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by Downunder Horsemanship

Fundamentals With Phoenix: How to Train Your Human

Lesson 6: You’re in charge. Prove it.

Need a quick plan of attack to derail your human’s efforts? Easy. Take charge of the situation. While your hind end is intimidating to your human, your front end can literally control them. You can cut your human off, push them in the direction you want them to go in, and knock them off balance to run them over, if you choose, all with your front end.

You can be as subtle or as obvious about using your head, neck and shoulders to steer your human in any which way you’d like. The manner of execution is all up to. I recommend mixing it up and getting as creative as you can.

Your human is taking you to the barn to get tacked up? Head them off by gradually pushing into them with your shoulder and steering them in the opposite direction with your head and neck. Five strides later, boom! You’re heading back to the pasture.

Your human is trying to get you to load on to the tin can with wheels? Shove into them with your shoulders, get your hind end in gear and run for the hills! Bonus points if you do it with your ears flattened against your head and make your human cry.

Keep in mind that consistency is your greatest ally and inconsistency is your greatest enemy when training your human. If you consistently chip away at this lesson, you’ll be able to push your human in any direction you’d like without them even taking much notice. For example, as soon as you start leaning toward your human with your shoulders, they will take a step away from you. I like to do this all throughout a training session with my humans. It just serves as a little reminder to them to step out of my way when I come towards them. One step will turn into two, two steps will turn into three … you get the picture. Before your human realizes what’s going on, you’re already in charge.

Lead with the shoulders and push ’em through the turn. Pressure, pressure, pressure … nearly, nearly, nearly.


Be leery of the human who has learned the Fundamentals Series exercise Yielding the Forequarters. This exercise teaches the human how to get you to pivot on one of your hind legs while they drive your front end away from them. Once a human learns how to control your front end, you’re toast. Forget about calling the shots and pushing them around. It’s all over. You’re now at their mercy.

If your human does arrive at the barn ready to tackle this exercise, depending on their experience level, you may have a glimmer of hope. If your human doesn’t have many miles under their feet and isn’t brimming with natural ability, you don’t have a whole lot to worry about. For whatever reason, humans find this maneuver to be particularly challenging. So while putting up with their fumbling may be annoying, until they get some hands-on help, you’re probably free and clear. With any luck, they’ll completely frustrate themselves and leave you in peace.

Just so everyone is clear about what will happen once you learn this exercise, check out the video below.

Stay Sassy & Free,