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the headstrong horse

Hello! 100 lessons completed

Some horses are extremely headstrong. Maybe they´ve been left stallion for a long time or started their education late - as a 5 or 6 year old. It might also be that they´ve had unpleasent experiences with the human early on in life and have been reconfirmed that humans are no good. Given that there are no other major vices like biting or kicking involved I would be grateful on training tips for this sort of horse.

Gen (Queensland, Australia)
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed

Hi Bouncy
If you are wanting to deal with this the Monty Roberts way, have a look at the Dually halter lessons. When the horse tries to go in front of you while leading or won't stand still, you school him with the Dually. It works very well.
Kind regards,

EquiAbi (UK)
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed

Hi Bouncy,
Is the horse headstrong in general or just when you are leading or riding?

If they are only headstrong when riding they might just be overexited. In this case I would sit well back make sure that I am giving no confusing signals and if he/she continues to try and dash forward then I would give them a firm check to remind them that I controll the speed NOT them. Using circles helps too because it gives them something to think about and it puts them on a bend which means that they cant engage their hindquarters to bolt or dash off.

If the horse is just headstrong on the ground when you are leading them then they might be anticipating something good or bad depending on previous things that may have mentally scarred them. Also they might have had a bad experience previously and are trying to run away from humans because they associate them with pain or fear.

Another reason for a horse to be quite headstrong is its feed it might be getting too much of an energy intake and therefore goes crazy and is continually hanging on your hands to run off.
If the problem is food related then I have read about putting a table spoon of honey into the feed which gives them a SLOW energy release and helps to calm them down.

If the horse is trying to run away from you because of previous bad experiences then join up will help.

If not then you might want to consider buying a dually halter so that if the horse does try and drag you off to timbuck 2 then you have something better than a normal head collar to hang onto them with. As far as training goes I have no clue but hope all of these suggestions help some:)


Hello! 100 lessons completed

thanks for your replies and your thoughts, folks.
I think bad experiences are defo an issue. He was 5 when I got him (stallion then, cut now) and although of course they told me they hadn't tried him you never know the truth...I think with this particular horse it's trust and respect from the ground. I do the whole dually and join up and it has helped of course but he hasn't accepted me as his leader 100%. As soon as I'm on him he's ok and goes forward willingly. Sidemovements still an issue - he's extremely into pressure still, more than any horse I've trained before. A thoroughbred is a piece of cake compared to this Irish Draught. It's really down to who's got the longer breath/arm..... He's extreme in any way, extremely strong, extremely bright, extremely afraid but also extremely handsome! I will try the honey - bribery might work!

Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed

Your horse doesn't sound too bad. Being a stallion in itself will not make a headstrong, I call them willful, horse but their experiences as a stallion will push them in that direction. I have a stallion who is not 13 and I bought him when he was 6. Highly trained show horse who hates to move laterally. He raises a fuss almost every time. After 3 months of work on this issue he is finally performing the side pass side step in a fairly controlled and willing way.
Time and patience are going to be your friend as will join up. You horse may never see you as his leader, just as long as he always respects you and the commands that are given to him. It will be a willing partnership rather that I am the leader and you are the follower.

Have fun and good luck



Could somebody explane what headstrong means (for non english natives)

Kleinne - Utah, U.S.A.
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed

Headstrong means willful, he's wants to do what HE wants to do and not follow direction.