Leading a Horse: Awareness Copy
You should be aware of the horse at all times while leading or holding. Where is his body? Nose (teeth!)? Attention? What is the attitude? What is her focus? Where is the lead rope? Is it dragging (hazardous); is there too much slack (loss of control), not enough slack (restrictive)?
You must be aware of the environment. This is extremely important! For example, be sure there is ample room in doorways and gates for the horse’s front-end AND HIND-END to pass. You can very easily both injure and scare a horse turning too soon, causing them to hit their hip on something.
Be sure that doorways are wide and fully open, and that doors and gates do not have dangerous pins or latches sticking out. These can cause serious injury and/or fear issues. Provide ample room when turning and look out for obstacles (trunks, buckets…). Be aware of other horses or other animals in the area. When returning a horse to his stall, do NOT send him in ahead of you. He may try to turn towards you again before his hips have completely cleared the doorway, with the same consequences described above from careless leading. Lead him carefully all the way into the stall before turning back toward the doorway. Then slide the door mostly shut and remove the halter, with you standing between the horse and the door.