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Ryder Draw

The Ryder Draw is a simple, easy, honest method to create the "draw" to you, from your horse.

The Ryder Draw has absolutely nothing to do with round-penning. It is simply a request of the horse to come to you.

Round-penning methods resulting in "hooking on", "join up", or "bonding" operate from a totally different place than the Ryder Draw.

Other Methods

Round-Pen Reasoning by John Lyons:

"We'll begin by asking the horse to move. You can control the direction in which he moves, when he can stop, how long he runs, and the gait at which he runs. Once the horse realizes you are serious about making him move, he has several choices. You must control the horse. If the horse doesn't move, do whatever it get him to move. To keep the horse moving, you may have to continue these same tactics. We will be running the horse at the canter. He can't breathe as well at this gait...and he will tire more quickly. We'll be using his body to work against him. Whe the muscles and lungs ache, the horse will begin thinking, "How can I get out of this alive?" Important considerations: The horse's lungs; The horse's legs; Dehydration (and the possible damage). When working your horse in the round pen, never let another person take over for you, no matter how tired you may be."

Is this something that we really NEED or WANT to do with our horses?

John goes on to say:

"While it would be nice if we could use only food, or praise, to get the horse to do what we want him to do in all situations, it's just not likely."

This might be a good topic for discussion.

Hooking on by Buck Brannaman:

"Concentrate on driving the horse around the round pen soft at all gaits. While driving the horse, you should start to notice him consider looking toward should move...while backing...increasing the distance between you two, this is called drawing. If he doesn't hook on like this, move back in behind him and help him travel onward. Think of pulling him off the fence with an invisible rope, and to pull you must back up...try to approach and pet him. If he can't stay still just start over and hook him on again. Remember that the ability to drive the horse forward comfortably is something you never want to lose because you've overdone the hooking on. Do not rely on exhaustion to get a horse hooked on. Instead, encourage him to find comfort while being with you."

Buck's approach to round-penning is, at least in writing, a little softer than John's approach. However, he does add: "Do this many times over to get your horse comfortable."

Parelli Draw (starts at Level 2, notes from L2 clinic report):

Linda said "It's easier to send the horse away, more difficult for them to come to you." She also said "Moving the hindquarters will cause the horse to draw to you." Practice driving the hindquarters by:

(1) starting at 1/2 way down the lead rope, and the horse faces-up.

(2) Walk a wide arc around the horse using the mother-in-law look (scowl); don't get close to the shoulder or you'll drive the shoulder away.

(3) Keep horse faced-up to you with hindquarters moving away.

(4) If horse doesn't move the hindquarters, use the carrot stick to firmly encourage the hindquarters to move.

(5) At this point of the exercise, if you're staying on a loose lead, and the horse is moving the hindquarters as asked, when you stop asking for the movement, and you stand still, you should see the horse take a step to you (or at least you should notice that he wants to). Several of the students at this clinic took a step toward the horse at this point which stopped the forward movement of the horse.

(6) Finally, when all of the above is working well, when the horse is correctly facing up as you ask the hindquarters to move, proceed to back up combing the rope. This combination of movements should be nice and smooth with no leaning on the halter by the horse. You want the horse to be saying at this point "Oh, you wanted me to come to you!"

Remember to scowl when asking for the back-up and smile for the draw. Also belly button out for backup and in for draw.

"What you're looking for is a backup/draw that is respectful with impulsion."

From An Australian Video:
Here is another method of "Join Up", even if it is not the same as getting the horse to go around the pen.

I saw a video of an Aussie guy "breaking" a horse in two days - sorry, can't remember his name or the title of the video. He basically started by putting the youngster in an enclosed round pen (I suppose it was to cut out any distractions). His initial intent was to get the horse to see him as his comfort zone by "tickling" the horse on his side by "poking" him in the side (sounds awful but wasn't), just behind the girth area while gently pulling his nose around to him. As soon as the horse gave with his neck, IOW relaxed, he would stop poking. As soon as his head went back, the poking would start. Eventually the head stayed bent without any poking.

After a while the horse would follow this guy around the pen without a halter or lead rope or anything. That was as far as he went for day one.

