If you haven’t done so already, check out my post on how to train your wild mustang. I hope to be able to complete one in the future for burros as well.
When it comes to training a wild horse or burro, you will want to make sure you have the tools you need to get things done safely and efficiently. I’ve trained a lot of horses and burros and the tools you’ll find in this article are my favorites.
The links all open to Amazon, and I do have an affiliate relationship with them. If you prefer, you can get the equipment from other retailers as well. Choose the vendor that is most convenient for you.
Basic Training Equipment
The basic training for any wild mustang or burro consists of teaching it to halter, stand for grooming, lead and load into a horse trailer. The tools in this section will help you get to that point. They are the items on my must have list.
Clinician Stick & String
There are so many different names for this. Parelli calls it the “carrot stick”, Weaver Leather makes a “Stacy Westfall Stick and String”, and the one I use is called a Clinician Stick Training Whip. I usually keep at least two on hand.
This stick and string combo are great for so many different things. Here are a few things I use it for:
- Provide direction.
- Desensitize horse to string touching his back, legs, head, etc.
- The string portion can be used to help teach a horse to accept a “rope” moving over their ears like a bridle would.
- The stick portion is great for “first touches” on a fearful horse. It is firm enough to allow you to pet the horse with it and long enough to keep you at a safe distance.
Rope Halter and 12′ Lead Rope
I prefer to train mustangs with a rope halter and a 12′ lead rope. Now, whether the rope is 12′ or 15′ doesn’t make much of a difference but, I don’t want anything shorter than 12 or anything longer than 15.
For rope halters, I prefer the ones with nose knots if I am not going to be leaving the halter with a drag line. If I am going to be leaving the halter on with a drag line, I prefer a rope halter with no nose knots. I usually purchase one halter and lead rope for each horse.
22′ Ring Rope
The 22-foot ring rope is another must have. I absolutely prefer one where the rope is tightly braided against the ring. Just enough slack to let the ring slide freely, but not enough of a loop that a horse could ever get it’s foot caught in it.
The great thing about the ring rope is that the ring is wide enough to prevent the rope from being able to get “stuck” on the horse. No matter how tight it pulls, accidentally or on purpose, it is fairly easy to get loose and get off.
The rope is usually 22 – 25′ long and typically comes with a braided in ring and a carabineer. This tool is so effective for so many things. I use it for things like:
- Desensitizing to a rope.
- Teaching a horse to lead/give to pressure.
- Teaching a horse to yield its hindquarters.
- Getting the horse used to pressure around it’s cinch area.
- Getting the horse used to pressure around it’s flank area.
- Teaching a horse to pick up its feet.
Mustang Training Flag
These mustang training flags are a great, lightweight tool. My preference would be two purchase two and leave one with the flag attached and a second with a plastic bag attached. They are awesome for desensitization. Light weight and easy to carry.
While you could, theoretically, use the horseman’s stick and string to do the same thing, the light weight and flexibility of these makes them much easier on your biceps to work with more routinely.
The only caveat to these is that sometimes the foam handle can detach from the stick. It’s probably due to the fact that we’re using it as a desensitization tool and waving it around all the time and the glue just loosens. I coat the end in Gorilla glue and just slide it back on.
Grooming equipment like a brush, hoofpick, spray bottle, etc are also a must have. I cover my grooming kit essentials in this post:
If I were going to pick up a wild horse to train today, and had no equipment, I’d buy one each of the above items to get started. If I had to narrow it down due to budget I’d eliminate the grooming equipment, horseman’s stick and string, and mustang training flag. If I didn’t need to teach the horse to pick up it’s feet, I could eliminate the ring rope. I, personally, feel like the halter, lead rope and ring rope are must have items if I am working with a wild horse.