pressure and release cowgirl magazine

Many horse owners use pressure and release training to achieve goals with their horse. This form of negative reinforcement consists of the handler applying pressure and the horse seeking the release or reward. They quickly realize when they give the desired response that the pressure goes away. This form of training is more common than you might think!

Pressure & Release

Natural horsemanship clinicians usually use pressure and release exercises. Because horses are prey animals, they naturally move away from pressure. When that pressure is eliminated, the horse can relax. It is essential the release is big and quick enough to feel like a reward.

There are plenty of exercises that can teach this training method. Some basic ones include teaching your horse to lower their head, yield their hindquarters, or move forward off your leg under saddle.

This training video by Bar SZ Ranch provides you three different exercises- “head down”, “lead by tail”, and “turn and go”. Follow along and give them a try!

With patience and persistence, you can also teach your horse various skills through this training method.