Day two was to confirm the comfort zone after which he started to put the saddle cloth on by de-sensitising him to it. Remember, horses are creatures of rhythm and he put the cloth on, took it off, put it on etc. until the horse thought this was the most boring activity and he could leave the cloth on. Then came the saddle (no stirrups) - same story - on, off, on, off. The stirrups would go on and the guy would flap the stirrup leathers so that the horse could see that it wasn't going to bite him. Then he put his foot in the stirrup, took it out, in, out. Then he leaned over on the saddle, out of the saddle, on, off.

Eventually he was riding the horse around the pen in both directions without a bridle. This method took the whole day but it must be emphasised that he did ALL the actions from BOTH sides equally. The head bending was present all the time he was doing anything to the horse (without being asked), creating a situation that the horse could a) see what was happening and b) would be in the comfort zone all the time.

Monty Roberts Join-Up (excerpt from clinic report):
Monty started out jerking this youngster around a little more forcefully than I thought necessary, making him back up when he got in his space, then snatching him forward. After about 10 minutes of this, he took the lead off and started running the colt around the pen. MR kept the horse at a smart speed, the slowest he allowed was a brisk trot, and sometimes he got him up to a quick canter. He kept this up for about 20 minutes solid. The evening was cool, and you could see the steam rising from this 2 year old. While he was running the colt around, he talked about tuning the inside ear, licking and chewing, and dropping his head. Maybe I was too far away, but I never saw a lick or chew from any of the horses he handled. The inside ear on all of them was always turned in to the center. And head dropping tended to come at the end of 20 min hard exercise.

Ray Hunt video, Turning Loose:

The video shows Ray working a rank horse in the round pen. At one point, the horse crashes thru the pipe panels totally destroying them. The horse ran from the arena and was corned in a pen and continued to be worked. After an hour, and a very sweaty horse, the horse "hooked on". The owner was joyous that the horse "submitted" to Ray.

Round-penning can be dangerous and lead to devastating results even in the hands of a professional.

Do I want my horse to "submit"? Or is there a better way?

Definition of the Draw from the Horseman list:

"The draw relates to getting the horse to come towards you in the round pen. It is important on those horses that are a bit leery of the human.*

"It also shows that the horse is following your direction which means he has more interest in you that the countryside. This is helpful in unmounted work and carries on to work in the saddle as well.

"The way it works, to me, is you bring up the life and get some motion into the horse. You can press on him and put him on the wall of the pen. ( for instance to the left). You get to where you can drive and the horse goes forward real good do this until the horse gets to departing with out reacting but rather responding. Then if you drop back and to the right this gives the horse a larger option of places to go in his motion to the left at the same time the pressure comes off. Now the horse, in his search for zero pressure will notice when the pressure went away and will search again for these moments. Some horses need quite a bit of time on this. This is due to the horse not trusting enough to be even on his changing eyes or having me in his off side eye.

Some of the round penning videos have you work the horse until his lungs cry out to his brain. I don't like this approach. There is an easier way. For these horses it helps to instead of working of the draw, work on the send away more first. This sounds kinda backwards but it works. On this kind of horse I will do the same as before (step back and to the right) and then step up and parallel the horse with the goal of send him into the fence and out to his right then be back enough so that when he gets lost changing eyes it won't scare him too much. After he gets good at not scattering after changing eyes then I'll work on the draw."

*The italics are mine as I feel this is an important part of the decision to use round-penning.

Additional Horseman List comments:

"Wow ... this is a good description of the mechanical side of the draw but what about the spiritual side? The intangible flow of connectivity which actually d-r-a-w-s the horse to you. To me, the draw is so much more than just the horse following. It is just as if the sun were shining through the clouds and as more and more of the clouds disperse, a lovely rainbow emerges and silently becomes a whole of light. I see the light following the horse and his human as a soft glow which permeates the surroundings as more and more the horse is connected to the human. Almost as if the horse and human spirit become as one. Human softly turns to the right, the horse follows in his steps. The hooves become the feet and the feet become the hooves. Without missing a beat, the glide forward becomes a glide to the back, to the left, around then to the right. A silent dance where the human is the lead. A slow dance as it were. With both partners moving as one. That, to me, is what the draw is all about. Whether it be with just one horse or with more ... the draw becomes the cord which ties the horse and human together in a silent dance."

