Join Up

Join Up

Join Up – Join up is a way of getting your horse to trust you as well as establishing yourself as the leader
of your little ‘herd’. It was first done by people like Monty Roberts and Kelly Marks and is used in horse gentling. Here’s
how you do it:

1. Get the horse you are planning on doing join up with into a lunging ring or another small area like that. Make sure
that the horse has a halter on and that all the other horses are out of sight. If the horse you are doing join up with
can see any other horses, he or she will not feel the need to join up with you.

2. Once you have done these things, get into the lunging ring with the horse. Go and stand in the middle of the ring. Now,
get the horse moving. You can do this in anyway, just don’t harm the horse or traumatize it in the process.

3. Now, you need to keep the horse moving around you in a circle. To do this, square your shoulders and glare at the horse’s
wither. This makes you scary and intimidating to the horse. Basically, in horse language, you are saying, “Stay away from me!
I don’t want you to come close to me!”. The horse will pick up on this and keep on moving. If he or she starts to slow down,
wave your arms at the horse and resume your aggressive posture.

4. As soon as you have chased the horse away, you must start watching him or her for signs of wanting to be with you. The
first is the horse’s ears. When the horse’s inside ear becomes focused on you, it is listening to the sound of your voice.
This means that the horse is starting to want to come back to you. However, you must not let the horse join you in the
center of the ring yet. Continue to drive him or her away.

5. Once you have seen the first sign, watch for the second. The second sign of join up is the lowering of the horse’s
head. The inside ear should remain focused on you and the horse will lower its head, showing that it is submissive to
you. However, you must drive the horse away again.

6. Now, the horse should give the final sign. This is the ‘licking and chewing’ of the mouth. If the horse really wants to
be with you, he or she will begin to make licking and chewing movements with its mouth. When a horse does this, it is saying, “I
don’t want to run away from you anymore. Please let me be part of your herd.”. When you see this final sign, drop your aggressive
posture and turn around so your back is facing the horse.

7. Now that your back is turned to the horse, stay like that until you hear the horse come up to stand behind you. When the horse
is behind you, begin walking around the lunging ring. The horse should follow you. Walk around the ring for several minutes. If
the horse is still following you after that time, stop, turn to face the horse and pet him or her to tell the horse that it is

8. After the join up, you should take the horse to his or her stale and give it a gentle grooming. Don’t be alarmed if the horse
doesn’t follow you first time off. You may have repeat the chasing-away, aggressive-stance, watch-for-signs process several times
before the horse joins up.

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