How to get your horse to focus on you

Do you feel like your horse gets scared easily? Is he distracted by other horses around or just doesn’t pay enough attention to you?

Get more attention from him and he will become less likely to get scared and he will no longer be distracted when other horses are around (or when he is alone and misses his buddies).

The first step is to know how much attention you are actually getting…

How to tell if your horse really pays attention to you?

You can tell that your horse is not paying attention to you when he keeps staring at something in your surroundings and doesn’t look at where he is going. Usually, he is just going to keep looking at other people, other horses or things outside of the ring.


I am sure there are a lot of horses that pay attention to their riders, without their riders having to get their attention, or they just get their attention very easily.

However, if you have a horse that tolerates it when you are sitting on his back, but instead of paying attention to you, he just cares about his surroundings, the first step you need to take is to get his attention.

That can be more challenging than it might seem sometimes. Not in a sense that you would need some special skills. Anyone can do it. However, what you need is a ton of patience and dedication to get your horse to pay attention to you no matter how long it will take.

So how do I get my horse to stop caring about other things and how do I get all his focus on me?

As soon as my horse stops paying attention to me and begins observing something outside of the ring, I have to immediately ask him to do something simple to remind him that he needs to be paying attention to me. I usually ask for a small circle in trot or in walk. The important things is for your horse to look inside of the circle and for him to stop looking at whatever he was looking before that was more interesting than me on his back.

horse turning head to the side

You will have to turn his head inside of the circle by pulling your rein. I use just enough pressure to get my horse to react and turn his head. No need to be harsh.

In the begging, usually as soon as I release my rein, my horse gets right back to observing whatever he was observing before. However, if he does, I immediately correct him again by turning his head inside of the circle.

There is a catch, be careful!

The first five, ten or even thirty minutes you can feel like you are doing something completely useless. You are continuously trying to get your horse to pay attention only to you but he continues to care about something else.

It is important to stay calm in that moment and don’t get frustrated. You are not going to make things better by getting frustrated and starting to jerk the reins as you turn your horses head to the side. The only thing you will most likely achieve by jerking the reins is that your horse will get scared of the pain and start tossing his head. This way you could spoil him instead of getting his attention.

The key here is to stay calm longer than your horse.

If your gets scared easily or distracted by other horses often. Read this article.

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Another very important thing is to react as quickly as possible after your horse stops paying attention to you.

The longer you tolerate your horse paying attention to something, the harder it is going to be become to get his attention back. Every second count.

After some time you will have to correct your horse less and less and you will be getting more and more of his attention.

Just try to not have any expectations on how long it is going to take.

I might be ten minutes, it might be an hour. Sometimes even a few days or even weeks.

Horses don’t care about time, they just react on what is happening at the moment.

Keep that in mind and your horse will understand you better.

Why is it so important?

If you are having issues with your horse getting scared, with him not listening to you properly when something goes on in the background, or if you feel like it is quite difficult to teach him something new, getting his full attention is going to make a huge difference.

If you have all your horses attention he will be thinking about you, he will feel secure. He won’t be thinking whether that person outside of the ring can hurt him.

It is easy to miss it and ignore it when your horse stops paying attention to you, however, if you do what I described over here you should feel a big difference soon 🙂

If you liked this article I recommend you to take a look at my Free Training Series it is a set of videos that shows you a simple principle that is not going to take you any extra time and it will completely transform the respect your horse has towards you.


How to get your horse to focus on you
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