The Stand Command

I had a request for a “how to” on this subject so here it is….How to teach your horse to stand still without being tied. This is one of the most useful “moves” you can put on a horse. I originally trained Tucson to stand/ground tie when I was doing a lot of jumping and setting/resetting my own courses. I didn’t want to lug my horse around to the fences with me. I found that this command was useful in soooo many ways. Cross ties full? No problem. Forgot something in your tack room? Just park your horse and leave him standing. Tucson could stand while I was completely out of sight. It prompted more than one confused rider to announce “loose horse!” 

If you own a lazy breed of horse that you can park and they snooze in place (yeah I’m talking about you Sutter), this may not be for you. However, if you happen to own something with a little more hot blood running through its veins, this is a nice addition to your horse’s training. This is one of the first “moves” I put on Wiley. He demonstrates it below:

Step 1

Put a halter and lead on your horse. Stand in front of him. Put your hand in front of his nose and say “Stand.”

Giving the "Stand Command"
Giving the “Stand Command”

Step 2

Back away a few steps and stay away from your horse for a few seconds.

Step back and wait a few seconds.
Step back and wait a few seconds.

Step 3

If your horse stands still, use your bridge word (mine is Good Boy) or click. Give a treat.

If your horse takes a step forward, use your whip to touch the foot that moved. Make your horse move it back into place. Start over at Step 1. Start off for a short period and stay somewhat close. When your horse masters that, go farther back and make him stand for longer. If he moves, just back him into place. (very important he backs all the way into the original spot. Even if he walks a lot, don’t walk him in a circle to get him back in place. ) You can add a lunge line and really back far away. When your horse is competent, go ahead and try it at liberty or just toss the lead rope over his neck for an instant ground-tie.

Touch the whip to the leg that moved.
Touch the whip to the leg that moved.

I figured a video of the “Stand Command” might get a little boring. How long do you really want to watch a horse standing still? So, I linked a few commands together to show that even at the ADD age of 2, Wiley clearly understands the “Stand Command” and a few other basic ground school commands. As always, sorry about the video quality. It is hard to cue a horse and hold a camera still at the same time.

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