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My Join-Up® Experience

My horse Honey



I have a young horse (2 years 6 months) who i have had since 6 months!! I am struggling with join up as she doesnt seem to want to go away from me. And roots to the floor when i try to send her away. She is halter broken and very friendly, but i feel like i need a little help in this area. She has no medical problems and is otherwise very bubbly and confident.

Loving the site, it's fantastic

julie m.
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed

Do review the J-U instructions in Monty's book and online. I ran into a similar problem when I was on my Advanced course at Flag Is Up. The horse I was working with hadn't been taught to move off of pressure, so that was part of the problem.

The rest and bigger part was me-I wasn't projecting a big enough, assertive enough leadership role with my body language. And, I was too close to the horse- past the initial zone where he was aware of me, past the decision zone where he needed to decide what to do about me, and into his pressure zone--the bubble of space right around the horse where the horse feels that it is too late to flee and he has to stop, turn and possibly fight. So he turned and stopped to face me instead of fleeing as I intended, no matter how much flapping and line throwing I did in an effort to move him off.

What we did to handle that was to go back to more Dually work, making sure he moved off that pressure well. Ground driving, to further hat him on cues and pressure. I also worked on getting him to move his hips and shoulders away on cue. Manners in his stall, as he would push into me while I was grooming him because he liked the scratching, and that's how a horse tells the other horse "yes, that's the spot"--in other words, lots of training on moving off of pressure in various fashions.

And I practiced my J-U skills and improved my body language with other, easier to move horses. When I finally went back to do a J-U with this horse at the end of three weeks, it went very well.

Also, I would suggest video taping your practice J-U's with other horses, to see what you are doing with your own body--it's a tremendous help!

I'm sure you can get your own horse to J-U with you successfully. Practice with other horses, get your body language more correct and hat your horse a bit more so she has a better idea of what you are asking of her regarding moving off of pressure.

Good lucK!


Hi julie...

I think your right, it's great to hear you struggled with the same thing. I'm going to try lots more ground work with her, and play around with the dually headcollar, to help my commands get hopefully a lot clearer!!

I always presumed join-up came first, but it makes sense to accustom my horse to pressure and release first, to make the transitions of sending her away easier, for me and her too.

Thanks for your help, very grateful


julie m.
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed


You are welcome! I made the same assumption about J-U first, until I was on my Advanced course and was assigned that horse. It was a great lesson in not being married to a plan :) Also, the consensus among my instructors was that J-U goes much better if the horse is responding well first to the Dually, which of course means that he is moving off of pressure well. That was definitely proven to me, and has been a valuable tool in my trainer's tool box. Good luck to you!

Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed

Julie M, Thank you for your comments on the young filly. I too had trouble with join up the first time at the farm , because of distance between the horse and me in the round pen. I was getting too close to him to send him away. He was trying to go but I confused him. Kind of like a Push-me-Pull-you. You put it into easily understood language and visually I saw how it happens. You will be a great trainer. Maggie Evans

julie m.
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed

Thanks, Maggie! Training is what I aspire to, so your words warm my heart.