Icelandic Horse Connection

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.




When I start to work with a horse that I do not know, I will give him a treat while he is restrained, either in his corral or on lead by the owner. One or two treats is enough for him to "know" who to look for or pay attention to.

Then he'll be turned out in the round pen. Everything is done slowly and non-chalantly. Standing around talking to the owners might be done for a few minutes or so while the horse does his thing in the round pen.

At some point, the clicker will click while the horse is near the outside of the pen so that he can be walked up to and given a treat. A few times of this will usually be enough to start the "draw".

I'll stay at that oblique angle to the horse's eye--45 degrees off to the side, behind the eye still on the outside of the pen. When the horse gives me his eye, I'll click and then treat. Shortly the horse will turn his head along with giving the eye, CT. Then he progresses to turning his body along with his head and eye, CT. Moving along the outside of the pen, the horse will start to follow and want to be near the source of treats.

This is sort of a give and take time, finding out what the horse can give without being nervous and how receptive he is to the method. I will approach the horse to give him his treat, until he is comfortable facing up for it.

It's my opinion that this works well for the horses since they are not being asked to stand for any time. They are free to move at any time, either toward or away from the source of treats. Being able to move is important to a horse, and having that movement incorporated in their training seems to work well. They are making the choice to follow.

When the horse is "drawing" and facing up nicely, depending on the horse's history and behavior, I may go into the round pen with him, either with the horse at liberty or on halter/lead.

Again, depending on the horse, we might start moving his body with a turn on the fore, asking him to move a foot, or to back up a step. This is done with my body and seems to work quite well. For a good horse, he can run thru some of the Parelli games at liberty quite quickly. For some horses, working on the lead rope might be used rather than at liberty. Still moving, moving, moving, asking him to follow here and there.

If at any time, the horse's attention starts to drift, I will try to notice this and leave the pen, waiting for the horse's invitation to come back in.

Psychologically, this gives the horse the choice in the matter.



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.

Before the horse makes any type of physical change or movement, the spark or 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!


Icelandic Horse Ljufur draws toward owner with body language and clicker training

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