"There is no need to ask the horse to run. If the horse NEEDS to run, it's Ok ... then we stay with him until he's settled enough to slow down. But I don't feel it's ever necessary to make the horse run. The purpose is to get to the horse's feet as Sue mentioned. If we can get to the horse's feet, then we can get to his mind. We always *ask* but when even the asking is too much for the horse to handle and the horse needs to run, then all we need to do is quietly stay with him. He'll eventually realize that, in a round pen, we get no closer to him than where we are, he can get no further away from us than where he is, and we are absolutely no threat to him. Watch for the tiniest sign of attention in a horse that's running. As soon as that horse gives you that tiny sign, stop your own walking and back up a couple of steps to let him know that's all you want ... his attention. This begins the connection. Let him think about it. Then start walking towards him. If he needs to run again, fine and dandy! Let him run. It doesn't take long for the horse to realize that you are not aggressing him but merely staying with him. The instant the horse stops and turns both ears and eyes onto you is the instant to begin the draw. The switch from walking with the horse to stopping and backing up to draw is a fluid motion ... very soft. Soft body language, soft voice, soft eyes. Some begin the draw by backing away and beckoning the horse; others turn and walk away forwards just expecting the horse to follow. Whichever is chosen, it is still a soft, fluid motion. The instant the draw begins is a moment of suspension in time. The connection is made."

"To me, draw means that your horse finds you as a comfort spot and is drawn to you. I used to think that to get this really good I had to cause my horse to be uncomfortable so that he would find me as the comfort spot. Looks really silly now when I write it out. Of course he wouldn't find me as the comfort spot if I was also the one causing the discomfort. Oh, I know body language and all that stuff.... But, what I've been finding lately is that if I find the right time to take the forward movement out of my horse's feet, I get draw. He finds that drawing to me gets him comfort and release. If I just take the pressure off and wait for him to come through it happens. Tonight my horse offered me a flying change at liberty because we were having fun playing. When I tried to get it to happen again, it didn't because I was trying too hard. If I set it up and wait and let him know that I'm the comfortable place, he seems more drawn to me and truly connected."

"If you don't want to do the round pen thing to teach your horse to draw, you can do a slower way in the paddock. A paddock is much bigger so you actually want to have a lot less pressure otherwise the horse will spook and leave and you cannot maintain any sort of pressure at all. I have done this by just following the horse with enough pressure to keep it walking, but not using enough to get a trot cos I would expire trying to keep up. Whenever the horse shows any signs of looking at you take the pressure off and, depending on the horse, maybe even turn around and walk away. When the horse turns away from you start following it again. This puts very little pressure on the horse but results can also be either very fast or very slow depending on the horse and situation and your own timing and body life. So allow yourself all day and if it only takes 10 minutes be pleased."

"To me, the "draw" is the embodiment of "from the mind, through the body, to the feet"...........for me, it's always a soft ask on my part; a respectful request for attention from the horses mind, that in turn engages his body energy that kindly gives me the feet moving to follow me.

I think of it as the ultimate compliment when a horse will willingly follow my lead with nothing attaching the two of us except my thought that he please do so; grounded in a solid respect for the trust and attention that is implied when he does."

The Ryder Draw

The Ryder Draw was created as a way to draw the horse without having to put on the pressure normally used in the round-pen. The best learning happens when a subject is in a relaxed condition and atmosphere.

It is conceded at this point that round-penning has its place with knowledgeable horsemen and may be beneficial for rank, wild, undomesticated, or aggressive horses. For our back-yard horses, there are alternatives which may be more conducive to their learning and establishing a true partnership.

"Since learning is a change in behaviour brought about by experience, and since learners have to be motivated to learn, it follows that it is important for trainers to be able to motivate learners, and to be able to understand behaviours."

"The individual experiencing a change process, such as a new learning situation, is likely to feel stress and confusion. Some anxiety often increases motivation to learn, but too much anxiety may cause fatigue, inability to concentrate, resentments, and other barriers to learning. Learning is more comfortable and effective when the environmental conditions support open exchange, sharing of opinions, and problem-solving strategies. The atmosphere should foster trust and acceptance of different ideas and values."

