Whether to ground tie, cross-tie or be braided, teaching a horse to stand still is simply a matter of timing. You want to intercept the horse’s thought. Once he has moved, he is thinking of other things. In my experience, any horse can learn to stand still within a few minutes, usually without even touching him.
The key is watch for when he thinks about moving. That is, when he begins to shift his weight or focus his ear on something. In that moment, a quick visceral growl or hiss will plant his feet. Don’t be mean. Just mean it. If you can get his attention this way, JUST as he begins to think about moving … and do that well three times in a row… then he has learned you want him to stand still.
Be consistent with your corrections. Growl from deep in your belly or give a quick hiss like a angry snake to divert his attention. The more well timed, consistent corrections you make, the quicker the learning curve.
If he does move, put him back where you want him. Then, simply relax your hand. Patting can be distracting. Just hold in the desired spot and relax the hand that moved him. He’ll feel that good energy as a clear reward and settle down. Then, as needed and without emotion, use the quick visceral sound to remind him where he belongs JUST AS he considers options.
It may be that no one ever asked the horse to do nothing before. So, as always, keep tuned in.
Standing still is not just a matter of convenience. It is teaching the horse to relax. Once achieved, your horse will be able to focus and be more confident under saddle as well. That is what Lucky Braids are. If during preparation, you get the horse’s head clear and body relaxed, he can have a big heart to win.
Ruthann Smith has spent a lifetime studying sound horsemanship- both as a groom for top international horses and as a renowned braider. Quietly twisting manes atop a ladder, she watched and learned in some of the best stables in the world.
As her passion for great grooming grew, Ruthann became focused on researching, collecting and sharing the best practices of the world’s keenest horsemen. Ultimately, Ruthann used her vast experience to develop exceptional equine grooming products to help raise the bar of horsemanship.
The knowledge she dispenses and the products Ruthann developed solve age-old grooming issues. Making quality horse care easier, they have received the highest honors in the equine industry*. Her Lucky Braids for Top Turnout coat care and braiding products are the best, most versatile, cost-effective and easiest solutions available on the market today.
Now Ruthann offers her LOVE, LOVE Guarantee. If not totally thrilled with a product she developed, Ruthann will refund you in full, regardless of where you purchased it.
It’s her life’s mission to empower horses by educating, motivating and equipping their people to be true horsemen. You can access Ruthann’s tips at: The Grooming Resource on LuckyBraids.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and her Horsemanship Clinics.
*After testing 350 products, Lucky Braids All-In-One Horse Shampoo was named product of the year by Horse Journal, the “Consumer Reports” of the industry. They also named Lucky Braids Shampoo and Top Pick for greys and whites. Lucky Braids specialized braiding yarn also got stellar reviews.