A horse with a stick is a training tool that allows an equestrian to reach around the horse, and give commands from his or her seat without having to grab the reins. The handy stick, sometimes called a carrot stick or a training stick, is recommended by natural horsemanship trainers. It also can be used in clicker training.
A horse can respond to pressure applied by a handy stick, which helps him understand the handler’s request, according to Natural Horse Supply. However, the hander should avoid hitting the horse in sensitive areas such as the back or flank area. Rather, a good location to hit a horse with the stick is in front of his or her eyes where he or she can see the movement, Natural Horse Supply explains.
Some people use a stick to chase their horse to encourage the animal to move forward, but this will not help the horse overcome its fear of humans and may result in the horse becoming more frightened when approached by human handlers. Other methods, such as using a flag on the end of a stick to ward off other horses, will not help either. A better way to teach a horse to move laterally is to use the handy stick on the ground to teach the animal how to yield to pressure from that position.
Horses that are given a purpose while riding on the ground can improve their bond with their riders, according to Canadian horsemanship clinician Jonathan Field. For example, riding a horse to sort cows or open a gate requires teamwork and gives the horse a reason to ride with its human. This helps the horse focus on its job and not merely escaping from danger or traveling from one place to another.
If you’re looking for a way to train your horse to follow the direction of the stick, you can try using a target stick, which is a piece of wood with a clicker attached that helps to make clicker training more effective. This training tool is a simple, inexpensive and versatile way to train a horse.
You can also create your own horse-shaped target stick at home by making a sock puppet. This is a fun project for kids that can also be a great party favor for a rodeo theme. To make a sock puppet, cut off the toe part of an old white mop, then pull out the yarn strands inside the mop head. Place the sock over an adjustable stick and secure with glue or tape. The sock can be stuffed with any kind of pillow filling, and the plush head and nylon reins screw onto the adjustable stick to custom fit your child. For a different look, you can also make a sock stick horse out of the toe of an old white dress shoe. This makes a more rustic look and is more sturdy than the plush version.