The traditional method of starting a horse with clicker training is to ask him to target an object.


"There are many different ways you can do this, but I generally introduce the clicker by teaching the horse to touch a target.

"I use a small orange cone, the kind you buy as lane markers for sporting events. You can also use lids off of supplement cans, cider jugs, anything that's handy and horse safe. I start with targeting because it's a very simple game, plus it's not part of the horse's normal training.

"You put the horse in a stall with a stall guard across the door. Then you hold a cone, or some other object up in front of the horse. Horses tend to be curious about such things. They'll sniff the cone. The instant the horse touches the cone, click, you give it a treat.

"The horse may start mugging your hands as soon as it realizes that food is involved. If they get too pushy, just step back out of range. The mugging is part of the learning process, and the key is not to get distracted by it. Keep yourself safe, but let the horse explore. He's going to discover that going directly to the vending machine never earns him treats. Help your horse to be successful.

"If your horse swings his head away to look at something, take advantage of that to position the cone between the horse's head and your body. He'll have to bump into it on his way back to mugging you. When he does, click! he gets a treat. As this happens again and again, he's suddenly going to realize that bumping the cone gets you, the vending machine, to work!

"You can almost see the light bulb go on. As many times as I've watched this process, it's still a magical moment when the horse realizes that HE'S in control, that he can make ME click. All he has to do is bump the cone. He's also learning something else that's important. He's learning that he NEVER gets clicked for sniffing my fingers, pulling on my coat, or bumping me. If you have a mouthy horse, clicker training is a great way to teach good manners."

Alternately, a horse can be asked to "target" the owner/trainer. This is a great method as the horse focuses on a human rather than an object. In this method the word "target" does not mean an actual touch--it means the FOCUS from the horse.

Dr. Deb Bennett refers to this focus as the "birdie". Before the horse makes any type of physical change or movement, the spark or "birdie" in his brain needs to be re-directed to the new thought.

The Ryder Draw can be started with a horse in an enclosure or if it's your very own, very well known, no problem horse, you can start at liberty in the pasture.

For an unknown horse, go to the old, quickly written up description of the Ryder Draw, then return here.

Approach and stand at an oblique angle to the horse's eye, about 45 degrees behind and at whatever spot does not infringe on the horse's "comfort bubble". See if you can change his focus from whatever it's on at the moment, to you. Click and walk up to him and treat. Move back to the comfort spot. Try it again. Watch for his eye to "see" you. Click and treat.

The horse has now been rewarded for changing his internal focus and looking at you with his eye (and possibly his ear). Next we'll ask for the head to turn in our direction. This can be accomplished by recognizing the change in focus and the horse looking at you with his eye, and then backing up when it happens. Click and treat.

The horse will understand that the meaning of the "backing up" is to "draw" to you.

After the change in focus, the following of the eye/ear, we'll watch for the head to swivel. Click and treat.

The next normal progression will be for the neck to flex. This sequence happens fairly rapidly if all is in place (timing of the click, your recognition of the changes, and your backward movement).

Very shortly, when you leave the horse and then re-approach stopping at the comfort spot (or whatever spot you're working on) and back up, the horse should swivel his head and bend his neck toward you.

The next natural progression is for the ribcage to loosen up a little following the bend of the neck. This will lead to the actual disengagement of the hindquarters. Now we have the feet moving, we're backing up, and the horse should be "drawing" into us!

We have effectively gotten to the horse's feet thru his mind. Not only that, we have taught a cue for "come" (a hand signal can also be added), and created a "want" in the horse to be with us. All with no stress.

Working the Ryder Draw will lead you to Dancing With Your Horse (more information to follow). It is alot of fun to run thru the Parelli games at liberty. Once you have the Ryder Draw, you can position your horse's body any place and any where you'd like it.

You will be able to ask your horse to lift a certain foot without moving from in front of him, no lead rope/halter. It will be possible to ask him, at liberty, to shift his weight from front to back, or off one leg. At liberty and without touching him, he will be able to disengage his hindquarters by following your body position.

What fun!

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