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Walking under and behind a horse is a great way to get the horse comfortable with human contact. Gain a horse's trust, and avoid getting kicked, with helpful advice in this video on training horses.
Hi, Rick Gore out at Travis Equestrian Center. Today we're going to talk about how to walk under and behind a horse. You'll hear a lot of people say a horse kicked me for no reason. Horses don't kick for no reason, they have a reason. And if you got kicked, you were too close when the horse was giving you warnings, and you weren't paying attention. So, we're going to be working on Buddy here today, and he's going to let me go underneath him and behind him. Basically, walking underneath a horse is an advanced type of sacking out, or desensitizing. Again, you want your horse to know, no matter what you do, he's not going to react. He shouldn't be afraid, and he shouldn't respond. So, by going underneath your horse, or behind your horse, you're letting him know that it's OK for you to be where you want to be. So, what we're going to do here is I'm going to walk behind him, and if this was a new horse, I wouldn't just walk back behind this horse, grab his tail and start pulling on him, because I'd probably get kicked, and then I'd probably blame the horse and say, the horse kicked me for no reason. No, he had plenty of reason. So, if I want to work, get this horse used to me being behind him, I want to massage him, and sack him out, make sure he knows that I can be around his legs, make sure that I can get back here. I should be picking out his feet, I should be doing all kind of things with this horse from back here so I know when I'm behind him that it's not odd, it's not strange. He's used to me picking up his feet, he's used to me being back here, he's used to me lifting his tail and rubbing and scratching him, rubbing underneath his tail. These are all things that you want to get a horse comfortable with so when somebody does walk by and accidentally brush him, he's not going to kick them. So, to get a horse comfortable back here, you've got to spend time back here. You can't expect a horse to be comfortable with you behind them when you're always standing at his shoulder, or you're always nervous when you get back here, or every time you come back here, you're doing this, and you're at a distance, and you're jumping around and dodging and making him nervous. You have to be comfortable back here and let your horse know you're not going to hurt him. And then after you're comfortable with all that underneath him, I'm going to take my hat off here. So, now when I want to get underneath him, I'm going to slowly start touching the opposite side of him. So, when I'm on one side of him, I'm reaching around to the other side, and letting him know that it's not scary. I'm on this side of him, but I'm actually touching him on this side, I'm on this side, but I'm touching him on this side. So by moving all around and getting him used to this, I'm slowly inching to where my head is rubbing underneath him, and my head is massaging him, and he's used to me getting. So I'm going slowly, and slowly, until finally he knows that I can come all the way through. Now, again, if you just get down here and walk underneath a horse, you're going to get kicked or stepped on, and he's going to panic, because he's not used to you being here. This horse is perfectly used to me being here. I'm down here all the time. He doesn't care what I'm doing underneath here, he knows that I'm underneath here, and it's OK, but I've done work with him, I've prepared him, I've showed him that it's OK to be underneath him, it's OK to have my feet back here, it's OK to rub and to inspect or check him. It's OK that my foot, my head is by his foot, yes he can kick me in the head and kill me right now, but I trust that he's not going to do that. He knows I'm underneath here, I've prepared him properly. I've showed him that there's nothing to be scared of. If he has bot flies that I need to get off his back legs, if he has a cut or a stitch or he needs some sort of medication in his private area, I can get to it, he's not going to be panicky. If I need to scrape or inspect something under his chest, I can get a good view. So, there's a lot of positives of being able to do this, but you have to prepare the horse. If a horse kicks you, if he does anything wrong, it's never his fault. You didn't prepare him right, you didn't take the right steps to either prevent it, to prepare him, or to make sure that he was able to succeed. So, to get a horse to where you're comfortable underneath there, you have to spend time under here. I have to spend time between his legs. He has to know that I can move around him, and he's not supposed to be kicking or moving, or doing anything that he shouldn't be doing, because I'm underneath him. And if I want to lay underneath him, or do anything underneath him, he should know that it's OK, and he's not going to be hurt, and I'm not going to hurt him. That's how you get your horse to where you can climb underneath him.