A cordeo is simply a neck rope. It can be made out of virtually anything: rope, leather, beta, or even baling twine. It is placed so that it lies loosely around the base of the horse’s neck. If you are going to be riding with it, you will need it a little longer.
One of the benefits of using a cordeo in most of your training is that you can almost never force the horse into doing what you want. Sure you can use a lot of pressure, but with almost no control or pain. This allows you to use it as a tool to increase your bond with your horse. By using it only as a communication tool and not a pain inducing tool, you can gradually gain more of your horse’s trust. It allows your horse to be confident that he will not be hurt. It also allows you an opportunity to train without having to use controlling pressure. You cannot get harder and harder or use physical pain.
It is also a measuring device. It allows you measure how much your horse desires to be with you, trusts you, and listens to you. If you can’t lead your horse in the most basic of circumstances with the cordeo, then it is time to go back and work on your relationship with your horse. If you can’t lunge your horse with the cordeo, then you might want to go back and work on lightness.
You can begin using the cordeo to teach your horse to do a few simple things. You can teach him to back up with light backward pressure on the cordeo. You can teach him to break at the poll with a light upward pull of the cordeo. You can teach him to turn left or right by just laying the cordeo against his neck. These things probably will take time, but, by its very nature, the cordeo will not let you rush anything.
Teaching your horse to respond to the cordeo will take as long as it needs to take. You will have to learn to watch what your horse is telling you. Is he telling you that you are using too much pressure, even if it is only a pound or two of pressure? Is he telling you he doesn’t understand what you are asking? I had to learn these things when I taught Jackson to sit down. I used only the cordeo. No whip, halter, or confining paddock. There were times when I had used a little too much pressure and saw my horse stop trying. I had never seen that before. I couldn’t when I was always using controlling pressure.
The cordeo teaches you to be softer and lighter. If you have to pull, it is too much. The pressure shouldn’t be pressure at all; it should be a feather light touch, as the training progresses. By beginning with lightness, you will end up with lightness.
Using a cordeo allows the horse to make a choice: whether to listen or not. He learns that if he doesn’t want to do something, you can’t make him. This opens a world where horse begins thinking for himself. It allows him a certain amount of free choice. When your horse knows he has this freedom, you can really learn whether your horse wants to work with you or not. Then you must endeavor to find ways to get your horse to turn to you on his own. Turn to you of his own free will, without restraint.
Using a cordeo can teach you to be light. It can teach you to watch what your horse is telling you. I can help your horse to begin thinking and interacting with you. It can be the beginning of a fantastic relationship between you and your horse.