- When leading are you beside the horses shoulder (+) or ahead of the shoulder (-)?
- Can you lead from either side of the horse (+)?
- Does the horse pull on the lead when it walks (-)?
- Test out your forward aid by standing beside the shoulder while the horse is standing and ask it to walk forward with a cluck. If no response find a good additional aid to achieve forward movement without sacrificing your position (just like when you're riding!).
- Being able to "whoa" is equally as important as "go" since many horses trick you into thinking that they are "in front of the leg" when they are actually just running away. Start by using a voice command and add in pressure from the lead or shank to communicate your "whoa". If they are charging through the aids stay beside the shoulder and turn the horse away from you in order to stop. Turning towards you allows them to spin their body away rather than teaching them to put their weight on their hind end to stop.
If you can get good responses to "go" & "whoa" and can turn them away from you when leading from either side of their body than your on the right track. Simple awareness goes a long way. Obviously there are always special cases and you may need to modify your technique but the end goal is the same with all. If you have to make modifications realize that will probably carry over to your work under saddle as well. Check back and I'll continue on with this theme again...