My horse's personal space is perfectly fine when leading and in her stall. However, the moment I take her up into the arena and I try to trot in hand she begins to 'lean' on me.

I've tried correcting her by physically pushing her while trotting and pulling the lead rope to the right (in quick succession). She generally gets the idea for a few strides before she leans again.

She's happy to flex for me, back up, walk on and trot on command but I'm looking to show her in hand this year and if she's leaning on me her straightness will be impacted.

So, how can I teach her to respect my space in trot?

I might also add that if I try to move her right in trot she becomes quite stiff. She doesn't refuse to move but it's certainly not as easy as turning left (if I'm on the left for example). I'm working at liberty to get her to move to 'Lay' (Left) and Right vocally, which I believe will help.

  • You could also help her visually by leading her through a slalom without entering the slalom yourself to teach her to come close and far. Can you lunge her properly in trot? You could also let her trot at lunging, start moving in the same direction and let her come closer - but move her toward the circle again when she invades your space. If a horse comes too close at me in trot I often raise my arm like the letter 'L' and protect the circle around me like that - if the horse runs into my arm it will learn that that might hurt - it's the horse that decides and most stop pushing in very fast
    – kaiya
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


Use the same principles of pressure and release I refer to in this answer.

Gradually increase the speed of your walk without going into a trot. If she doesn't crowd you, then proceed for very short trots.

It's going to be a painstaking process of pushing her out of your space with either an elbow (gently, as a point to push) or a swinging lead rope if the elbow doesn't work. If it's the latter it will stop the trot. Try shooing her out of your personal space and asking her trot again. This will be a stop start process.

For each short trot she does, stop and praise. You can give her a small treat if you like. Gradually increase the length of the trots as she succeeds.

Another thing is to practice her trotting in a round yard. With and without a lead. This will also give her cues about space, as she shouldn't come into you when you're lunging until you ask her to.

To improve her flexibility to the right, carrot stretches are great. This video demonstrates how to do a carrot stretch. Basically show the horse the treat and them move the treat back towards the rump so the horse is forced to turn and stretch to get the carrot.

  • 1
    I so wish I had a round pen at this point it would make things mucch easier. I have tried the elbow trick and she generally got the idea but would return a few strides later. I'll give the stopping as a reward a go as well as working on our liberty a bit more so she understands the commands "right" and "lay" a bit better. Will update soon! Commented Mar 7, 2020 at 11:38
  • @SimplyRedAppaloosa do you lunge her on a long training rope?
    – user6796
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 2:18

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