Matching and Mirroring


Spent 10 minutes matching and mirroring your horse. Stand in your horse’s Zone 3 (about where your leg would be if you were riding). Put your hand on his withers, staying close to the shoulder, and move when, where and how your horse moves. If he looks left, you look left. If he takes a step forward, you take a step forward.

See how good you can get at matching your horse’s movements, posture and even his breathing. Watch your feet if your horse decides to trot, but do your best to trot alongside and keep your hand at the withers. Of course, if your horse decides to run off or buck, get back and stay safe. Try matching and mirroring once a week and write about the results in your log.

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  1. I wouldn’t use this exercise because would you not be enforcing the idea that the horse can be the leader? he says lets move left, you say o.k… It should be played in the opposite way, where you look left and move, horse should mirror that with softness.

  2. Yeah, we do the opposite of this game. My mare needs no help thinking she’s top dog, so to speak. I have her in lead and we go on trail walks together and I let her eat grass, but during i give little commands like walk, whoa, trot, etc and I do them too, until even as she eats she mirrors everything i do, i take a step she takes a step, i become alert, she becomes alert. My energy increases, she looks up and does whatever it is I’m doing. Fun game, takes a minute, super easy and she enjoys it since there is lots of grass involved.

  3. From what I have learned doing this would be sending the message you are submissive to the horse or a follower and see them as your leader. Not good for establishing respect and obedience. We do an opposite approach with horses that have trust and obedience issues. Starting in arena doing groundwork out of the saddle leading on a line exercises starting simple and working to patterns where the horse should follow and mirror you as leader remaining a respectful distance. Practice also stopping, turning, changing speed, and backing up on cue. When that is getting solid walks out of increasing duration where you also expect them to follow your movement, respect your space, and focus on you. Or work at liberty in arena. Once they have the basics you can make it more fun or interesting with an obstacle course, transitions, more challenging maneuvers, hikes, etc…It is very important they see you as leader not follower.

  4. That means that once a week I would be eating grass. Not sure how that’s going to help. But wait, if I go in the pen my horse comes over to me and wants to go for a ride. Hm, how do we go about this? He would be quite confused if I also started pacing back and forth at the gate wanting out for a ride!


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