Habituating Your Horse to an Umbrella

Just like anything you teach your horse, this too can be broken down into a simple step-by-step lesson that will result in a more confident horse.

Training Notes:

  • A horse that is moving its feet a lot during this lesson is likely to be too emotional. Try to break it down a bit more for the horse by making the umbrella smaller, moving it further away from the horse, slowing down your movements and so on.
  • Once you mount the horse holding the umbrella, you are committed! Don't do this before you are very confident that the horse understands the lesson.
  • It is important to practice throwing the umbrella to the ground a few times and watch the horse's reaction - any reaction that results in movement of the feet suggests that your horse is not yet ready to ride with the umbrella.

Lesson Steps:

  1. Sack the horse out with the umbrella folded up as small as it will go.
  2. When the horse will stand still while you move around with the umbrella (keep one hand on the horse if necessary) then you are ready to make it more challenging - in a step-wise manner.
  3. Standing on the mounting block or fence is the easiest way to habituate the horse to having the umbrella above it.
  4. Throw the umbrella to the ground from above the horse and watch for movement.
  5. Don't mount the horse until you are confident that it will not move before being cued to do so.