you are not trying to hurt him and will be happy to comply.
This exercise is useful when you want your horse to stand quietly while you examine him thoroughly, for example, before selling him at an auction. It also works well when you have to keep a horse in a particular place while you deal with an emergency-such as when you have to prevent him from entering dangerous territory such as a river gorge. Finally, it's helpful when you need to calm a skittish horse down so he'll cooperate during a training session or race.
The key to stopping a horse in his tracks is control, and most horses respond better to gentle persuasion than to harsh methods such as kicking or biting. So start by taking several steps backward and let the horse follow you. Then come to a halt and wait patiently for him to catch up. As long as there is no danger and you stay in control of the situation, this exercise is harmless and very effective.