My horse throws his head out of reach when I try to bridle him. How can I put on a bridle without standing on a bucket?
Start by teaching your horse to lower his head on cue. Place your hand on his poll between his ears. Press gently. As soon as your horse lowers his head the smallest amount, release the pressure. Keep repeating this process to teach your horse to drop his head consistently with light pressure.
If your horse won't let you touch the top of his head, you can use slight downward pressure on the lead rope to create pressure on his poll. Again, release as soon as he drops his head, even the slightest amount. He may fight the pressure until he softens. If you release too soon, your horse will learn that he can escape pressure by pulling. The more you repeat this exercise, the better your horse's responses will become.
When I try to mount, my horse walks off before I'm fully in the saddle. I also have trouble getting her to stand while I'm riding. How can I get her to stand still?
Use "reverse psychology." When your horse starts to walk off, drive her in a small circle around you as you hold onto the inside rein or a lead rope attached to the bit ring. Have her walk quickly or trot around 5-10 times. Then ask her to stand and you try to mount. Every time she moves, circle her 5-10 times. After a few repetitions, your horse will be more than happy to stand still. You can also use this technique while mounted.
I started my four year old a few months ago. He is doing very well at the walk and trot. How do I get him to canter without me having to kick or use a whip?
The easiest, most natural way to start teaching a horse cues for speeding up and slowing down is on a trail with an experienced trail horse. Follow the older horse asking the other rider to speed up and slow down when you ask. Your horse will want to follow the other horse's gaits. Consistently use your cue at the same time the horse changes gaits naturally.
With enough repetitions, your horse will start to recognize your cue. You can experiment by going ahead of the other horse and seeing if your horse understands your cues. Once your horse is fairly consistent on the trail, you can try working in the arena. The above method works well for introducing water, ditches and jumps too.